Brightpearl survey highlights importance of Automation

Brightpearl featAre you using technology instead of man hours to grow your business? If not you’re probably missing a trick. New research from Brighpearl has highlighted how real-time technology allows independent retailers to focus better on multichannel sales, while simultaneously boosting weekly order volume by over 50% and revenue by 30%, and potentially cutting nearly two months of work annually.

New research from Brightpearl highlights how real-time technology allows independent retailers to focus better on multichannel sales, while simultaneously boosting weekly order volume by over 50% and revenue by 30%, and cutting nearly two months of work annually.

This is perhaps especially true for traditional retailers turned online merchants. Those who started a business specifically to sell online, especially on marketplaces, have probably used some sort of automation software from day one, whether that be eBay’s TurboLister, NetDespatch‘s free solution for label production or more complex multichannel solutions like Brightpearl.

Brightpearl’s survey of over 200 independent merchants evaluated their use of the latest industry-specific management solutions which in the past was available only to their larger competitors. Many of these solutions are now available to even the smallest of businesses. It includes things as simple as automating printing of invoices and shipping labels up to stock management and automatic updating of financial records

Key Finding

The key findings show retailers use the latest technology to:

  • Improve order management – orders increased 53% while missed orders fell 70%
  • Boost revenue – monthly revenue increased 30%
  • Improve efficiency – automation of tasks including updating stock, order processing, and updating financials saved 57.5 days annually in labour
  • Boost multichannel sales – 84% viewed technology as ‘essential’ to their growth. Those selling on one channel enjoyed 8 percent growth versus 33% for those selling across multiple channels

Online sales in the UK are set to reach £119.7bn this year and technology continues to level the playing field for independent retailers and wholesalers focused on hyper-growth by allowing them to punch above their weight,” says Derek O’Carroll, Chief Executive Officer of Brightpearl.

Popular Sales Channels and Metrics of Success

The most commonly used method for order processing those surveyed was via phone calls. Other commonly used sales channels were merchants’ own website (75%), Amazon (68%), eBay (58%), physical store (48%), trade shows (39%), multiple own website (37&), and social platforms (20%).

Natural Baby Shower, a speciality multichannel retailer offering organic and eco-friendly clothes, bedding, toys and toiletries for babies and expecting moms, has used the latest real-time, retail technology to increase revenue six fold over the past three years.

Since implementing Brightpearl we’ve processed 50% more orders and increased our average order value significantly,” said Clifton Vaughan, Co-founder & Director, Natural Baby Shower. “Integrating accounts has allowed us to see profit and loss on a daily basis for better business decision making” .

Retailer and Merchant Perspectives on Growth and Expansion

Improving operational efficiency and having access to real-time cash flow data have merged to form the key to success. Nearly all (96%) respondents view technology, especially integrated retail management solutions, as essential elements that will support plans for growth. Access to real-time financial reporting was top of the list for 94% of participants.

Commanding just over a third of the region’s total online sales, the UK remains Europe’s biggest online market. However modern day merchants still face significant hurdles. Asked to name the challenges they will face over the next 12 months, the most common answer was simply growing their business.

Other challenges include:

  • Maintaining efficient and effective management of suppliers, orders and inventory (22%) and marketing / sales customer service (22%)
  • Accessing real-time insight to accounting and cash flow across all sales channels (15%)
  • Attracting new customers and building brand loyalty by developing new marketing, sales and offerings. Respondents (92%) noted the importance of using email for marketing and a way to generate repeat business. This is almost twice as common as pay-per-click (55%), display advertising (45%), leaflets (34%), coupons (33%), and loyalty programs (28%).

What areas of your business have resulted in the biggest time savings? Are there business functions you’d still like to automate?