Adapt or die

As soon as you’ve got a successful ecommerce website and the orders are flowing, by all means congratulate yourself for achieving what many don’t. But don’t rest there. The main thing is change. You need to keep reviewing what you sell and that which you sell it as well. Failure to do this will mean the decline and failure of your business.

In the past few years numerous enormous household retailers have failed in England. These powerful giants took a while to die, but they all had something in common: They failed to accommodate.

In ecommerce, unlike the high road, there are two chief areas where the merchant has to remain ahead. The first one, the obvious one, is the technology of the web. The changes in the Web decide the way the consumer finds your website, and her experience on your website. There’s an overall tendency for more people browsing using mobile devices — comparing prices in their telephones, buying from their tablets. There have been numerous articles regarding this, particularly recommending that sites utilize responsive design that adjusts to smaller displays. Further recommendations come regarding modifications to the layout itself, the current trend becoming more flat design. Again these technological changes are essential to keep your website ahead of the competition and keep adequate conversion prices.

However, the best designed and most fabulous website will still fail if it doesn’t sell what your shoppers desire. In the actual world, technology is moving quickly and a few new items have the potential for completely changing what we sell and the way we market it.

By way of instance, I recently visited the New York Toy Fair to find out what would be the likely forthcoming toys and toys, to find out what new items I could sell and stock. In one stall there was a young couple seeking to sell their new business idea to U.S. toy retailers. Their thought was to promote bespoke bobble heads. Customers would get their faces (or their children’s faces) scanned in and the subsequent pictures delivered to headquarters, where a mind fitting that confront was created, painted, and then sent to the customer. It all takes just a few days. They had plenty of samples and they looked lovely.

The next stall was the dinosaur killer: A company selling its 3D printer for $1,300. Their demonstration was effective. You scanned in an item and it published it. A couple of minutes latter you had it in your hands. The cost of the materials was under a dollar. You can paint it yourself. This one stall could mark the end for so many toy makers. It certainly overshadowed the bobble-head stall.

Most of what I sell is action figures, made from injection molded plastic. The massive cost of preparing the mould and tooling up suggests that the toy maker has to create thousands of a specific figure, and cannot create every character that it might need. Having a 3D printer the dynamics change. What’s to stop the permit holders developing a 3D design picture of the popular characters and selling them digitally? Then the clients who want their favorite, but vague character, can print their own figure.

There are hundreds and hundreds of other possible uses. There’s absolutely no method of predicting what’s going to take off and what won’t take off, but the possibility is there. In my childhood I remember watching Star Trek, with its future gadgets. How right they’ve been with mobile phones and tablet computers. I especially remember the replicator, which as if by magic made an item. From the New York toy fair I saw its own descendant.

Now I don’t anticipate the action figure market to change instantly. Indeed it might not change in any way, but the possibility is there. Examine the CD and DVD market. Both have been decimated by electronic downloads. Those retailers who didn’t alter and expand their range, but rather just concentrated on DVDs and CDs, have gone bankrupt. Now some figures and toys could similarly be decimated by electronic downloads.

Whilst these examples might not be universally applicable, the purpose is clear. It’s an excellent idea to go to the occasional show or trade fair to understand what’s trending. It’s a fantastic idea to expand and adapt your market, to find out what could be the consumer need in the future. The important point is to ensure you’re not left focusing on a dying market, your product offering is sufficiently varied that you can safely weather any abrupt change.

In expanding, it’s necessary to do it at a carefully measured manner. Not to suddenly grow and take on too much. One of the critical aspects which make us independents effective is understanding our niche. By being specialists in our inventory, we can and ought to present it better. We can create knowledgeable and distinct content that stands out from the bunch of websites that simply copy and paste the company’s descriptions. Thus any expansion must follow this route rather than be a randomly chosen market.

In short, always know about what is happening. And be ready to adapt.

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