Two is a company, three’s a crowd. Unfortunately, many online sellers apply this to the number of vendors that they work with. If you are not willing to add multiple vendors to your list, then you are committing a mistake. Maintaining a large and flexible vendor base is highly crucial, yet e-store owners shy away from it.
Studies suggest that many people prefer online shopping as they want to pick from a greater variety. This is a logical and strong ground over which you can out-do your traditional competitors. You’ll never find a retailer say, – “I don’t offer more variety in my store as that’ll confuse my buyers.”
However, you’ll often come across retailers who are afraid to expand their vendor base. The major concern is managing a large number of vendors, the communication on a daily basis, monitoring the quality, etc.
A smart investment in sophisticated inventory management software can handle all these apparent hurdles in the way of expanding your vendor list. With the right inventory management system, you can spend your time focusing on customers. You won’t have to do the screening of vendors. Also, you won’t have to worry about working one on one with each of them. Half of your job can be delegated to the vendor management module of inventory management software.
Here are the top 8 reasons why you must consider expanding your vendor base –
1. Because It All Starts With Traffic –
Traffic is the lifeblood of an eCommerce store. If you don’t have traffic, you may as well shut down your store. Adding more vendors to your list equals adding more variety to your store. More variety means more keywords to rank for. And naturally, traffic will follow.
A new and unique visitor rarely ever means profit for eCommerce. The first purchase by a new buyer just equates to ROI on your advertisement expense. It is the returning customer that generates profits for a store. But converting a visitor into a customer, and then further converting, a customer into a returning customer – begins with bringing him on your page. You’ll get more reasons to call out to people now as you have a greater product base. The point being once you acquire a customer, direct your efforts in retaining him.
With more vendors, you’ll get more visitors than any of your competitors. You’ll be surprised to see visitors flowing in for products that you were completely ignored due to your fears of managing extensive vendor lists.
2. Large Variety, Greater Payouts –
You can secure great commissions if you have a huge variety of products sourced from a wider range of vendors. Many times you have to offer discounts on a few items and to compensate for the loss incurred you mark up the prices of some other items. When you have a large number of items in the catalog you get a wide price range in the catalog. It gets easier to spread the margins across a different range of products effectively. So along with offering discounts to customers, you can ensure you don’t lose money.
3. Beat Your Competition With Variety –
Nothing ever works better than this. Show people how you have access to the most exclusive and exhaustive stock and they’ll remember you. Variety is the spice of an online store. Overwhelm your visitors with your range of products. This is only possible through a huge vendor base.
While online shoppers are smart enough to know how and where to get the best deal, they’ll surely stop by you first. Because they would know about your extensive product base.
4. Eliminate the Concern of Stock Availability –
Your aim is to sell as much as possible. If you have multiple vendors on board, then the availability of products is never really a problem. With so many hands at work, you won’t ever have to embarrass yourself with the “Oops! Out of stock” message
You get your chance to sell when a potential buyer lands on your page and browses through your inventory. Once the buyer has made up the mind to buy, you can’t tell them the product is out of stock. After all, he/she just pulled out his/her credit card to buy that product. Do you really want to miss out on that opportunity?
This is highly detrimental to your business. A complete loss. If you get ‘out-of-stock’ often, you are compromising on sales due to factors that are easily avoidable. The only consolation will be the fact that at least your marketing tactics are working and people are visiting your page to buy things.
‘If you add more vendors, you can drop down the ship to order ratio as your vendor-base would no longer be restricted. You could procure the items easily.’
Also, putting in place an inventory management system can help you identify when to re-order so as you never understocked or overstocked.
5. Capitalize on Sales Seasons –
Just like traditional retailers, online retailers too have to be ready for certain times of the year. If you maintain a decent inventory, then you’ll know how certain periods in a year can generate meaty sales.
Like this month, 4th July was the flavor at all online stores. For Non-Americans, 4th July is the US Independence day. Look at Twitter, Facebook, Google+ pages for any online store. Watch the insane amount of hash-tags. See how stores are vying for traffic on social media for this special occasion.
Do you think that this kind of marketing strategy is possible without a strong vendor base? Would this ever work if the required stock is not guaranteed to be available?
You can’t make such arrangements without prior planning. Your limited vendor base will only disappoint you when it comes to exploiting the season sales.
Onboard multiple vendors if you wish to cash in on such occasions. Your vendors will take the collective responsibility to ensure that the products are available and ready to ship.
If your marketing team is working closely with the procurement team you’ll naturally foresee the need for a bigger vendor base.
6. Deliver Soon to Sell more –
People are more inclined to buy if they see that a product will be shipped quickly.
What’s more annoying? Seeing a “NOT AVAILABLE” in your region, message for a product that you want to buy OR getting it delivered in like 5 complete days? It’s perfectly understood if you can’t take your pick. Both situations are bad. And avoidable. Your eCommerce store doesn’t have to be in any of these compromising positions. With more vendors, you can cut back on dispatch time considerably.
Just a back of the envelope calculation will convince you how you can improve the ‘lead time’ dramatically if you expand the vendor base.
7. Not Just large but Flexible Vendor base
What will I do with a large vendor base if I cannot engage them? Well… you don’t have to engage them on every day basis. You need to have temporary ‘Active’ and ‘Inactive’ vendors. This will not only keep your vendors on their toes competing against each other but also keep your catalog fresh.
In traditional trading, one can have a static arrangement with fixed vendors. But the nature of demand in eCommerce is so broad and volatile that such traditional model of vendors fails miserably. Having a large and flexible vendor base can help you do more sales in the long run.
8. Get Stellar Ratings and Reviews –
Shoppers always check your reputation as a seller before hitting the final buy button. This is no news. People tend to take note of ratings and reviews. No wonder, they are so critical while making the buying decision.
A great way of reassuring a customer is to secure a high seller rating. And having more happy customers is the only way of securing better ratings.
They won’t be stingy with their reviews if you deliver a quality product on time. This is possible if you have access to a huge vendor base that’ll make products available on time.
What are you waiting for?
Remember, a limited vendor base means limited sales. Are you concerned about how will you manage a long list of vendors and a huge amount of inventory? Worry not Unicommerce’s inventory management solutions come handy in managing multiple vendors and inventory on a large scale effectively. Don’t wait. Book an appointment with an inventory management solution expert today.