That the digitization of businesses is a fundamental strategy if business is to be successful has become clearer than ever in recent months. Having only one physical store is no longer enough and online sales have exploded , especially due to the health crisis, but it is a trend that has already been on the rise in recent years.
According to the results of the ‘VII Annual Study of eCommerce in Spain 2020’ , 72% of Spanish Internet users between 16 and 70 years old use the internet as a shopping channel , that is, 22.5 million people. As we said, the global alert situation has influenced these figures but electronic commerce is a business model that is consolidated year after year – in 2019 the data was only one point below, by 71%.
However, for some merchants establishing themselves on the internet is a challenge: either because they are small businesses, or because they do not handle the tools or because they do not know where to start. Yet in a recent survey published by eBay , the SMEs see digitization as a clear opportunity as the majority (82%) believes that reach more markets thanks to the ecommerce .
Having only a physical store is no longer enough and online sales have explodedHaving just a physical store is no longer enough and online sales have exploded.Freepik
Where to start when establishing a digital strategy?
The first thing a business has to do is do an analysis of its own brand, to know the market potential it has. Likewise, you must know the current environment of your market and how you are going to differentiate and strengthen your brand against your competitors. Finally, you must study the characteristics of the products you want to transfer to the digital sphere: are they capable of being sold online or what we are looking for on the internet is to make them known and derive sales to the physical channel?
These are the main points that experts highlight when establishing a digital strategy. All of them, together with online visibility and the way in which you enhance the brand , will determine the success when starting to work on a digitization plan.
What are the advantages of a marketplace?
In the opinion of Rubén Gascón, Zerca! , there are two main advantages of a marketplace : positioning with respect to the competition and simplicity and savings in technology .
“Regarding positioning, the possibility of increasing visibility and creating synergies with other products from other businesses is very interesting,” explains Gascón. “We are talking about cross selling; for example, if you sell socks you are very interested in being on a platform that also sells footwear , because you don’t have to invest in SEO (internet positioning) or online advertising, the marketplaces do it for you ”, he specifies.
In terms of simplification and savings on the technological plane, the marketplace provides ” a solid technological structure, which allows significant savings not only in infrastructure but also in payment and transport gateways.”
In any case, Gascón recommends that anyone who wants to sell in a marketplace “get advice, since not all platforms are the same”. For example, in some it is essential to pay to position yourself well within the marketplace , so this first advantage can be diluted.
In short, he says, selling on a marketplace “makes life easier” and “allows you to be focused on the shopping experience . ”
22.5 million people in Spain use the internet as a shopping channel.22.5 million people in Spain use the internet as a shopping channel.Freepik
Is there life beyond Amazon?
“Clear! Nowadays, really interesting alternatives are emerging that make it easier for small businesses to put their range of products on the online market at very competitive costs. It is our case, Zerca! it is specifically focused on this type of proximity stores ; both the digitization process and the operations and services that support the platform are designed to facilitate local businesses their access to digital sales ”, says Gascón.
It’s not about competing with Amazon, he says, but about completing its offer . “In Zerca! we address the consumer who is looking for a more responsible purchase by supporting local commerce and the local economy, and minimizing the environmental impact with the ‘last mile’ as a logistics model ”, adds the expert.
Is it advisable to be on all platforms?
A priori , the person in charge of digitization and services to the trade of Zerca! He says that “the answer should be ‘yes’, due to the visibility a catalog would have if we were on all platforms”, however, he clarifies, this would not be “entirely true”. “There is the idea that being in many places to highlight your business will translate into a greater number of sales, but the reality is that ‘there is a marketplace for each business model’ . Before choosing a platform, we must know what advantages it has and the benefits that it is going to ask us for ”, he underlines.
Gascón explains schematically what a good action plan would look like: “I would say that if you are a manufacturer or have a very differentiated product and are willing to sacrifice margin and invest to have a high sales figure, you can bet on Amazaon . If you are looking for a showcase that gives you a lot of visibility , even sacrificing brand image and shopping experience, and you do not need other services, AliExpress is a good option. Finally, if you need advice to establish a digital strategy, you have a limited budget and you also want the marketplace to help direct face-to-face traffic to your physical store , Zerca! Is the best option”.a