Of course, there are more than three steps, but you’re busy growing your business, so I will keep this short and sweet!
The Internet and mobile technologies have changed everything for retailers. To quote our pals from Shopify’s recent S-1: “Technology and the Internet are transforming commerce. Consumers now expect to transact anywhere, anytime on any device and the experience needs to be simple, seamless and secure. Consumers become accustomed to the standards set by the largest and most innovative merchants and expect a comparable experience with all merchants, even those that have only been in business for one day. Without the latest technology, it is difficult for merchants to meet the rising demands of consumers.”
We couldn’t agree more.
Shoppers want to buy on their terms. This is driving retailers desire to be everywhere, in front of the world, and on every channel. How can you make a sale if you never show up, right? We don’t blame you. We know you want to be everywhere so you can get those eyeballs on your products. The challenge with being everywhere for a business with limited resources is that it’s hard to keep up. You need to think through how you will keep those customers happy. After all, it’s much less expensive to keep your existing customers than to go get new ones.
To compete with the largest merchants in the world, you need to do these three things:
Technology has come a long way for more than consumers. Businesses have access to better tools than ever before. Take advantage of it. Don’t have the money to invest in tools to help automate? Prioritize! When we started Stitch Labs, we didn’t have any money, but we found ways to pay for the tools that would help us grow. Figure out the most critical tools in growing your business and invest.
In a world where retailers are selling and using many tools to help them be successful, data is all over the place. To make informed decisions, you need your systems to talk to each other, especially for data. If you’re selling on Amazon, eBay and Shopify, wouldn’t it be nice to see all your sales data, customers and inventory in one consolidated location?
I’ve put this third for a reason. Many businesses have an, “Oh, shit!” moment along the way. It’s inevitable and we see it all the time.
You timed everything up right and business is booming. Now it’s time to expand your business by adding one or more channels. The problem is that this step usually happens prior the above steps. We’ve had these moments ourselves and it’s a great problem to have. You just want to make sure you’re ready to expand by first automating and consolidating. If you try to expand before you’re ready, you will definitely have that “Oh, shit!” moment sooner rather than later. When that happens, start at step one and repeat. It’s never too late to automate and consolidate.