Selling on Marketplaces at the face of it looks like a great idea. Well who would not like to reach more people and increase a chance of conversion?
Well the eBay’s and Amazon’s are definitely leading the e-commerce success stories but what is worth mentioning here is the recent success achieved by traditional retailers and businesses in online space.
Among the recent top 10 e-commerce sites (based on revenues) in the USA, the majority of them are traditional retailers and businesses such as Walmart, Staples, BestBuy, Sears Holding, Macy’s & Office Depot. India is expected to follow this trend in next couple of years.
Marketplace Scenario for Retailers in India
Millions of customers visiting marketplaces like Myntra, Jabong, Flipkart , Snapdeal and Amazon every month give your retail brand a better chance to be discovered. So, essentially these marketplaces take you closer to your potential customers but there is no guarantee they will buy your products. Even if you sell more with these marketplaces you loose on building brand for yourself.
Marketplace strategy can work for retailers who are looking at online as another sales channel and not as building long term relation with your customers. It is important for brands to understand how online presence can fit in their plans to expand their business.
Wondering when should you start planning for your own online store? I will help you with the information you need to make a decision.
So, when does it make sense to have your own online store?
An Online Store for Your Retail Brand
1. Selling Online is Part of a Long Term Strategy
The changing consumer behavior and the increasing number of online shoppers require brands to have an online presence. Selling through marketplaces make you lose the brand value since you get lost in the large portfolio of brands. Moreover the customer is keener to buy products with higher discounts over preference of a specific brand.
Having your own online store helps you track your customers purchase history understand their preferences and create personalized deals and discounts for them. You also get to cross sell and upsell products and thus increase average merchandising value of their purchase. Once your customers receive reward points for shopping with you there is a long term relation you build with them.
Setting up your own online store may look like a huge initial investment but the benefits are long term and would help you in increasing customer lifetime value.
2. Create Omni-Channel Experience for Your Customers
Omni-channel is not same as selling on different channels. Omni-channel is about delivering the same experience across different sales channel and giving your customers one view of the product. This experience can be delivered through an effective strategy which embraces every touch-point as one unified whole.
From customers standpoint this gives them an opportunity to select the products online and try it in your store and pay on your website or in store. Thus capturing customers at different points in their purchase cycle and developing stickiness factor. To ensure this customer experience with your brand you need to have your own online store.
3. Increase Brand Engagement
Building a relation with your customers and getting them engaged with your brand does not happen by offering great discounts. It is achieved over a period of time through a process in which you empower your customers, share brand stories and personalize their experience. Customers trust your brand when you let them review and recommend your products. Ask their opinion on your products and empower them to rate it. Share brand heritage and stories through your online and offline store. Keep your brand relevance to your changing customers’ needs and enhance your brand perception.
4. Innovate with Your Customers
Today consumers are hungry for “new products” and “new experiences”. Innovation is a demonstration of the coolness, smarts, and consumer-centricity that today’s shoppers demand. Consumers prefer brands which use technology to innovate and help them find products they need.
Wondering how should you go about this?
Start your own online store with an enterprise grade platform that is scalable and enables customization to meet your business requirements. The other important aspect to a successful online business is to innovate and provide a platform that offers great customer experience with an integrated social engagement/commerce platform
Well the best way to innovate is through collaboration with your customers. Knowing your customers well, listening to what they talk about you and understanding what they need would help you create products they want. To be able to listen to your customers you need to give your customers a platform to interact with each other. Your online store is the platform which facilitates social interactions and gives you an opportunity to be involved their conversations. Use sentiment analysis tools to leverage what your loyal customers speak about you and provide an engaging experience
The traditional businesses can use their offline strength with their online presence to create a sustainable business model and create a success story.
Anand is an Enterprise Sales Leader for Magento Commerce in India/South Asia. He is a proven business leader with a sales and marketing experience of over 19 years in the IT Industry. He previously held various leadership positions in IBM & Wipro in technology, solution, software and infrastructure services, security, mobility businesses across India, Asia Pacific and emerging markets. Anand holds a bachelor degree in Technology, Electronics and Communication Engineering from the Delhi College of Engineering.