(Editor’s note: Walmart is constantly innovating as it ventures further into e-commerce. Don’t get left behind! Click here to learn more about growing your online sales with Walmart.)
New product lines, numerous acquisitions, branding overhauls. . .retail news has been filled with headlines of companies striving to entice the online shopper. As major players try each month to “one-up” each other for dominance, e-commerce continues to evolve in offering and strategy.
We had a chance recently to speak with Colby Beland, Vice President of Sales and Marketing for CaseStack. As he observes the retail landscape, his vantage point on the ever-changing e-commerce is rather unique. In our conversation, he brought an interesting perspective for suppliers looking to expand assortment online this year.
How Does Consumer Data Play?
Knowledge is power; that’s actually not true. Any professional will tell you it’s what you do with knowledge that gives you power. Retailers now have better quality and quantity of data about their customers than ever before. Beland is quick to point out that more data isn’t the key, but those that apply it will rise to the top.
“Things are changing so fast. You have to understand the information at your fingertips and how to leverage it,” he advises. “Suppliers have to be smart enough to take all that information and figure out what to do with it. The companies that figure out how to leverage that technology and the data they’re gathering to their benefit, they’ll be the ones that win.”
Many companies pride themselves on gathering your data, views, clicks, impressions, etc. The best will go beyond the numbers to see the story the data tells. Telling the story tells you how to adjust your online business for success.
Battling that Last Mile in Delivery
One of the biggest e-commerce speculations as of this posting is Amazon possibly purchasing Target. In purchasing Whole Foods, Amazon did more than enter the produce realm; it forged a physical footprint. A similar purchase of Target would put it closer to Walmart in solving for the “last mile of delivery” issue faced in online purchases.
“The last mile is the biggest challenge and the most cost associated with e-commerce,” Beland observes. “Figuring out the right solution is the interesting play.”
Given the present issues with that last mile to the customer, Amazon purchasing Target could be the logical solution. Beland sees the strength from the supply chain side to use stores for online purchase destinations. “I think the winner will be who figures out how to leverage their brick-and-mortar footprint for pickup and other assets will be the differentiator in winning the final mile piece.”
Smaller suppliers sometimes opt not to work directly with a retailer, but instead to sell on the retailer’s site via third-party marketplace options. Beland sees it as a potential win-win.
“It creates a lot of value for the retailer in driving site-traffic,” he explains. “The more product you have to offer, the longer the consumer is on your site. This opportunity creates the ability to have a bigger bill of sale.”
However, he also points out there is always a downside. “There is a lot of risk for the seller and the retailer in the online marketplace. The retailer is held accountable to the seller in the way that they choose to do business. Retailers do lose a little control in that respect.”
Know all your options as you make plans to streamline your e-commerce game. Think of the whole picture from content to data and supply chain to delivery. Considering a partner like CaseStack can be your first step toward a profitable 2018.