Reducing overheads and increasing profits ... it's the daily challenge. You won't find anyone at Citrus-Lime suggesting that this is easy for you to overcome, but there are some surprisingly simple ways to make progress that will help you tackle things head on.

Reducing the Overheads

To start, the faster you can get your products in front of potential customers, the more likely you are to achieve better margins. The overhead of entering product data to your retail system is dramatically reduced simply because it takes far less time with Citrus-Lime's Supplier Integration Module.

Importing products via SIM is both easy and accurate, plus the product data you have imported is automatically uploaded to Citrus-Lime Ecommerce, ready for categorisation and activation.

In the back-office of Citrus-Lime Ecommerce, clicking the "Fetch Data from SIM" button will enhance the product record by including images, descriptions and technical specifications*; this is another significant time saving for you.

"If you're saving time, you're saving money [...] every transaction is immediately more profitable."

If you are saving time, you're saving money; so it follows that every transaction is immediately more profitable. If you are spending less time in front of a computer and more time in front of your customers, then you are most likely selling more off the shop floor, too.

As retailers, you'll more than appreciate that the sooner a product is ready for customers to buy, the more margin you can expect to make overall. The long-tail of your products is typically one of ever-decreasing value, after all, so being ready to sell at the very start of the season is key to profitable sales.

By using Citrus-Lime SIM to import products and get them active online faster (using "Fetch Data from SIM"), you can be in the best position possible to sell your products at the highest margin for the longest time.

"[...] you can be in the best position possible to sell your products at the highest margin for the longest time."

Increasing the Profits

Like you, your customers are looking for the most effective and convenient solutions to their specific needs.

One of the critical areas that makes a difference to your conversions (along with price and availability) is delivery. The more customer-focussed and flexible your delivery services, the more likely you are to get a customer through the online checkout and paying your store a visit.

Offering Click & Collect provides your customers with the flexibility they are looking for. 68% of UK consumers say that Click & Collect is their favourite alternative to delivery.

"68% of UK consumers say that Click & Collect is their favourite alternative to delivery."

Published by leading provider of delivery management technology, MetaPack (2016).

There are a number of reasons why this is the case. For some, simply avoiding a delivery charge is motivation enough to pick up in store. For others, they aren't going to be home when the courier is going to deliver and/or they can't take delivery at the place of work. Speed of acquisition is paramount to some customers and they'll go out of their way to avoid the delivery lead times (this is particularly true as the weekend looms large).

Another reason for favouring Click & Collect is that people want to get a feel for the product before they buy it. This is extremely common for customers purchasing high value or complex items.

It is said that "online research makes experts of everyone" but we all know, in our hearts, that being able to get hands-on and really connect with a product is the best way to get comfortable parting with hard-earned cash.

Encouraging customers to reserve an item through Click & Collect and then visit the store for pick-up has many benefits for you, too. For one, the cost of providing a Click & Collect service is cheap by comparison to the cost of delivery. Customers visiting a store to collect purchases often buy additional items, driving up the average transaction value.

What's more, because Citrus-Lime SIM has unshackled you from the demands of data entry, you're able to be present in the store more often, connecting with your customers, building relationships by giving solid advice, meaningful cross-sells and up-sells as well as promoting in-store only services and experiences; proving the value of returning to your business time and time again.

*   Product Data varies according to supplier availability.