For many ecommerce merchants, the idea of taking their business to the physical world seems like a huge leap. It’s one thing to sell online, where orders are handled digitally and inventory can be shuttled around to different distribution centers to keep up with demand. It’s quite another thing entirely to sell products to brick-and-mortar retail outlets, where it’s often the case that each individual store requires its own distinct inventory. The sheer amount of merchandise required can feel intimidating to a strictly-digital seller. It’s one thing if you’re supplying to an independent shop or a small chain, but what happens when you’re looking to expand to national brands? It’s enough to make you sweat.
So how do you know, as a seller, that it’s finally time to spread your wings and expand to the world of brick and mortar retail? Read on to discover a few key pointers and benchmarks to keep in mind when making this important business decision that will have a far-reaching impact for years to come.
Far from it. In fact, over 80% of Gen-Z shoppers prefer shopping in-store to making purchases online. It’s an excellent opportunity to discover new brands, get a feel for the product before you commit to it, and even test it out to make sure it suits your needs. Although the practices are related, there’s a slightly different set of factors that go into whether customers browsing through a given store will pick up your product for further inspection over any others. Price naturally is just as important a consideration as in digital selling, but other factors include the product’s positioning on the shelves, the packaging, and any promotions that are ongoing at the time.
Selling in store is a whole different ball game as compared to selling online. Although customers are often forgiving of small flaws in already-purchased products, you have to make sure your quality assurance is top notch for the retail outlet market. This is because, while browsing, shoppers will often take the extra time to look over your product to make sure it’s as flawless as possible. Because of this phenomenon, investing in robust packaging that can hold up to a certain amount of manhandling is a good idea.
You also need to jump headfirst into demand planning. Demand planning, or forecasting, is the practice of using predictive analysis of historical sales data to estimate and make educated guesses about future customer demand for a product or service. This enables businesses to make better decisions regarding supply and the amount of inventory to keep on hand. With potentially hundreds of individual retail locations you’ll be responsible for stocking with your products, demand planning once you’ve made the jump into retail distribution becomes more important than ever before.
It’s typically necessary to partner with what’s known as a retail distributor. Retail distributors deal with making sure your product gets onto the shelves of the stores they represent. However, it can be tricky to make sure your product is considered a priority, and is offered preferred spaces on the shelves to make sure that customers buy. Distributors will usually give priority to manufacturers who can deliver product within two days or less. But if you’re meeting this deadline and you’re not happy with your placement in stores, there’s nothing to stop you from shopping around for a new distribution partner.
If you’re well-established in the ecommerce scene, making the jump to retail distribution can be an excellent way to scale your business and profits faster and further than might otherwise be possible. Although difficult and by no means free of roadblocks, if you’re ready for the challenge, it’s an excellent step forward on your selling journey. Whether you’re aiming to sell digitally or in store, P2Pseller is ecstatic to bring you along on the ecommerce revolution. Register a free account with us today to see everything we can do for you and your business.