With today’s technology, you can run a full-on retail business that serves clients worldwide from the comfort of your own couch.
While that’s comfortable, it can also be challenging. How can you really grow your business, without having to hire dozens of people and put them in an office where they can brainstorm?
Luckily, there are some smart solutions that help remote businesses in the retail sector grow to great heights. You just need to know what your customers are really looking for to drive conversion. Once that’s done, you need a system that will help you manage all those extra orders.
In this article, you’ll find three top SaaS solutions that will not only help you grow your business, but also save time and costs managing it.
What’s SaaS anyway?
SaaS stands for software as a service. It replaces the need for buying software packages and installing them on your own network. With SaaS, you have a subscription to software—meaning less commitment. Moreover, these solutions are cloud-based. Those cost less money and time to install, so you’ll be up and running in no-time.
Why choose SaaS?
Josh Hartford once said: “You cannot run a successful retail business from memory.” He’s got a point. If you really want to grow your business, you’ll need tools or incredibly smart employees. SaaS is somewhat like a mix of both.
Most SaaS tools are developed to make things easier and more effective for entrepreneurs—and that can be anything. Administration, customer service, sales, you name it.
SaaS solutions are often fueled by Ai and offer automation options. That means less busywork for you, and more time to focus on the tasks that really matter.
But SaaS does more than save you time. It can also help you boost sales, by making better informed decisions. There are SaaS tools that help you set the most attractive price, based on what’s happening in the market and AI. Tools that lure people back to abandoned shopping carts.
If you can think of a challenge, there’s probably some software as a solution for it.
Growing a retail business from home
If you’re running a retail business from home, we don’t need to remind you of how challenging that can be. Especially if you’re ready to really start growing.
You’re constantly on a tightrope, balancing between growing your business, and not spending much extra time (and money) on it. SaaS can help you do that. It will help you scale your business, while keeping your budget and planning in mind.
Because SaaS solutions grow with you. There’s no need to invest in a full package software system if you only need parts of it. With SaaS solutions, you can build your own stack of solutions that you need at the moment. Thanks to the subscription model, you can keep your costs under control and won’t have to pay for solutions you no longer need.
#1 Live video shopping with Whisbi
If only you could take away the doubts of your customers in a face-to-face conversation, where they could ask you questions, right?
It’s completely normal to feel a bit nostalgic thinking about the good old offline days. If someone entered your store and they weren’t sure what product was right, they’d just ask the friendly sales people.
Now, people click on your store and enter your homepage. They click around some more and might get confused, second thoughts, or simply distracted. But instead of browsing the categories a little while longer or really reading the product descriptions, they leave. Back to Google.
Bring the in-store experience online
Whisbi saw how frustrating it is not to be able to talk to your online customers, and solved it. With their Live Video Shopping tool, you get to answer your customers’ questions in real-time. You, with your face, smile, and enthusiasm—not a chatbot or FAQ section.
With their live stream shopping solution, you can turn the self-service aspect of a traditional online retailer into an engaging experience. During your stream and conversation, people can immediately put products that you’re talking about in their shopping cart—much like you would in a real store.
Tools like this give your online retail store a human touch, which we all need sometimes. You give your customers a more engaging experience, and you get something in return. Businesses have achieved up to a 5 times increase in sales through broadcast viewers.
How much does Whisbi cost?
To get access to their live features and one-to-one assisted sales solution, you will need the Sell package. This starts at 1999EUR/ 2399USD/m.
#2 A friendly chat bot from Netomi
Looking for a solution that will make your customers happier, save you time and helps you sell more? You’re not asking for too much: a chatbot can do all of that, and then some.
Why your customers love chatbots
Changes are that if someone’s at your web shop, they’re not just ‘’browsing around’’. They’ve come there with a purpose, and they want to get on with their days as soon as the job’s done.
If they have questions about shipping, returns, warranty—anything, basically—they don’t want to have to scroll through your endless list of FAQs. While it’s definitely nice to have that, you could speed things up and push them to that ‘’add to cart’’ button even faster.
Those little friendly faces popping up on the right bottom part of your screen? They’re really working. The use of chatbots is one of the main reasons online retailers increased their sales by 23% in 2018—and people are adapting to them more and more.
74% of people prefer chatbots over FAQs while looking for answers to simple questions. This means you get an opportunity to give a lot of your website visitors extremely detailed information that they need to convert.
It doesn’t stop there, though. Chatbots are also not afraid to try some cross-selling techniques, based on the information they have on your customers and their past purchases. They can act much faster in a conversation than a human would, because they have all the data right there in their chatbot brains.
Why your employees will love chatbots
Chatbots can handle 68.9% of chats from start to finish. Imagine how much time your customer service reps can save when they only need to pick up 31.1% of all started chats?
If your customer support team is constantly answering the same questions, let a chatbot do that. Thanks to AI, you can now answer a big chunk of incoming questions instantly.
Chatbots can take care of the most commonly asked questions, and once things get too complicated, they can escalate them to real human beings. Those people will not be wasting time, creativity, and motivation on repetitive tasks, allowing them to give better support when it’s really needed. With this approach, you can reduce customer support costs by 30%.
Meet Netomi: the bot who’s always one step ahead
There are many chatbots out there, but for retail, Netomi is a great pick. Not only does she help you respond quicker, sell more and get happier customers—she also helps minimize returns.
At least 30% of all products ordered online are returned. For brick-and-mortar stores, that number is only 8.89%. If a third of the orders you ship out come back, you waste a lot of time on packaging them, processing returns, checking the products, and so on.
Netomi is smart enough to learn to understand why people return products, and intervenes in the sales process when she suspects that a buyer is choosing the wrong product. Because selling more only makes sense if people are actually happy with your products and keep them.
How much does Netomi cost?
Like any good SaaS solution, Netomi adapts to your needs. You can find out how much it will cost and what your ROI will be based on the size of your company in their ROI calculator.
#3 Zoho for everything inventory
Did those chatbots and live video shopping sessions bring in more customers that your systems could handle? Last but not least, we have a SaaS solution that will help you to take full control of your supply chain while your business is growing so hard, it’s bursting at the seams. All from home, of course.
Multi-channel selling for smart retailers
Why put all your eggs in one basket? More and more online retailers are choosing to sell their inventory through more channels than just their own website. Etsy, eBay, and Amazon are filled with products from independent retailers.
It might seem impossible to keep track of your inventory, sales and support inquiries when your business is literally all over the place. In comes Zoho, an AI-powered inventory management system.
It’s great for small retailers looking to manage their inventory and orders with greater proficiency and accuracy. Some of its key features include:
- Inventory control
- Warehouse Management
- Multichannel Selling
- Order Management
- Order Fulfillment
- Insightful Reports
How much does Zoho cost?
Zoho grows with you, depending on how many orders you get. The tool offers 14-days free trial and standard plan starts at $59 per month when billed annually.
What’s the next step for your online retail business?
SaaS solutions show you how specific tools can help you reach your goals in a smarter, more efficient way. Start building your own stack of tools that takes a lot of the manual work out of your hands, and focus more on your customers.