2021 has been a year of acceleration and adaptation in the ecommerce industry.
Post-Brexit regulations have made cross-border ecommerce more complex, while social commerce makes finding an audience for global ecommerce products more accessible
Supply chain and inventory sourcing challenges have led to some retailers moving away from Black Friday and peak season promotions to redefine how they drive online engagements.
Brands in a variety of categories have been creative in finding new ways to reach shoppers through loyalty schemes, bulk discounts, trial offers and subscription services.
It has also been a year of significant change for Linnworks. Having secured a majority growth investment from Marlin Equity Partners, Linnworks will be prioritizing investment in our product, partner network, and customer services teams to help our customers meet the opportunities and challenges of the current ecommerce landscape.
As part of planning for the next chapter in Linnworks growth, it is important for us to understand how the Linnworks customer base is responding to an evolving market. As a result, we’ve undertaken a global customer research project in partnership with Bunnyfoot, an independent research agency, with three priorities in mind:
To uncover customers’ ecommerce goals
To understand how Linnworks can best support these priorities
Gain deeper insight into the role of the Linnworks platform as part of the wider ecommerce ecosystem
Here we’ll summarize what we heard, how we are addressing this feedback, and how this will shape the future of Linnworks as we go into yet another landmark year for ecommerce.
Ecommerce platform performance and speed is key for customers
Ecommerce runs 24/7, and much of our customers’ workflows are built around Linnworks for efficient inventory management and order processing. Understandably, customers are focused on the performance of the platform, particularly during peak periods.
Alistair Wyse, VP of Engineering at Linnworks, comments: “the reliability and speed of the platform is a key focus for the Engineering Team at Linnworks. We have increased the size of the Engineering team by 50% in 2021, and will continue to invest to allow us to keep pace with the growth of existing customers' businesses and as we grow our customer base. The demands on the platform during the peak season tend to be less predictable than for the rest of the year and to ensure that we provide a consistent service to our customers during this critical period for their businesses, the team’s focus is on stable performance.”
Ease of retailers expanding to multichannel selling
Online retailers realize the need to reach shoppers everywhere they spend time online. In reality, this means finding new markets and expanding to new geographies, evaluating the marketplaces where shoppers are actively browsing for key product categories, investing in a direct-to-consumer strategy, and evaluating emerging sales channels.
One of the clear takeaways from our research was that customers want to expand to more sales channels, and for the process of onboarding to new sales channels to be as easy as possible.
Simon Curd, VP of Product at Linnworks, says: “for retailers to achieve Total Commerce Control, they need to be where their customers are. To power our customers’ growth, we don’t put a limit on the number of selling channels our customers can connect to in Linnworks. In 2021 we have continued to optimize core integrations such as our new Walmart listing tool, investments in Amazon FBA as well as new selling channels such as Buy on Google. This is complemented by developments from our partner network such as Allegro and Mirakl.”
“The new Mirakl app has given our customers access to some of the world’s most exciting marketplaces and the response so far has been extremely positive” adds Sarah Znideric, Strategic Partnerships Director at Linnworks. “It has been great to see customers exploring new trading opportunities and driving significant revenue growth from marketplaces such as Decathlon and Secret Sales. The connector offers over 200 marketplace options for our customers and, working in close partnership with Mirakl, we are expanding our collaborations with these marketplaces to offer even more value to Linnworks users”
Ecommerce platform functionality
Customer feedback is an essential part of our product development process, and our research gave us a wealth of actionable feedback points around our customer priorities for our product.
Simon Curd, VP of Product at Linnworks: “Our product team’s priority is to ensure our customers achieve Total Commerce Control to grow, automate and be in control. We gather feedback directly from customer interviews, collect insight from internal teams and carry out market research to understand how we can best add value through our roadmap developments. All ideas are collected and organized into similar topics, and then scored by the team based on impact. From there, the top priority ideas are added to our customer-facing roadmap and teams begin working actively on these projects.”
Check out the latest Linnworks product roadmap here
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Linnworks is trusted by businesses of all sizes, from marketplace sellers and fast-growing multichannel retailers, to global brands embracing new selling channels to reach shoppers where they spend time online.
While there are numerous roles using Linnworks for a variety of functions, what is consistent is that our users are keen to maximize the use of the Linnworks platform.
Rod Carter, Training Lead at Linnworks says: “we are in the process of launching a new web platform in early 2022 that will include resources for learning, product news, best practice guidance, and tech support. This will streamline where customers go to learn about the Linnworks product. We’re also making enhancements to our documentation, and our learning tutorials will act as easy-to-access user guides.”
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For a number of years, Linnworks has operated Linnworks.net, our cloud-based platform, alongside the legacy Desktop application.
While a subset of our customers perform specific tasks in Desktop rather than .net, Linnworks cloud-based platform is where we are focusing our product and engineering resource. This will ensure we can scale and support our global customer base of marketplace sellers, Direct-to-Consumer retailers, multi-channel businesses and global brands embracing new routes to reach shoppers online.
Our roadmap and training resources are focused on helping customers to maximize their use of Linnworks.net.
The Linnworks team is focused on supporting our customers through another busy peak holiday season and will continue to provide regular updates on the 2022 product roadmap and strategy.