Cin7 Spotlight: New Cin7 Onboarding Packages for Core

Here at Cin7, we’re always looking for new ways to improve our processes and products to help our customers succeed.

As such, we’re excited to talk about the new Cin7 onboarding packages we launched on September 1, 2023.

We’ve created some pretty comprehensive, convenient packages that will help you make the most out of Cin7 Core. After all, we want Cin7 users to master their new inventory management software to start selling quicker.

With that in mind, let’s go into why we created these packages and what each entails.

Why we’ve added these onboarding packages

We get it — the better you understand Cin7 Core, the more you can make the product work for you.

We also realize that not all of our customers learn the same way or have the same business needs. Some people are transferring from one inventory system to ours, and others have never worked with an integrated inventory system before.

To address all different customers’ needs, we created three levels of onboarding experiences to ensure every customer and their business is set up for success in the most convenient and easy way possible for them.

Keep reading to learn more.

The Essentials package

First up, we have our Essentials package. This is our basic level of onboarding and a great choice to get up and running at your own pace.

The Essentials package is completely digital and available on demand, so you can walk through the steps at your convenience.

This user-friendly package includes step-by-step guided walkthroughs directly in Cin7 Core that will show you how to complete every step of your account setup, in addition to how to perform everyday tasks after you’re up and running.

You’ll also gain access to our brand new Onboarding courses in Cin7 Core Academy if you need extra training while tackling some of the setup tasks and modules.

Moreover, you’ll have access to live pre-scheduled office hours with one of our onboarding experts. Ask them questions while you complete the self-guided materials and go over any last-minute concerns you might have.

Use the guided walkthroughs to complete the steps and modules you need now and progress through more as your business grows. By focusing on the basics first, you’ll be up and running in no time.

The Accelerate package

If you’re looking for a more immersive experience, the Accelerate package is a great option for your team. It’s the fastest and most efficient way to complete onboarding.

In this package, we’ve opted for a structured group experience. Over a four-week period, your team will attend a series of live sessions delivered by one of our Cin7 Core onboarding experts.

These sessions are supplemented with self-guided material and live pre-scheduled office hours with one of our onboarding experts for extra training as needed.

You’ll also get the chance to network. We offer these onboarding sessions in groups of up to six Cin7 customers, allowing you to meet others using Cin7 and learn from them.

The Focused package

Last but certainly not least, we have the Focused package. This package is uniquely tailored to each customer.

We strongly recommend this to any customers who require guidance for Warehouse Management, B2B, Point of Sale, Automation, and Integrations with their Cin7 Core subscription.

In this onboarding package, you’ll receive one-on-one virtual onboarding with a Cin7 expert over 8–12 weeks. And when we say it’s tailored for you, we mean it — everything will be built around your specific business needs.

In addition to the one-on-one sessions, you’ll review the standard Cin7 Core material and get plenty of opportunities to ask questions, get feedback, and ensure you feel comfortable with Cin7 Core.

Onboard today and grow your business

Your best interests align with ours. That’s why we want to provide you with an onboarding experience to set you up for success.

With these new onboarding packages, you can conveniently set up your Cin7 Core account to manage and grow your business quickly.

Whether that is to simply set up the basics on your own for now, prefer a structured environment and pace, or have complex requirements and processes, we have the right package and onboarding support for you to sell more, manage less, and connect everything.

Onboard with Partners

Cin7 Core onboarding packages are designed to provide expert assistance for you to onboard your own account. However, we know that some businesses may need even more. If you desire onsite consulting, business process optimization, or other third-party expertise, we have a large partner network ready to help. Check out our partner directory.

Find out more about how Cin7 Core can help your team’s inventory management today.

August updates blog image

Connected Inventory With Cin7 Core – Recent Updates

It’s the moment you’ve been waiting for all summer long – the August Cin7 Virtual Product Event! Wait, you actually have a life outside of developing a connected inventory system? What’s that like? Just kidding, we just love what we do and wouldn’t have it any other way.

And we’ve been super busy working on great new updates this past quarter. Our customers had over $35 billion in GMV in 2022, which is really impressive, and we’re dedicated to continuing to improve our products with the features you’ve asked for so we can help you grow even more in 2023.

We’re not the only ones excited about the prospects of cloud-based intelligent commerce either. IDC polled businesses worldwide, and  67% of respondents said cloud-based technology would probably have the biggest impact on their supply chain performance in the next two years!

We’ve introduced a lot of new features and integrations in the second quarter of 2023. Some of these updates include changes to reports, a new visual scheduler in production, and of course, our new integration with Walmart.

We’ve also got a sneak peek behind the curtain of changes we’re getting ready to roll out in the second half of the year for you.

Our newest changes will help you track your connected inventory over each stage of development and across all the marketplaces you sell on.

Cin7 Core updates and highlights

First of all, we want to give a big shoutout to Ciara Rogers, Senior Product Manager of Production and Manufacturing, and Alexandra Bogusevici, Senior Product Manager for Cin7 Core, for showing us the new updates in action. They demoed some of the new changes to Cin7 Core by walking us step-by-step through a customer order, from the initial phone call all the way through to a return and the restocking process.

Our features are shaped by the feedback we receive from our customers and partners, helping us ensure we create a connected inventory system that addresses their needs.

Easier restocking

Making returns seamless is definitely a priority for our customers. The National Retail Federation estimated 16.5% of all sales in 2022 were returned – that’s a value of $816 billion. We’re making it easier to keep restocks accurate.

Restock at the location of your choice (either from your computer, a mobile device using the Cin7 Core WMS app, or on the shopfloor with Cin7 Core WMS) with the associated sales order number. Once restocked in Cin7 Core, the item becomes available to all of your integrated selling channels, such as your ecommerce site or marketplaces.

Role-based dashboards

Another big change is our new role-based dashboards. We’re starting with our sales dashboard, which will be released soon, and will be introducing others as well. These dashboards will help admins customize the dashboard experience for different users based on their responsibilities, helping with productivity, user experience, and hopefully driving better business outcomes.

New customer dual POS screen

There’s also a new customer-facing screen to help you see what the customer does. You’ll still have your detailed POS screen with a breakdown of line items, but you’ll also see a simplified view that your customers do, helping you to troubleshoot and walk through any customer requests.

Fast app login options

Something your warehouse and manufacturing teams will be excited about is the new ability to log in to the app with Google, Face ID, or fingerprint authentication. One less password to remember is always a win.

Updates to our integrations

While we weren’t selected for the knighthood (yet), Cin7 is now an approved official solution provider for Walmart as of July 2023. And that’s pretty close in the world of retail.

In all seriousness, this means our integration works seamlessly with Walmart’s marketplace (can we get a high-five)! And Walmart trusts Cin7 to keep vendor inventories connected to Walmart’s systems.

When we spoke to Dylan of Seattle Pottery Supply, he told us, “Core has always been the ‘core’ of our stack. I chose Core because of all of the strong integrations as well as the strong API.” Here’s another integration to add to our growing list.

With this integration, you can quickly link or unlink products from your Cin7 Core application and view Walmart-specific sales records as well. You can even sync stock levels between the two platforms.

