This post was provided by our partner Webgility
This holiday season, some of the biggest online retailers are ready to give Amazon a run for its money. Giants like Wal-Mart, Jet.com, and Costco, along with Facebook Inc. and other social media platforms have created alternative channels for marketplace sellers. These new channels are not only creating more avenues for listing products, and pushing promotional offerings, but also an expansive marketplace to get more exposure.
“Online sellers should be selling on at least one online marketplace to increase reach,” says Parag Mamnani, CEO of Webgility, a provider of ecommerce automation software for multichannel ecommerce companies. “But in order to compete, merchants really must be selling on several different channels at once.”
According to Mamnani, online retailers are often intimidated by the prospect of selling on these different channels. But he says there are several steps they can take to fully leverage the different channels available to them.
First, they should firm up their entire technology stack. “Stress test your operational workflows, make sure you don’t have any break-points in your orders management, inventory tracking, shipping or bookkeeping.,” he says.
Then, Mamnani recommends, online retailers and their teams should discuss replacing any inefficient tools or processes. “Now’s the time to clean up that inventory spreadsheet and create a better system to organize it,” he adds. “Is someone doing full-on forensic research every time there’s a return or exchange? Examine your return system and do a bit of research on return optimization and automation. I promise, trimming those inefficiencies now will pay off during peak selling season.”
Finally, Mamnani encourages online retailers to sell on Amazon. “You can’t beat them, so join them but have a strategy,” he says, adding that using insights from Amazon’s high-volume peak days, such as Prime Day, helps inform retailers on projections, sales strategy and promotions for the upcoming holiday season. “Use these learnings to negotiate better terms with vendors, strategize free-shipping incentives, experiment with pricing and promotions, improve profit margins, and try variety of messaging.”
According to Mamnani, a unified ecommerce platform can help online retailers address all of these challenges. “A unifying system allows online retailers to track and bring their sales data all together,” Mamnani says. “Without it, they never have any insights into the financial health of their business, have no control over profit margins and are unable to automate their workflows.”
Webgility’s platform Unify, for example, allows sellers to track, sync, and understand the data from all channels and all angles—including revenue, expenses, fees, shipping costs, inventory, returns—in one place, according to Mamnani. “Webgility makes it possible for sellers to stop all the data entry, reduce errors and inefficiencies , and optimize their entire multichannel ecommerce business with automation,” he says.
Mamnani points to several online retailers who have seen success using Unify. Emergency food and survival gear company Product Bahn, for example, decreased its order processing by 50% when it integrated Unify. Loving Guidance, an educational materials retailer, reduced processing time from two weeks to one day and has been able to maintain accurate inventory and accounting after using the solution. And with Unify, cycling and clothing company Club Ride Apparel saves more than 50 hours each month on data entry, has increased order volume by 20%, and now fully processes orders in one hour.
“Successful sellers plan for success and build their businesses so they can handle peak seasonality, experiment with different sales channels, and grow without overtaxing their systems,” Mamnani says. “Webgility helps sellers build businesses that are sustainable, profitable and scalable.”