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The economic impact of Covid-19 coupled with a looming Brexit deadline has shaped 2020 into a year of challenge and uncertainty. Amidst the chaos and unpredictability however, it has also been a transformative period for UK SMEs who have had to rethink their business models during what will be remembered as one of the most challenging trading periods of recent times. During this time, changing customer behaviours as a result of the pandemic led to the adoption of digitisation by SMEs – something of which is unlikely to be fully reversed once life returns to ‘normal’. This pivot to a digital-first approach is not only a great opportunity for SMEs but also their accountants, bookkeepers and advisors.
How can WorldFirst help?
Since launching in 2014, WorldFirst have stayed attuned to customer needs and changing consumer trends, by maintaining a customer-centric approach to help support businesses with their international growth plans. As part of their mission ‘to make it easy to do business anywhere’, they have continually released a wide range of features and functionality, including a dedicated solution for clients trading on e-commerce marketplaces since 2017.
If you are thinking of selling online for the first time, there are a host of considerations to be made. One example is whether you decided to sell through a marketplace such as Amazon or via your own online specialist store.
The key steps in starting to sell online via a marketplace are as follows:
- Choose a product – there are some restrictions on being able to sell certain products through online marketplaces, so it is worth checking first
- Choose a selling plan – there are typically two different options, basic and professional, each with slightly different cost implications
- Register your products – to register your products you’ll need to provide personal and business information along with additional details. The final step is to provide bank account details to complete payment transactions
- List your products - depending on the selling plan you opt for, how you list your products will vary
- Start selling!
E-commerce sellers and the importance of logistics and fulfilment
When you are selling online, the ability to fulfil your orders and get your product to your paying customer is key. The professionalism with which this is delivered is a key metric in terms of how customers will judge their experience with you.
The development of logistics and fulfilment have gone hand in hand with the whirlwind evolution of e-commerce. Same-day delivery can be considered commonplace and in many markets' delivery within a one or two-hour time period is not uncommon.
But what are the important considerations regarding fulfilment when you are starting out on your e-commerce journey?
Some of the larger marketplaces, including Amazon, offer their own fulfilment option which, in Amazon’s case, it’s known as fulfilment by Amazon (FBA). There are several advantages to this, however, it does come with a cost that needs to be considered.
The recent surge in online shopping has caused some capacity restrictions to be put into place, which is something to look into, and upcoming import/export changes as a result of Brexit may also impact options.
Another element to be aware of, is how the use of data opens opportunities and how this can be used to your advantage, or, potentially against you. One such example is the inventory performance index, which is explained in more detail in the WorldFirst blog ‘The Changing Face of eCommerce Fulfilment: Preparing Your Logistics for Q4 and Beyond’.