This joins our list of other integrations, such as with Shopify, Amazon, eBay, Quickbooks, and Xero.

Circular diagram with Cin7 integration logos inside of it.

We’ve also made updates to our Quickbooks integration. Now you can sync gift card payments more accurately between Cin7 Core and Quickbooks online. Credit card payments are now correctly reflected in Quickbooks online too. Trust us, your accountants will thank you for this one.

We’re always working to add updates based on customer feedback, so if you’ve got a suggestion for us, we’re all ears.

Coming soon to an inventory intelligence system near you

We’re proud to be an innovative solution to inventory management. As part of our forward-thinking changes, we’ve got some big developments planned for 2023.

Role-based dashboards

Our role-based dashboards will help you focus on the information you need to complete your job. These are personalized for you and your team. First, we’ll be releasing the Sales Dashboard, which aims to provide key insights for various roles, such as Sales Reps or Sales Managers. Users will be able to view KPIs such as Sales Performance, Order Management, Product Performance, and more! We’re also working on a procurement dashboard, and more role-based dashboards are coming soon.

Create product descriptions with ChatGPT

Yes, we’re jumping on the AI bandwagon, this is supposed to be intelligent commerce, after all. We’re excited about the possibilities of machine learning and automation to save you time. We’re leveraging AI tools into practical applications that can help Cin7 and inventory management.

We’re currently working on an integration with ChatGPT to generate better product descriptions for you with the touch of a button, directly from your Cin7 Core product page. We are excited to make this available to our early adopter customers. If you are interested in using this feature and giving us feedback, please contact us at marketing@cin7.com

Let us know if you’d like to be part of the test, we’d love to get your feedback!

The future of connected inventory with Cin7

Like your personal inventory superhero, we’re bringing capabilities that were once only available to enterprise-level corporations to small businesses, democratizing the connected inventory system.

Staying ahead of the curve and developing cutting-edge tools requires us to be faster than the speed of digital, but we’ll never let our forward-facing position compromise our dedication to listening to our customers.

Cin7 Core customer Flo of Marshfield Farms, found Cin7 to be instrumental in bringing their inventory system into the 21st century. “When we moved into Cin7 Core, the level of detail that we can see across all functions of the business is really amazing.”

We’ll continue to prioritize new features that you specifically ask for as we improve our product as a whole. So seriously, please continue providing that awesome feedback.

We’d love to show you how we can bring inventory intelligence to your business. We’re only a click away, so reach out and let us show you how we can help. Cin7 is all about bringing cutting-edge technology to our customers, and we are committed to continually improving inventory systems for everyone.

Woman on talking on phone and typing on computer

51 staggering small business statistics to know in 2023

 

Americans love small businesses. In fact, statistics on small businesses show that 47% of Americans shop small at least twice a week.

It’s not just consumers who love small businesses — the economy does too. You’ve likely heard the saying before, “Small businesses are the backbone of the U.S.,” and it’s true. Millions of new small firms enter the market every year, creating hundreds of thousands of jobs across all industries and millions of dollars flowing into the economy.

However, even with the support they receive, they aren’t without their struggles. Small businesses were hit the hardest with recent turbulent economic times with supply chain delays and inflation rising costs across the board.

Follow along as we look into the small business landscape of 2023 — what small businesses are most profitable, where they thrive, why some fail, and more. For a quick visual on the most insightful small business statistics, jump to our infographic below.

Key Findings:

  • More than 33 million small businesses in the U.S. employ more than half the American workforce.
  • On average, nearly 70% of small businesses make it past their first two years and 50% succeed beyond year five.
  • It’s common for small business retailers to utilize multiple sales channels, including an e-commerce website, Amazon, eBay, Shopify, and Etsy.
  • Inventory distortion causes a $1.1 trillion loss worldwide, and inventory and manufacturing waste $163 billion annually. Largely, in part, due to human error.
  • 71% of consumers expect better quality support from a small business compared to larger corporations, and they’re willing to pay for it, too.

What is a small business?

The definition of a small business isn’t as cut and dry as you may think. The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) sets the classification parameters, which vary by industry sector, revenue, and employment numbers. Some small businesses, as defined by the SBA, might make millions of dollars in revenue each year or employ hundreds, sometimes thousands, of workers.

For example, a jewelry retailer with an annual revenue of $20.5 million or less is considered a small business. However, the SBA also labels a cosmetics retailer earning $34 million as a small business. Additionally, book publishers with 1,000 employees classify as small businesses, but a new car dealership employing 300 people is not. For a full classification, look to the SBA table of size standards.

Beyond the numerical requirements, small businesses must also be:

  • For-profit
  • Independently owned
  • Not dominant in the field at a national level
  • Located and operated within the U.S.

01General small business statistics

  • Half of small firms operate out of the owner’s home.

  • The five states with the most small businesses are California, Texas, Florida, New York, and Illinois.

  • Small businesses account for the following industry market share:

    • Retail: 18%
    • Food and restaurant: 12% 
    • Fitness, beauty, and health services: 10%
    • Construction and contracting: 8%
    • Residential and commercial services: 7%
    Circle proportional area chart showing small business industry market share.
  • There are 33,185,550 small businesses in the United States.

  • Most small businesses (43%) classify as LLCs, followed by S corporations at 30%, C corporations at 18%, Sole Proprietorships at 6%, and partnerships at 3%.

  • Only 21% of small businesses start from scratch. Most (46%) operate on a franchise license, and 35% start from an existing business.

    Outline of a hand holding a tall building.

02Small business employment statistics

  • 46% of the U.S. workforce is employed by small firms.

  • Most small businesses (38%) operate with just two to five employees. 18% have six to eight employees and 16% are employed just the business owner. 9% have 11 to 15 employees, 6% have 16 to 20 employees, and 6% have 21 to 30 employees.

  • Over the last two decades, small firms have brought nearly 17.3 million jobs to the economy. 26% of businesses plan to continue to bolster job growth by adding to their team in 2023.

  • 47% of small firms faced difficulty filling positions in the past year. The most common challenges include:

    • Few applicants or low interest in the organization: 27%
    • Competition: 17%
    • Candidates don’t have the experience: 18%
    • Candidates don’t have the hard skills: 12%
    • Candidates don’t have the soft skills: 11%
    Horizontal bar chart showing the five most common hiring challenges small businesses face,

03Small business accounting and finance statistics

  • Rollovers for Business Startups (ROBS) fund more than half (52%) of small firms. Other common methods of financial sourcing are cash (19%) and SBA loans (13%). Less common methods are term loans (4%) or lines of credit (3%).

  • Owners spend the following to get their small businesses off the ground:

    • $250K–500K: 27%
    • $50K–175K: 26%
    • $500K–1M: 16%
    • $175K–250K: 14%
    • More than $1M: 12%
    • Less than $50K: 4%
    Six circular bar charts show how much owners spend to start their small businesses.
  • Small businesses generate more than 44% of U.S. economic activity.

  • Small business owners make a $63,494 salary on average. The average minimum salary is $29K, and the average maximum is $128K.

    Icon of hand, gear, and calendar to represent business operations.

  • 17% to 25% of a typical business’s budget is allocated for inventory.

    Two boxes of inventory stacked on one another.

