Driving E-commerce Growth with the Power of Reporting and Analytics
With more and more small businesses selling their products online, careful analysis can go a long way to getting you noticed in the crowd
The latest studies reveal that e-commerce is the fastest growing retail market in Europe and North America. Analysts forecast that European online sales are set to grow by 16.7% this year, reaching an approximate value of £182.80bn.
So what are the secrets behind the success of retailers leading this booming market?
Most e-commerce retailers have achieved growth through hard work and extensive research – i.e. domestic and international developments, new trends, seasonal tendencies and monitoring spikes in demand.
But considering the pace of e-commerce and how ultra-competitive the sector has become, to maintain this success retailers need accurate and contextual real-time reporting to remain adaptable.
In addition to standard reporting and analytics, we have identified five other data ‘levers’ that enable e-commerce growth, significantly accelerate sales and assist with revenue generation.
Start with making sure products and their variations are listed in the best possible light on every channel, marketplace or region.
This is particularly true when selling internationally. Consider translating product feature descriptions into the local language of the country it’s listed in. Potential buyers can then quickly grasp why your items are better than your competitors.
Set up regular reports on poorly performing items and those which are selling well. There are reasons behind each failure or success, from overly expensive pricing and confusing product details, to negative reviews and customer service issues. At the same time, being able to analyse the performance of your products across different channels lets you identify where new growth areas are as well as areas for improvement.
With this knowledge, you can quickly adjust your sales strategy and stay ahead of the market.
Inventory conundrum – to stock or not to stock?
How much inventory should I keep? It’s a question that keeps many e-commerce retailers awake at night. The more inventory you have, the more variations you can offer, the more you can sell. But, if a large quantity of one product is suddenly not in demand, then you need to take into consideration warehousing costs and the lost capital that could have otherwise been used for other fast selling items.
Reporting is vital in this context because without sales intelligence you do not have a clear picture on how to drive your business forward.
Information about suppliers needs to be reliable and current. Learn the time it takes to sell each item and the different lead times for ordering and reordering to prevent running out of sought after products.
Using analytics to balance stock levels and to keep a close eye on a range of stock factors is crucial, such as marketplaces, channels, region, SKUs (stock keeping unit), suppliers, etc.
Know your sales like the back of your hand
Studying how quickly products sell is critical when creating pricing strategies and calculating margins. This means a stock forecast with detail down to the individual SKU level. How many days of stock are left, what is the supplier’s lead time for reordering and how many days until you have to re-order the stock are crucial questions to answer.
To make life easier, search for a solution that contains automated email reporting to let you know if a product’s stock level goes from ‘green or amber’ to ‘red’.
Promotions, promotions, promotions
In a world where the customer is king, you need to make sure you are offering something ‘extra’.
It has been proven that tactical promotions can dramatically increase sales. If you analyse previous sales performance, you can easily identify what the best campaigns were and what products suit promotions better than others. The same applies for bundling – if you have a strong-selling laptop, you could offer a case alongside it.
Without analytics, promotions are more guesswork than informed decisions.
Plan for profit from the start
At the end of the day, everything comes down to margins and profit. Some products sell in high quantities with low margins, while others sell at a slower pace with higher profit potential. Of course, manually aggregating these metrics is extremely time consuming and laborious.
Reporting and analytics, again, can save the day. With the right level of automation, you can easily monitor sales performance against targets across channels, suppliers, countries, SKUs and even below or over a certain price point.
The end goal? More time to focus on what you do best – running your business. The more you can automate reporting, the more time you can spend buying, selling and driving growth.
There is no silver bullet to success, but with these levers in mind, some determination and a comprehensive system helping you save time and offering accurate data, you should be able to grow your business at a faster pace than if you rely on intuition alone.