Neteven founder and CEO, Greg Zemor, explains his thoughts on how retailers can do more to sell better online

Blog: Online versus offline sales

Retailers can do more to sell better online, make the most of third-party marketplaces and improve their own websites, argues Neteven founder and CEO Greg Zemor…

Today retailers have to consider every channel, meaning both online and offline. Traditional retail is going down – not that many people are going to stores and a lot of them are buying online – but it’s not a matter of cutting the number of stores, it’s a matter of ‘how do we sell more’? Online they cannot just sell on their own website.

What we have seen is that for the past year the number of retailers that have gone online with their own stores, their own brand, their own strategy and their own website has dropped.

Nobody else is coming into the market because the cost is huge and they’ve seen that they can drive margins more by using a pre-existing marketplace such as Amazon rather than launching their own website. They’ve started to move from the B2B offline to the B2C online – some of them, not all of them – and now we’re seeing that the move, the margin, and the marketplaces are all in the right position for that.

Most of the stores are now seeing that it’s not profitable to invest in marketing to drive consumers to their own website, but with a third-party marketplace, the marketplace itself spends that marketing – they provide the branding.

When you create your own website, you have control over everything, but if you decide to sell on a marketplace, it’s not yours, so it’s important to make sure it fits with your strategy

Offline and online need to be managed all together.

The next step is to go between offline and online, and the next big challenge in the e-commerce sector is how to offer web to store, store to web and Click and Collect.

If the offline world should grow again, the retailers need to provide visitors with more services and have tablets where consumers can check online where the product is available, and order it, so they pick it up the next day in the store. It will reassure the buyer too, as they will know they can always return the product straight to the store.

It’s not a challenge, it’s key to do so, because High Street retailers already have the offline presence. If you look at Amazon, they are very strong online and they do things offline a little bit, but the key strength of the offline stores is that they already have that offline presence.

Now retailers need to make their stores much more dynamic, and much more lively. They also need to be more connected for consumers, and that’s where they will really provide a 360-degree customer experience and optimise the link between their online and offline business.

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