Venditan and Le Chameau combine to deliver class-leading D2C websites

Venditan and Le Chameau combine to deliver class-leading D2C websites

Manchester based Technology firm Venditan have worked with luxury boot brand Le Chameau to launch four new direct to consumer websites across Europe and North America.

The new websites will see the Le Chameau brand, a favourite of the Duchess of Cambridge and Victoria Beckham, continue to provide best-in-class country footwear into its existing customer base whilst aiming to quickly expand into new markets.

The project is a result of Venditan’s partnership with Bradshaw Taylor, the company that owns and distributes a number of outdoor, country & lifestyle brands across the UK and Europe, and who acquired a substantial stake in Le Chameau in November 2019. Venditan and Bradshaw Taylor have worked together since 2017, with the retail specialists supplying both b2b and b2c software that underpins the distributors operations.

On the launch, Venditan Director John Coyne commented, “We are proud to have worked with such a prestigious brand, and delighted that Bradshaw Taylor trusted us to help them re-launch both the direct to consumer websites across all trading territories, as well as helping them migrate the Le Chameau business to business operation to our Venditan Commerce platform.”

Bradshaw Taylor Operations Director, Nick Vance, added “Launching websites in different countries, in different languages with multiple payment tactics is one thing, but combined with the need to migrate an entire b2b operation onto our platform, we were faced with added complexities. We are delighted with the launch, and the potential in the brand is fantastic.”

The website – lechameau.com – was re-launched in the UK, US, Germany and France with the latter two translated into the native language.

Stephanie Fenton
28th May 2020

Venditan Secure Payments Partnership With Fintech Firm Judopay

Venditan Secure Payments Partnership With Fintech Firm Judopay

Manchester, UK. 14th May 2020 – Manchester based Venditan have announced a new partnership with leading mobile-first payment provider, Judopay. The move will see the eCommerce and retail software specialists integrate Judopay’s payment gateway solution into their retail trading platform, Venditan Commerce.

Working closely with big names such as Visa, Mastercard, Discover, Apple and Google, Judopay have become the market leader in mobile-first payments, with a solution designed to drive sales across desktops, smartphones and mobile apps and improve the customer payment experience.

The payment solution includes customisable checkouts, industry-leading fraud prevention, and intelligent routing to allow for huge growth in transactions without a single point of failure.

Having launched a platform for native Mobile Apps in 2019, Venditan will also integrate Judopay’s mobile checkout solution into its App framework, as they roll out the solution in 2020.

Venditan Director John Coyne, said of the partnership, “We have been speaking with Judopay for a few months, and we are excited at what their solution can do for our Retail clients eCommerce conversion rate, especially via mobile. It’s a full end-to-end solution, with gateway and acquiring, giving our clients access to over 100 acquiring banks in 190 countries. We are about to embark on a business development campaign to promote our native mobile app solution, and Judopay will play a huge role in that as the payment provider.”

Adam Montgomery, Senior Partnerships Manager of Judopay added, “We’re delighted to partner with Venditan to offer our digital payments solution to their customers. We are really looking forward to helping drive their customers’ digital journey across both web and mobile and we will enhance the great work that they are already doing. We truly believe in their mission to help retailers thrive in this ever-changing environment.”

About Judopay

Judopay is the leading mobile payments platform. Born out of the frustration with friction-filled checkouts they built a flexible solution designed to drive sales and improve the customer experience. Judopay partners with a range of different companies including KFC, JustPark, Young’s Pubs and Chip.

Stephanie Fenton
14th May 2020

Future Proof Your Distribution Business By Going D2C (Direct To Consumer)

Future Proof Your Distribution Business By Going D2C (Direct To Consumer)

10 MIN READ

To survive the digital age and remain competitive, many distributors have already taken their B2B business online. This has allowed them to acquire new trade customers and strengthen relationships with existing ones. As an additional step to further future proof their business, distributors are now looking to sell directly to consumers.

