In developing Tradevine, we surveyed over 500 Trademe sellers to find out which channels they sell their products in. The businesses we talked to ranged from large-scale chain stores, through to micro businesses, to hobbyists casually selling through Trademe. Have a look at the results:
As you can see from the graph, the vast majority of them (81%) combined their Trademe sales with other channels, such as dedicated webstores and traditional bricks-and-mortar stores.
This is indicative of a trend in the wider small business community: multichannel selling. More and more businesses are selling their products to different people through different channels. Bricks and mortar stores have online components; Trademe (and the equivalent) sellers sell through other avenues. Even a hobbyist selling through Trademe and the classified section of his or her local newspaper is a multichannel seller.
But to sell in multiple channels at any kind of scale, you need lots of different software. Point of sale software for the bricks and mortar store, an ecommerce solution for the online store, an inventory solution to keep track of the product itself and accounting software to make sense of all that data.
Until recently, this wasn’t really feasible because of the time-consuming manual intervention involved in collecting sales, inventory and financial data from various channels and putting it in the accounting system. The extra revenue gained from selling in multiple channels was offset by the time and expense of tracking that revenue.
Connecting different applications through API integrations solve this problem. Now business owners can manage their different sales channels by using apps that talk to one another. Rather than spend time entering the data from each channel into their accounting system, the API integrations fetch it automatically.
This insight was vital in our development of the Tradevine application.
Since we focused on businesses who sell through Trademe, there’s an obvious skew to our results. But the results still stand – as the world gets more connected, multichannel selling is the future of small business, and API integrations provide business owners with the tools they need to get there.
Peter Montgomery is the CEO of Xero Add-on Partner Tradevine Limited