Why now is the best time to invest in your e-commerce channels

Reverb.com’s Mark Packham walks retailers through how to maximise their investment in online channels

There’s no denying that 2021 was a whirlwind. Retailers navigated challenges ranging from lockdowns to global supply chain issues causing product shortages. Yet through it all, they still managed to show resilience, tenacity, and most importantly, continued to meet the expectations of shoppers hungry for musical instruments.

Now, Christmas is coming. With inventory shortages still looming, the end of the year might feel like an odd time to talk about making any sort of changes to your operations. However, my advice is this: Use this time to invest in online sales. It’s one of the most powerful tools you have at your disposal right now. Here are four tips for how:

1. Assess what’s working—and what’s not.

Before the Christmas crunch, take some time to take a step back and consider what’s working across your ecommerce channels. Finding success having a member of your team be in charge of interfacing with customers in your online shop? Keep them in charge of chatting on the account and giving it dedicated time and attention. Having difficulties finding the time to take pictures of new inventory for online listings? Set up a designated area with an interesting background and keep it there for fast-photo taking.

I think that music makers will continue to buy gear online now that they have experienced how easy it is to do so — therefore anything you can do to improve your customers’ online experience is time well spent. Whether that be adding more information to the descriptions in your listings or setting shipping expectations early and often, it’s always worth it to reassess different facets of your ecommerce channels

2. Integrate the systems between your ecommerce channels.

The shops I work with on Reverb have heard this from me loads of times but it always bears repeating—when it comes to your Reverb shop, the more you list, the more you sell. That’s why our first suggestion for retailers who want to continue to move their inventory is to list everything they have in your store, including both new and used gear.

One of the best ways to do this is through integrations. At the most basic level, an integration allows you to sync your Reverb shop to your other ecommerce platforms—like your website and point-of-sale system—so that you can more efficiently run your online sales. Sellers who invest in ecommerce integrations make it easier to list gear and monitor inventory levels, and can view all of their ecommerce channels from one location. One of our sellers in Glasgow is a perfect example—they went from having just a few listings on Reverb to integrating their shop and selling hundreds of orders over the course of three months.

Another way integrations help you save time? By streamlining the selling process amongst your different ecommerce channels. In fact, you can set up certain integrations to handle Reverb orders the same way they would be handled on your own website.

3. Consider diversifying your brands and category offerings.

This year more than ever is the time to explore new brands and category offerings. The “want it now” mentality is real, and when music makers are in a creative groove, they don’t have weeks to wait on a particular brand name item! Source new brands, speak with manufacturers, and consider whether it makes sense to expand your category mix to include more SKUs.

One easy way for sellers to diversify their offerings is to identify best-selling items on Reverb and get them into their online shops. For example, one seller in Horsham was only selling his used inventory on Reverb, but began selecting new SKUs and selling boutique pedals and other high-end guitar gear. He’s now regularly importing more gear and selling out of it in his Reverb shop.

Diversifying offerings can also mean offering the option for pre-orders of new gear releases, especially on high-value or limited edition items. Sellers who embrace pre-orders on Reverb give themselves the ability to set expectations with buyers upfront about how long it might take to receive their purchase, and help those buyers feel reassured that they’ll be “first in line” when a product becomes available.

4. And finally—participate in Boxing Day and other seasonal promotions.

It may seem counterintuitive to have a sale when your inventory is low, but stay with me—a sale on Reverb can help you get on the radar of the influx of buyers who come to Reverb during the Christmas season. It’s a great way to signal who you are and what type of inventory you have. Because of Reverb’s reach, you’re able to connect with buyers across the UK who might be searching for your current inventory.

Seasonal promotions are a great way to sell b-stock or inventory that hasn’t found the right buyer yet. By participating in them, you’re becoming more visible at a time when people are looking for Christmas bargains.

I hope that after reading these tips you’ll reconsider your shop’s online plans for the festive season. While the Christmas period is always daunting, it’s also a critical time for ecommerce and making a good impression on a larger group of shoppers eager for gifts for loved ones – or themselves.

Need ideas on what more you could be doing with your shop to prepare this festive season? Contact markp@reverb.com.

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