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The Practical Approach to Online Retail

Purchasing products will always be a requirement of today’s society, but the way in which we do so is changing. Whilst this is not a new notion, the fact of the matter is the decline of the high street has become more apparent with the increase in popularity of internet shopping. Footfall at the country’s most popular shopping destinations are decreasing, with internet retailers storming in the sales charts. According to a report by retail-week.com, “While the race for retail space race might be shifting, the requirements for distribution centre locations are also developing apace”. With this in mind, many new retail businesses are opting to set-up online.

Starting a business in the world of retail can present a whole host of unique challenges. If you’re opting to trade online rather than open a bricks-and-mortar business, you’ll still need to consider competition in the same way. There will be retailers offering similar products and services, but by understanding your market you can venture into the realm of retail with open eyes.

Don’t be fooled into thinking setting-up a business online is the easy option; from promoting your online operation to managing your stock effectively - there’s still a lot to organise. Setting-up the foundations of the business are important; the products, stock storage and delivery need to be finalised promptly. 

The rapid growth of e-retailing has seen the fundamentals of the retail industry changing. In order to start on the right footing, it’s important that new online retailers engage in an effective process – a system that successfully serves the customer.

In order to do so, the retail industry has been calling upon the logistics business to fulfil both the storage and delivery processes. Storage solutions enable the multi-channel revolution of retail to provide a well managed supply chain. Utilising a system such as this allows the volume and scale of an online retailer to be unquantifiable. Constructing a good synergy between you and a logistics solutions company is important to the success of any e-retailer.

For the many retail start-ups edging their way on to the market, a well paved path directs them. You’re not the first, and most certainly won’t be the last. But how do you ensure that you’re a success? There’s no specifics here, but there are, at least, a few things to bear in mind.

Tom McFetridge, Managing Director of Wilder Logistics LTD says it’s evident that the retail trade has escalated due to two significant innovations, e-commerce and online services.  He believes that “retailers require a responsive supply chain, capable of delivering to the demands of a busy operation. The key to beating the competition is knowing where your product is at all times. Cost-efficiency and delivery management is the job of any good logistics provider, enhancing the supply of goods to customers”. 

Begin by understanding the scale and volume of your business, planning for the growth revisions you may need to make. Whether you’re an e-retailer venturing into food, fashion, technology or beauty, consumers will still value the good quality products made available to them. There’s such a high supply and demand for purchasing; we expect our milk to be fresh, the latest console game to be in stock and our newly purchased garments to arrive in time, clean and fresh.

Consumers want instant product satisfaction, expecting home delivery that really does deliver. Therefore, it is safe to say that a retail logistics system - that ensures the production, retailing and consumption of goods - needs to be in place. Your logistics management should enable a smooth running supply chain from storage through to consumption. However, if you do not control your logistics infrastructure then the costs can easily mount-up. The mismanagement of warehouse stock can quickly cause problems so holding regular inventories can help reduce errors.

With a good logistics infrastructure consumers can receive quality produce that is better presented. Online retailers are therefore at an advantage, providing an improved service in a competitive market.

The fundamentals of any logistics set-up are:

Storage

Whether this is a warehouse or distribution centre, you’ll have somewhere to keep stock.

Inventory

By keeping track of your stock you should be able to meet demand changes and ensure you can always deliver what the client wants.

Transport

Products will need to organise a transport operation, with vehicles and drivers, to deliver the product from humble beginnings to the consumer.

Appearance

Online retailers don’t really need to consider how their products appear on the shelves, but that doesn’t mean appearance isn’t important. Develop product presentation in terms of delivery package.

Improvements

Many retailers are concerned with improving their business. By collecting data, retailers can improve their operation, making the service more efficient and effective for both the business and the customer.