  • Labor costs account for 70% of small business spend — their largest expense.

04Small business challenges statistics


  • $1.1 trillion lost from inventory distortion worldwide.
    $163 billion lost annually from inventory waste worldwide.

  • 14% of owners report cash flow as a main concern, with 11% facing supply chain issues.

  • The most common challenge for 22% of small business owners is recruiting and retention.

  • 43% of cyberattacks target small firms, with 57% coming from phishing attacks, 33% from stolen devices, and 30% from credential theft.

  • Human error is the main reason why the average U.S. small retailer has only 63% inventory accuracy.

    A box of inventory taped shut.

05Small business failure statistics

  • California, Massachusetts, and Louisiana have the highest success rates in the U.S., whereas Washington, Kansas, and Michigan have the three worst rates.

  • 40% of small businesses will become profitable eventually, but 30% lose money, and 30% break even.

  • The most common reasons businesses fail are:

    • Lack of demand
    • Lack of capital
    • Weak marketing
    • Poor inventory management

    A white arrow points down.

  • On average, 22% of businesses fail within their first year, 32% in the second, and half by their fifth. After this point, the failure rate slows, and by the 10-year mark, 66% have closed.

  • The most profitable small businesses are those in:

    • Home healthcare
    • Photography
    • Leisure and hospitality
    • Personal care
    • Cybersecurity

06Small business technology statistics

  • Only 18% of small businesses utilize inventory management software (IMS).

    A pie chart tells what methods small businesses use for inventory management.
  • 64% of small business owners use accounting software to manage their books.

  • 50% of small businesses rely on customer relationship management (CRM) tools.

  • 29% of small businesses use artificial intelligence in some manner, from task automation to forecasting analysis.

  • By 2025, over 50,000 warehouses will hold a combined 4 million commercial robots.

  • More than a third of companies plan to add more scannable bar codes (SKUs) and bar code scanners to improve inventory accuracy.

  • 3,600 toggles per day Is the number of times a typical worker switches between apps. The toggling tax — the time spent switching between apps and the cognitive effort it requires — adds up to five work weeks each year.

07Small business sales and marketing statistics

  • More than half of Amazon sellers make more than $5,000 a month, and 58% spend less than that to start.

  • It’s common for small business retailers to utilize numerous sales channels. The most common are:

    • E-commerce website: 66%
    • Amazon: 24%
    • eBay: 22%
    • Shopify: 7%
    • Etsy: 4%
    A pie chart shows what sales channels small businesses use to sell inventory.
  • Most small business post frequently on their social media:

    • Monthly: 94%
    • Weekly: 79%
    • Daily: 52%
    • Less than once a month: 6

    Icon of hand and calendar to represent scheduling social media posts.

  • 55% of small firms are on social media, making it the most popular advertising avenue. In fact, 20% rely on social media for visibility online instead of a website.

  • Over a quarter of businesses plan to invest more in marketing in 2023 — 18% in digitally and 10% traditionally.

  • Small businesses account for 60% of Amazon product sales, which translates to 4,000 products sold per minute by small retailers.

08Small business consumer behavior statistics

  • 91% of consumers prefer to support small firms when convenient, and 74% will actively search out small firms even if it’s inconvenient.

  • A wide range of products makes Amazon a first choice for 61% of online shoppers.

  • Some of the most important factors for small business customer service are:

    • Response speed
    • Sense of relationship
    • Enjoyable interactions

  • 71% of consumers expect better support from a small business.
    77% will pay more for better support.

    Two bar charts show the percentage of consumers who value customer support from small businesses.

  • In 2023, 7 in 10 consumers shop consciously to support businesses with corporate responsibility initiatives, like racial justice, LGBTQ+ rights, and climate change.

09Small business owner statistics

  • Minorities own about one-fifth of small businesses, roughly 1.1 million companies in the U.S.

  • 41% of small firm owners hold bachelor’s degrees, 29% hold master’s degrees, and 4% have docorates. The remaind small business owners have lower-level degrees — 10% with associates and 16% with high school diplomas or unspecified education.

  • Small business owners by age:

    • Gen X: 47%
    • Boomers: 40%
    • Millennials: 13%
    • Post-War: 0.3%
    A bar chart shows the percentage of small business owners by age generation.

  • Small business owners are:

    • White: 76%
    • Black: 5%
    • Asian: 5%
    • Hispanic: 5%
    • Native American: 1%
    • Pacific Islander: 1%

  • Nearly a fifth of small businesses are owned by immigrants.

  • There are roughly 1.7 million small businesses owned by veterans.

  • 1 in 4 small businesses is women-owned, consisting of 1.2 million employer firms and 10.9 million nonemployer companies.

FAQ

Follow along to answer some of the most asked questions about small businesses.

What are the benefits of being a small business?

Though they may face many challenges, small businesses have many benefits over large corporations. A few of these top benefits include:

  • Independence in your business and lifestyle
  • Creative freedom
  • Pride in your business
  • Professional learning opportunities
  • Close customer relationships

How many small businesses are there?

As of 2023, there are 33,185,550 small businesses in the United States.

How many businesses fail?

On average, 20% of businesses fail within their first year. After the second year, the failure rate increases to 30% and 50% by year five. By the 10-year mark, it slows and reaches 65%.

How long does it take for a business to be profitable?

Forty percent of small businesses will become profitable at some point, but it may take two to three years. Many business owners find themselves in the red or just breaking even during the beginning years.

What are the most used software types in business?

On average, small businesses use between 25 and 50 SaaS tools. However, 80% feel they don’t take full advantage of them. Some of the most common tools for small businesses are:

  • Accounting software
  • Time tracking tools
  • Project management systems
  • Inventory management software
  • Customer relationship management systems
  • Communication tools
  • Transactional/point of sale software

The future of small businesses

So where is the future of small business headed? Small business statistics show that firms must adapt to the ever-changing playing field. Technology plays a critical part in staying competitive.

If you’re part of the 83% of small businesses planning to invest in technology in the near future, consider a one-stop solution for efficiency. You don’t have the time or funds to pay the toggling tax of shuffling between multiple tools.

Connected inventory performance solutions like Cin7 Core and Cin7 Omni are just that —  cloud-based inventory management software that gives growing product businesses an automated and real-time view of the entire inventory life cycle. Integrating with applications allows you to consolidate, streamline, automate, and scale your inventory management from one place.

Methodology

In compiling our list of insightful small business statistics, we looked to the experts at the United States Small Business Administration, U.S. Census Bureau, Bureau of Labor Statistics, and U.S. Chamber of Commerce. We reviewed direct surveys from small business owners and consumers to round out our collection with information straight from the source. We pulled together fresh data from recent years from various relevant and quality sources.

13 small business statistics on business owners, demographics, profitability, and challenges.

Cin7 Core is now a Walmart Approved Solution Provider

We proudly announce our latest integration with Walmart Marketplace as an approved solution provider. This expands our existing marketplace connections that include Ebay, Amazon, and Etsy.

This partnership allows Cin7 Core customers to continue to expand their omnichannel reach without the need for additional software systems, extensive integrations, or manual processes. Adding Walmart marketplace to their channel strategy, sellers can reach approximately 220 million customers each week.