Going D2C needn’t upset your existing customers, so long as you play fair and sell at the RRP, it can be a win win opportunity for both parties. Many distributors who’ve already started selling D2C have in fact reported an increase in trade orders due to greater brand awareness and demand for their products.

If you already have an online operation, expanding into D2C should open your business up to new customers without the need to significantly increase your workload or headcount.

6 BENEFITS OF SELLING DIRECT TO CONSUMER

1. Collect valuable data

When consumer orders are placed directly with you, you gain a wealth of valuable data including; browsing behaviour, product performance, customer preferences, customer demographics, and customer feedback.

All this allows you to make more informed business decisions, improve your product offering, widen your customer base and ultimately increase both your B2B and D2C your sales.

2. Increase profit margins

One of the biggest benefits of selling directly to consumers is that products are sold at their recommended retail price – automatically increasing the profit you make on them.

When selling D2C, it’s really important to always have your trade customers in mind. Don’t be tempted to undercut them by selling below the RRP. This will both damage your relationships with retailers and devalue your products.

3. Develop relationships with end consumers

As you’ll be fulfilling consumer orders directly, you’ll be in control of the communication and support they receive pre and post purchase. By sending out automatic order and delivery updates you can ensure that your customers are kept informed about the status of their order and that their expectations are correctly set.

Listening to end consumers by requesting reviews of your products and services will enable you to address any negative feedback, and gain valuable insight into consumers’ wants and needs.

4. Take control of customer experience

Selling directly to the public means that you can take control of how your products are sold and the experience customers have when buying them.

A seamless shopping experience across all channels is now expected by customers. If you don’t provide one, they will shop elsewhere. Selling via your own website and/or stores means that you can ensure;

➔ All customer and order data is kept in sync
➔ Customers don’t experience any blockers when trying to purchase your products
➔ That orders are fulfilled on time

5. Protect your business with an additional revenue stream

Whether you think the death of the high street is overstated or not, it can only ever be a good thing to not put all your eggs in one basket. This is especially true with the added pressure of COVID-19 on retail. By selling directly to consumers, you open your business up to a new customer base and an additional revenue stream.

This is not to say that you should neglect your relationship with your B2B customers – their combined custom is still likely to make up the majority of your revenue.

6. Improve your B2B sales

By improving the experience you provide on your website with things like better site functionality, more detailed product information and helpful user guides, you’re likely to increase conversions from all customer types.

To prevent retailers from feeling threatened, offer them exclusive products or free gifts that they can offer to their customers. This will help them to feel as though they still have a competitive edge and are still valued as a customer.

CONSIDERATIONS WHEN SELLING D2C

1. Mobile

Whether B2B or D2C, having a mobile-first, user-friendly website is essential when selling online. A report by CBRE predicts that over half of all eCommerce sales will be carried out on mobile by 2021.

In order to remain competitive when selling D2C, you need to ensure that;

➔ Your web pages load quickly across all devices
➔ Your content is automatically and correctly reformatted to fit different screen sizes
➔ Your website is well designed and easy to use with a touch screen

To find out more about the importance of mobile experience in eCommerce, and how to improve yours, you can read our report here.

2. Pricing

As you’ll want to continue to sell to your B2B customers at a lower price than your D2C customers, potentially even with additional discounts agreed by your reps, it’s important that you are able to display personalised, vat-free pricing once a B2B customer has logged in.

You also need to consider if you want to offer any exclusive discounts to specific groups of D2C customers, for example, students, NHS workers or employees.

You should choose an eCommerce platform that makes it simple to set up complex pricing rules, and automatically display and apply discounts based on the individual customer’s profile.

3. Payments

When selling to other businesses, you’re likely to let them put their orders on account or pay via bank transfer. You’ll need to ensure that your eCommerce platform allows you to hide these options from D2C customers and instead provide them with more convenient ways to pay.

