Today, commerce is effortless.
Consumers don’t shop exclusively on one platform, one website, or even one device. Whether it’s on social sites or in marketplaces — customers are shopping where they spend their time. To scale your business, this means you need to adapt and be in these channels, too.
Conducting commerce where your customers are, on their terms, is what Linnworks calls Total Commerce. Total Commerce provides your customers with the convenience that has become the core of commerce. It’s also an established expectation in today’s effortless economy. According to 2021 ecommerce trends based on research by Linnworks, 76% of consumers prioritize convenience while shopping online.
It’s no longer enough to exclusively sell on your website or only list your products on one marketplace and hope to grow a successful ecommerce business. Growth requires strategically expanding your selling channels and adapting your business strategies to conveniently meet your customers everywhere they are, while continuing to build strong relationships with customers through your own website.
Growing a Successful Ecommerce Business.
Understanding the opportunities available for expansion is the beginning of creating a strategic plan to grow a successful ecommerce business.
Continue reading to discover how you can get your products in front of more customers, in more places, to grow your business successfully.
Expanding Marketplace Selling.
Marketplaces offer a wide variety of products from diverse retailers in one convenient location. They also provide the opportunity for consumers to compare prices, products, and read reviews — in a place they’re familiar with and subsequently trust.
Expanding your ecommerce business to include marketplace selling can help you to scale quickly. Marketplaces drive high volumes of traffic. These high volumes of traffic mean your products are in front of more customers almost instantly. Because of their already established audiences, marketplaces also offer a great testing ground for new international markets with reduced risk.
It’s vital to have an inventory management system to connect all marketplaces and selling channels in one place. An inventory management system will forecast demand with historical data, manage supplier relationships by tracking lead time and minimum order levels, and automatically adjust stock levels across your marketplaces and all other selling channels.
Inventory management is especially critical in marketplace selling because it ensures that stock levels are synchronized each time a customer makes a purchase. Synchronization ensures the products you list are in stock and ready to ship, avoiding mistakes like stock-outs and overselling. These mistakes can damage your brand reputation because they lead to a poor customer experience.
When you focus on selling products DTC, important aspects of your business like product presentation, customer data, profit, and product branding are yours.
When you sell DTC, you also own the customer experience. You have significantly more control over creating a positive experience at each touchpoint and managing your brand.
A shopper survey by Linnworks found that 81% of shoppers are looking for a frictionless buying experience, like being able to put an item in their cart on one device and then pick up where they left off on another. In addition, selling DTC on an optimized website with an easy-to-locate search feature helps make finding products easy for your customers. When you sell on other channels, such as marketplaces, you don't control these touchpoints. As a result, you have little influence over this aspect of the customer experience.
A DTC selling strategy is often data-focused. From the moment a customer visits your website, their data is yours. Information such as location, device, email, and search history is at your fingertips. Using this data, you can build relationships with your customers and provide a tailored shopping experience, including personalized content for each consumer visiting your website. Based on the information you collect, this deep level of personalization helps foster customer loyalty and contributes to a positive customer experience.
DTC Optimisation with Pipers Farm.
Online butcher Pipers Farm recently rebuilt its website with the help of blubolt. Their new website provides a great example of a data-driven, personalized buying journey. Piper’s Farm now offers a tailored experience, in which clients are greeted with a personalized message, their loyalty points, and previous orders — making purchasing quick and simple.
As a note, a growth approach that focuses on selling DTC at its core offers multiple options for expansion. Using data to follow your customers, a DTC selling strategy can be combined with other methods (such as marketplace and social selling) to maximize growth opportunities.
Optimizing Social Commerce.
Statista reports that according to projections, social commerce — the buying and selling of goods on social platforms — will grow to 604.5 billion dollars by 2027. In addition, social commerce offers the potential to reach a significant audience where they’re already spending their time. Research by Linnworks highlights that 82% of shoppers enjoy the convenience of shopping on social channels.
Social commerce is a convenient way for customers to discover your products. Some platforms, like Facebook and Instagram, have even gone as far as adding seamless payment options directly in their platforms. By doing this, the entire purchasing process can now conveniently occur on social platforms without interruption.
It’s worth mentioning that different social platforms appeal to different audiences. Therefore, it’s a good idea to choose a social media platform where your customers are spending their time.
A good social commerce strategy should include content that provides value and visual appeal. Your brand should also tell stories that spark an emotional connection. Research shows that the more emotionally connected your customers feel to your brand, the more loyal they become. Additionally, influencer marketing can help you reach a larger audience from an already established social media following.
B2B ecommerce is another notable and rising potential growth opportunity, especially as B2B markets evolve.
When you sell B2B, you can sell larger quantities of stock in less time. B2B buyers don't want to purchase one or two of your products. Instead, they need enough inventory to sell to their customers without running into problems like stock-outs.
In addition, by focusing on specific industries, you can significantly reduce marketing expenses. This is because you're focusing on one or two more specific niche markets rather than focusing on a myriad of customers.
Investing in Omnichannel and Multichannel Retail Strategies.
Omnichannel and multichannel selling strategies are both viable approaches for growing a successful ecommerce business. To know what works for your brand, it’s important to understand the difference between them.
Omnichannel retail strategy.
An omnichannel retail strategy creates a seamless and consistent brand experience across devices and channels. It does this regardless of how the consumer is shopping. For instance, your customer’s experience will be the same across all of a brand’s owned channels.
An omnichannel retail strategy is customer-centric. With DTC at the core, it focuses on data to create a personalized experience across all channels. It recognizes and accommodates the fluid buying journey by expanding channels and platforms based on customer behaviour.
Multichannel retail strategy.
To drive growth, a multichannel retail strategy focuses on external selling channels like marketplaces, brick-and-mortar storefronts, and social platforms. Omnichannel retail is at the core of multichannel growth. Still, multichannel retail gets your product in front of customers where they’re already shopping.
Multichannel retail has less focus on the customer and a seamless brand experience. Because of this, you have less control over the customer relationship. However, multichannel retail can help you scale quickly by getting your products and brand in front of significantly more customers across several platforms.
With multiple selling channels, it's critical to manage inventory levels across all channels from one location. When you sell across channels, you have to anticipate customer demand with demand forecasting, maximize stock traceability in real-time, and track all of your products through the supply chain. Having an accurate picture of your inventory and backend processes will help avoid mistakes that can affect your success.
Final Thoughts — Growing a Successful Ecommerce Business.
Ecommerce growth requires strategically expanding your selling channels and adapting your business strategies to conveniently meet your customers everywhere they are.
Online marketplaces provide the opportunity for customers to shop your brand in a place they trust. Global marketplaces can also offer a platform for international selling. When you focus on selling products DTC, you own the customer data. This allows you to create personalized experiences that keep customers coming back. Optimizing social commerce is a convenient way for customers to discover your products where they’re already spending their time. Selling B2B allows you to sell larger volumes of stock with less marketing costs.
In addition, the channel strategy you adopt depends largely on your business goals. An omnichannel retail strategy is focused on customer data. It creates a seamless brand experience across devices and channels. A multichannel retail strategy concentrates on external selling channels to drive growth. With it, you can get your product in front of customers where they’re already shopping.
For more information on how to grow a successful ecommerce business, download the Linnworks Total Commerce Guide to Growth.