“Thanks to Cin7, managing our inventory and fulfillment has never been easier. The seamless integration with Walmart has allowed us to reach new customers and increase awareness of our products effortlessly.”

– Patrick Hothersall, Liftmode

Through this new standard integration, Cin7 Core customers can easily manage their orders and returns from the Walmart Marketplace, as well as manage their product catalogs.

  • Load sale orders from walmart.com in real-time or in batch mode to see all orders from all sales channels in one interface
  • Export shipping information to Walmart and enhance customer visibility
  • Capture and process returns and refunds for simpler accounting and inventory management
  • Manage product catalogs through the Cin7 Core interface, including listing and unlisting products
  • Update stock levels for up-to-date availability
  • Update product mapping to improve product visibility

Adding the integration of Walmart Marketplace to the collection of over 50 integrations available with Cin7 Core supports our mission of reducing the cost, time and effort of selling products for businesses around the world.

“Partnering with Walmart allows Cin7 customers to expand their businesses and growth – with the software systems they already use and trust. This is an exciting advancement that reinforces our commitment to supporting our customer’s growth.” 

– Ajoy Krishnamoorthy, Chief Product Officer, Cin7

The integration also opens the doors for even more product sellers to join the Walmart Marketplace which offers the opportunity to reach millions of shoppers who have become loyal customers over the years to the instantly recognizable household name – Walmart.

The true winners in this announcement are the product sellers who have the opportunity to quickly expand their reach and customers who have access to a broad assortment through Walmart’s endless aisle. The Cin7 Core and Walmart Marketplace integration is available now as a seamless integration with no additional development work is required.

Recommended Resources:

 

Link Walmart to Cin7 Core

link walmart to cin7 core

Manage the Walmart catalog

Link products

Load sales from Walmart

Configure the integration settings

Welcome to the next era of Cin7 – a note from CEO David Leach

It’s already been a big year of change for Cin7. As part of our shift to one unifying brand, we’ve:

  • Integrated and simplified our business to make things easier for our customers and partners
  • Invested heavily in product performance, customer service and support improvements (with more to come)
  • Renamed our two mission-critical products: Core and Omni
  • Launched our product vision for Intelligent Commerce

We were also recognized globally by Forbes magazine as being the Best Overall Inventory Management Software of 2023 and, in our own backyard, Hi-Tech Company of the Year in New Zealand!

And now, launching this week, we have a new story, new branding and a new vision for inventory operations designed to help unlock the next generation of global product sellers.

Let’s talk about what’s different, where we’re going next and what it means for you.

New vision, same mission

Our mission hasn’t changed: we’re still laser-focused on empowering product sellers to thrive in a complex and evolving digital world.

But two important things have happened.

First, digital commerce is accelerating at a staggering pace. New channels, new technologies, new customer demands and volatile markets amount to a lot of challenges and opportunities for product businesses to navigate.

Second, Cin7 has grown alongside these shifts to become the technology and growth partner for 8,500 product sellers in 100+ countries. And the more businesses we’ve helped, the more “inventory management” only seems like part of the story. It only scratches the surface of what we offer today (and our vision for the future).

It’s time to reframe what we do for ambitious and growing product sellers. The thing we do best is to help product sellers transition from simply managing inventory to maximizing business performance.

Introducing … Connected Inventory Performance

If you’ve tried to grow a product business then you know the more you sell, in more places, the more complex inventory becomes — and that complexity becomes the enemy of growth.

Traditional inventory management systems do little to address this complexity. While they handle all the finicky, manual, error-prone tasks of inventory management, they sap the time and resources you need to actually grow your business.

On the other hand, Cin7 is built to radically simplify the complexity of inventory management at any scale. That’s why we’re calling what we do Connected Inventory Performance. Here are some of the ways it benefits your inventory operation:

  • Drives efficiency, traceability and automation across every stage of your inventory lifecycle
  • Tracks every product from supplier to storage to shipment to whatever channel customers buy through
  • Integrates with over 700+ applications across the commerce ecosystem
  • Provides deep, real-time insights into your inventory performance to make data-driven decisions

The big picture is that Connected Inventory Performance is designed to help you transform complexity into performance. It’s like the difference between getting your learner’s permit and racing a Formula One car. Sure, both involve driving — but one is about the basic fundamentals of getting from A to B, and the other is the science of creating a competitive advantage through speed, efficiency, and automation.

There are a lot of ways Connected Inventory Performance helps product sellers win — and we’re excited to explore them with you in the coming months.

I’m immensely proud of all that Cin7 has achieved together with our customers and partners so far. I want to say thank you to all of you for allowing us to be a part of your journey.

We believe that Connected Inventory Performance is going to fundamentally change the way that product businesses sell to customers — and we can’t wait to see where it takes you.

If you’re ready to take the next steps with us, take a look around our brand new Cin7.com site and sign up for our August Launch Event here.

Cin7 Named 2023 Hi-Tech Company of the Year by NZ Hi-Tech Awards

Cin7 is humbled and honored to be chosen as the PwC New Zealand Hi-Tech Company of the Year at the 2023 NZ Hi-Tech Awards. As a New Zealand-based company with strong ties to our local roots as well as global ambitions, we’re proud to be recognized by the PwC NZ Hi-Tech Awards as “a shining example of how Kiwi companies can win in global markets.”

The five international judges who chose us as the Hi-Tech Company of the Year winner further highlighted our ability to compete against large international brands by being ahead of the curve in understanding changes in e-commerce and omnichannel selling and supply chains.

At Cin7, we see this as a stepping-off point for global growth for our brand and our customers. We strive to be growth partners for our customers by providing mission-critical software that keeps the business running so they can invent new products and generate more revenue, not just locally, but globally. We want to help create tomorrow’s famous brands.

That being said, we’re especially proud of our New Zealand roots which have been a key source of our “get stuff done” culture. We first applied for this award in 2022 and were honored to be listed as one of six finalists. Going from a finalist to a category winner in one year has been a real honor.

“We’re blown away by this big win and local recognition in New Zealand. As a business founded in New Zealand in 2012, the win is deeply meaningful to all of us here at Cin7. We are very humbled and proud of our brand, our business, our software, and especially our people,” said Cin7’s CEO, David Leach.

“It was great to see so many amazing tech companies from all around NZ getting recognition for their achievements locally and internationally. It was one of those special moments we’ll remember for a very long time.”

Getting to this point has truly been a team effort for Cin7. Over the past 12 years, our company has grown to employ more than 350 people across six countries, and each and every individual contributed to our growth and impact on the industry.

About the NZ Hi-Tech Awards

The NZ Hi-Tech Awards were originally launched in 1994 as the VSI Electronics Excellence Awards. Since its inception, the awards recognize success and excellence in New Zealand’s tech industry at the annual ceremony gala. The NZ Hi-Tech Trust manages the Awards Programme and celebrates the tech sector’s role as a significant driver of New Zealand’s economic and export success.

