Before the digital age, business expansion meant developing additional brick-and-mortar stores and establishing new physical distribution channels, not to mention all the expensive upfront costs that came with it. Fast-forward to modern days, and the internet has made it much cheaper and easier to grow a business – but only if it’s done right.
To guide you to your much-desired boost in online revenue, we’ve looked into five essential steps you need to take in order to grow.
Marketplaces are ecommerce sites where third-party merchants list their products and/or services and allow marketplace operators to handle their sales and online transactions. The ranges of sellers and products on these marketplaces mean that they attract large numbers of online shoppers who enjoy the convenience of being able to fulfill all their buying needs in one place.
Luckily for online retailers like you, the entry barriers to these marketplaces are relatively low, and you can easily access, test, and optimise them at the touch of a button. However, in order to find the perfect fit between channel, product, and business goals, you need to evaluate the various channels in terms of the types of sellers, products, and buyers that occupy each of them.
(For a more detailed breakdown of some of the top online marketplaces, take a look at our previous blog post.)
Once you’ve compiled a list of marketplaces that you’d like to sell on, the next step is to define the needs that’ll come with selling via said channel. You can start by doing a little research into your chosen marketplaces and by identifying specific business requirements your company has for these channels. To help expedite your research process, you need to have a strong understanding of your products, target customers, and business operations. Above all, you need to ask yourself this: “How much time and resource am I willing to invest in making sure new sales channels are set up properly?”
All the financial benefits that multichannel selling can drive are certainly tempting, but it’s important to make sure that your operational processes can support the increasing order volumes and the complications that running additional sales channels will bring. Doing this before jumping into a multichannel strategy will prevent headaches further down the line.
Being ready to embrace a multichannel selling strategy is more than feeling confident enough to expose your brand to a larger audience. Your business methods and processes need to be able to keep up with the exponential upscaling your business is about to face – so what may have worked in the past for a single- or dual-channel operation will probably not be sustainable. In fact, a recent FitForCommerce survey shows that 69% of retailers do not think their current systems are equipped to handle their new multichannel sales strategies, and these companies usually run into similar issues like slow fulfilment, lack of inventory visibility and control, and/or inefficient data management and analytics.
Having omnipresence in the competitive world of ecommerce means having a quick and responsive fulfilment method that’s ready to deliver the products whenever and wherever your customers want. On top of that, you need to have sufficient inventory to support new channels as your business expands. The more additional channels you acquire, the more crucial the stock accuracy becomes – requiring visibility into and complete control over your inventory, from where it’s located to how it’s arranged.
Finally, as your brand proliferates through multichannel selling, you’ll receive more incoming data from more data sources, from which you can gain invaluable and actionable insights. To do so effectively, you need to be able to break down these data silos and integrate your business intelligence into one all-encompassing dashboard.
So you’ve managed to ensure operational efficiencies – now what? Fundamentally, new customer acquisition is the most important element in fuelling revenue growth. Online consumers are always on the lookout for new and easier ways to shop, so your responsibility as a retailer is to offer a seamless shopping experience across multiple channels. In other words, the more marketplaces people can find and buy your products from, the more customers – current or new – your business will have.
Moreover, digital-savvy consumers typically have their favourite marketplaces where they regularly shop, hence why leveraging customers’ existing brand loyalties to marketplaces can be immensely beneficial. Ultimately, there’s no better way to grow your business than to actively present your brand to new customers on channels where they’re already shopping. That’s why online retailers these days must learn to be agile and flexible in how, when, and where they sell. So much time and effort has been devoted to developing your business, it only makes sense that you want shoppers to take notice of your product, come to your site, experience your brand, and, hopefully, become a lifetime customer.
Are you ready to take on the challenges of multichannel retail and start reaping the benefits? Our ERP software is designed to help accelerate your business growth by fully automating every step of your fulfilment – from keeping your inventory levels in check to making sure your products arrive safely in the hands of your customers.
For more information on how we can help grow your online business, get in touch today.
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