28th April, 2020
These three tech startups have developed innovative solutions that are helping retailers manage, market and sell their products during these challenging times.
It has been all but smooth sailing for Australian retailers over the last little while.
Without even going into the major changes to consumer trends that have gradually taken over the years, the devastating bushfires, the coronavirus pandemic and ensuing lockdown have made being a retailer more difficult than ever before.
As the major e-commerce businesses continue to dominate the global retail landscape, there are a number of specific challenges smaller and more niche retailers are continuing to experience. And, even when a smaller retailer does figure out a way to get ahead, it doesn’t take long for the bigger ones to flex their muscles and catch up.
That’s why the startup space is working hard to develop cost-effective solutions that can help the smaller players operate with the same kind of speed, smarts and efficiency more commonly seen in large retail outfits.
This article details three key tech providers and how they are doing exactly that.
Startups are essentially businesses that are born as a result of industry challenges.
A textbook startup narrative is where the founders’ experience the challenge, research available solutions, and develop an improved or brand-new solution to eliminate (or at least minimise) the challenge.
Retail is no stranger to innovation. Startups around the world have been critically analysing the sector’s trends and coming up with solutions that help both vendors and consumers get the most out of the entire retail experience.
There are three challenges in particular that many retailers have been grappling with recently, and for each one, there is a corresponding Australian startup that has used technology to address it.
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The ability to store and keep track of stock effectively plays a major part in being a successful vendor. Supply chain control is one of the key ingredients to a successful retail business.
Since global ecommerce players like Amazon and eBay entered into Australian retail spheres, consumer behaviours have evolved drastically.
This evolution has resulted in significant changes to the way in which retailers manage their inventory. Orders have become more frequent and less stock is being held in the channel, and the high volumes push a lot of pressure back onto the warehouse and its ability to manage its inventory through its accounting software system.
Datapel is a tech-startup that has developed a warehouse management system that has revolutionised the concept of inventory management through automation – making it easier for inventory to be tracked in all supply chain circumstances.
Datapel uses a mixture of business intelligence, automation, cloud services, logistics systems and simple integration with a business’s existing accounting software to make inventory management easier, more affordable and adaptable to the rapidly evolving climate.
“The supply chain is changing,” Datapel’s founder Adam Wesley told The Pulse.
“Keeping a retail business afloat during challenging times is about adapting to this change and using systems that are flexible enough to work with evolving customer trends and improve customer experience.
“This is the only way to survive in the current climate.”
As the face of retail continues to change, it is more important than ever to increase the number of online places that your products are sold, and to make it as easy as possible for a consumer to complete an online sale.
Snatch it is a startup that assists retailers by creating thousands of new places to sell products and is getting retailers to engage directly with their customers in order to do so.
Through the use of its novel “product sharing” system, SnatchIt allows retailers to create individual URLs for each of their products. The retailer can set a commission rate for anyone who manages to sell the product using their unique link. These unique links can be posted on any social media platform, and a customer can complete the sale directly from this individual link.
According to Narelle Hunt, one of Snatch it’s investors, finding new places to sell products and reward existing customers is a great way to increase sales during these challenging times.
“With customers sitting at home and scrolling through social media, retailers need to attract and interact with these customers,” said Hunt.
“Snatch it provides the platform for you and your existing customers to advertise and sell products through social media, putting these products in front of more eyes than ever before.”
Hunt also suggested that a great way to increase sales was to find ways to make it as easy as possible for a customer to complete their purchase.
“The long process of check out can deter customers from completing the sale and cart abandonment has always been an issue for retailers.
“This quick checkout reduces abandonment and results in more sales.”
Digital marketing has become a mainstream advertising pillar for retailers. The various social media platforms and search engines have created opportunities for products to be promoted and reach the eyes of an unprecedented number of people.
But, since larger brands are prepared to invest heavily on these digital marketing platforms to reach more people, small retailers are finding it harder than ever to effectively market their products through these platforms.
In order for a small brand to break into digital marketing, they need to sacrifice even more of their profit margins just to reach the same amount of people as their competitors – leaving them will less wiggle room to invest in other important areas of their businesses.
Ampjar is a marketing-tech startup that recognised this challenge and developed an innovative solution that incentivises larger brands to market a smaller brand’s products.
This then allows smaller brands to leverage off the existing digital marketing audiences of these more established brands, providing the small retailer with an alternative marketing option, and the larger retailer with additional revenue streams.
The technology automatically matches complimentary brands, fairly incentivises and creates high quality content – which makes this form of marketing more affordable for an SME, and ultimately more effective.
Ampjar’s CEO Peter Davis explained to The Pulse that despite the challenges that retailers are experiencing at the moment, it is just as important as ever to keep up marketing efforts.
“Now is the time to leverage what you have to engage your customers more,” he said.
“Use low-cost channels that work, such as organic social and collaborations with other brands to engage your customers and reach more of them.
“Get active on Instagram stories and keep telling the story that your customers fell in love with in the first place.”
To make it easier for retailers to maintain marketing efforts, Davis decided to offer Ampjar’s services free of charge until the financial year end.
“For many of our customers, sales have slowed down drastically. This has forced them to explore cost-saving solutions, and has exacerbated their existing digital marketing woes.
“We decided that rather than having to tell these brands that they can’t market themselves anymore, we should help them out, so we made our platform completely free to use through to the end of June.”