About Cin7

Cin7’s inventory and order management platform (including Cin7 Omni and Cin7 Core) connects more than 800 e-commerce platforms, online marketplaces, 3PL warehouses, and native EDIs in one solution, helping retailers and product sellers quickly and efficiently get their products to customers wherever they are, from any channel. Cin7 was founded in New Zealand and supports product sellers in 25 countries. In early 2020, Cin7 established a significant US presence to serve its growing customer base and accelerate growth in the North American market. Every month, millions of orders flow through the platform, representing billions of dollars in product sales, as Cin7 helps growing brands sell more products, to more customers, in more places.

In addition to being named Hi-Tech Company of the Year in 2023 by the NZ Hi-Tech Awards, we’ve been named a Great Place to Work in Sri Lanka and a Best Place to Work in Colorado by Built In.

The future is intelligent commerce

The last few years have been a rollercoaster for businesses, from the sudden and dramatic shift to online selling through the global pandemic, to the recently reported slowdown in online sales.

Based on research presented by Benedict Evans in February 2023, this shift isn’t actually a downturn, it’s a return to the eCommerce trendline.

While the eCommerce spike benefited businesses that were able to quickly adjust and pivot, the increased spending wasn’t sustainable. The re-alignment with the existing trendline shows that eCommerce sales are actually continuing to grow, driven by organic growth factors including a shift in overall consumer behavior and technology advancements.

 

Another revolution in commerce

But behind the scenes, there’s another revolution impacting the way we run our businesses. We’ve already seen a tremendous shift from analog commerce to digital commerce, moving from green accounting pads and cold-hard cash to always-on eCommerce stores and seamless connectivity. But the next revolution is the shift to intelligent commerce.

What is intelligent commerce?

Intelligent commerce expands the use of advanced technology, including artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning to improve the customer experience, drive operational efficiency, and drive business growth.

With intelligent commerce, businesses can get real-time insights into their inventory levels, sales trends, and customer demand. Business owners can optimize their demand forecasting, leveraging historical sales data and other variables, including seasonal trends, customer behavior, and even the impact of marketing campaigns by leveraging advanced tools within their existing systems. This enhanced forecasting reduces the risk of stock-outs and ensures that customers can purchase the products they want, regardless of the channel they choose.

What’s driving this shift and why now?

The current technological landscape is witnessing a rapid pace of innovation, including automation, mobility, and intelligence. These advancements pave the way for intelligent commerce, where businesses can leverage data-driven insights to personalize customer experiences and make informed decisions. Several of these technologies are already being used by large enterprises, but the time is right to democratize them for small businesses.

At Cin7, we are committed to making intelligent commerce accessible to all by providing affordable and easy-to-use solutions. The convergence of automation, mobility, and intelligence has created a unique opportunity for businesses to improve their operational efficiency, enhance customer engagement, and ultimately drive growth.

 

The future at Cin7

Cin7 Core and Cin7 Omni have helped over 8500 customers in 75 countries transition from analog to digital commerce and take advantage of opportunities for accelerated growth.

“It’s the perfect growth platform for small to medium inventory businesses.”

– Cale Watson, Operations Manager for Mega Medical

Our product investments are guided by customer feedback and evolving market needs.

We gather feedback and insights from our customers and partners to identify pain points, unmet needs, and opportunities for improvement. This information is then used to guide product development and innovation, ensuring that the resulting products and services align with customer expectations.

In addition to investing in products based on customer feedback and needs, we also recognize the importance of investing in future needs based on recent technological advancements. We understand this dynamic and are committed to offering products that help our customers today while also building a future-proof solution.

Our approach involves leveraging the latest technologies and trends to create products that can adapt and evolve with our customer’s changing needs. By taking a forward-thinking approach, we enable our customers to stay ahead of the curve and maintain a competitive advantage in their respective markets. Our focus on both customer needs and future trends ensures that our products provide value and relevance to our customers, both now and in the future.

With this balanced product investment, we will enable our customers on Cin7 Core and Cin7 Omni successfully transition to intelligent commerce taking advantage of advanced technologies such as AI and machine learning, automation, and mobility to optimize their operations, and ultimately drive growth and profitability.

This includes investments in:

  • Personalized, intuitive applications. With role-based dashboards and interactive charts, every member of your team will have the information at their fingertips that they need to make key business decisions.
  • Actionable insights. Optimize your operations with intelligent forecasting based on customer behavior to optimize inventory levels and production schedules. Leverage AI and machine learning to simplify product management, marketing, and more.
  • Strong ecosystem. Cin7 has already built strong connections with key industry partners, including Intuit Quickbooks Online, Xero, Shopify, Amazon and we are committed to investing in our ecosystem and developing best-in-class native integrations with additional partners including Shiprush, Shipstation, and others. These partnerships and integrations empower Cin7 Core and Omni customers to grow by leveraging the power best of breed solutions that are connected seamlessly using Open APIs.

 

Our Product Vision: A personalized platform with actionable insights, smart automation and seamless integrations

This shift to intelligent commerce requires product investments over the next couple of years and we are starting now. Here is a preview of what you can expect to see from those investments through 2023.

 

Cin7 Core Cin7 Omni
Enhanced usability
  • Get the insights you need with new role-based dashboards
  • Quick access to data with global search
  • Easily preview and action with side panel view
  • Context-based help within app
  • Simplified tax view at product/service level
Future proof platform
  • Simplified sign-in in WMS, MES and POS mobile apps
  • SMS notifications
  • Rapid release with phased deployment
  • Additional API endpoints (e.g. write cartonization)
Deepening module capabilities
  • Ml/AI enabled features (e.g. forecasting, personalization)
  • Calendar view for production scheduler
  • New stock calculation engine
  • Improved stock take in WMS
Best in class Integrations
  • Continued QBO integration enhancements
  • New best of breed solution integrations with our partners
  • Updated/New Shopify dashboards
  • New Avalara Tax integration

 

Looking beyond

At Cin7, our curiosity and commitment extend to discovering new ways to enhance the value of your inventory, warehouse, and manufacturing systems. We are determined to provide you with cutting-edge tools and solutions that have traditionally been complex, expensive, and only accessible to large corporations. We are constantly learning more about the unique challenges faced by our customers so we can develop solutions to address their needs. By working closely with our customers, we provide tailored solutions that drive growth, efficiency, and profitability.

We’ve only scratched the surface of what’s to come, and what is possible. Cin7 is committed to building the runway for our customer’s long-term growth through our strategic investment in the Cin7 Core and Omni products. Step into the future of intelligent commerce with us.

Cin7 Branding Update 2023

REBRANDING TOOLKIT: IMPORTANT NEWS FOR CIN7 PARTNERS

As we prepare to implement our “We are Cin7” brand strategy, we want to equip you and your teams for our new brand positioning.

Where to find the new Cin7 logos and how to use them

The new logos can be found in this zip file on the Cin7 website. The logo pack contains both colored and monochrome icons. In most cases, it’ll be a simple job to swap out an existing colored or monochrome logo for a new one, either on your website or in your marketing materials.
New Logos

Timelines

To avoid confusing customers, we’re carefully staging the release of the new branding.

