People might have moved indoors during the 2020 pandemic, but they didn’t stop shopping. In a wave that caused a reported 10-year jump in online buying technologies, e-commerce became de rigueur. Businesses that kept up were able to stay afloat and ride unprecedented Black Friday weekend waves.
Companies Helping E-Commerce Stay a Step Ahead of Customer Expectations
Today, e-commerce remains a hot ticket for companies of all sizes. Even consumers who enjoy brick-and-mortar browsing have grown accustomed to swiping for stuff. However, not all companies have been able to keep up with the demands and challenges of digital B2C selling.
What’s the stumbling block? There are several stumbling blocks, but most point to one thing: Running an e-commerce system doesn’t mimic running a traditional store. From shipping to support, e-commerce presents a few novel pitfalls. And some businesses just don’t have the infrastructure to navigate the complexities alone.
Position yourself as a partner to e-commerce suppliers
This is where plenty of existing and startup companies have thrown their hats into the ring. Several players are positioning themselves as partners to e-commerce suppliers of all sizes—and they’re succeeding. In fact, a few businesses have proven to be standouts as allies for businesses looking to explore the e-commerce marketplace in several key areas.
1. Manufacturing and Shipping
One of the biggest obstacles to gaining traction in the world of e-commerce involves getting a handle on the product supply chain. Unfortunately, lots of company leaders who started in classic commerce haven’t learned how to expertly deal with e-commerce logistics.
For instance, where will the product be stored? Where will it be packaged or shipped? And what systems will track the whole experience from beginning to end? These are all problems that Smart Warehousing aims to solve.
Now, with several locations across the United States, Smart Warehousing takes on the role of a third-party logistics (3PL) partner. That is, it provides total fulfillment to streamline the buyer-seller exchange. Not only does Smart Warehousing hold merchandise, but it tracks and ships everything on behalf of clients. The result is a seamless, transparent flow that removes supply chain pain from the equation.
2. Advertising and Marketing
Not all e-commerce partners come from small to mid-sized businesses. Consider Google. The giant search engine got major e-commerce buzz recently by democratizing Google Shopping. Now, e-commerce businesses can link their Shopify accounts to Google for free. This gives them high visibility on the top search engine.
Although Google’s complimentary shopping listings have boosted the use of its platform, it’s still in its infancy. This means it could be a good opportunity for businesses to explore the partnership inexpensively.
In time, Google has said it hopes to steal the spotlight away from Amazon with its model. But, of course, time will tell how successful Google is. Still, it’s worth a second look because it’s a nice option to get more buyers’ eyes onto a product.
3. Robots and Automation
Warehouse working is known for having a certain amount of tedium and waste. After all, human workers can only run so fast, stock shelves so quickly, and be productive for a few hours at a time. This is where Locus Robotics comes into the picture.
Locus Robotics makes it possible for manufacturers to have robots custom-built for use in their warehouse environments. The bots can complete activities like transporting items from shelf to shelf or serving as a second pair of eyes for workers. According to Locus Robotics’ research, clients who have worked with them can boost productivity by up to three times.
It’s not hard to see how an increase in productivity could be meaningful to e-commerce companies. Though e-commerce may be lucrative, its margins can be razor-thin. When everyone’s competing online for the same pool of consumers, every penny matters. Consequently — having robots as helpers can trim costs without requiring the need to trim payroll.
4. Online Platform Design and Deployment
When talking about e-commerce, it’s important to remember that many companies are starting at square one. That is, they don’t have the vaguest idea how even to enter the online shopping fray. However, some smaller businesses in Asia had such an issue with the mess that is e-commerce (unless you adapt) that SCI Commerce stepped in to fill the gap.
Founded by innovator Joseph Liu, SCI is trying to position itself as southeastern Asia’s top e-commerce solution provider. To help SCI move along, Liu has secured some high-powered investors. The investor group even includes two professionals who used to work at well-known Alibaba.
Eventually, Liu hopes to see SCI become the Shopify of the Asia-Pacific part of the world. Though SCI works with some top-name brands, it will use capital to move toward smaller markets. That way, it can help upstarts gain attention online faster and with fewer road bumps.
5. Coaching and Mentoring
Education might be one of the most underrated aspects of launching an e-commerce arm of an existing company. FedEx hopes to simplify teams to learn about online sales through its FedEx E-Commerce Learning Lab.
The premise of the Learning Lab is for it to become an incubator for members, especially those from historically underrepresented populations. Not only will FedEx support mentoring, but it will also provide grant money totaling $2,000 to each participant.
Currently, the Learning Lab is accepting a beta group of 150 entrepreneurs. The cohort will begin online training and one-to-one mentoring in the later months of 2021.
6. Sales and Strategy
Understanding how to sell to consumers and businesses online takes a special touch. Black Peached, a sales consulting firm specializing in e-commerce, has the answers to making digital selling work.
Black Peached works with companies in both B2C and B2B fields. Founder Jaiden Vu has noted that although the shift to digital can be tough, it can be lucrative, too.
Dominate e-commerce, but keep a retail
As Vu explains in an interview, “If businesses can dominate e-commerce, all the while having a brick-and-mortar retail, they won’t be putting all their eggs in one basket – less exposure to their bottom line.”
The rising e-commerce signs
Will e-commerce continue its meteoric rise? Signs indicate it hasn’t reached saturation levels. And customers are still clamoring for online shopping choices. So the sooner companies get comfortable with selling items digitally, the sooner they’ll reap the benefits and earn more fans.
Image Credit: liza summer; pexels; thank you!
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