In addition to accepting debit and credit cards, it’s now seen as a must to provide customers with as much choice as possible when it comes to payment. Digital payment methods such as PayPal, AmazonPay and ApplePay give customers an easier way to checkout without the need to enter their card details or fill out lengthy forms.

Depending on what you’re selling, you may also want to consider offering a “buy now, pay later” option such as OpenPay or V12 Finance. This can often help to secure a sale ahead of payday and give customers a reason to shop with you over your competitors.

Find out more about how to optimise your checkout process and make online payments simple here.

4. Product information

As you won’t be using sales reps to sell your products D2C, it’s important that your product pages provide all the information required for users to make an educated buying decision. Failure to do this is likely to result in low conversion rates and high return rates.

As a minimum, you should include the below content on your product pages:

➔ Accurate and detailed imagery capturing all key features and showing the product from different angles.
➔ Clear descriptions detailing the particulars of the product. Ideally the person writing this description should be in front of and have tried the product out for themselves.
➔ Measurements and size charts so that users know the exact dimensions of the product are before they place their order.

Find out more ways to optimise your product pages here.

5. Delivery offering

Compared to the bulk B2B orders that you would normally receive, D2C orders are likely to be much smaller and lighter. Your new customer base is also going to expect more choice and flexibility when it comes to delivery. This means that you’ll need to work with your shipping partners and negotiate a number of new services.

When deciding on which services you would like to offer your D2C customers, bear in mind that free delivery thresholds and next day delivery are now the norm, with many websites also offering named day and even a choice of delivery slots.

If you have your own delivery vehicles, you could potentially consider offering same day delivery within a local radius – getting products to customers who need them faster. This is a great option for essential products like groceries, medical or health supplies.

You’ll also need to consider how you’re going to package up your D2C orders. Here are some tips for creating a memorable boxing experience.

6. Customer support

To reduce the number of customer enquiries you receive, it’s important that you make it easy for users to find answers to their questions on your website. As a minimum you should cover off; delivery and returns information, what customers should do about various order issues, details of the payment types you offer and answers to common stock questions.

You should also ensure that it’s easy for users to locate your contact details across all devices should they need to get in touch.

By providing customers with regular email or SMS updates when their order is placed, dispatched and out for delivery you can also help to set expectations, reassure them that they’ve made the right choice and reduce the need for them to contact you.

7. Software

Using the same solution across both your B2B and D2C operation can be incredibly beneficial. It can help to reduce the time, money and headaches involved in transferring data from one system to another.

Venditan Commerce allows you to manage warehousing, inventory, orders, fulfilment, web content, customers and in-store EPoS through a single system -allowing you to streamline your internal processes and become more efficient.

As it’s cloud based, all teams throughout your operation will have a real-time, single view of stock, customers and orders allowing them to react quickly to changes and make better business decisions.

Get in touch to see how we can migrate you over to Venditan Commerce in just 60 days!

8. Stock Management

To avoid wasting time syncing stock data between B2B and D2C, it’s best to use a single system to manage your entire stock holding. This means that all teams across your business will be viewing the same record of:

➔ Which stock is available
➔ Where stock is currently located
➔ Each piece of stock’s journey from entering the business
➔ Which stock is on an open purchase order
➔ Which stock is allocated to customer orders
➔ Which stock has already been sold

Depending on your B2B commitments, you may want to ring-fence some of your stock so that it can’t be sold through your websites or transferred to stores. You may also want to ring-fence stock that’s on display in one of your stores to prevent overselling and disappointed customers.

As you’ll be buying for a new kind of customer, reporting will be key. You’ll need to keep track of your bestsellers, fast movers and slow movers per location in real time to ensure that your stock is available in the right place at the right time.

9. Order Management

Using a single piece of software to manage all of your orders can help you to streamline your fulfilment process and prevent you from increasing your workload unnecessarily.

