Why e-retailers need to move quickly to keep their customers while marketplaces are taking over the market ?
You already know it: e-commerce has never been so big.
Last year in Europe, online buyers spent more than €600B and it’s been growing by 15% each year. New technologies are constantly improving the user experience in e-shops. This trend is even more interesting in that it’s contrasted by the stagnation of offline experiences: brick-and-mortar shops are struggling to find their place, wondering how to transform their real-life experience.
E-Commerce Volume in Europe (Statista Europe report February 2018)
E-shops’ competition is about who has the biggest number of references.
In fashion retail, the main difference is… inventories. Online stores have infinite virtual space to display their products and warehouses in cheap locations. On the contrary, it is impossible for a physical point of sale to have an inventory as big as any online shops. Indeed, a physical store is expensive, so it has to deal with many spatial constraints and their space is mostly used to display products, not to stock them!
Thus e-commerce’s disruptive advantage is inventory. The main fight between e-shops is about who is going to list the largest amount of products.
But there is a “but”: inventory is not infinite!
E-shops are still limited by the amount of products their warehouse can stock. In fashion retail, each item has several sizes… imagine the shoe market: there are up to 16 variations! So how can e-retailers manage to serve all of their visitors?
E-retailers’ inventory cannot be very wide and very deep at the same time.
E-shops know that they must increase the amount of products listed on their website, for two reasons:
It drives more traffic because the more pages you have, the better it is for the search engine optimization.
It increases the conversion rate, since visitors are more likely to find what they want.
Online buyers expect nothing less than the speed of Google and the quality of Uber.
Never forget: a well-served visitor is becoming the norm, whereas a frustrated visitor is lost… forever! Shoppers are used to being treated like kings everywhere they go online. They expect nothing less. So when they land on a website that doesn’t immediately provide what they need, they will be gone for a very long time. Recently, I started working with Zoom Paris, a great sneaker retailer. But they estimated that 40% of visitors were leaving the website because of having things out-of-stock.
Marketplaces outscore classic e-retailers on visibility.
These multi-vendor websites have a selection that beats any classic retailer on the catalogue-size battlefield and so they drive tons of customers to their websites. Classic retailers can use them to sell more, but they lose a key asset: their ability to talk directly to the customers…
Now with Stockly, they can work together and centralize their inventory.
Pooling stock without losing the direct relationship with customers: is it possible? That’s exactly why I co-founded Stockly. I want to help e-retailers fill in the gaps in their catalogue and keep on selling quality products in a full set of sizes, able to serve all of their customers.
Stockly supplements, in real-time, e-retailers’ catalogues with products from others.
In other words, when an e-retailer is out of stock on one specific size, they can still deliver it to their customer, having it shipped in a standard package by another retailer in the network.
If you want a visitor to stay in your shop and buy, just make them happy: provide what they’re looking for. That is what we are here for ;)