Private investment firm Comvest Partners acquires the financially troubled e-retailer, which filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in March.
57% of retailers say they spend more with those brands.
Consumer brand manufacturers that work with retailers to fulfill orders may have an advantage over brands that fulfill web orders themselves. That’s because a survey from Shopatron finds that 57% of retailers spend more with brands that ship orders from retailers’ stores, with 27% saying they spend 10% or more. By contrast, 71% of retailers say that they decrease their spending with brands that sell directly to consumers.
In May, the order management technology provider surveyed 900 of its retailer clients by e-mail about their fulfillment and order management efforts. Of the respondents, 40% do not have an e-commerce web site but still use Shopatron’s cloud-hosted software to fulfill online orders from brands, either shipping them from stores or holding them in stores for pickup.
“Customers are being trained by Wal-Mart, Sears, Best Buy, Target and others to have in-store pickup,” and often same-day pickup, too, says Shopatron founder and CEO Ed Stevens. Even some big brands that might have a few flagship stores of their own in addition to selling through retailers likely don’t have more than 100 locations, he says, “So how will they give same-day gratification unless they partner with retailers?”
Additionally, 51% of retailers in the survey say that fulfilling brands’ orders, either by shipping items from their stores or allowing customers to buy online from the brand and pickup in the retailer’s store, has increased their sales or led to customer acquisition; 18% say it has done both. Among the respondents, 44% say they fulfill one or more item for a brand per week and 17% say they fulfill one or more item for a brand per day.
Shopatron recently began testing a service to help eBay sellers fulfill items from local stores, Stevens says. That includes motorcycle brand manufacturer Kawasaki Motors Corp., he says. Shopatron set up an eBay store that sends shoppers’ orders to the nearest dealer for fulfillment. By the holidays, about 20 of Shopatron’s largest brand clients will be using the eBay service, he says.
Beyond in-store pickup and shipping from stores, Stevens says shoppers increasingly demand the ability to search local store inventories online. To that end, Shopatron later this year will roll out technology so that, for example, a shopper looking at a particular blouse from a brand manufacturer’s web site can enter her ZIP code and see where it is available nearby in retail stores, he says.