During the last year, the global eCommerce sales amounted to $2.3 trillion, outpacing the growth of retail. According to Statistica, this number will double to $4.88 trillion by 2021. This represents a tremendous opportunity for online sellers worldwide. But as the eCommerce market expands, it also grows in complexity.
Beyond Amazon, eBay, and Alibaba, new marketplaces are emerging and more sellers are competing. Fragmentation increases as shoppers are no longer limited to one or two channels. Consumers today browse on multiple channels – comparing prices, reviews and policies – before making a purchase.
So how can online businesses succeed in today’s fragmented eCommerce landscape?
Perhaps sellers can learn from the startup world.
Popularized by the Silicon Valley, growth hacking involves experimenting across different departments – such as marketing, product, and technology – to find the fastest and most efficient way to scale.
If more sellers adopted a growth hacking mindset, perhaps they, too, would experiment and look for ways to maximize productivity and profit.
In this case, the reality of eCommerce fragmentation is real. Online sellers need to shift their focus away from individual marketplaces, and instead, develop a comprehensive multi-channel eCommerce strategy, leveraging the power of marketplaces, search engines, and social media.
How to Scale on Amazon, eBay and Beyond
Amazon has more than 300 million active buyers globally, while eBay has about 170 million global active buyers. Both marketplaces use complex algorithms that make it difficult for sellers to compete without having to constantly reprice their products. Marketplaces typically have a limit to how many listings they can show at a given time, with eBay showing only 1 billion active listings.
In the same way, Google, Bing, Facebook, and Instagram have their own ways of showing results, making it difficult for online businesses to rank, unless they have a dedicated team to regularly optimize their websites. When it comes to shopping cart solutions, Shopify alone has powered more than 600,000 businesses.
With this much competition, sellers really need to take a hard look at their business and resolve the obstacles limiting their growth.
Without a proper infrastructure, businesses will likely struggle with:
- Ensuring that all listings are optimized on each platform.
- Inventory is synced across their warehouses and third-party facilities, including FBA.
- Orders and returns are processed quickly and accurately.
- All financial information and data are recorded correctly.
Sellers looking to growth hack their business through multi-channel selling will face challenges in resources, not having enough time, man hours or training to juggle all these pieces. eCommerce growth hacking is impossible without some level of automation. Some channels also require sellers to use multi-channel software before they can start listing on their sites.
Benefits of Bulk Listing and Editing
When it comes to automation software, the market offers a wealth of options. Multi-channel eCommerce software such as bulk listing tools give online sellers the ability to sync product data and list across multiple marketplaces. Other solutions may include repricing and price tracking capabilities.
Ultimately, these listing automation tools help sellers, especially their eCommerce managers, to manage channels more effectively. Having the ability to list or edit multiple products across several sales channels will eliminate the need for spreadsheets or manually updating each product on every single channel. This means more sales with less resources.
The Significance of Inventory Management
With multi-channel selling comes the need for better inventory management. Having to manually split a single stockpile of products among several channels is not only time consuming, but also incredibly inefficient and confusing to your warehouse staff.
A multi-channel inventory management system will not only track stock levels in real time across your facilities, but it also optimizes your bin locations for faster receiving and picking processes. This type of automation is crucial for any multi-channel operation.
Good inventory management also means huge savings. By cutting excess inventory, you can free up your cash flow. You’ll also pay less insurance and lower taxes on inventory, and you’ll also save on labor associated with inventory counting and material handling.
Why Automate Order Processing and Shipping
Once you start selling on Amazon, eBay, your website, and other niche but relevant marketplaces, your team will likely struggle with order processing. An order could easily be mis-shipped or a refund might not be handled correctly, especially if you’re handling communications solely through email and individual seller portals.
Finding the best rates across your shipping carriers is also a huge pain point, as optimal rates can vary upon many factors.
Many marketplaces have strict policies on delivery dates and fulfillment performance, so if you don’t have an efficient workflow, you risk getting banned from these sales channels. In addition, shoppers will simply not purchase from a seller with bad reviews.
The best alternative is to use a multi-channel order management system that’s integrated with the top sales channels and shipping carriers. This allows you to scale order processing, and some solutions even have discounted commercial rates with partnered carriers.
Types of Multi-Channel eCommerce Software
Given the nature of multi-channel integrations, most eCommerce software have moved to the cloud. There are many types of eCommerce automation solutions, ranging from free and paid options, as well as single feature and all-in-one platforms.
Free, freemium or low-cost listing tools are plentiful. They are great for new sellers looking to try a new sales channel. Inventory and order management solutions are also readily available in the market at a wide range of costs.
A word of warning: since cloud-based systems store data online, it’s paramount to avoid solutions offered by unknown developers or companies with bad reviews. Such developers could, due to their negligence or incompetence, leak sensitive information and open yourself and your customers to hacking and identity theft.
In the case of all-in-one versus feature-by-feature platforms, comprehensive solutions are typically more costly, but better suited for long term. Feature by feature solutions are great for fixing operational issues your team be having, but it can be a struggle to sync data across platforms later on.
How to Growth Hack Your Business Today
The most important benefit of multi-channel eCommerce software is clear: it empowers sellers to scale on multiple channels without causing further operational disfunction. By optimizing listing, inventory, order management and shipping, you improve existing channels as you expand reach through new sales opportunities.
In the case of our customers, one retailer had this much to say about multi-channel eCommerce software as a growth hacking tool: “Jazva helped our sales increase by 300%, largely because of the software’s functionality. It also freed us to promote and manage things that we previously didn’t pay attention to.”
So, what are you waiting for?
Take the next step and start researching solutions that will grow your business today.