Stage 1: January 9, 2023

DEAR logos: From January 9, please change DEAR logos to “DEAR is becoming…” style. Example below:

Cin7 logos: From January 9, please change Cin7 logos to “Cin7 is becoming…” style. Example below:

Stage 2: June 1, 2023

Cin7 Core logos: From June 1, 2023, please change “DEAR is becoming…” style logos to Cin7 Core logos. Example below:

Cin7 Omni logos: From June 1, 2023, please change “Cin7 is becoming…” style logos to Cin7 Omni logos. Example below:

Please update your websites on January 9th, 2023 US or as close as reasonably possible.

How to refer to Cin7’s brand and Cin7’s products

When you’re talking about inventory management, please use our Company Brand and logo “Cin7.” When you are talking about a specific product, please use the appropriate product name and/or logo.

Examples:

  • Inventory Management can help your business grow! Learn more about Cin7 and the inventory management offerings we support.
  • We are certified in implementing Cin7 Core.
  • We are integrated with Cin7 Omni.

Need more help?

Ask your Cin7 Partner manager for help, if you have any questions.

Want to help your clients weather a recession? Prepare for growth

Help customers recession-proof their business with a complete business system

All over the world, product sellers are worried that a recession is lurking just around the corner. And even without that fear, there’s no denying that times have got harder for many. Inflation is soaring, consumers are cutting back on spending, and supply chain crises continue to rock the globe.

How can you help your clients prepare for this uncertain future, while ensuring that your own business thrives? Ironically, the best way might be by equipping them with the same tools and mindset that you’d offer in more prosperous times.

“We’re living in a very dynamic world right now, where you’ve seen a huge shift from maybe typically retail-based businesses or wholesale-based businesses moving into the online sphere,” says Adam Wakeman, Cin7 Expert and Director of Halkin Business Partners. “And doing that on an old legacy ERP can potentially be a nightmare, but when you’ve got a flexible and agile IMS solution, it helps facilitate that change in quite a quick way. And we’ve seen some of those traditional businesses really benefit from that.”

Give us 15 minutes

We want to accelerate you towards your business goals and check every box on your inventory client’s wishlist

Your clients need a business system

We’ve talked to many different Cin7 customers and partners over the years, and one of the best things we’ve heard a customer call our software is a “business system.”

“Cin7 is a business system — it’s how we do business,” says Mindy Chisholm, founder of Australian jewelry brand Zafino. She credits Cin7 with powering an ecosystem that’s enabled their business to grow and thrive across multiple channels, and their Cin7 Expert partner SMB Consultants with implementing their software stack, and making sure that their business system continues to evolve with their needs.

“Businesses are starting to explore what off the shelf turnkey systems can do in terms of providing the same functionality as a legacy ERP, but then don’t have the burden of the big cost commitment and long delivery times to complete bespoke work,” says SMB Consultants founder Jeff Atizado.

This is exactly what Mindy means by a “business system.” Putting the right inventory management software at the core means other components — eCommerce like Shopify or WooCommerce, accounting software like Xero or QuickBooks Online, or fulfilment software like ShipStation — can be added when and if your client requires. “I think the biggest gain for most companies is consolidating their business into a system that can manage all of these different sales channels and fulfillment locations to give them a central point of truth,” Jeff adds.

A business system lets clients stay on top of costs and supply chains

In uncertain times, having a business system conveys a huge advantage. Systems that are typically used as growth engines also work as time and money-savers. The cost of a business system founded on Cin7 is typically much less than a legacy ERP, and the fact that its components are typically paid by subscription means that if a given component isn’t working, the client can (with your help!) simply turn it off, downgrade, or switch to a better one. This simply isn’t possible with a legacy ERP, which are highly inflexible. If one component is failing your client, they have to look at scrapping the whole thing — a huge waste of time and money.

“Some small businesses might say ‘Oh, it’s a lot of money to be spending on systems,’ but I keep adding more in,” Mindy says. She reckons that a business system with Cin7 at the core is well worth the cost. Typically, Cin7 does the work of several back-office employees. It gives your client choices — they can (as many Cin7 clients have!) give their existing people better-paying, more productive work in sales, marketing, or the like, or they may never have to hire in the first place!

Quantify the costs and benefits for more trust and happier clients

You’re uniquely qualified to help your clients make the right decision for their business by investing in a powerful business system. A powerful way to demonstrate the value of both a business system and the work that you do is to quantify the effect the system will have on your clients. It works for both existing clients and new ones. For new clients, you can work to understand the costs of their existing system — in terms of time and money — and use the experiences of your current clients to make estimates on savings. For existing clients, you can work out how much your services have saved them, or how much growth you’ve enabled since you started working together.

There are multiple ways to approach this quantification, and they all help foster a good working relationship with your clients. While it’s easy to quantify direct savings, such as not spending money on an expensive legacy ERP, other factors can be quantified too. Ask your clients: what would be their target for time saved, with the new system? And how much would that time be worth to them? What would it be worth to know exactly where their product was in the production cycles, or where it was in warehouses, or to know exactly where it was on its way to the customer, or on its way to you from the factory?

“When I was looking for an inventory management solution, I needed a good IT product that suited what we did and was great value for money,” says Cin7 customer Jennifer Xidias, of fashion brand Peta+Jain. “Cin7 is that product. It has seriously saved us about $130,000 this year alone, through not having to employ extra warehouse and admin staff. And when it comes to time, it saves hours every day not having to key in the data manually or create spreadsheets to import.”

When clients understand how much money a business system can (or is!) saving them, it’s a huge demonstration of both Cin7’s value, and yours, and an incredible showcase for how you can help them prepare for the bad times that might be around the corner — and the good times that might be coming right after that.

Helping LOCATE customers find a new home

The choices for inventory and order management software are narrowing by the month. In July 2020, Square sunsetted Stitch Labs. In June 2021, Intuit/QuickBooks announced it was sunsetting its TradeGecko platform. In November of 2021, Xero announced October 10, 2022 as the date it will be sunsetting its LOCATE software.

The field of inventory software providers is undergoing a trend of consolidation because the few top full-featured players are becoming established as the solutions of choice.

If you’ve started an ecommerce business, are in the planning stages for one, or are expanding your brick-and-mortar to include online, implementing a flexible, cloud-based, all-in-one inventory and order management system should be top of mind.

The sunsetting of LOCATE may leave you in need of another software solution for managing  your inventory. If that’s the case, how would you feel about getting an online system that could do more than LOCATE? Is your business sufficiently prepared for robust growth, for instance? Cin7 is an inventory and order management solution built to position your business for growth for years to come.

There are still several options out there, even without LOCATE. How can you know which solution to choose? How do the leading providers that are left compare to each other? Which solution is best for you?

 

Choosing the right alternative to LOCATE

Here are some important considerations to keep in mind as you begin to research inventory control providers.

A solution that will grow with you

The software you choose should be able to keep up with the growth of your business. A good way to estimate the future growth of your business is to take the quantity of goods you’re currently selling and increase it by a reasonable growth factor each year for the next five years.

Higher complexity online sellers are adopting Cin7, which supports multichannel sales operations and boasts over 700 built-in integrations that connect to popular accounting, shipping, and 3PL providers to handle warehousing and fulfillment.

When selecting an inventory management system, you should make sure it’s  completely SaaS-based. SaaS stands for Software as a Service, which essentially means it operates totally in the cloud. Some providers are not completely SaaS based, and require physical servers to be installed in each of your locations. Of course, these servers have to be maintained.

