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Front and centre: How putting yourself at the heart of a partner eco-system can boost your brand and bottom line


Looking to supercharge your online sales as Australians’ long running love affair with ecommerce continues to intensify? It’s an eminently sensible aim in today’s times. The Covid crisis has seen millions of consumers, formerly diehard bricks and mortar shoppers amongst them, adopt a digital first approach to the purchase of good and services. 

Collectively, the nation spent just over $52 billion on online shopping in the 12 months to September 2021, according to the NAB Online Retail Sales Index. That’s 28.3 per cent higher than the previous 12 months’ spend and represents around 14.3 per cent of the total retail trade estimate. 

Increasing sales: the risks and rewards 

Historically, increasing online revenue tended to represent a capital-intensive gamble for retailers: sourcing and acquiring a greater range and volume of merchandise, marketing it and hoping it moved quickly, at a decent margin.

And while getting it right could boost the bottom line significantly, getting it wrong was a costly business – the warehouse stacked with out of season stock that’s impossible to shift, even at rock bottom prices.

It’s every buyer or merchandiser’s worst nightmare and a risk many retailers just can’t afford to take – and in today’s uncertain economic times, never more so. Consequently, many have chosen to play it conservatively; sticking to market segments they understand well and product ranges which have previously proven popular.

The power of partnership

Online marketplace technology can put paid to these risks by enabling retailers to take advantage of the power of partnerships, to open themselves up to enormous new opportunities at minimal cost.

It makes it possible – and straightforward – for them to augment their own product ranges with complementary merchandise, owned, stored and shipped by third party suppliers but sold under their brand and banner, for a commission.

Who might these newfound partners be? Courtesy of digital connectivity, they can be almost any supplier or business whose product offering and standards of service are congruent with your own.

Thus, a brand or department store could choose to give online marketplace space to a single location boutique whose owner has a great aesthetic eye and a small, well curated collection that appeals to a niche demographic – affluent over fifties women, say, or hipsters in their early twenties.

Choosing Quality or Quantity

Pick the right partner and you’re looking at a classic win-win. For the bijou boutique owner, being present on a third-party marketplace means more eyeballs on their offering and potentially many more sales than they could hope to generate from their own marketing exertions. The online marketplace owner, meanwhile, is able to extend their company’s range at no cost and clip the ticket on each and every transaction that passes through the platform. Whilst still maintaining their brand equity. 

In fact, this is exactly what the world’s biggest marketplaces have been doing for many years enabling both retailers and other enterprises to establish themselves as a one-stop-shop and to earn a commission on billions of sales each year.  The difference is that you get to choose what suppliers and products are complimentary to your mission, vision and customers.

Establish your own brand marketplace and amass an eco-system of compatible, high quality partners and your business will start to enjoy similar benefits on a smaller scale, without the financial and reputational risks a significant expansion push has historically entailed.

Positioning your brand for success in a post-Covid world

The unstoppable rise of ecommerce continues to create both challenges and opportunities for traditional retailers. Using digital marketplace technology to put your business at the heart of a strong eco-system of partners may be the key to ensuring your brand survives and thrives in the 2020s and beyond. 

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