By Ben Kaye, E-commerce and OMS Expert at Mintsoft
A surge in new brands, the introduction of new marketplaces and an overall rise in online shopping has led to an influx of online sellers catering very niche markets – and a competitive consumer base. As such, the online marketplace has taken over the traditional model of brick-and-mortar stores, as more consumers are buying products online instead of physically going out to the shops. Despite the sector re-opening its physical doors, all retailers must adapt to the demand shown in online shopping and revisit their approaches. This includes their supply chain management, the level of customer experience offered and everything in-between.
The huge growth of the E-commerce business model can be lucrative, but not every company is thriving as best as they could. It’s often the case that online retailers aren’t ready for a sudden increase in demand, which can cause havoc on logistics and fulfilment. Whilst selling on multiple market places has many benefits, such as attracting more sales from a diverse audience, online retailers must reduce the risk of losing customer loyalty.
Something as small as a payment error, missed order, or delivery issue is enough to lose a sale these days, which is why avoiding mistakes and anticipating peaks, becoming aware of lead times from suppliers and getting a handle on the data behind inventory is pivotal to surviving.
But what online selling mistakes should retailers be aware of and ultimately adapt their strategy to avoid?
Online selling mistake: Not having a website
Not having a website is one of the most common mistakes sellers make. As beneficial as some of the major platforms are for listing your products, most people aren’t aware that having your own online store is pivotal from brand awareness. For instance, having your own site will give you more control over what content to provide on your storefront, in addition to other crucial marketing and SEO benefits and the option to capture email and gather a database.
When you sell on an E-commerce platform like Amazon or eBay, you aren’t able to capture all the customer information necessary for retargeting and reselling to them later. While such channels are likely to continue into the unforeseeable future, it makes good business sense to grow your own database, to take more ownership and control, and starts building a sales funnel on your own site. This gives you the opportunity to get more information about your audience so you can re-market to them in the future. The downside of this strategy is that it can end up being a little more expensive to acquire additional customers. Having said that, a strong web presence and sales funnel can be beneficial to add into your marketing mix.
Online selling mistake: Overselling your products
There’s no better feeling than watching multiple orders come in – but it’s what happens after that which is the most important part. Despite E-commerce continuing to be on the rise, this doesn’t mean an easy ride for sellers – especially when it comes to fulfilling orders. If you limit the inventory you hold, but market it effectively across multiple channels, you run the risk of selling items you don’t actually have in stock – otherwise known as overselling.
If you sell on multiple platforms and marketplaces, inventory management can often be time consuming and increases the risk of inaccurate orders and overselling stock. An Order Management System (OMS) supports you in managing your online shops across multiple E-commerce channels from a single platform, and offers real-time stock sync. If inventory isn’t synced, it is likely order capability will be exceeded, and retailers won’t be able to deliver.
Fulfilment and shipping go hand in hand, and play a significant role in the customer journey – remember that the point of delivery can often be the only face-to-face interaction customers will have with your brand. An Order Management System (OMS) automates processes and allows you to be in control of your online shops across multiple E-commerce channels from a single platform. If inventory isn’t synced, it is likely order capability will be exceeded, and retailers won’t be able to deliver.
Online selling mistake: Not having a robust delivery strategy
A big part of the customer’s experience and meeting their expectations comes from the delivery of their orders. Online shoppers now choose convenience over brand loyalty, meaning how orders are picked and packaged, delivery costs and timings, and ease of returns all matter. In fact, according to Retail Insight Network, 78% of consumers say they value convenience more today than they did before the pandemic.
Customer experience continues to be the main differentiator for the top E-commerce brands, and where delivery is concerned, this means choice, transparency and accuracy. Recent reports have shown that consumers don’t necessarily want the quickest delivery option possible, but the option to choose a specific day and time slot and it’s suggested that 89% of shoppers will abandon their carts if they don’t think the delivery process will be smooth or ideal.
In order to provide multiple shipping options to meet customers’ needs (time, price etc.), it’s important to use multiple couriers. By investing in an OMS, you’re able to integrate with multiple couriers from one platform, making it easier to establish a multi courier strategy.
Another popular method for online retailers is partnering with a third-party logistics (3PL) provider to support with logistics and delivery. The process of outsourcing logistic processes helps with order fulfilment by eliminating the strain for online retailers. A 3PL partner will take care of time consuming processes and nowadays, many 3PL businesses have evolved their offerings by transitioning into tech first entities. Using a 3PL which has invested in technology allows online retailers to deliver a more responsive and consistent service.
Some online sellers make the mistake of not taking into consideration how much time they’ll have to commit to their E-commerce business to make it successful. It’s great to want to be successful in selling your products and building you customer base, but if you are unable to commit enough time towards the admin side things, you could run into some problems.
Online selling mistakes can be easily avoided with the right technology in place and an OMS is beneficial for any online enterprise because it’s a central hub for all of your orders, inventory, customer accounts and more, and integrates from one centralised platform. Investing in an OMS will set you up for success by ensuring everything runs smoothly, which is crucial to ensure you offer the best possible experience as an E-commerce seller and stand out from your competition.