eCommerce is growing at an astonishing rate, expected to continue at a 20% CAGR, or compound annual growth rate, and reach $4 trillion by 2020. However, retailers face many challenges in the eCommerce arena: listing and maintaining inventory on different online channels; developing a consistent brand and superior customer experience; and generating traffic, leads and sales while retaining customers. With all of these competing priorities, it is essential that a retailer engaged in eCommerce creates a streamlined and efficient organization, eliminating unnecessary manual efforts that focus on improving the customers’ experience. Competitive advantage and subsequent eCommerce success are achievable by retailers who:
1. Manage Inventory
Keeping inventory up to date across several different marketplaces is a tricky proposition. Selling an unavailable product due to inaccurate inventory data damages the customer relationship and can lead to a negative association between customer and brand. For retailers, particularly those whose sales strategies include a multi-channel approach, an automated solution that provides real-time updates to all eCommerce sites is ideal. Accurate inventory improves the customer experience and provides the retailer an overview of product and sales data which can enhance forecasting, orders, fulfillment, logistics and more.
2. Commit to an eCommerce Inventory Management Process
In Statista’s review of global eCommerce statistics in 2016, Amazon and Taobao tied for the top spot, each with 16% market share worldwide. Amazon is even more powerful in the U.S. alone, accounting for 41% of all U.S. online sales in 2017, expected to grow to 50% by 2021. Ensuring that products are available on a brand-owned website as well as through other sellers, especially top-ranked sites like Amazon, help to expand reach to a broader audience.
An omnichannel approach is essential for increasing sales, with one study showing a 190% increase in revenue when a retailer used two marketplaces instead of one. Introducing a new sales site may seem like a daunting prospect, with new requirements for listing products and managing inventory and logistics, but the massive potential increase in revenue makes omnichannel worth the effort.
3. Build a Brand
Creating a recognizable brand that is consistent across all channels carries many benefits to a retailer who uses branding effectively. Companies that effectively build their brand tend to have more loyal customers, products that carry a higher price point, and frequent word of mouth and social-media based referrals.
One way to build a brand across several eCommerce channels is to use branded invoices rather than relying on affiliate invoices only. Retailers have an opportunity to reinforce branding through professional invoicing software that reflects their brand’s style guide.
4. Gather Data on the Customer Journey
One of the most important things to do internally to achieve eCommerce success is to gather data on customers, products, and sales and to analyze that data for valuable insights. Data analytics can tell a retailer:
- Sales by channel
- Spend by channel and/or customer
- Margins and profit performance per channel
- Information on abandoned carts
- ROI by product or channel
Once this information is in hand, it can be used to make decisions regarding forecasting, logistics, future marketing tactics, social media campaigns, and more.
5. Excellent Customer Experience
In the end, eCommerce success is highly dependent on providing a superior customer experience. Not only does a great customer experience create a basis for brand differentiation, but it also increases customer loyalty and drives repeat business.
A study by RJMetrics found that top eCommerce companies generate over half of their total revenue from repeat customers. Not only does retaining customers improve the bottom line, but it can also provide valuable data about the quality of targeted marketing and user acquisition as well as the market fit of your products.
eCommerce is the fastest-growing segment of retail sales. While omnichannel eCommerce is complex, and consistent branding and customer satisfaction takes a great deal of effort, eCommerce success is achievable with the correct tools.
To learn how to speed up your eCommerce processes and simplify inventory management, listings and fulfillment, request a consultation to learn more about ChannelGrabber: