Digitalizing your business, whether freelance, SME or retail, is undoubtedly a winning choice these days. This may be because of a change in communication dynamics, consumer habits or marketing. But for those who find it difficult to adapt to these dynamics, a solution must be found; marketplaces, e-commerce and aggregators are some answers to these needs. MBK Fincom discusses this with its ProduceShop platform.
All generational transitions risk becoming traumatic; when you don’t adapt to the changes, however, the trauma could take an even more dangerous turn. This is the fork in the road that many ‘traditional’ businesses have found themselves at in recent years: give in to digital pressure or struggle in a changing market.
While many businesses have been ready for the transition for some time, either because of the greater expertise of their employees or because they were quick to optimize, others have struggled a bit, for example in small-scale retail, food or manufacturing. As these are often market niches that are almost entirely dependent on live commerce (but this rule can easily be bypassed – see ProduceShop and furniture market), they have chosen to rely on larger, all-encompassing marketplaces and e-commerce, thus avoiding risky investments and training that is currently difficult to implement.
What have been the results?
What does digitization mean?
While for many people digitalization simply means putting a business website online, or sponsoring themselves on social media, the reality is much more complex. True’ digitalization is a process that involves many sides of the business, some of which are also offline; it is a set of practices designed to bring not only your business onto the web, but into a completely different commercial dimension. The way of selling, the way of communicating, the services, the competition and the skills change; also the means, of course, and the structures have to be updated in the same way.
The channels and modes of evolution on which to focus in the digitalization of your business are
- Production: as the timing of sales and management changes, the production (or purchase) of goods and materials must also adapt.
- Organization: management, software and digital timetables make everything more fluid and accessible.
- Skills: qualifications and experience must be accompanied by completely new, eclectic and adaptable study and soft skills
- Content: not only does the message change, but everything that accompanies it; in addition to written material, also video, visual and offline.
- Communication: multichannel communication requires many forms of communication itself, each with its own language, each linked to a different target audience.
- Branding and Innovation: opening up to the public means not only having more customers (potential and real), but also taking on more interpretable values, which the users themselves require
The e-commerce scenario
Compared to fifteen years ago, when the few giants of online sales laid down the rules, and the dynamics of communication and sales were still in an embryonic state, today the space in which e-commerce and Marketplace gravitate is much more lively and widespread.
First, we are witnessing a shift in the horizon in market consultation; by September 2021, more than 70% of online searches and purchases will take place on a mobile device. This implies that all sites and e-commerce must first and foremost be mobile friendly, adapted to the needs of new buyers and search engines (Google itself now prioritizes mobile content).
The pandemic has led to a reduction in travel costs in terms of corporate communication and procurement; meetings and briefings, advice and visits can now be conducted easily on video communication platforms, significantly cutting travel costs for many corporate figures. Logistics have also seen a change; the expansion of sales horizons has required a recalculation of warehousing and shipping for many brands, which have equipped themselves to be present on several fronts (such as ProduceShop, which ships from 10 different logistics to cater for a complete European market).
The online presence is endless; this implies a positive side (possibility of setting up a continuous flow of orders, as there is no closing time) and a negative side (use of manpower to cover an activity that does not stop). Fortunately, digitization, and therefore the choice of appropriate software, leads to the automation of almost all processes.
Why choose to rely on a marketplace?
Many businesses, especially long-established retailers or SMEs, decide not to invest in personalized e-commerce as part of their digitization strategy; this may be a smart choice for many. Either because the size of the company does not allow the right use of funds and resources, or because the market niche does not make the investment worthwhile.
In this case, relying on a marketplace or e-commerce (vertical – i.e. single-category – or horizontal), as a seller or vendor, may be the best solution.
This means ensuring that the products are still sold and advertised, but it is done with a view to a targeted and limited investment; in fact, it is usually the MPs themselves who take care of the marketing side, intercepting a wider and more calculated range of consumers and needs.
The resulting advantages are significant, especially for those who are approaching these sales dynamics for the first time:
- a considerable increase in savings, especially for those who move their retail completely online (think rental costs and related fixed cost;
- by digitalising your sales and marketing processes, you can maintain a constant analysis of processes and results, working more rapidly and incisively in terms of optimization;
- the expansion of one’s market and the possibility to internationalize it more quickly are stimulated by the speed and security of the various online payment methods available today. These can also be chosen according to the country in which you operate;
- simplification: by relying on a marketplace like ProduceShop, all processes relating to marketing, brand sponsorship, lead acquisition, loyalty and pure sales, as well as analysis and reporting, are simplified and managed by specialized and high-performance departments, leaving us more time and resources to act on other aspects of our brand;
- the creation of a mobile audience ensures that our product categories, and therefore target markets, can expand and evolve, even following MP trends.
Especially in a period of recovery such as the current one, having a ‘driving force‘ for many businesses that have risked closure is important.
The significant increase in online turnover over the last two years is proof of this. In addition to the increase in purchasing generations, we have seen a boost in the growing presence of small, medium, established and emerging online businesses, especially thanks to the incubator-mentoring role of the large e-commerce and marketplaces.
- Corporate PR
- ProduceShop Marketing Dept.
- ProduceShop Finance Dept ProduceShop (https://mbkfincom.com/)
- Il Sole 24Ore
- Espresso – Economia
- Havas Media Group