Voice of the Industry

Increase customer lifetime value by moving brick-and-mortar stores online

Tuesday 6 July 2021 08:18 CET | Editor: Anda Kania | Voice of the industry

Moving your physical stores to an ecommerce platform to sell direct to consumers can increase online sales, futureproofing your business for tomorrow. Ben Fochs from Digital River and Maxime Bosvieux of OSF Digital reveal the best practices and benefits of moving online

Wondering if your brick-and-mortar store still has a future?

It does! But not the way you might think – only a move online will assure a flourishing future for your business.

A digital transformation that adapts to changing customer buying habits to grow online sales and expand market share is all it takes for brick-and-mortar stores to succeed in the digital age. Gartner reports that by 2022, organisations using multiple go-to-market approaches that leverage digital commerce solutions will outperform non-commerce organisations by 30% in sales growth. 

6 benefits of selling direct to consumers  

As more and more shoppers take advantage of convenient online shopping, the market share of brick-and-mortar stores has materially declined, necessitating the need to establish a robust D2C ecommerce channel. Here are the benefits of selling direct to consumers to increase online sales.

  • Offers your customers flexibility. Selling direct to consumers provides customers the choice of purchasing products online or in-store, and having orders delivered directly to their home. Returns can be streamlined in this model, allowing shoppers to return products to the physical store and save on shipping.
  • Provides a unified shopping experience for your customers. Your two channels (physical store and online store) can build upon each other and offer greater value than a standalone channel. You can sync your inventory across channels allowing customers to investigate if an item is in stock before driving to a store to purchase it. Retail leaders, such as B&Q, Aldi and Walmart, enable customers to find products in their store using an app, making both channels work for their customers' benefit.
  • Increases your customer’s satisfaction. You can cater to a broader range of customer desires with two channels working together, accessing the best of both worlds. Offering options meets a wide range of preferences (such as buying online, picking up in-store) whilst remaining competitive.
  • Extends your brand’s awareness. When you reach more customers and provide the experience they want, you’ll realise online sales, added brand awareness, and business growth. You can also leverage social media channels to boost online sales, helping target customers more accurately where they enjoy spending their leisure time.
  • Releases in-store inventory through online channels. If you have inventory on the sales floor and a stock room with no customers coming in the door, you have no way to effectively sell your products and little data to know how to accurately order inventory. However, with an ecommerce store, you can continually offer your inventory 24/7. 
  • Expand your addressable market. Establishing an online channel extends your potential consumers beyond the reach of your physical stores both domestically and across geographic boundaries with cross-border distribution models. Do not let a physical store footprint be an inhibitor of your growth potential.

4 considerations when launching ecommerce site

Selling online can be a great strategy to avoid retail disruption and a smart extension of your brick-and-mortar business. However, there are several factors to consider when selling direct to consumers to boost online sales. Here are a few things to consider:

  • Leave compliance requirements to the experts. Handling tax and regulatory compliance requirements is complex and challenging when selling direct to consumers in new markets. You will want to use an experienced partner with detailed knowledge of how to effectively navigate the complex, and frequently changing, trade and compliance requirements necessary to sell products online.
  • Use a multi-cloud solution to automate your inventory. Inventory management can get complicated when you transition online because if your inventory does not automatically update with every purchase, you could quickly end up overselling. 
  • Streamline supply chain with an ecommerce solution. Shipping and logistics are simplified when you set up the right tools to help centralise, protect, and organise your customer’s information. The commerce solution will allow you to frequently update customers about their order status, verify addresses, and handle any order management issues.
  • Ensure your technology handles customer service requests quickly. Your online customers have different needs than those in your physical store. Nearly 90% of online customers expect a response from your business within 60 minutes, and 30% expect a response within 15 minutes or less. You can automate customer service responses to save you time, but customers prefer to have options for contact methods, including email, contact forms, phone, live chat, and social media. Your systems integrator can advise you on which commerce solution can help you serve your customers best.

Whether you are launching a new ecommerce site for the first time or need to optimise your current technology, consider working with an experienced partner to help navigate the challenges and opportunities as you accelerate your digital initiatives.

You’ll need a best-in-class global ecommerce solution built for growth, enabling you to have a connected commerce solution with a 360-degree view of your customers. For rapid deployment of your ecommerce ecosystem to increase sales, consider Digital River and OSF Digital for a complete and fully integrated customised solution designed for scale and accelerated for global expansion

If you are interested in learning more about how to scale your commerce and meet shoppers where they are, download our new ebook here.

About Ben Fochs 

The intersection of developing quantitative frameworks and building cross-functional collaboration is how Ben Fochs finds success driving Digital River’s corporate strategy. Having built his career in the financial sector – overseeing finance, risk operations, fraud and data services – Ben brings a data-driven approach to tackling today’s biggest ecommerce challenges. But it’s his ability to pull together the right players across the organization, that makes Ben’s research and ideas become operational business strategies that drive commerce growth. Always a catalyst for change, prior to taking on the role of Digital River’s vice president of strategy and corporate development, Ben helped define the vision for many complex projects including the release of a new corporate Business Intelligence engine, the evolution of the company’s fraud capabilities, and the re-architecture of our data warehouse in the public cloud.

About Maxime Bosvieux

Maxime fell into a career in ecommerce early. After earning a degree in philosophy, he joined a startup that was bought two years later by Adeo, a leading European home furniture retailer. At Adeo, he deployed ecommerce in several countries before shifting to a web agency where he led an ecommerce program for major clients such as Galeries Lafayette. After successfully launching his own ecommerce agency, Do You Switch, one of his clients, Ubisoft, hired him to accelerate ecommerce deployments in Europe and Asia. Maxime multiplied deploying ecommerce in more than 70 countries in a tight partnership with OSF Digital. His strong track record with successful ecommerce and marketing performance and his international experience led him to OSF, where he now grows and develops ecommerce for OSF’s clients as an AVP of Commerce & Performance. 

About Digital River

With more than 25 years' experience, Digital River has mastered the ins and outs of global commerce. Established and fast-growing brands alike rely on our flexible, API-powered solutions to sell direct to their customers, whether they live around the corner or around the world. Our modular platform, global expertise, and advanced partner ecosystem lets brands focus on creating seamless buying experiences, while we work behind the scenes to manage orders and fulfilment, process payments, mitigate fraud, and handle taxes and compliance on their behalf. Brands benefit from our Global Seller Services, expertly designed to help brands accelerate global expansion, grow revenue, and protect their business from risk. For more details, visit DigitalRiver.com.

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Keywords: ecommerce, direct to consumer, merchants, Digital River, retail
Categories: Payments & Commerce
Countries: World
This article is part of category

Payments & Commerce