Fifteen years ago, the average consumer had completely different habits. We browsed through Sunday brochures to find new deals on products. We may have even visited several stores to investigate merchandise before finally deciding on a product. Now, all of that decision making happens in a digital space. Ecommerce has become increasingly important, to the point that it can dominate retailer income. Read on to learn about how the retail landscape has evolved, prioritizing ecommerce over traditional brick and mortar stores.
Simplicity Reigns Supreme
This shift from in-store retail to ecommerce involves more than saving money. In fact, it has resulted largely from the convenience of shopping at home. Custom EDI software has made this transition simple and highly profitable for online retailers.
Shopping in a physical retail outlet requires time and energy. To do so, people must have a premeditated intent to purchase something– which ecommerce shoppers do not require. Physical shopping involves leaving the home, driving, parking, and carrying merchandise. Conversely, online retail experiences allow customers to skip out on these unpleasant aspects of shopping. Instead, they simply select the products they wish to purchase, input their credit card information, and check out. They can browse online to find their ideal product at the cheapest price, without leaving home. Having an online selling space also presents you with the opportunity to offer coupons, and other discounts. This is especially beneficial to jewelry retailers, who often specialize in other products, and can afford to have discounts. In an effort to encourage online business, many ecommerce stores also waive shipping costs.
There are barely any retailers left without an ecommerce channel.
Unfortunately for many retailers, Amazon’s monopoly on the ecommerce market has steadily grown. Recently, Amazon announced plans to open another campus to serve as a secondary headquarters location. This drove cities across the nation to campaign for the opportunity, which would surely yield economic benefits across the board.
This change came about as a result of Amazon’s recent successes, largely due to Amazon Prime. This membership-based program has recently grown above 100 million members. As it has grown, Amazon has also added various features to this membership, including access to streamable media, and two-hour delivery in some areas.
On a more broad level, though, Amazon has a stellar custom EDI software to thank for its augmented processes. With shipping locations spread throughout the country, packaging shipments to send across the country can be a logistical nightmare. Automated payment, processing, and shipping protocols solves this issue, keeping operations profitable and customers happy.
The primary insight here is not that people are more comfortable in shopping online than in stores. It is that people are willing to pay subscription fees for the added convenience of shopping online.
Brick-and-Mortar Stores Are Closing
The idea that ecommerce may cause stores to close is no longer conjecture. Over the past few months, the financial state of Toys “R” Us has declined. Because they could not find a buyer, executives were forced to liquidate its assets.
Toys “R” Us is not far behind RadioShack. Once a very popular chain, there are now fewer than 100 RadioShack stores in the country. Many other chains were forced to close some of their locations, including Rite Aid, Best Buy, and the Gap.
If nothing else, this is a strong indicator that ecommerce sales will continue to increase in importance. Retailers are also taking the necessary steps to make shipping items that were at one point unusual to sell online– such as furniture– simple. Custom EDI is part and parcel of this process.
How Retailers Are Responding
For retailers seeking a way to compete in the digital space, direct to consumer shipping is paramount. Also called D2C shipping, this method tasks the manufacturer with the bulk of the shipping responsibility. In fact, custom EDI software makes D2C shipping possible.
In more primitive shipping models, retailers would order products from manufacturers. When customers placed orders, they would then send customers those orders directly. D2C shipping simplifies this process. Rather than acting as a middleman, retailers with D2C shipping capability now forward their orders to manufacturers. Then, manufacturers fill these orders by shipping products directly to the customer.
Retailers are opting for this method because it removes the tremendous burden of manually packaging, processing and shipping each order.
Without custom EDI, existing in the D2C world is nearly impossible. This software enables retailers and manufacturers to seamlessly share documents such as packing lists, order fulfillment numbers, and inventory reports.
At EDI Options, we can help you to customize EDI software for your individual needs. Based on your needs, we will incorporate several EDI integrations, which will augment and streamline transaction processes. Through automating these transactions, you can save your business time, money and energy. To keep a strong foothold in your industry’s ecommerce space, get started with EDI by contacting us.
This post was originally published on May 2nd, 2017. It was updated for accuracy on May 3rd, 2018.