3 ways to hurdle what’s tripping up your ecommerce business.
The future of buying and selling is borderless, seamless, voice-driven, personalized, powered by AI, machine learning, and automation. There is no omnichannel, there is no ecommerce—it’s all just “commerce.” Consumers expect to find the best-rated items, at the best price, always in stock, shipped to them immediately from anywhere in the world, delivered on time, and easily returnable, all from any interface—laptop, tablet, mobile phone, or virtual assistant.
What does this mean for small and medium-sized businesses? On the one hand, it’s easier than ever now to start an ecommerce business with so many platforms and tech solutions; but if you can do it, so can everyone else; the competition will only get tougher. If you have figured out your business strategy, you’ve likely discovered some operational challenges they may be standing in the way of scaling. By processing millions of orders for thousands of ecommerce companies, we’ve learned the most common blocks to scaling are: Continue reading
10 tips for creating a multichannel distribution model that’s built to last
Turns out, profit margins like to hide out in shipping and fulfillment costs, so even though using an all-inclusive shipping software like Stamps.com might seems like overkill to some sellers, it will actually mean discounted rates, cost efficiencies, and streamlined workflows that are well worth it in the long run. And while protecting profitability makes sense, the most meaningful adjustments in fulfillment are based on what today’s ecommerce consumers are expecting. For example, it’s been quite a while now since Amazon proved that an online order can be delivered in two days, for free. The long-term effect puts tremendous pressure on sellers to efficiently process orders and get them in the hands of the buyer quickly and cheaply. Shipping automation has benefits for even the smallest merchant who wants to efficiently process orders and get them in the mail. In a world where Amazon owns airplanes and drones, it’s no wonder independent sellers feel helpless.
It seems that everyone’s getting in the fulfillment game—customer-facing platforms are now experimenting with multi-location warehouse fulfillment and FBA syncing to enable larger catalog sellers across additional categories to use them as an inventory-management platform. We take a simpler tack: We advise customers to go ahead and plan for success. In other words, don’t be shortsighted. Realize that when your business grows, your accounting, inventory, fulfillment, shipping, and logistics will become exponentially more complex. Robust tools will sustain much higher volume and handle far more use cases—omnichannel sales, dropshipping, multiple locations, and high volume sales—so it’s worth it to build a tech stack that will grow with you and handle unforeseen selling peaks. In other words, use software that automates and integrates everything and is built to grow with your business so you’ll never be a victim of your own success. Continue reading
As published in Internet Retailer‘s 5 Key Ecommerce Fulfillment Trends
Mountain bike apparel retailer Club Ride recently faced a customer satisfaction challenge. The online company, which was founded in 2008, was growing rapidly, and earlier this year moved away from QuickBooks to more sophisticated tools to manage its fulfillment through its multiple sales channels. But without integration between sales, its e-commerce platform, its customers and its inventory, Club Ride often found itself unable to fulfill customers’ orders quickly—or even at all. As a result, its brand equity was suffering.
Club Ride’s dilemma isn’t uncommon among retailers. Many merchants now sell through multiple sales channels—including online marketplaces, their own websites and their bricks-and-mortar locations—and must deliver orders to customers accurately and quickly to compete in today’s competitive retail arena. “While this adjustment increases the seller’s ability to scale, it also creates a new kind of chaos around data management and logistics when it comes to inventory, fulfillment, and shipping,” says Parag Mamnani, CEO of Webgility, an inventory management technology provider. Continue reading
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Growth is great for business, it means more opportunities, more partnerships, and more more sales
Due to complicated logistics, expansion is also one of the biggest risks of online businesses. For e-commerce stores looking to expand, international markets are prime opportunities. Countries like Germany and Brazil also have some of the fastest growing markets in the world, which makes them a tempting target for expansion. Buyers in certain countries may also be unable to source American products locally, and turn to international sellers to fill their needs. If your brand manufactures a unique product, there may be more international demand than you expected.
International markets are exciting and full of potential, but they also present expenses that could make or break your profits. The largest of those is international logistics; Warehousing, shipping, customs, and other costs. You can overcome these expenses by making smart choices for logistics partners, shipping solutions, and scaling at a reasonable pace. Many e-commerce businesses can scale internationally with no warehouse footprint, and greatly reduce the costs and risks of expanding into a new market. Without warehousing costs, even small businesses could successfully expand into new markets without the traditional risks.
Research your opportunities
Analytics: The first step into expanding is to ascertain demand in your new target markets. It doesn’t matter how affordable the logistics are if there’s no demand. It is crucial that you spend a significant amount of time in market research before expanding into any new channel. This is doubly true for international sales, which present more risks than moving to a new sales channel or selling in another state. If you want to succeed, take the time to identify your market demand, marketing opportunities, your target audience, potential consumers, and your international channels and opportunities. Read more