Outfitting your retail brand for the World Wide Web
Many retail businesses start out small, serving local customers and nearby residents to the best of their ability. That’s an admirable goal, and it’s important to understand your target audience and its needs. However, it has become increasingly easy – and financially attractive – for successful merchants to reach a broader audience by taking advantage of the World Wide Web.
Citing reports from the U.S. Department of Commerce and the IBM Online Retail Index, Practical eCommerce contributor Armando Roggio noted that eCommerce grew 20 percent in the first quarter of 2013.
Total sales may have accounted for $50 billion in the first three months of 2013 alone, illustrating how much money is spent on retail goods via the Internet.
Embracing physical and Web retail
For a primarily brick-and-mortar-based merchant, expanding to the Web doesn’t have to be the significant effort that it once was. Several technology platforms and eCommerce software solutions exist that can make the transition to online retail painless. Whether you need to identify customer trends, better manage your inventory or add suppliers, there is application to help you streamline your eCommerce operations.
If you have a busy brick-and-mortar retail store, you likely already have an inventory management system in place. It’s critical that you also implement a multichannel solution that can be used to manage your online inventory as well. Ideally, you should be using an eCommerce management system, such as SalesWarp, that allows you to consolidate data from both platforms, helping you to maintain both your Web and in-store inventories simultaneously.
“Inventory management will be important too, especially when the physical store and online store are sharing units. When a shopper buys an item in the physical store, the online store needs to know not to sell it too,” Roggio explains.
As you expand online, you must consider the eCommerce software you’re going to use to manage your multichannel retail empire. Choosing the right solution – one that can scale up while you grow, while providing a full feature list at a competitive price – is a critical step in that journey.
There are numerous eCommerce platforms out there and each one has its own strengths and specialties. Deciding which one is right for you and your eCommerce operations will take some thought, so it’s critical you don’t rush into these decisions.