The global economic climate presents numerous challenges for all businesses, particularly for eCommerce sellers. Inflation, persistent supply chain issues, and shift in consumer demand are significant hurdles that pose an additional risk to retailers online and off.
What Sellers Face Right Now: Supply Chain Snags, Rising Inflation, Uncertain Consumer Demand
Inflation is high—potentially still rising—which means that the prices of goods could keep increasing. Inflation puts pressure on you, the seller, to either raise their prices or find ways to cut costs. Meanwhile, supply chain issues, such as a worldwide shortage of shipping containers, is making it difficult for businesses like yours to get their products to market. Finally, all of these economic headwinds are leading consumers to question their own footing, with some households starting to pull back spending on non-essential goods outside of housing, food, and healthcare.
These challenges are forcing eCommerce sellers to be more innovative and adaptable than ever before. But with the right strategies in place, businesses can weather these storms and come out ahead.
Steps Sellers Can Take Right Now to Stay Ahead of the Curve
There are concrete steps you can take to overcome these challenges though and thrive in today’s economy. Below, we review five tips for sellers looking to come out on top of the current economic landscape:
Keep A Close Eye on Inflation
Although inflation can be a headwind for sellers, it can also present opportunities. By monitoring inflation trends and adjusting prices accordingly, sellers can stay ahead of the curve and maintain profitability.
If prices go up too much, buyers will start to look elsewhere. But if prices stay the same, margins will erode, and eventually, the business will become unprofitable. In order to overcome inflation, sellers must be proactive in their pricing strategy.
They should regularly review their prices and make price increases (or decreases) as necessary. Additionally, sellers should keep a close eye on the cost of goods sold and work to reduce expenses and improve margins whenever and wherever possible.
It’s also worth watching economic trends and the overall market, especially changes that the Federal Reserve makes to interest rates. There is a small but real chance that inflation could quickly come down, which would change the landscape abruptly for online sellers.
By taking these steps, online sellers can stay ahead of inflation and keep their doors open for years to come.
Be Prepared for Supply Chain Problems
Supply chain disruptions are an inevitability in today’s global economy. But by being prepared with contingency plans and alternative suppliers, sellers can minimize the impact of these disruptions on their business.
Just in the last few months, supply chains have been pushed to their limits by COVID recurrences in Asia, the Russian invasion of Ukraine, material shortages, and inflation. So many things affect the supply chain puzzle, which is why it’s so important for sellers to abide by best practices when it comes to ensuring the supply of goods.
Here are a number of ways sellers can overcome and stay on top of supply chain issues:
– Diligent supplier management – This includes developing strong relationships with suppliers, maintaining clear communication channels, setting realistic expectations, and having contingency plans in place in case of supplier problems.
– Careful product planning – this includes forecasting demand accurately, having a clear understanding of production capabilities and limitations, and establishing realistic lead times.
– Maintain steady cash flow in case of emergency – cash flow is flexible in uncertain economic times. Cash-on-hand makes you more capable of handling supply chain problems and other emergencies as they arise. Need to make up for delays or re-stock sooner than expected? Cash-on-hand always helps! But you need to prepare ahead of time because marketplace payouts can sometimes take weeks.
– Investment in robust logistics – this means working with experienced and reliable logistics partners, having visibility into the supply chain at all stages, and using technology to track shipments and manage inventory.
– Constant monitoring and improvement – supply chain issues should be constantly monitored and analyzed so that patterns can be identified and improvements can be made on an ongoing basis.
By following these steps and staying ahead of sellers can develop a solid supply chain strategy that will help them overcome supply chain issues and improve their business operations.
Pro-Tip: Fast funding from Payability can help you secure your business’ supply chain. Don’t have enough cash-on-hand to re-stock? Need money to change suppliers at the last minute? You qualify instantly if you have over $10k in total monthly sales on Amazon, Walmart, Etsy, and Shopify.
Understand Consumer Demand (and How Quickly It Can Change)
The consumer is king in eCommerce. Whatever the consumer is dealing with, you are dealing with as an online seller.
Consumer tastes are constantly evolving. Customers can be fickle, so it’s important for sellers to keep a pulse on changing preferences. By understanding what consumers want, sellers can adapt their offerings to meet shifting demand. Be sure to regularly research the competition, look for hot products in the market right now, and research how high and low customers are willing to pay for the types and categories of products that you stock.
Make sure to stay active in online forums and social media groups related to your niche. This will help you get a sense of which products are generating a lot of interest and which ones are falling flat. Additionally, consider conducting regular surveys with your customers.
Overall consumer demand in the economy can shrink and grow rapidly depending on outside conditions. As overall consumer demand changes, cheaper or more expensive, high-margin products may become more appealing. Worth looking at consumer confidence polling around economic uncertainty and household spending to get a sense of which products cash-strapped consumers might spring for.
By keeping a close eye on consumer demand, you can be sure that you’re always offering products that your customers will love.
Build and Maintain a Loyal Customer Base
In a market full of uncertainty, it’s more important than ever to build and maintain a base of loyal customers. By providing excellent service and offering valuable loyalty programs, sellers can create long-term relationships with customers that weather any economic storm.
It’s no secret that businesses need customers to stay afloat. But what many businesses don’t realize is that it’s not just enough to have new customers—you need loyal customers. Loyalty is key when it comes to keeping a business going, and there are several reasons why.
Loyal customers are more likely to return to your business again and again. They’re also more likely to recommend your business to others, which can help you attract new customers. Additionally, loyal customers tend to spend more money with your business over time. In fact, according to one study, increasing customer retention rates by just 5% can increase profits by 25-95%.
So how can you improve customer loyalty? There are a few things you can do:
– Offer loyalty rewards for the customers that keep coming back
– Make it easier for customers to buy from you – reduce friction in the sales process
– Provide excellent customer service whenever the customer reaches out, or you fall short in any way
– Keep your prices competitive, even when times are tough—customers will remember how you treated them during difficult times, and they’ll be more likely to be loyal to you as a result.
By following these tips, you can build a loyal customer base that will help keep your business going for years to come.
Stay Flexible and Adaptable—Do What You Need to Do
The key to success in any economy is flexibility and adaptability. By being willing to change strategies and pivot as needed, sellers can stay ahead of the curve and keep their business growing even when supply chain snafus, inflation, and other macroeconomic factors get in the way.
Fast funding from Payability can help. You can get paid out for sales on marketplaces like Amazon the next day, rather than in weeks. Plus, you can get lump sum funding for larger business investments. See your options in minutes.
As anyone in business knows, economic conditions are always in flux. What works today may not work tomorrow, which is why it’s so important for sellers to be flexible and adaptable. The key to success in any economy is the ability to change strategies and pivot as needed. By being willing to adapt, sellers can stay ahead of the curve and keep their business growing even in tough times.
Of course, it’s not always easy to make changes on the fly. But the successful seller knows that it’s necessary in order to survive and thrive. Staying flexible and adaptable is the best way to weather any economic storm. So whatever the conditions may be, remember: stay flexible, stay adaptable, and you’ll be just fine.
No matter what happens, consumers will keep shopping online. There will always be customers to buy the products you’re selling. And if you make the right decisions for your business in times of uncertainty, they will pay off in spades (and increased profits) when the economy is growing (or even just humming along fine).
Regardless of inflation, supply chain snags, and uncertain consumer demand, you can grow your business and thrive as long as you stay on your toes and keep an ear to the ground. So stay strong, stay steady, and you will be sure to weather this storm and any others that pop up in the future.