New research highlights how real-time technology allows independent retailers to focus better on multi-channel sales, while simultaneously boosting weekly order volume by over 50% and revenue by 30%, and cutting nearly two months of work annually.
Brightpearl, retail management solution of choice for high-growth multi-channel merchants, in its latest survey of over 200 independent merchants evaluated their use of the latest industry-specific management solutions that until recently was available only to their larger, better-known competitors.
The key findings show retailers use the latest technology to:
- Improve order management – orders increased 53% while missed orders fell 70%
- Boost revenue – monthly revenue increased 30%
- Improve efficiency – automation of tasks including updating stock, order processing, and updating financials saved 57.5 days annually in labour
- Boost multic-hannel sales – 84% viewed technology as ‘essential’ to their growth. Those selling on one channel enjoyed 8 percent growth versus 33% for those selling across multiple channels
“Online sales in the UK are set to reach £119.7bn this year and technology continues to level the playing field for independent retailers and wholesalers focused on hyper-growth by allowing them to punch above their weight,” said Derek O’Carroll, chief executive officer of Brightpearl.
“Correctly using the industry’s best software solutions like Brightpearl presents them with the opportunity to increase sales significantly – especially across multiple channels – while simultaneously boosting efficiency by eliminating labour-intensive tasks through automation.”
Popular sales channels and metrics of cuccess
The most commonly used method for order processing was via phone calls. Other commonly used sales channels were merchants’ own website (75%), Amazon (68%), eBay (58%), physical store (48%), trade shows (39%), multiple own website (37&), and social platforms (20%).
Natural Baby Shower, a speciality multi-channel retailer offering organic and eco-friendly clothes, bedding, toys and toiletries for babies and expecting moms, has used the latest real-time, retail technology to increase revenue six fold over the past three years.
“Since implementing Brightpearl we’ve processed 50% more orders and increased our average order value significantly,” said Clifton Vaughan, co-founder & director, Natural Baby Shower. “Integrating accounts has allowed us to see profit and loss on a daily basis for better business decision making.”
Retailer and merchant perspectives on growth and expansion
Improving operational efficiency and having access to real-time cash flow data have merged to form the key to success. Nearly all (96%) respondents view technology, especially integrated retail management solutions, as essential elements that will support plans for growth. Access to real-time financial reporting was top of the list for 94% of participants.
Commanding just over a third of the region’s total online sales, the UK remains Europe’s biggest online market. However modern day merchants still face significant hurdles. Asked to name the challenges they will face over the next 12 months, the most common answer was simply growing their business.
Other challenges include:
- maintaining efficient and effective management of suppliers, orders and inventory (22%) and marketing/sales customer service (22%)
- accessing real-time insight to accounting and cash flow across all sales channels (15%)
- attracting new customers and building brand loyalty by developing new marketing, sales and offerings
Respondents (92%) noted the importance of using email for marketing and a way to generate repeat business. This is almost twice as common as pay-per-click (55%), display advertising (45%), leaflets (34%), coupons (33%), and loyalty programs (28%).