Offering Online Shopping While Owning Your Customer Relationships

By Mendel Gniwisch, VP Business Development at Self Point.

Woman shopping online - Self Point

Here’s a cautionary tale for my Grocery and Supermarket colleagues!

Amazon, the company we love and can't live without, is also the company that taught me a very good lesson when I was just starting out in the business world.

As a young entrepreneur looking to start my own online business, I followed the lead of family members selling products on Amazon's seller marketplace. I found a product with enough margin to pay the Amazon fee and still make a few dollars, and launched my first wholesale order of coffee machines. One order led to the next, and my endeavours quickly became a real business.

This critical stage in my startup is when I became aware of Amazon's strategy. Amazon allows private sellers to sell products on their website, however, once a product begins selling well; Amazon approaches the manufacturer directly, buys the same products you’re selling, and then begins offering it at a lower price. I learned this the hard way! Just as my coffee machines started taking off, Amazon began buying them directly from the manufacturer — essentially putting me out of business.

Why is this relevant to grocers?

Grocers understand the need to sell online. They see retail giants like Target, Walmart and Amazon beginning to take a major portion of the online grocery market. If they don't make a move, they will soon be by-passed in this rapidly expanding market. The natural instinct is to do what I did at the start of my career. Find the easiest and quickest way to sell online, and join the party.

However, prudence in this area has never been more important. Retailers need to make sure that they own the relationship with their customers. Retailers must maintain the information about their customers and their shopping habits to continue elevating their unique brand and consumer relationships.

The question retailers need to ask themselves is, “What is stopping affiliate marketplaces for grocers, from becoming their own grocery chain using all the data they are now collecting from the retailers they are serving?”

Thankfully there are companies such as Self Point with solutions available for grocers to launch their own branded e-commerce website, with logistics and marketing tools that will give them the ability to thrive in this omni-channel grocery industry today, and in the future.

A few companies that I would point out that are making waves in this industry are and in the delivery industry, in the marketing and data analytics industries, and and in the warehouse automation industries. With the right strategy, and a combination of solutions. Grocers and retailers will be ready for the service consumers are demanding today and tomorrow.

For more information on this topic, and how retailers need to plan for the future of omni-channel commerce with evolving customer demands, I highly recommend reading Brittain Ladd’s articles on Brittain is a globally recognized thought leader in Business and retail in particular, and has a keen insight into retail trends.

Reach out to learn more about our end-to-end e-commerce platform for grocers.

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