How to Build Supplier Diversity in eCommerce
August 8, 2017
Developing your SMBs Global Network
Ecommerce platforms link small businesses with consumers around the world. A good ecommerce strategy should, above all, focus on supplier diversity – developing a global network responsible for manufacturing, storing and distributing an eTailer’s products. A global supply chain is more diverse and less expensive. Paradoxically, global transportation is much less costly than US domestic transportation, adding to the possible cost savings available to pass onto the consumer.
With a great global supply chain in place, small businesses are able to deliver products to the consumer quickly, which will meet the consumer’s expectation for speed. A well-developed global supply chain will also have supplier diversity, helping the company meet the consumer expectations for diverse ranges of products.
A well-oiled supply chain means that the process of producing, advertising and distributing the products is seamless and efficient. This leaves more space for the company to innovate and opens the door for the early introduction of new products to the market. This means businesses will be able to provide their customers with early access to new and innovative products, meeting yet another consumer expectation.
Another important ecommerce strategy is one that places emphasis on providing tailored experiences for customers. Ecommerce platforms collect a large amount of data that can either be harnessed through suitable algorithms or can simply go to waste.
A good ecommerce strategy focuses on harnessing this data to create an individualized experience for the customer, which meets their expectations regarding relevant and customized service.
3 Key technologies for managing supplier diversity
Technology and the internet play crucial roles in today’s economy. A few decades ago, ecommerce had to fight for the right to be taken seriously, with many entrepreneurs dismissing its potential and considering it a passing trend. In 2016, however, online sales accounted for 8.4% of total retail sales in the US, while total US ecommerce retail sales grew 15% from 2015. Gone are the days when technology was the domain of bigger companies. Breakthroughs in technology have made both software and hardware cheaper, smaller and more efficient, placing them in the hands of small businesses. Technology has revolutionized the potential of small business retailers. Ecommerce platforms, tools and apps are now as available to small business as they are to the large enterprise.
Affordable technology has at last allowed small businesses to become more efficient. The internet offers access to larger markets at lower capital cost. At the same time, cheaper digital storage reduces required investments while improving efficiency. The result is increased profits. With more time and money, small business eTailers can focus on innovation.
More importantly, however, technology has changed how the market thinks. Fewer and fewer people are willing to go to a physical store for their products, instead relying on the convenience and power of their desktops or mobile phones to have what they need delivered to their door. For small business eTailers, technology is more than a necessity for growth. For today’s eTailers, technology is a necessity for survival.
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Key technologies for global eCommerce success
So what technologies should small businesses invest in to ensure a healthy and profit-making ecommerce platform? It is, of course, best for small businesses to plan these technology investments in line with their ecommerce strategies and their overall business plans. This way, these investments will function as more than just add-ons. They’ll become the bedrock of business growth.
Online tracking systems
A well-developed global supply chain ensures the product reaches the consumer on time, adding to overall customer satisfaction. The Internet even allows businesses to keep consumers up to date as to where their orders are in the process. With online self-serve tracking systems, brands are able to promote transparency and accountability. It not only adds to the perceived level of customer satisfaction, it reduces service costs by making order tracking self-service.
Global payment systems
Banking systems most businesses have been using to send money around the world are getting antiquated. They are inefficient, problematic, and it’s hard to figure out how to fix them when problems arise. When investing in a global supply chain, it’s important to also invest in a global payment method that helps you make payments to your suppliers that are timely, accurate, and simple.
Web analytics and data collection
It is important for small businesses to integrate technology that allows them to track and analyze their customers’ online and browsing habits. The debate surrounding online tracking is a heated one and has raged for many years, but there is no denying that such tracking provides small businesses with the information they need to better understand their market and target audience. In fact, such information is vital when deciding on business plans or when tweaking the company’s ecommerce strategy, as it identifies faults in the business model and corrects them.
Web analytics and data collection software are not only useful for marketing and business strategies, they can also help small businesses personalize the shopping experience, offering more relevant products aligned with a consumer’s browsing and purchase history.