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How To Make More Profit With Leveraged Ecommerce

19 May 2016

Making profit from a retail business is no longer about whether you choose to have a physical shop, run an ecommerce store or sell via online marketplaces. Sure, when you get started you have to pick and grow with one channel, but the secret to maximising your profit is to leverage opportunities in as many channels as you can, while making sure that each channel is well connected to your other channels.

Or in other words, if customer ABC finds your business through your website what needs to be done to get them to visit your physical premises and vice versa.

Leveraged ecommerce in action

To explain the concept of leverage ecommerce more simply, let's use an example of a store which sells small home appliances. This store has been based in a local neighbourhood for many years and it's quite well known within the community. The problem that the store has is that while it has no trouble selling appliances to customers who visit the store, the percentage of customers who return to purchase accessories such as coffee filters, vacuum bags or ink cartridges are quite low. The top reason that customers have suggested for this low re-ordering rate was that these items would just run out and when they did, it was often easier to grab the item from somewhere like the supermarket or a department store when they were there for other errands.

These issues can be resolved with leveraged ecommerce. Services such as being able to opt a customer who purchased a printer into an automatic reminder programme that provides an appropriately timed email with an easy link to the required ink cartridges help to a) remind the customer that these consumables will soon be running out and b) make it easier for them to order from you, thus increasing your profit rather than giving away.

Other leverage ecommerce options include:

  • Allowing customers to order and pay online, but collect from your physical store. This option is popular with customers who want to save delivery fees or who have issues getting items delivered to their home or work addresses.
  • Promoting your website in-store; including providing customers who purchase items with something physical to remind them of your ecommerce store address (magnets are great for this!). This is especially important if your store sells consumable items because it's likely a happy customer will want to repurchase again in the future. Consider promoting offers like free delivery for spends over $x when you provide your website address as this is a more tempting offer than just saying 'hey, we have an online store.'
  • Providing QR codes on items in-store which have a lot of technical details. Some customers prefer to read these details without having to talk to a salesperson and this will allow them to do so. This approach can be especially helpful when you have busy periods as customers can find answers to their questions on your website while standing in-store, which can help cement the purchase. You can also use this approach to take customers to promotional videos or a FAQ page for that item / range. Keep in mind that 71% of shoppers who use smartphones for research while they are standing in a retail store say that it's become an important part of their shopping experience - you should be assisting these customers to stay on your website, not on someone else's where they might find the same item at a cheaper price!
  • If you stock a higher range of items online than in-store, remember to promote this in-store; 'can't find what you're looking for? Find it on our website!' type signs will help with this or even consider a QR code which when scanned will take customers directly to your online shop.
  • If you have a larger department store, consider adding a 'find it in store' option to your website, except expand it to literally provide customers with a store map which shows where those items can be found in-store.
  • When offering discount vouchers on-line or through social media, consider allowing them to be redeemed in-store if a customer 'checks in'. This helps to expose your business to a wider group of people for no further cost.
  • If you offer a loyalty programme, make sure that it's capable of tracking purchases both in-store and online.

 We are able to work with your business to identify the gaps which currently exist between your online and offline channels and we can help you develop solutions which 'plug the gaps' - please feel free to contact us; we're happy to chat about what can be achieved for your online store.

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