Highly configurable multichannel D2C options

We recently conducted a survey of 4,000 online sellers. We wanted to find out what strategies the most successful sellers were applying. Of the 4,000 businesses we polled, 47% rated multichannel selling as their #1 priority.

Building a variety of sales channels allows for a more agile business strategy, one that’s less vulnerable to market disruptions. Cin7’s integrated ecosystem enables multichannel selling from all of your online and physical store locations.

We even published the survey as a fact-filled eBook. It’s available for free right here.

Strengthen your supply chain

We’ve all heard about the current state of the global supply chain. Experts tell us the disruption may not be resolved until 2024 or beyond. This underscores the importance of choosing a software provider with the richest feature set for the price to mitigate the impact of supply chain disruption wherever possible.

Compared to competitors, Cin7 comes out way ahead when it comes to feature depth. As your business grows, the ability to connect directly to major retailers via built-in EDI simplifies bulk orders and payment processing. Cin7 seamlessly connects inventory and order management to point of sale, online marketplaces, accounting software, shipping, and 3PL providers. It also includes a warehouse management system.

When it comes to integrations, no other solution can beat Cin7. With over 700 built-in connections, Cin7 creates a centralized network of real-time 360° visibility across your business and builds efficiencies in finance, order fulfillment, EDI, and 3PL.

Cin7 immediately syncs all sales and purchasing transactions with popular accounting software like QuickBooks and Xero.

When it comes to financial analysis and reporting, Cin7 boasts extensively configurable reporting analytics including pivot table-based reports to help with sales analysis and inventory forecasting.

B2B and Wholesale

Cin7 ensures you can handle inventory control, sales, purchasing, order fulfillment and payment processing for B2B orders. Cin7 includes a configurable payment portal that allows you to set payment terms, take wholesale order deposits of any amount, and process all payments.

Cost

Cin7 is priced in the mid hundreds, includes multiple users, and connections to third parties in the monthly subscription fee. Most other solutions require middleware providers to create connections and charge a recurring monthly fee per connection.

With the number of connections required to run your business, it’s financially wise to go with a provider that has already built direct connections to the leading third parties you’re going to need to work with and includes them in your monthly fees.

 

Don’t delay researching

October 10, 2022 is just around the corner. If you’re a growing product seller and multiple sales channels is your goal, book a demo here. One of our Cin7 sales specialists will help you find out if Cin7 is a fit for your growing business.

Merrell NZ: How to build a highly engaged customer base

This is a guest blog post written by Cin7 partner, Marsello. Learn more about our partner program.

Email marketing is a key sales tactic for retailers and product sellers, so it’s important to have an active, responsive database. That means consistent or growing engagement (open and click rates), a high repeat purchase rate, and growing average customer lifetime value.

In this article, we’ll look at how Cin7 and Marsello customer Merrell NZ builds their customer database, which boasts a 15% repeat purchase rate and an average purchase frequency of 3.5x.

Did you know? 50% of consumers buy from marketing emails at least once per month, and 59% say that marketing emails influence their purchase decisions (Salecycle, 2022).

How to build a highly engaged customer base

1. Collect high quality contacts

Merrell NZ use a clever tactic to ensure the best quality contacts are added to their database: They ask for more than just an email address.

This might seem contradictory — surely the more information you ask for, the fewer leads you get? But Merrell NZ know that their most valuable customers are those who are willing to give just a bit more information.

This pop-up has a 25% sign-up rate. That’s incredible.

Here’s why the pop-up works:

  • It gets to the point in the first two sentences.
  • It’s aligned with Merrell’s beautiful, down-to-earth brand.
  • It offers VIP rewards in return for contact information (and everyone knows giving your date of birth means birthday goodies!)

For a business that understands how valuable its database is, this tactic is perfect.

Top 3 Pop-Up Mistakes:

  • No offer, promise of value, or incentive
  • No obvious purpose (too wordy, or an unclear offer)
  • Poor user experience (for example, it’s hard to get the pop-up to close)

2. Leverage email automation

Merrell NZ is building even stronger relationships with their customers with automations. Triggered when customers take a specific action or meet certain criteria, automated emails help Merrell NZ deliver a highly personalized customer experience.

Marsello “gives us the opportunity to link customers from our retail and web stores, work around customer retention and automate email marketing flows in a really clever way,” says José Matiz, Retail Manager for Merrell NZ.

“For us, Marsello was a game-changer, we have been using it for over a year. We started with email marketing and now moved on to loyalty programs and several automations, it’s amazing,” says José.

Above: Merrell NZ’s abandoned cart automation, set up in Marsello.

Automated emails, triggered by a customer action, get 8 times more opens than manual, bulk emails. Here are two very effective automations you can set up in just a few clicks:

  • Welcome emails: More than 80% of consumers will open a welcome email, and these automated welcome emails see up to 10 times more clicks than other manual emails. You can deliver immediate value with a thank you discount or voucher to make a great first impression, introduce them to your brand, and encourage them to buy again.
  • Abandoned cart emails: Send a friendly reminder to customers if they abandon their cart. This reminds your customers to come back to your store and complete their purchase. On average, each abandoned cart email generates $5.64. In comparison, the average promotional email generates $0.02.

3. Use segmentation

Customer segmentation is the process of dividing customers into groups, allowing retailers to do more targeted and effective marketing.

Segmentation is a powerful antidote to poor database engagement and low email open rates. According to research by Hubspot, 78% of marketers reported that segmenting their database is their most effective email marketing strategy. In an analysis of more than 100,000 emails, Hubspot found that segmented email lists had 12% higher click-through rates than emails sent to an entire database.

You can segment your database in any number of ways, allowing you to discover and create different cross-sections and niche subgroups within your database:

  • Demographics: Segment by common customer characteristics such as age, gender, or life stage.
  • Geography: Segment customers based on country, state, or city.
  • Behavior: Segment customers based on their activity at your stores such as last purchase data, repeat purchase rate, or the number of loyalty points earned.
  • RFM: Segment by Marsello’s RFM groups based on purchase recency, frequency, and spend. (most valuable customers, at-risk customers, window shoppers, and more).
  • Or any combination of the above.

 

Merrell NZ: Creating segments of your best customers

Merrell NZ’s average repeat purchase rate across the database is 15%, but some groups of their customers purchase more frequently than others. Merrell NZ uses loyalty program tiers to create segments of their most engaged customers for VIP marketing.

Above: Segment your marketing lists with Cin7 + Marsello.

Sending targeted marketing to your best customers, like this, is smart. Roughly 80% of a business’s profits will come from 20% of its customers—that is, your regulars. These customers are brand-aware, highly likely to engage with your emails, and are very unlikely to unsubscribe.

Retailers can also send more frequent messages to those who are loyal brand followers (although you’ll see your best engagement if you don’t send more than five emails per week).

Some customer database tips

  1. Email marketing is all about quality, not quantity. Sending targeted, considered emails to smaller groups will often outperform bulk emails to your entire database.
  2. Database hygiene will help engagement and reduce costs. From time to time, remove contacts from your lists if they haven’t responded to win-back campaigns, or haven’t opened emails in a long time.
  3. Get more granular, detailed customer data for better segmentation. Connect your online and in-store sales channels to your marketing platform for the best results.

Cin7 + Marsello

Powered by Cin7 and your e-commerce data, Marsello works seamlessly in-store and online to provide a true omnichannel customer experience.

  • Capture in-store and online customer details
  • Deliver personalized and timely automated marketing
  • Incentivize repeat purchases with email, SMS, a loyalty program, and more
  • Grow your average basket size with advanced product recommendations
  • Accurately track and attribute sales to your marketing activity

Book a demo with Marsello

Global DTC brands are opening more physical stores – here’s why

This is a guest blog post written by Cin7 partner, Marsello. Learn more about our partner program.

Content Summary

Multi-national, globally-renowned Direct-to-Consumer (DTC) brands are adapting to growing online competition. The cost of acquiring a customer online is increasingly expensive as brands compete for ad placement. In this article, we’ll dive into why this means it’s more important than ever to build customer relationships and collect customer data.

Across America, the death of the mall has been widely reported, with the pandemic touted to be the final nail in the coffin.

But at the same time, multi-national, globally-renowned DTC brands are opening bricks-and-mortar stores left, right, and center. Both Warby Parker and Allbirds, DTC giants, have plans to expand their physical presence to boost profits, and others are following suit.

Why are we seeing a return to bricks-and-mortar?

1. Digital advertising is no longer cheap.

When e-commerce was in its infancy, digital marketing and advertising were cheap, and getting good digital ‘real estate’ was much less competitive. At this point, it made complete sense to downsize your physical presence—why pay rent when you could spend that money on digital ads and make 10x or even 100x the sales?

But as a majority of retailers filled the online space, it became harder and more expensive to stand out from the crowd, and returns on ad spend diminished.

What’s more, digital ads become even more expensive as you scale. So much so, that it will eventually make more sense for a growing business to pay rent and get foot traffic than add that spend to a digital ad account.

“No digitally native brand has achieved a billion dollars in annual revenue without a store. You need those stores as a cost-effective customer acquisition channel at some point.”

—Jason Goldberg, chief commerce strategy officer, Publicis

In another interesting effect, a study by the International Council of Shopping Centres (ICSC) found that when a retailer opens a new physical store, web traffic coming from that geographical market increases by an average of 37%. So not only does a physical store increase foot traffic, it also increases online traffic—and thus, online sales.

Bricks-and-mortar and e-commerce are no longer competing go-to-market strategies, they’re complementary channels. The “bricks-and-mortar is the past and online is the future” mindset is simply outdated. But at the same time, retailers who take an old-school approach to bricks-and-mortar will struggle.

2. We’re people, not robots.

As much as technology augments our lives, it cannot and will not replace our need for in-person interaction, at least not for a long time yet. The pandemic was a testament to this. Sure, we have the technology to work, shop, and socialize remotely, but we simply don’t want to live our whole lives on a screen (at least, not yet).

Workplaces are trying to attract people back to the office to increase morale and build back up that buzzing workplace atmosphere that has been lost to the waves of WiFi. And though we’re still on shaky ground, it’s clear that people have no desire to be holed up in their houses forever.

Getting out and about to wander the streets, browse shops, get coffee with friends, go out for dinner… it’s part of who we are. But when  we’re out shopping, we’re looking for that missing piece; the experience we don’t get when we’re online.

We are more discerning about in-store shopping experience than ever before, so retailers are using their physical stores as an opportunity to build community and create a deeper connection between customers and their brand.

Retailers are also realizing that their physical stores act as much as showrooms as points of sale. Consumers can go in and get a hyper-personalized experience: they can talk to an employee, browse the store, try on clothes or compare products in the flesh, and get authentic, in-person feedback.

While large multi-national retailers have the budget for extensive customer research, independent retailers still have the edge on customer experience.

Owner-operators are often behind the till, and staff are there because they are passionate about the products they sell. Where customers shopping at large retail chains will rarely connect with the same person twice, independent retailers know their regulars by name.

The experience that is delivered by independent retailers is the kind of personalization big box retailers strive for, and spend millions of dollars trying to recreate.

Apple’s Genius Bar is designed to bring customers into a ‘club’ and connect them with employees in person—all part of Apple’s exclusive, high-touch customer experience. Image source: Macworld

3. Better cross-channel data is more accessible.

A savvy retailer knows that e-commerce and bricks-and-mortar work in tandem. The experience must be seamless between the two.

A good in-store experience can lead to social follows, email sign-ups, website traffic—and more sales. A good online experience can likewise drive foot traffic, as people come to browse your store for inspiration, speak to a passionate expert, try in-store before they buy, or take advantage of click-and-collect convenience.

But an even savvier retailer collects customer data both in-store and online, so they can more accurately attribute all sales to their marketing channels and activities.

Let’s look at some examples of common frustrations.

  • EXAMPLE 1:
    You’re a fashion retailer. You send an email out to your customer database promoting this season’s new collection. While you see some direct sales on the online store, you’re not sure how many people shopping in-store have come in because they saw the email.
  • EXAMPLE 2:
    You’re an independent jewelry retailer, with a large following on Instagram. Some of your social media followers liked a post about a new necklace. Later that week, they come in-store and buy the necklace, but you can’t know that they saw the post, so you assume your social media isn’t very good at driving sales.

What if you could get visibility over which channels drove sales in each of these examples? What if you had the data to know when an in-store sale was generated by an email or even a social media post?

Integrated data is one of the most powerful tools an omnichannel retailer can possess. It’s simple. When you know what works, you can do more of it.

Brands who succeed in the new world of bricks-and-mortar…

✔ Build customer relationships.

First and foremost, you need to know who your customers are. Collect customer details at every possible opportunity—through promotions, at POS, from QR codes in marketing or at events or launches, through a loyalty program, et cetera. Learn from them—understand who your core customer is, and what messages they resonate with. Then, build genuine connections and grow with them. Engage with them on social media, greet them in-store, send your top customers access codes to pre-release products.

✔ Build an authentic brand experience.

Stay true to your brand’s vision, mission, and values. Live and breathe them. Hire people who believe in what you do, and who share your values too. If you have a purpose or desire to make an impact on the world, be loud about it. Get really creative, build an in-store experience around what your brand stands for, then use your digital channels as a ‘window’ through which to showcase the in-store experience.

✔ Do smarter marketing.

Know where your in-store sales are coming from, and which channels and activities get the best results. It can be difficult to know what the sales impact of opening a new store is, so be data-driven and methodical as best you can. That’s not to say you shouldn’t do something unexpected—like a big PR stunt—but track it. Connect your POS, marketing, inventory, and e-commerce data. Test, measure, rinse and repeat.

Cin7 + Marsello

Powered by Cin7 and your e-commerce data, Marsello works seamlessly in-store and online to provide a true omnichannel customer experience.

  • Capture in-store and online customer details
  • Deliver personalized and timely automated marketing
  • Incentivize repeat purchases with email, SMS, a loyalty program, and more
  • Grow your average basket size with advanced product recommendations
  • Accurately track and attribute sales to your marketing activity

Book a demo with Marsello