When selling D2C, you may be selling across multiple websites, marketplaces and physical stores so it’s extremely beneficial to have all orders listed and processed one place. This can both prevent overselling and reduce the number of systems and tasks used to get all your orders out on time.

10. SEO

To increase your online presence and attract new D2C customers, you’ll need to optimise your web pages for search engines.

As a starting point, think about what a customer might enter into a search engine when looking for your product. Now think about which page you would like them to land on if they’d searched for that phrase. That is your targeted phrase for the page and you should include it:

 ➔ Once in the meta title (preferably at the start)
 ➔ Once in the meta description
 ➔ In the H1 (the page heading)
 ➔ In any image alt text
 ➔ Several times within the copy on the page
 ➔ In the URL

Find out more about optimising your web pages for search engines here.

Another great way of attracting traffic from search engines is to create new content that your target audience is likely to be interested in. Put yourself in the shoes of your target customer and think about which content they would find most helpful. An example of a retailer doing this well is Sigma Sports. They create lots of useful pre and post-purchase content to attract new customers and keep existing customers engaged with their brand.

11. Digital upselling

As you’ll mostly be selling D2C through your website, you won’t be able to rely on your sales reps and their traditional upselling skills. Instead, you’ll need to use digital upselling to increase your average order value. A few ways of doing this include:

➔ Displaying relevant related items on product pages and in marketing
➔ Upselling complementary and low value add on items at the basket
➔ Post-purchase emails with complementary and related items
➔ Setting up bundles and bulk buy offers
➔ Sending out reminders when perishable items are likely to be reaching the end of their life
➔ Offering a loyalty scheme that encourages users to spend more so that they earn rewards

WE CAN HELP YOUR LAUNCH D2C IN AS LITTLE AS 60 DAYS!

If you would like to start selling directly to end consumers and have any questions, please don’t hesitate to get in touch.

 

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Stephanie Fenton
1st May 2020

5 Things Retailers Need To Know About Magento 1 End Of Life

5 Things Retailers Need To Know About Magento 1 End Of Life

2 MIN READ

If your website is running on Magento 1, by now you’ll probably know about the end of support coming in June 2020. But what does this mean? And do you really need to migrate your website? Here are 5 things you need to know if you’re considering staying on Magento 1.

1. Website functionality is likely to become broken

When it comes to online shopping, customers have more choice than ever before. If a site doesn’t provide a seamless and enjoyable experience then they are likely to purchase from somewhere else instead.

For Magento Community 1, and many versions of Magento Enterprise 1, quality fixes have already ended. Without maintenance, the features and functionality on these websites will gradually become more and more broken.

The longer retailers leave it to migrate, the more likely they’ll be left with a non-functioning website while they complete the re-platforming process.

2. Magento 1 websites will be vulnerable to security breaches and hacks

By far the most worrying aspect of Magento 1 End Of Life is the end of security patches. This will leave websites vulnerable to security breaches and hacks.

Hackers are likely to see Magento End of Life as an opportunity to automatically hunt out security holes on the remaining Magento 1 websites. DDOS attacks, spam registrations and brute force penetration attacks are just a few of the ways that Magento 1 sites are likely to be targeted.

3. There will be no official support for merchants

Retailers who continue to use Magento 1 after June 2020 will be on their own. No official support means that developers and merchants will need to rely on forums and community support to resolve any technical issues with their websites.

By this point, Magento 1 will be seen as a dead platform so it may also be difficult for retailers to find developers or agencies willing to help them.

4. There will be no way to protect customers’ data and payment details

As security patches will end in June 2020, Magento 1 checkouts may no longer be secure. This means that hackers may be able to access customer data and payment details. Not only will this result in lost sales and a damaged reputation, but could also see retailers in breach of GDPR so having to pay large legal fees, fines and compensation to customers.

