About the Author: Brooke Cade is a freelance writer who’s committed to help build bridges between businesses and their customers. In her spare time, she enjoys learning more about Doba—an eCommerce platform that’s rapidly growing, reading up on industry books/articles, and exploring her local coffee shop.
Online sales are booming—it seems like most people have finally caught on and are enjoying the ease and convenience of shopping from the comfort of their own home. While there are many benefits to selling through an online marketplace, there is the ever-looming disadvantage of integration. Thankfully, the future is at hand, and it has everything to do with a widely-used technology that’s changed the way we store and share data: the cloud.
The Problem with eCommerce
If you currently own an eCommerce business, you know how important the customer experience is to your bottom line. Customers expect to be able to navigate your site easily and find the products they desire. The inability to offer trendsetting products or an enjoyable shopping experience will ultimately lose you customers, and without customers, you don’t have a business.
Perhaps the biggest problem you face in your business is onboarding inventory from suppliers. Interfacing with their database isn’t always a seamless process, and typically takes anywhere from three to six months to establish and work out all of the bugs to make for a simple transition. But can you afford to lose those three to six months when staying ahead of the trends is necessary to build a strong customer base?
Is There a Solution?
The only way to truly fix the problem with product sourcing times is to find a better solution. Enter the cloud. With the introduction of the cloud, you now have more options by way of product sourcing and onboarding platforms that can help you cut that interfacing time down from several months to several days. And when time is money, every extra day counts.
An Easier Connection
With the help of cloud-based sourcing, you can now connect more seamlessly with suppliers, regardless of the data language they’re currently using. Currently, manufacturers and suppliers use decades-old data integration technology that is cumbersome and difficult to onboard. Some of the most common data languages include CSV, XML, EDI, and others, each which require their own customized integration solution. It’s simply not feasible for ecommerce retailers to create their own customized platform to integrate with each supplier. And even when you do invest in developing and coding your own platform, the process is still a months-long endeavor, and you’re heavily restricted from onboarding new products from new suppliers.
Using the cloud allows you to manage the suppliers you work with yourself and makes finding more that much easier. Finding a product sourcing solution that offers this service makes life easier for you, as their platform handles the integration part of things. You just worry about finding the best products to offer your customers, no longer limited by data language or a time constraint.
In addition to a quicker and smoother onboarding process, you can expect to see the following benefits from product outsourcing with the cloud:
- The ability to keep ahead of the newest trends.
- The capacity to continually increase sales and build your business.
- A savings in the time and money you used to spend on the longer sourcing process.
- The ability to test new suppliers and new products with less risk
- No limit to the number or types of suppliers you work with, allowing for unlimited growth and possibilities.
What You Can Do Now to Improve Product Sourcing
In order to stay competitive in a constantly shifting industry, it’s important to be able to act fast and change course when necessary. Here are the three most effective approaches to increasing the agility of your product sourcing:
- Implement a single supplier management platform that is capable of managing inventory, orders, returns, and supplier relationships.
- Take advantage of a retail network that makes product discovery easy and shortens onboarding.
- Start using cloud-based sourcing, so you can seamlessly integrate with suppliers, no matter what data language they use.
Perhaps the most effective way to check off all three of these boxes is to partner with a dropshipper or 3rd party supplier management company. If you have the resources, you can also develop an exclusive API that manages your suppliers and onboards new products. This would require a significant investment in personnel and upkeep costs, but depending on your needs it could be a wise choice.
The Future is Now
In eCommerce, it’s all about staying ahead of the newest trend, thus keeping you one step in front of the competition. Product outsourcing and onboarding through the cloud offers just that. Offer better inventory and a better experience, and you can expect to find customers for life.