Digital sales channels (such as e-commerce websites, amazon, content marketing, affiliate  marketing) aren’t new, but because of a variety of factors (time, money, knowledge), you might not have ventured far into exploring solutions for your business. As discussed in last week's post, it can require a huge investment to travel that path on your own. With the right strategy, however, using digital channels for your nursery and landscape supply business can turn into a successful venture.

If you do currently offer online sales, you can attest to the complexity of it. When the channel is something you have to maintain yourself, you find out that it is more complicated than putting photos of products with prices on your website. You also have to consider payment methods and set up merchant accounts. You have to make sure your website is secure. And that’s just the beginning! While there is value in having your own e-commerce site, maintaining your own e-commerce site is not always the most efficient way to do it.  Costs and the ability to connect to others in the supply chain limit what you can do on your own.

Advantages of Online Marketplaces Over Individual E-Commerce Efforts

Operating on a marketplace is different than sustaining your own e-commerce market on your own website. On your own, you’d have to foot the bill for the technology and features you need. That’s not all, though.

Joining a Marketplace Allows You to Grow without Massive Investments of Time and Money

Getting your product in front of buyers is actually the hardest part of the whole enterprise. Even if you put together an e-commerce site, you’re limited to your existing buyers and the few new buyers you can attract to your website.
Growing your digital audience (and pool of customers) involves sophisticated digital strategy. You can’t just expect to  “build it and they will come.”

When you become part of a marketplace, your business automatically reaches more buyers. But, it won’t be your investment in marketing that boosts revenue, but the platform’s investment. This is beneficial because you’re a landscape supplier, not a tech company. When you join a specialized marketplace like LandscapeHub, where the company that created it is a technology company that also has expertise in landscaping, everyone wins, because everyone is working in their area of expertise. You can concentrate on supplying great product and the marketplace can concentrate on growing the customer base.

Benefits of Marketplaces

Well-constructed marketplaces heal broken supply chains, which improves the experience for all stakeholders. In addition to growing without your own massive investments, marketplaces offer these advantages:Online platforms assist you with delivery. It’s not solely up to you to figure out how to get things. This functionality allows logistics to be much smoother.

You receive data that you can leverage to better respond to the market. You may learn from your platform transactions that certain plants are in greater demand than others. You might notice trends before others. This information could help you optimize your pricing and influence your product offering, giving you a tremendous competitive edge over those not on the platform.

All buyers are vetted. A marketplace evaluates the buyers just as they do the sellers. You can be assured that those on the platform are legitimate companies.

Ordering and fulfillment is streamlined. Quoting, ordering, payments, and delivery managed in one place saves time, which earns you money. If you spend less time chasing e-commerce challenges, you have more time to do important things for the health and growth of your business.

Receive benefits of aggregation and cooperation. Being a supplier on a marketplace increases your ability to reach more potential buyers, which means more orders.

With all these clear benefits, it’s easy to see why the nursery and landscape supply industry is shifting to online marketplaces. These are the same benefits that successful marketplaces in other industries such as Uber, Airbnb, and Amazon bestow on participants.

An industry-built marketplace like LandscapeHub brings this to the green industry and helps both buyers and sellers.

Tune in next week for part three of our series where we'll be covering marketplace advantages for buyers!