Amazon will launch in Australia in 2018, leading New Zealand retailers to wonder how it will impact their business. What do they do to prepare for an online marketplace with an appetite for disruption? Cin7 happily took the lead in the discussion on August 29 at an event tailored to New Zealand’s fashion and apparel retailers.
Judging by the retail and media turnout, “Are You Amazon-Ready?” was the right question to ask. We were delighted to host retail expert Chris Wilkinson for this important question, and to hear from Cin7 Founder Danny Ing to talk about the role integrated inventory management plays in the answer.
Start Now to Prepare for Amazon
As an international thought-leader and director of New Zealand-based consulting service First Retail, Chris Wilkinson provided clear and practical insight.
“All those things we thought as retailers wouldn’t happen are happening at an accelerated rate,” Chris said in his presentation. In fact, retail has changed more in the last decade than in the previous century. Technology moved consumers online, and phenomena like social media created the “digital influence” that drives 70% of in-store sales today.
However, New Zealand retailers have lagged their counterparts in the US and UK in mastering online channels that drive sales. Thus, with Amazon coming, now is the perfect time for retailers to execute an integrated strategy that encompasses social media, eCommerce and immersive in-store experiences to win more sales.
eCommerce, Amazon and other marketplaces are part of the story, as is mastery of the supply chain, Danny Ing pointed out.
“Amancio Ortega (founder of Zara) and Jeff Bezos (Amazon’s CEO) didn’t make their money with products, but by mastering the supply chain,” Danny said. “What I want people to understand is that we’re on a journey to help our customers to maximize the supply chain and bring them into this new era: just as driverless cars have become a reality, so is the ‘driverless supply chain.’”
(You can watch both of their presentations.)
With that said, here are a few points retailers took away from our breakfast conference.
Create Your eCommerce Strategy Now
In New Zealand, online purchases represent 8% to 9% of all sales. However, Chris said, while 50% go to domestic retail, a significant 41% goes to overseas sellers. As part of their overall strategy, New Zealand retailers must leverage their strengths and unique brand proposition, and make the most of their online content, such as product descriptions, to compete on Amazon and elsewhere online.
Research the Amazon Market to Find the Opportunities
When Amazon opens its Australia marketplace, the impact on retail may resemble what already happened in overseas markets, particularly in the UK. Retailers must develop an understanding of how other businesses use Amazon. Retailers must emphasize their strengths, as Amazon will look to push unique products.
Master Your Supply Chain
Retailers that master the paths their products follow from supply to customers will have an edge over less efficient businesses. As retailers take more orders from more places, these paths, or “supply chain”, can become more difficult to manage. How many apparel product should you stock up on? How easily, quickly and efficiently can you dispatch orders? This is true for any sales channel, but Amazon is particularly demanding of its sellers. Cin7 not only integrates with Amazon and other major marketplaces, it also connects to your POS, warehouse, 3PL partner and every other part of your supply chain. More importantly, it automates the order and dispatch processes. Cin7 combines these features to give retailers an automated, efficient supply chain built for the omnichannel age.
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