Marketplace sync is a very new term, but is a marketplace even the same thing anymore in this era of e-commerce?
Well, have you ever sold items or products on Lazada, Shoppee, Alibaba, or Amazon? Yes? Then welcome to the world of e-commerce! The platforms mentioned are examples of online marketplaces.
Marketplace sync is the synchronization of these online marketplaces into a single platform. On this platform, sellers will be able to manage aspects of their marketplaces; such as uploading new products, keeping stock of inventory, and tracking orders.
Marketplace sync allows for simple management of multiple marketplaces of a seller, giving them the ability to grow their e-commerce business faster and easier!
Would that not make a marketplace sync service a type of e-commerce enabler? Yes! Yes it would!
But as the e-commerce industry is still growing, it might be best to understand the types of e-commerce enablers out there.
What Are E-commerce Enablers
To quickly address the question, e-commerce enablers are a one-stop solution that a brand may use to help execute specific marketing strategies.
These solutions offer services such as web platform optimization, performance-based advertising, integration technologies (i.e. market sync),
content production, and logistics services covering everything from customer care, to order fulfillment and/or order refund.
Some examples include:
An American fraudulent payment prevention Saas for SMBs. They evaluate scores for purchases by basing it off 100+ risk factors such as data based on geo-location, social information, your customers history, bank data, blacklists and number of orders a buyer is placing across sellers.
Signifyd integrates with Shopify and other e-commerce companies via their API.
Lightspeed POS is an end-to-end SaaS based solution which cater for both offline retailers as well as online marketplaces. Their services help clients with inventory and customer management, sales, and analytics.
Tools to build iStore apps and customized websites are also provided. It primarily has a clientele of brick and mortar retailers with high return values such as apparel, bikes, pet stores.
Optoro is a logistics solution for e-commerce and online marketplace to help manage their returned inventory. Software solutions for returns logistics, and tools to market returns to customers and businesses are the main tools provided by them.
This reverse logistics software includes features such as online return order management, refurbishment, and returned inventory fulfillment.
Marketplace integration for businesses wanting to go into B2C operations and transportation and tracking services for the B2B processes are provided within Optoro’s marketing solution.
These are some examples of services that can be categorized roughly in the e-commerce enabler category. In helping your online shop grow, it would be best to do research in what sort of services can help you out most.
But, where do market sync services fall in then? It would fall into a mix of management, sales and sometimes even customer service.
Now you may ask yourself, “Do I really need all of these in one solution?”. True, you don’t really need them, but if your goal as an online merchant is to expand your business, it would be best to keep these types of services in mind.
In 2016, a survey by Experian asked global marketers how their internal department teams worked together; and you can see what the general consensus are.
Based on Accenture’s 2016 study (right half of the image), a sales department would require the most collaboration with other departments.
What we can take away from this is that whole aspects within a retail service must align together for e-commerce to work, especially sales.
As said earlier, in order to grow, even online merchants need to integrate other types of services. Without them, it would be almost impossible to expand your online business.
But other than potential growth and management, how do marketplace sync services help sellers? Let’s go into detail about it.
Why Use Marketplace Sync?
Common Seller Problems
Below are example problems you may face when managing a marketplace:
1) Product Bulk Procurement
Sellers usually want to dominate a certain niche, and one way is to work on their own personal branding. A simple example of branding would be having the best quality product.
Often, finding and procuring these products one by one can be a big hassle for sellers if their aim is to grow a business. When sellers are managing multiple store fronts, this can get a little… hard to handle.
2) Marketplace Development
A merchant who wants to become a trusted brand does not want to fail in meeting customer demands. Hence, there is a need to develop a proper, well-structured store.
If a merchant wants to move into a new online marketplace, there may be a period of learning required to understand how the current marketplace interface handles differently from the previous one.
3) Product Authorisation
For many sellers, authorization of their products can be a huge problem due to lack of experience and lack of knowledge of product management.
Successful product authorization is key to selling successfully.
4) Keeping Inventory in Check
Maintaining inventory levels can be a real pain for e-commerce sellers. When developing a faithful customer base, sellers cannot afford to have their online store(s) display incorrect inventory.
Customers need to know what products are in stock, and what products are out of stock.
After all, it feels really bad when a product is successfully purchased, only to have the money refunded sometime later with a message saying “We apologize as there is no stock for the product you were looking for”.
These are some of the problems one may face when managing one or many online marketplaces. How does marketplace sync help address these problems?
Marketplace Sync Management
As stated earlier, a key feature in using marketplace sync is that it is a service that allows sellers to manage all their products and stores on one convenient platform!
All the problems stated above can be summarized into a few aspects; product procurement, adjusting to new User Interfaces (UIs), product validation, and inventory management.
Why go through the trouble of doing all of that when building up a new shop, when it can all be handled after just a one time setup on a marketplace sync platform?
That is incredibly convenient! But you may ask the question, “Do I really need this?”. Let’s look at the math for a bit.
How Much Revenue Do E-commerce Stores Make?
This graph (dated) breaks down the average estimated revenue of online stores based on their position within a quartile (Q1, Q2, Q3, Q4), where Q1 are the top performing companies, and Q4 the least performing companies.
At the 3 year mark in their business (ignoring the top performers), total revenue is broken down respectively:
Q2 businesses have reached over $12 million in total revenue
Q3 businesses have reached over $5 million in total revenue
Q4 businesses have reached over $2 million in total revenue
This can be broken down even more, as we have to remember that this is total revenue after 3 years, so it would be more like this per year:
Q2 businesses have earned an average revenue of $4 million/year
Q3 businesses have earned an average revenue of $1.67 million/year
Q4 businesses have earned an average revenue of $520 thousand/year
And another thing to remember is that these are numbers are only achieved after the 3 year mark. So divide one last time! Assuming the growth of an online business is at a constant over 36 months:
Q2 businesses have gain an average revenue of $333 thousand/month
Q3 businesses have gain an average revenue of $139 thousand/month
Q4 businesses have gain an average revenue of $43 thousand/month
Of course this is an average as well as an estimate, so the numbers would probably be different based on how you run your business.
Also do keep in mind that you will not be earning this immediately when you start, you still have to put in the work!
That said, assuming your business is within the Q2-Q4 range, there is still a good sum of money to be made from just one store. So just imagine having 2 or more stores!
Using market sync services, you would be able to gain an edge over competitors, expand faster than them, and you won’t have to worry as much about your store management and inventory management!