5. There will be no new features or improvements to existing features

It’s an exciting time for eCommerce with technology evolving at a rapid rate. Offering new features such as subscription models, chatbots, mobile payments and same-day delivery can help retailers to differentiate themselves from their competitors.

With no first-party platform improvements or third-party extensions being developed, retailers who remain on Magento 1 will find it hard to keep up with consumer demands in terms of performance, convenience and functionality.

Final thoughts

With less than 200 days to go, the time to act is now! If you need to migrate before the deadline, why not take advantage of our free migration offer available until March 2020.

Less us guide you through a stress-free migration to our Venditan Commerce platform in just 90 days.

Fill out the form to register your interest.

Stephanie Fenton
3rd December 2019

Turning Showroomers Into Shoppers: Converting Your Bricks & Mortar Visits

Turning Showroomers Into Shoppers: Converting Your Bricks & Mortar Visits

Showrooming: the practice of visiting a shop or shops in order to examine a product before buying it online at a lower price.

– Oxford Dictionary

Showrooming is not a new phenomenon, it’s been a hot topic amongst retailers for years. Driven by our desire to touch and see items in real life before committing to buying them, it’s an essential part of the customer buying journey – especially when it comes to high-ticket items. So why do so few retailers have a solid strategy in place to convert showroomers into shoppers? With increasingly regular news articles about the death of the high street and the rising cost of running bricks-and-mortar stores, isn’t it time that retailers upped their game and stopped running showrooms for their competitors?

A recent Salesforce study found that 71% of shoppers use their mobile while in-store. What’s more, 36% of these shoppers use their phones to compare prices. This means that potential customers are likely to be looking at your competitor’s website(s) while in your store.

So how can store owners better meet the needs of today’s mobile-assisted visitors? Here are 7 ways to turn showroomers into shoppers.

1. Give shoppers easy access to product information

 

Offer Free WiFi: It may seem counterintuitive but offering complimentary WiFi in your store can actually help with conversions. Not all potential customers who use their mobiles in-store are looking for the cheapest deal. Many will want to read customer reviews or find out about how the product works to make sure that it meets their requirements. If they can’t get any reception or WiFi, they may feel as though they don’t have all the information needed to make their buying decision. If they need to leave the store to complete further research online, there’s a chance that they may not return.

Provide Detailed Signage: For high ticket and bestselling items, make sure that you’re displaying detailed signage. Many shoppers will use their mobiles to check things like dimensions, assembly instructions and available colours. Save them a job by providing key information alongside product displays e.g. if you’re selling suitcases, provide shoppers with baggage restrictions for the most popular airlines so they don’t need to search for them online.

Invest In Employee Training: Make sure that all shop floor staff are passionate and knowledgeable about the products they’re selling. Hold regular training sessions for staff. Provide product demonstrations where applicable, and explain the features and benefits of using/ owning the product. Make sure that they know who the product is and isn’t suitable for, which other products complement it, and what previous customers have thought of the product.

Use Mobile To Your Advantage: No matter how knowledgeable your staff, some customers may just want to complete their own research. To prevent customers from visiting competitors’ sites, provide easy access to product information on your own site. One way of doing this might be to display QR codes linking to your own product detail pages on shelf edges or swing tickets. Make sure that your website is optimised for mobile, that your product pages are detailed and that they are displaying customer reviews.

2. Be competitive on price

Price Match: As mentioned, many shoppers are going online to compare prices so give them an offer they can’t refuse – offer to price match. This way they will know they are getting the best deal out there but you won’t be devaluing your brand.

Use SMS: Not only do shoppers go online to check out competitors prices, they also check if they’ve got any offers and promotions. Before they get the chance to do this, use beacons to send out special offers to customers when they enter the store. When they pull out their phone, they’ll see the offer from you and may be less likely to go online to check if there are other offers out there.

Payment plans: Although finance and payment plans don’t reduce the end cost to the customer, they do often make high ticket products more affordable.

