For business supplies and equipment companies looking to add new revenue streams in 2018, we have some good news. With online sales increasing by 12 percent in 2016, trends show that eCommerce growth in this category remains steady.
This also means competition is fiercer than ever. The increasing number of mergers and the reduction of physical store locations are a couple of factors causing many business supply store owners to migrate online and capitalize on surging eCommerce sales.
For your online business to succeed, it must meet the rising demands from consumers. To help you remain competitive in eCommerce, here are a few tips to help you build a profitable online business supplies and equipment store.
Get to Know Your Competition
What makes your business different from your competitors? Why should a customer choose your brand or products? If you can’t answer these questions, it’s going to be difficult convincing consumers that your brand is the best choice in the marketplace.
To outshine your competitors, you need to understand them on a deeper level. When was the last time you took a thorough look at what your competition is doing? By performing a competitive analysis, you can get a better idea of what you’re up against and how to gain a greater share of the market.
As a small business owner wearing many hats, this may sound much easier said than done. Luckily, we’ve made analyzing your competition easy with our free eCommerce Scorecard. In one simple click, you can find out how your online store’s performance measures up against its peers.
Manage Your Inventory Data Like a Pro
Managing inventory can be a serious challenge for small business owners — especially when you’re selling across multiple channels. If your inventory management system is inefficient, you could experience a significant dip in sales revenue.
To improve cash flow and sustain a thriving online business, your inventory management system must be synchronized across all shopping channels. Many eCommerce platforms, such as Shopify and BigCommerce, have these solutions available to help you streamline your operations, but you will need additional plugins if you’re selling on Amazon or other marketplaces.
Satisfy Your Customers with Fast Shipping
For most consumers, the price isn’t nearly as important as the speed of delivery. A recent report from Material Handling & Logistics found that 87 percent of shoppers cited shipping speed as the most significant factor to make another purchase with an online retailer.
Consumers now expect rapid delivery from every business. To meet their expectations, you need to ship your products quickly and allow your customers to track their orders in real time. When an order comes in, are you able to ship out the order on the same day? If it typically takes between 24 to 48 hours to ship out your product, be sure to let your customers know when they can expect their purchase.
This is crucial to building trust in your online business. If you’re fulfilling orders around the holidays, remember to inform customers about important shipping deadlines to ensure that they receive their products on time.
Develop a Strategy for Warehouse Space
What does your warehouse and distribution strategy look like? The holidays are a chaotic time for business owners, and warehouses can quickly become disorganized if there is no system in place.
To keep your operations running smoothly, clean up and re-organize your warehouse. Look at your past holiday data to see which products flew off the shelves and stock these items where they can be easily accessed for quick fulfillment.
If your warehouse space is running short, it may simply be that you are holding on to unwanted inventory. Make note of these products and decide whether they should stay or be removed from future purchasing orders.
Create a Branded Experience
To compete with office supply giants like Staples and Office Depot, your customer experience should be unique and memorable.
According to Dotcom Distribution, 52 percent of consumers reward companies that use premium packaging with their loyalty and return to make repeat purchases in the future. This same survey found that 40 percent of consumers will respond to branded packaging by sharing a photo of their great customer experience on social media.
Branded packaging adds a personal touch to your products and creates a unique bond with the customer. Be sure that your packaging reflects your brand to enhance customers loyalty and make your online business stand apart from the competition.
When it comes to thriving in today’s competitive online marketplace, the small details are what make the biggest impact. Whether it’s speeding up warehouse efficiency or delivering a customized experience for your customers, the key to generating more online revenue is leveraging your data and anticipating every need and demand of your customers.
Fortunately, the right digital tools are available and can be super easy to master. Get in touch with our Springbot team to learn more!