As we celebrate Australia Day, we’re putting the spotlight on the retail sector down under and shedding light on the steps retailers can take to succeed in 2021 and beyond.
While 2020 was undoubtedly a challenging year for businesses globally, Australia actually saw the retail sector bounce back at the end of the year. Data from National Australia Bank Ltd. indicated a 3% increase in retail sales in November, and consumer confidence grew for the fourth straight month in December, reaching a 10-year high. The central bank also forecasts that the Australian economy will expand by 5% in 2021, reaching pre-pandemic levels by the end of the year.
There’s definitely plenty of things to celebrate in Australia, though certain challenges still exist. For one, the pandemic disrupted global markets and supply chains, making it more difficult for retailers to acquire inventory.
This is where online marketplaces come in. While certainly not new, online marketplaces have proven to be a convenient shopping option for consumers and businesses alike. As of 2019, marketplaces grew 16% YOY, and their popularity continues to surge.
If online marketplaces aren’t part of your retail buying strategy yet, it’s high time that you take a closer look.
Here are some of the key advantages that you can gain from shopping on online marketplaces.
1. They allow you to connect with wholesalers amidst social distancing and travel restrictions
The country continues to grapple with COVID-19 and retailer events are either being put off or cancelled. For example, the annual Sydney Gift Fair by Australian Gift and Homewares Association, isn’t taking place this year. Meanwhile, Reed Gift Fairs, which usually takes place in February has been postponed, and will be happening in April instead.
We can expect more events to get cancelled or postponed in the coming months, which means there won’t be a lot of retail buying events like expos and tradeshows taking place in 2021.
Fortunately, there are online marketplaces that enable you to connect with suppliers remotely. Take TradeSquare, which gives you access to over 100,000 Aussie wholesale products and suppliers, so you can still source great products for your store.
If you’re looking for favorable purchasing terms, marketplaces like TradeSquare offer wholesale pricing, clearance pricing, low minimum order quantities and access to up to 60 days interest free credit from Zip money.
2. It’s easier to discover new sellers and products
Product and seller discovery are a breeze on online marketplaces. While these websites typically offer thousands of products, they make it easy to find exactly what you need.
Marketplaces usually have categories that you can browse, as well as a nifty search functionality that enables you to conduct product or supplier searches by keyword.
3. You can support your fellow Aussie businesses
The shop local movement has gained a lot of traction in the past year, and if you’re looking to support your fellow Aussie retailers, certain online marketplaces that have you covered.
TradeSquare, for example, is a site made by Australians for Australians, so by buying on the marketplace, you’re getting excellent merchandise for your store, while helping other Aussie businesses at the same time.
A commitment to buy local also fares well among consumers. The Australian Post reports that “80% of Australians opt for Australian-made food and drinks over imported foods, while 73% prefer locally made toys and baby care products.”
Aussies clearly love supporting local brands and merchants, so stocking your store with locally-made items will win you additional customers.
4. Online marketplaces — particularly ones that can integrate with POS/inventory platforms — can save retailers time
In addition to simplifying how you find suppliers and purchase products, online marketplaces (the right ones, anyway) can also streamline ordering and inventory management in your business.
Some marketplaces can integrate with select point of sale and inventory management solutions, allowing you to automate tasks like entering products in your system. When you make a purchase on a marketplace, your order data is automatically synced with your POS and inventory platform, so you don’t have to do it manually.
Here at Vend, we’re currently working on helping retailers do just that. With our upcoming integration with TradeSquare you’ll be able to purchase merchandise from the site and have the necessary product details (item names, descriptions, images etc.) loaded into your Vend catalog. Once your order arrives at your store, all you have to do is receive the items and you’ll be good to go.
5. Get your inventory and supplies from one place
The right marketplace can make shopping for both inventory and business supplies much easier. When you shop at a general online marketplace, you’re able to get the products you need for both the back office and the sales floor without having to buy from several different websites.
This results in huge time savings, so you can focus more on serving your customers and growing your business.
Bringing it all together
Buying from an online marketplace can be tremendously beneficial if you find the right one. Start by selecting a site that makes it easy for you to find the products and supplies you need from one place (bonus points if they’re locally-made).
For best results, choose a marketplace that integrates with your POS system, so you can streamline your product ordering experience, save time, and reduce human error.
Our top pick for the best online marketplace for retailers is TradeSquare, a wholesale platform made by — and for — Australian businesses. TradeSquare’s B2B trading platform enables Aussie SMEs to source merchandise from national distributors and wholesalers. The site offers a wide range of products at wholesale rates, and also offers 60-days free credit — all in a single location.
About Francesca Nicasio
Francesca Nicasio is Vend's Retail Expert and Content Strategist. She writes about trends, tips, and other cool things that enable retailers to increase sales, serve customers better, and be more awesome overall. She's also the author of Retail Survival of the Fittest, a free eBook to help retailers future-proof their stores. Connect with her on LinkedIn, Twitter, or Google+.