COVID has brought the eCommerce conversation front and center. No more dancing around it. No more putting it off because it is scary – unknown, not the “way” you operate. Embrace it!
As someone that has been part of the home furnishings industry for over 20 years I have lost track of how many times traditional furniture retailers have said – “I don’t sell online – it’s not the way we operate” (or some strategically crafted variation of that statement). Enter COVID-19.
Whether or not you ever actually do sell anything online – your website better be an “awesome” and seamless extension of your traditional retail business; and it better have an eCommerce component. Let the customer chose whether they ring the online cart or ring the in-store till – they expect it. Either way you win!
But as retailers run to now “Do eCommerce” – don’t get caught not knowing what this all really means. Having a website with a cart DOES NOT equal “Doing eCommerce”.
Today’s topic. If you are a traditional furniture retailer with a “catalog” based website; meaning it magically “has” all the products from all the vendors you carry – have you checked if those catalogs are current with the COVID supply chain challenges?! Consumer expectations are such that you better be offering products that are ACTUALLY available in some respectable time frame from all those vendors. Trust me – there will be a negative impact to your retail business if you are showing products that are not available from your suppliers. The last thing you want to do is start your day with irate customers who found products that are no longer available! Watch how fast your merchant processor changes their tune when you are increasing cancelled orders. Don’t get caught with chargebacks and negative reviews because you didn’t ask the question! “How current is this catalog?”
Omnichannel eCommerce 101 tips:
- Make sure the products listed on your website are currently available from your vendor(s). Make sure your “endless aisle” isn’t smoke and mirrors.
- Make sure your current inventory is front and center! As a retailer you know these products are available – they are in your possession! In Stock. On Display. Get it communicated.
Ecommerce can be an exciting part of your retail model. It has to be!