Xtras Accessories, a discount beauty retailer in the North of England, combines high quality hair extensions and branded cosmetics with low prices.
Xtras Accessories is a family-run business, founded in 1984 as a market stall. It has now grown to a network of 10 high street stores, a presence on major online marketplaces eBay and Amazon and an e-commerce site that serves customers in the UK. The company focuses on value and stocks an array of branded products at discounted prices.
Xtras Accessories launched its e-commerce website two years ago. The website was set up with the intention of providing integration with marketplaces to aid online selling; however the infrastructure of the site proved incapable of supporting this. The team, therefore, had to manually handle selling through eBay and Amazon, including listing inventory, processing sales and offering high-level customer service, putting a significant strain on the company’s resources.
The team experienced significant issues with overselling, particularly with eBay. Stock had to be ring fenced to ensure availability for any sales that came via this channel. With over 3,000 product lines, this proved costly and difficult to manage.
The integration with Amazon worked to a greater extent for certain product lines but Xtras Accessories was unable to list multiple attributes of a product, for example a lipstick that is available in more than one shade. This led to the company only being able to feasibly list 50% of its inventory.
“We recognised the revenue opportunities of marketplace selling but we needed a solution that would offer a single platform, automate the management of product levels and provide us with clear visibility of sales by each channel,” said Steven Berke, e-commerce director at Xtras Accessories. “ChannelAdvisor was recommended to us by a friend who had seen significant success as a result of using Marketplaces. We were keen to try it out.”
In May 2013, Xtras Accessories implemented ChannelAdvisor Marketplaces, which provides an effective tool for retailers looking to sell with a multichannel strategy in mind. Delivering accurate product data for each marketplace, support in helping products stand out amongst the competition and automating the management of selling online.
“I’ve been really surprised at how robust the solution is as well as the reporting and analytics,” said Berke. “The Inventory Juggler feature ensures we no longer oversell stock and it’s a relief for us to see that when we sell an item on eBay, the stock level drops across all channels on the dashboard, especially after the issues we experienced when we tried to manually maintain inventory levels across three online sites and 10 high street stores. The automated listing process means once it’s listed on one marketplace, it’s listed across all marketplaces, giving us full visibility into our stock. Marketplace selling has become hassle-free.”
Since implementation, Xtras Accessories has seen a 93% increase in sales in the first quarter, a 50% increase in revenue and progression from a Silver PowerSeller to a Titanium PowerSeller on eBay UK.
Through the success seen since using ChannelAdvisor Marketplaces, Xtras Accessories is looking to expand internationally and begin selling in France and Germany in 2014. “With ChannelAdvisor, we feel there are no restrictions to what we can do when selling internationally,” comments Berke.
“We expected an increase in sales as previously we were unable to list our whole inventory on the marketplaces” said Berke, “But moving from Silver to Titanium seller on eBay in that space of time was fantastic, and directly related to the implementation of ChannelAdvisor Marketplaces. Following the success we’ve seen on marketplaces, we are considering Digital Marketing offered by ChannelAdvisor as a flexible and efficient way to manage our PPC campaigns. We are also keen to explore selling through Tesco and Rakuten’s Play.com. We’re only scratching the surface of what ChannelAdvisor can do for us, and we’re excited to see what the future holds.”