Retail as my childhood remembers it has vanished. Thanks to e-commerce, the retail market has adapted to the growing consumer need for convenience. By capitalising on convenience, retail giants like Amazon and Alibaba have become synonymous with the simplicity that e-commerce provides. By utilising features, such as, the ‘buy with 1-click’ or ‘dash button’ (to reorder your favourite items), consumers are now easily able to purchase items without leaving their homes. Equally, in order to improve the customer experience and add to the simplicity, retail giants are heavily investing in getting products to consumers quicker and easier, through the likes of same-day and next-day deliveries.
Given the ultra-convenience that the online shopping provides, it’s not unsurprising that consumers are continually moving away from a traditional retail experience. With over 52% of US households now using an Amazon Prime account, it’s equally not surprising to hear that data suggest foot traffic to shopping malls has been cut by more than 50% over the last few years. This, of course, has led to us all hearing the news of “thousands of store closures” or “big and small brand bankruptcies”.
Rather than fighting the giant, many companies have decided to join their ranks, selling their products on the platform. However, the problem with selling on Amazon is that small businesses lose the ‘people factor’ that distinguishes them from large corporate entities. When selling on the platform, you’re tapping into an enormous source of traffic but your brand remains invisible. Amazon is the one that takes the opportunity to upsell your customers, and your brand is simply a tool to increase their revenues. Your customers aren’t interacting with your brand but with Amazon, trusting the giant with their money. This also makes it impossible for small businesses to build close emotional bonds and relationships with their customers that help their companies thrive.
Does this mean Amazon and Alibaba is spelling the doom of traditional SME retailers?
Absolutely not. When you can’t beat them, you don’t necessarily need to join them to minimize your losses but rather, embrace the new trends in retail and focus on innovation.
Companies like Lineten are empowering small retailers to take control over their supply chain. By doing so, Lineten provides them with the tools to take on giants like Alibaba, offering their customers the same level of customer service and shipping but with an added bonus: the brand’s unique personality.
Take Leo’s Boutique, for instance. The Calgary-based retailer has been on the market since 1997, offering a carefully curated and personalized selection of the world’s top emerging and independent luxury designer labels.
The boom of e-commerce has left small businesses like Leo’s Boutique at a crossroads as to how to cater to increasing consumer demands. After an initial consultation and an in-depth analysis of the market, the target client base and the specifics of the business, Lineten’s team built an exclusive proposition for the store. Its implementation quickly translated into results: by partnering with Lineten, Leo’s Boutique is now doing over 20 same-day deliveries a day and seeing an enormous jump from next day services.
The owner of Leo’s Boutique believes the success is the result of the seamless partnership between his business and Lineten. “The Lineten platform enabled us to offer a same-day delivery to our clientele at an affordable rate, coupled with real-time tracking. Thanks to Lineten, we can offer a value-added service without the complicated logistics!”
Customer demand dictates speedier, more reliable shipping options and to compete and stay on top of your game as the e-commerce giants’ shadows lurks over your business, you need to offer what the giants are offering. As Calgary goes through an economy transformation, the same-day shipping option is bringing more and more clients to Leo’s Boutique: clientele that looks to support locally owned businesses but would still like to take advantage of the fast delivery Amazon is offering.
Tracking is a core element of Lineten’s approach: David, Growth Director at Lineten, notes that “when moving anything from clothing to life-saving organ transplants, creating an audit trail is vital. Leo’s Boutique love knowing that their customers are in safe hands. If there is an issue, Lineten’s tracking allows the owners to quickly review the order’s journey at every step of the way. The technology that facilitates this is our greatest source of pride.”
Customers today are more than happy to pay for faster or same-day delivery options: to tap into this virtually limitless potential for increased sales and brand exposure, the savvy business owner only needs a trusted logistics partner at their side.