COVID-19 saw a significant uptick in ecommerce consumer activity. The home and garden sector had particularly rapid rates of growth, increasing in worth from £1.6 billion in 2020 Q1 to £2.1 billion in 2020 Q4. Although these unprecedented rates of growth in 2020 have resulted in several challenges for home and garden ecommerce brands, the positive behavioural shifts are proving to have a lasting impact.
Consumers are now more likely to shop online for homeware and garden items than they were pre-pandemic, however, due to the huge variability in product size, weight, colour, and utility, establishing customer expectations with online listings can be challenging. This product variability can also cause difficulty when it comes to physical stock management.
If you are the owner of a home and garden ecommerce business, to optimise for profitability your business needs to account for four specific challenges:
This post explores how integration can help in these areas.
Listing quality is a key lever of ecommerce growth. Due to the nature of the home and garden sector, consumers are particularly wary of purchasing items online without adequate visual representations and descriptions. If Homer Garden can’t clearly see the product dimensions when browsing, chances are he’s not going to run the risk of ending up with a six foot gnome at the foot of his garden. Home and garden ecommerce consumers expect this information to be readily available.
Creating and maintaining listings across multiple platforms can be an arduous task when the data input requirements are slightly different for each sales platform. Integrating your sales platforms saves hours in data input and ensures the best possible listing quality.
Home and garden items such as furniture, BBQs, six-foot terracotta gnomes, and other large stock pieces, are costly to return and can have a big impact on your bottom line.
Unintegrated systems not only increase the likelihood of poor listing quality, they also allow for higher probability of human error, resulting in incorrect item dispatch or delays in distribution. These factors increase returns rates, something that can be incredibly damaging for a sector with already expensive shipping needs.
Integrated systems reduce the likelihood of returns, by simplifying the listing process and diminishing the likelihood of human error.
Home and garden inventory can be difficult to physically manage. The larger and more cumbersome your stock, the higher the demands on your warehouse staff. High-cost staffing needs are further exacerbated when systems are not integrated.
Unintegrated systems require repetitive manual processes that result in an inefficient use of staff time. When these processes are automated, staff time can be reallocated to physical stock management, improving both time and cost efficiency.
Although all ecommerce industries are likely to experience an annual peak and therefore a slower season, this can be especially prominent in the home and garden sector. Garden ecommerce in particular can feel the brunt of imbalanced seasonal buying behaviours. No one wants their six foot terracotta gnome to arrive in the dead of winter, that would be ridiculous.
With such seasonally reliant product performance, a strong reporting strategy is essential in providing a clear understanding of stock positioning. Building reports based on multiple unintegrated platforms can be complex, unreliable and time consuming. Integrating business systems support a clear and relevant reporting structure. These reports can be used as the basis of a buying strategy that alleviates stockouts during peak season and excess inventory during off-peak periods.
Integrating your home and garden ecommerce platforms helps your business in four key ways:
Get in touch if you would like to find out more about integrating your platforms as a home and garden ecommerce business.