• The Supplier Central is now part of Business Data Group

    I’m pleased to let you know that this website has now become part of the BDG family and will be brought together with our existing UK business community under the banner of UK Business Forums. You can read the full release here

    Whilst my colleagues and I are working through the technicalities of bringing the two communities together we have suspended new registrations to this site and I’d encourage you to register on UK Business Forums

    I look forward to getting to know you and your business,

    Richard ‘Ozzy’ Osborne
    Founder of UK Business Forums

Guide Back To Basics Chapter 3 - Building The Extension

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Once you’ve established your core business, made some sales, checked the process. How do you get your name out there, keep your ratings up, and prepare for scale?

Marketing & Social Media

It wasn’t long ago that it would have been acceptable to only promote your company on Facebook, or rely only on eBay to make sure your goods appear in the search listings. There’s a reason that can be a problem now:-

Risky Platform Reliance: there are plenty of horror stories from single platform use where a retailers revenues have fallen from great guns to nothing because Facebook or eBay have changed their algorithm.

By putting your marketing on many platforms and selling your goods on multiple marketplaces you are spreading the bet in terms of getting the maximum audience for your goods, but also limiting your risk at to how your sales might be adversely impacted if one of your promotional channels changes its promotional activity.

Customer data and loyalty: As mentioned in the previous chapter, there are now many opportunities to have a good solution for your own retail out-the-box website. This means that as a brand, rather than directing your social media promotions to a marketplace. You can direct them to your own website with your branding. This is good for 2 reasons:-

  • Making sure your customer only moves their arm… According to a new study from Avionos, 55 percent of respondents said they made a purchase directly from social media within the past year[1]. Imagine you are sitting on your sofa scrolling through Instagram, you see a product you like, within 3 clicks you have purchased it using Apple Pay using saved purchase and delivery details. You didn’t have to get off the sofa, you didn’t have to remember your amazon log in, you just saw what you wanted and purchased it. This tide turn is a massive advantage to small retailers…. Which leads to…
  • You make your own rules for marketing. You are building your own customer loyalty to your brand – you can communicate directly with these people, you can re-sell to them, you can put your flyers and branding on and in their packages.

It is worth noting here, that this is in no-way a suggestion to not use marketplaces. In fact, we would encourage you to post on as many marketplaces as possible, in as many different territories so you are open to every opportunity for success!

You should also think about how to manage this marketing efficiently. There is a small checklist here:-

  • Are you managing your company communications properly? Having a separate email for your [email protected], [email protected], [email protected] and [email protected] is probably a sensible option to stop you from going insane! It also means that as you grow and hire people you can simply hand over the inbox to someone else. Remember to reply with this address this means having a separate mailbox for each address (rather than a forward or group), but these can usually be provided at a relatively low cost.
  • Multiple channel and scheduled social media management. You don’t want to be posting separately on twitter, facebook and Instagram for every single promotion. There are plenty of companies such as Hootsuite, Sendible, Buffer… who give you a single login platform to manage all your social media.
  • Google Analytics. Make sure you have analytics set up so you can see where your customers are coming from, where they exit, what they look at etc
  • Data Regulations – anyone in online selling should be up to date with all the data regulations surrounding emails. These were updated in 2018 and the punishments could be very strict. In the first instance we would NOT advise booking yourself in on an expensive course where a newly established ‘expert’ can take your money to tell you the basics…. We would advise reading this Which article and thinking of it from the consumer point of view, paying particular attention to the CONSENT a buyer has to give and how a company can use the data.

Infrastructure& Logistics

Having suggested you sell through multiple channels, it raises the obvious question about how the sales get managed across all these different platforms… if you have 50 units how do you make sure you don’t sell 30 on eBay and 30 on Amazon overnight, leaving yourself unable to fulfil orders? How do you print all the orders from one place to send out the goods and manage customers. The easy answer is to use a company who will provide you with a single place to log in and manage all these sales for you.

We often get asked when in the process of setting up an online business the retailer should consider a Multi-Channel Solution? The answer is always “AS SOON AS POSSIBLE” and there are plenty of solutions to help you… Khaos Control, KhooCommerce and LinnWorks with different advantages and prices. Even if you don’t start with using one of these, we would recommend researching and making sure you are ready for when you do.

Beyond the obvious advantage of simplifying and making your life easier, they will also save you time and make sure that you can concentrate on the products, spotting successes to build on and promoting your business, rather than fighting to keep minimum service standards. In other words enjoy yourself!

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