Opening the Door to Success in the Competitive World of Ecommerce:
There are plenty of opportunities to carve out niches and dominate regions worldwide in the enormous and flourishing world of ecommerce. Over one-third of US businesses are in the ecommerce space, with over 60% of them using marketplaces, according to the 2020 Forrester research. Even if industry titans like eBay and Amazon rule, there are still lots of chances for development and success.
This article explores genuine use cases and workable solutions to help you navigate the tactics and obstacles involved in growing an ecommerce company.
1. Invest in Inventory Management Systems: Preventing Overselling, Multi-Channel Integration, Demand Forecasting, and Optimizing Holding Costs
Scenario: A marketplace has a high-demand product, and multiple sellers offer it. Without real-time inventory management, there’s a risk of overselling, where more units are sold than are actually available.
Solution: An IMS keeps track of stock levels across all sellers in real-time. When a customer places an order, the system immediately updates the inventory, preventing multiple sales of the same item.
Scenario: An ecommerce marketplace operates on various platforms (website, mobile app, social media). Without proper integration, discrepancies in inventory levels across different channels can occur.
Solution: An IMS seamlessly integrates with various sales channels. If a product is sold on one channel, the inventory levels are instantly updated on all other platforms, ensuring consistency.
Scenario: A marketplace wants to plan for upcoming promotions or seasonal spikes in demand but lacks accurate insights into future demand.
Solution: An IMS with demand forecasting capabilities analyzes historical data to predict future demand. This helps the marketplace optimize stock levels, plan promotions, and align inventory with expected sales.
Optimizing Holding Costs
Scenario: Holding excess inventory ties up capital and storage space, increasing holding costs for the marketplace.
Solution: An IMS helps optimize stock levels, preventing overstock situations. This, in turn, minimizes holding costs and maximizes the efficient use of resources.
2. Partner with Reliable Fulfillment Services: Choosing the Right 3PL Partner
Some off the shelf offerings are –
US – UPS, Easy Ship, etc.
ME – Aramex, Fetchr, TruKKer
India – ShipRocket, Delhivery, etc.
Factors to consider while choosing the right 3PL partner –
Technology Integration: Evaluate the 3PL’s technological capabilities and compatibility with your ecommerce platform. A seamless integration ensures real-time visibility into inventory, order processing, and tracking.
Scalability: Choose a 3PL that can scale with your business. Ensure that the provider can handle fluctuations in order volumes, seasonal peaks, and potential business growth without compromising on service quality.
Geographical Coverage: Consider the geographical reach of the 3PL. If your business operates internationally or plans to expand, ensure that the provider can effectively handle shipments to your target regions.
Returns Management: Efficient returns management is essential for ecommerce. Check if the 3PL has a robust process for handling returns, including reverse logistics, inspection, and restocking.
Customer Service: Assess the customer service and communication capabilities of the 3PL. A responsive and reliable partner can help address issues promptly and keep you informed about the status of your shipments.
Flexibility and Customization: Assess the 3PL’s flexibility in adapting to your specific requirements. A provider that offers customizable solutions can better cater to the unique needs of your ecommerce business.
3. Focus on Customer-Centric Operations: Utilize Chatbots, Implement Loyalty Programs, and Invest in Intuitive Design
A few considerations –
Using a chatbot that helps service customer needs on a round the clock basis, is vernacular, AI driven, engaging, personalized, helps upselling, etc.
Implementing a Loyalty program – helps in customer retention, increases customer spending, provides insights into customer spending, helps clear unsold inventory.
Invest in an intuitive design – Mobile friendly, etc.
4. Scalable Technology Infrastructure: Performance Monitoring, Load Testing, CDN Implementation, and Cloud-Based Solutions
Ensure your ecommerce platform and website can handle increased traffic and transactions. Consider cloud-based solutions that can scale with your business. Scaling the infrastructure of an ecommerce marketplace is a crucial aspect of ensuring it can handle growth in terms of traffic, transactions, and data. Here are steps and considerations to scale the infrastructure effectively:
Regular Monitoring: Use tools to monitor the performance of your current infrastructure. Track metrics such as server response times, page load times, and resource utilization.
Identify Bottlenecks: Identify potential bottlenecks or areas where performance is degrading as the load increases.
Simulate Traffic: Conduct load testing to simulate various levels of traffic and identify how well your infrastructure handles increased loads.
Stress Testing: Perform stress testing to determine the breaking points of your system and understand how it behaves under extreme conditions.
Content Delivery Network (CDN):
Implement CDN: Integrate a Content Delivery Network to distribute static content geographically. This reduces latency and improves page load times for users across different regions.
Scalable Hosting and Cloud Services:
Cloud Infrastructure: Consider moving to a cloud-based infrastructure (e.g., AWS, Azure, Google Cloud) for scalability and flexibility.
Auto-Scaling: Implement auto-scaling to automatically adjust resources based on demand. This ensures that your infrastructure scales up during peak times and scales down during periods of lower activity.
Implement Caching: Utilize caching mechanisms to store frequently accessed data, reducing the load on your database and improving response times.
Content Caching: Cache static content at various levels (server-side, CDN, browser) to reduce the need for repeated downloads.
Microservices: Consider a microservices architecture to break down the application into smaller, independently deployable services.
Decoupling Services: Decouple services to allow for scaling specific components independently based on demand.
Database Indexing and Optimization
Content and Code Delivery Optimization
High Availability and Redundancy
AlertsFeedback and Iteration
5. International Expansion: Embedding Seamless Cross-Border Payments, Optimizing Customer Experience, and Leveraging Data
If you’re ready for it, explore international markets. Conduct thorough market research, understand local regulations, and adapt your strategy accordingly.
A few options to consider –
Embed seamless, cross-border payments functionalities
Opening up payment methods may be the most critical requirement for a marketplace looking to scale globally. Cross-border payments attract global customers and transform the challenge of receiving and disbursing funds from sellers to buyers, and vice versa, into a competitive advantage for global marketplaces.
Optimize customer experience and service
To convince businesses to embrace a permanent shift to online buying, marketplaces cannot remain stagnant. Those that innovate to introduce value-added services will emerge as market winners.
A marketplace must test, track, and analyze versions of their customers’ journeys to identify critical success and failure areas. With this information, they can make the necessary improvements and innovations needed to improve conversions on their platform.
Changes to enhance customer experience and support can be simple or comprehensive. They may include writing helpful FAQs for your marketplace, keeping a clean ad-free interface, streamlining the checkout process, and ensuring essential operational elements like shipping are reliable.
Lastly, the easier a marketplace is to navigate, the more valuable and delightful it is for buyers and suppliers. This is where data comes in. When you know your customers well, you can provide better value and incentivise them towards more positive outcomes on your platform.
Data insights help marketplaces predict customer behavior, synchronize orders, inventory, and clients, and proactively handle customer support. They also develop the intelligence to offer customized pricing and volume-based discounts based on each customer’s location, needs, and buying habits.
In this article, we aim to compare and draw parallels among various ecommerce platforms, examining their operational and technical aspects on a global scale. We explore how these platforms effectively manage their expansive e-commerce ecosystems and connect these insights with the factors discussed earlier.