When you understand online channels you will sell more
Selling online is exciting and the barriers to entry are relatively low. You can create a website with e-commerce capability, you can list your products on an online marketplace or your products can be available on a retailer’s website. Yes, there is work to get the website built or the listing complete, but there is a lot more to success than the website or listing. You will sell a lot more when you understand each of these opportunities and learn how to sell. We would tell you each retail customer is unique and the same is true for each online channel. You need to understand what works and how to sell in each of these:
- Your website
- Amazon or other third party marketplace such as well.ca
In bricks and mortar your retail customers buy from you, they are your customers. In the online world Amazon does not buy from you but you need to think of each channel as a customer and figure out how to sell there.
Just the same as selling in bricks and mortar, success is not just about making great products to sell, it is about selling the great products you make. To help you do this we have designed a new SKUFood C.A.R.T. process specifically for e-commerce. We have been learning a lot about this channel and invested the time to develop our proven process for this channel.
You can maximize the opportunity when you put the resources and effort into selling your products in a different channel. In the second segment of our C.A.R.T. process for e-commerce we ask the question ‘How can you understand your customer better?’
Consider each channel a customer
We know your own website does not issue a purchase order and maintain inventory of your products. It is part of your business. To maximize the opportunity, you need to think of it as a channel that is unique and implement strategy to sell as much as you can. Many food and beverage producers and processors embark on ‘the website project’. This usually includes a solid website with e-commerce capabilities. Unfortunately, they stop there and never realize the benefits.
There are some consumers who might be interested to take time out of their busy day to search about your products or perhaps even enter the website address from your packaging. This is great but you will never sell enough to realize the return on your investment. Selling effectively in this channel requires the relentless pursuit of traffic to your website and focus to the point where they buy.
Selling in this channel is all about conversion rate. This is defined as the number of visitors to your site that actually buy. If you have 500 people visit your site and 25 buy your product, your conversion rate is 5%. Very easy to measure and a metric you should track weekly.
If you want to sell 1,000 units per year (only 19 per week), and your conversion rate is 5% then you will need to drive 20,000 visitors to your website each year. Generating the sales requires more than e-commerce capabilities. It requires traffic and a reliable conversion rate. Your strategy should include social media, mass media, public relations and any other opportunity to generate interest and awareness that will result in consumers visiting your website. Your strategy should also include focus on the conversion rate. There are many things you can do on your website to make it easier or more enticing to buy. If you can double your conversion rate you can sell more or reduce your investment in awareness because a higher percentage of visitors will buy.
Driving traffic and focus on conversion rate are important when understanding how to sell more on your own website.
Marketplace such as Amazon or Well.ca
Selling products from online marketplaces is different than selling on your own website. They already generate the traffic to the site; you need to be found by the millions of online shoppers visiting Amazon.
Creating a listing is an accomplishment but it is far from the finish line. Consumers will find you by searching on the marketplace. Your keywords attached to your listing are very important. Review them often and make sure they are words or phrases your target market would use.
Most online marketplaces have complicated algorithms to determine which product is displayed in the best position. Sales are very important to these websites as that is how they generate revenue. If you do not sell much your product will be very difficult to find.
Reviews are also important. Positive reviews will help your product placement. Encourage people to submit reviews on marketplace websites for two reasons; it will help your product placement and they will influence the purchase decision of an online shopper.
Most online marketplaces provide the opportunity for you to add coupons or promote other discounts. These will help with sales and also improve the chance consumers will find you. Online marketplaces need suppliers to create excitement and deliver value so they are more likely to improve your placement if you offer coupons or other discounts.
Another consideration of understanding online marketplaces is inventory management. If you elect to use Fulfilment by Amazon (FBA), you will need to meet certain sales thresholds and they will restrict the amount of inventory you can put in their warehouse.
Online marketplaces are very complex and they rely on systems to drive their business. Category managers at retailers can be challenging but it is also challenging when there is no one to talk to. Invest the time to understand what is required and how to be successful.
If you have any questions or help figuring out how to get your product online or in the virtual shopping cart you can always call me at (902) 489-2900 or send me an email firstname.lastname@example.org.
We are adding more industry updates and interesting ideas to your SKUFood newsletter. Hopefully you have heard me say this before and that it resonated with you in your business.
“Success in this industry is not just about making a great product to sell; it is about selling the great products you make”
If you see things happening let us know so we can share them with our community. We also want to hear if you find this helpful and benefits your food and beverage business!
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