E-commerce is often seen as the saviour of retail – unlimited customers, huge growth potential. This is of course the case, says Cybertill’s Adrian Mills – but, rather than competing with the same furniture retailers in a town or high street, retailers are now competing against furniture retailers all over the world …
So how do you get your e-commerce site to stand out? Well, of course you can ‘optimise’ your website. This is when you positively influence the position of your website in Google, so it appears as high as possible. But this does not happen overnight, and it can take several months to improve your position so you are on page one of search engines like Google. But there are other online channels that furniture retailers should be looking at – namely eBay and Amazon.
eBay and Amazon are the two largest websites in the UK and their influence is growing. According to Retail Week, their combined market share is one fifth of the UK’s e-commerce market. Many retailers have started selling on both these sites, for a number of reasons. Firstly, it is relatively cheap to start up, you get access to a wider audience, your product typically gets onto an early page of Google, courtesy of eBay and Amazon.
However, what stops many moving across to these channels is that it is another sales channel to manage, and it is time consuming to upload product information and stock levels. But there are tools, such as web-based EPoS systems, that allow retailers to manage their stock in-store, online, on eBay and Amazon in real time and seamlessly. So, when stock is sold, the products are automatically removed from these websites. But what’s more, they allow retailers to ‘click and sell’, as they can upload product information – such as images, stock levels, product description, etc – at the touch of a button.
Today, independent furniture retailers need to be seen beyond their high street, and this is true of online as well. eBay and Amazon are perfect sales channels for retailers to generate additional revenue for their business whilst extending their reach.