Prevent shoppers from completing their research and running by giving them a reason to make their purchase there and then.

3. Create a sense of urgency

 Time-sensitive offers: Prevent shoppers from completing their research and running by giving them a reason to make their purchase there and then. This could be as simple as offering time-sensitive special offers that are only available in-store or running double loyalty points days.

 Remove any fear of commitment: Offer a deposit scheme so that customers don’t feel as though they’ve been rushed into a decision but can still take advantage of special prices. Making shoppers aware of your returns policy will also take away their fear of commitment.

Don’t make customers wait: In busy periods, provide sales assistants with iPads so that they can take payments from the shop floor – this will prevent shoppers from changing their mind as they’re queuing at the till.

4. Be the most convenient option

Home delivery: Many shoppers will choose to browse in-store but buy online so that they can get products delivered to their home address. If you sell large or heavy items make sure that you’re offering home delivery if a customer wants to make their purchase in-store.

Payment options: Give customers as much choice as possible when it comes to payments. Allow customers to apply for finance in-store and give them the option to pay with alternative payment methods such as bank transfers, e-vouchers and contactless mobile payments.

Out of stock items: Offer to transfer out-of-stock or custom made items in to store or have them delivered to the customer’s home address.

In-store kiosks: To prevent customers from becoming frustrated by having to wait in long queues at the till provide in-store kiosks that allow customers to place home delivery orders themselves.

Speak to brands about whether there is a possibility for you to collaborate on an exclusive line of products that no other retailers will stock.

5. Have an exclusive offering

Exclusive products and free gifts: For competitive ranges, make sure that you are offering something that no other retailer can.

Speak to brands about whether there is a possibility for you to collaborate on an exclusive line of products that no other retailers will stock.

Request samples that you can give out as free gifts when a customer makes a high-value purchase. For example, Clinique and other beauty brands, provide department stores with sample sets that they can give out to customers with the purchase of 2 or more items. This works for the store as it gives the customer a reason to buy from them over their competitors. It works for the brand as the customer will try out new products which hopefully they will go on to purchase in the future.

6. Go the extra mile

 

Demos: Shopping in-store should be a memorable experience – you should aim to add value that an online store can’t. If you sell beauty products, offer to give your customers a complimentary makeover where you can demonstrate how to use the products you are selling. If you sell cooking equipment, have sales assistants cook up tasty samples while shoppers watch.

Style advice: If your products have aesthetic value, offer shoppers complimentary style advice. For example, if you sell homeware, train your staff up as interior design experts so that they can help customers to select which colour scheme to go for.

Many clothing stores, such as The Dressing Room, offer a personal shopping service where an experienced style advisor will help customers to find clothing and accessories for a specific occasion. This not only makes the customer feel confident with the purchase but it adds unique and personalised value that they won’t be able to get online.

Workshops & training: If you sell products such as mobile phones or laptops, offer in-store workshops or training sessions to help your customers get the most out of their purchase.

Home installation: Offering to set up the customers purchase in their own home could be a real selling point for some customers. For example, when John Lewis sell a washing machine, they offer to disconnect and dispose of the old one. Then connect, test and demo the new machine. If you’re able to offer anything similar for your product ranges, make sure that your sales staff are letting every customer know.

7. Make sure you have the stock

Another common reason why shoppers use their mobiles in-store is to find a product when their size or colour preference isn’t available on the shelf. As some shoppers might not want or have the time to ask an assistant to check the stock room, make sure that you’re regularly printing off lists of sold items to replenish the shop floor.

For bestselling items, make sure that you always have a minimum level of stock available in store. Venditan Commerce has an automatic internal shipping request function that will alert the warehouse to transfer stock to a branch if stock for an item falls below a predetermined minimum level.

Once you’ve converted your in-store customers, don’t forget to collect their email address at the till so that you are able to create a full picture of your customer’s behaviour and preferences across all channels.

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Stephanie Fenton
7th November 2019