In the last 12 months, Google, Facebook and Instagram have joined the traditional online selling centers of Amazon, Shopify and WalMart, opening up tremendous new opportunities.
The growing popularity of online marketplaces has provided retail vendors great new opportunities for marketing their goods. E-commerce selling has been the one growing opportunity for vendors that want to move products faster or test market new products. Manufacturers, importers, and distributors are all starting to take advantage of the new selling opportunities provided by these online marketplaces.
Getting Started with Online Marketplaces
There are several approaches to consider to make the most of your e-commerce selling. First of all, you want to select your marketplace wisely. Choose markets that best fit your products or services and are likely to have members fit with your primary target of customers. Do a little research and experiment with several marketplaces that you consider within your niche.
Consider the cost to engage in these markets. Every marketplace has its own subscription and merchant fees. Some may require you to subscribe while others may implement a per transaction cost. There is also the cost of fulfillment. Online sales are usually single item shipments direct to the consumer. If you are successful, you will be faced with fulfilling hundreds or perhaps thousands of packages each day. When you take into consideration the picking, packing, production of branded packing materials, and management of different ship methods and services, the logistics can become daunting and costly.
Integration and Automation
Every company has its own unique mix of fulfillment processes. Accounting, warehouse, shipping, EDI, and other logistics systems all come together to form your unique fulfillment operation.
Similarly, every online marketplace has their own techniques for trading in bulk. Making those direct connections allows you to bring online orders directly into the order pipeline of your operation. Merchant or cart services embedded in your own commerce marketplace can help you collect and integrate web transactions directly into this same pipeline. When those orders are ready to be fulfilled there are 3rd party services that manage shipping logistics. These services help you get the best rates and can process shipments in bulk to different carriers using different service types.
If you are opening up to these new marketplaces or new activity with existing markets, your first order of business is to be sure you are as efficient as possible. Experts suggest that you integrate all of these different order and fulfillment activities using a web based portal like the OptCenter from EDI Options. This allows you to enjoy seamless transaction trading between you and your key business partners and with key logistics systems.
The OptCenter portal from EDI Options brings together every element of ordering and fulfillment by acting as the hub, quietly connecting with every service on their own terms. EDI has always been our specialty and as the retail world has evolved in our almost 30 years we have evolved with it. We’ve established our own global network that is flexible enough to connect with every retailer, every online marketplace, every 3rd party service, and every 3rd party logistics provider.
Everyone is always on the lookout for opportunities to expand their marketplaces. The smartest companies are ramping up fulfillment and logistic efficiencies at the same time.