Selling products online is nothing new but since the start of the pandemic, eCommerce has exploded. With fewer people trekking into stores, buying online, especially for companies not necessarily accustomed to it, has had to become a slick and well-oiled machine in a very short space of time.
But unlike most retail stores, packaging is relatively unique in that it is not the first branch of trade you would think of to sell online. During the pandemic, we at packitsafe have had to adapt in order to overcome a number of challenges inherent in making a more concerted effort in eCommerce.
The biggest one we’ve found is when selling on multiple platforms. Unlike more established companies, for example, Staples or W. H. Smiths, we do not sell exclusively on our own website. As such, selling on platforms like Amazon or eBay has become imperative and, fortunately, successful.
But by selling on these platforms, it brought into stark relief just how streamlined our systems needed to be in order to have up to date product, stock, and pricing information on about four different sites. We could have a field day selling bubble wrap through eBay with very few sales on Amazon, yet without a centralised system to monitor this discrepancy, it would be cumbersome to monitor stock on each platform. Fortunately, we utilise a system that allows us to monitor stock in and out for each product on each platform in real-time.
This will eventually extend to pricing too. At present we have to monitor competitor pricing manually, which is a time-consuming process and can sometimes result in a delay in terms of what can be considered competitive. With an upgrade to our system, which is currently being tested by our partners at Lamway, we will be able to monitor cost and pricing in real-time in order to optimise both without delay.
This has definitely been the biggest challenge for us in terms of getting the most out of our eCommerce and it’s an ever-evolving process. This obviously hasn’t touched on the likes of system crashes, user error, or general system bugs, but as the eCommerce part of the business expands, it would be foolish to assume it will all be plain sailing.
We wouldn’t be surprised if we write an updated version of this post in a year’s time and wonder why something like multi=platform management was such an issue. But as the company grows the challenges become greater. And you know what? We’ll meet them head-on.