Ecommerce is driven by technology, but there’s still a lot of work that people have to do.
Someone has to write descriptions, take photos, create listings, dispatch orders, support customers, do bookkeeping, marketing and more. There’s no way to completely avoid these time-consuming, repetitive tasks. So what can you do to lessen the pain of that work?
Today outsourcing is the first choice for many businesses, from part-time sellers who still have day-jobs to the very largest enterprises.
I spoke recently with Carlo Silva, co-founder of outsourcing company 2nd Office. Carlo’s company is uniquely focussed on ecommerce, particularly selling through online marketplaces like eBay, Amazon, Rakuten and others. That knowledge and experience is not easy to come by.
Not only that, 2nd Office has a great reputation. You can read reviews of 2nd Office in the Web Retailer directory.
I asked Carlo how he got into ecommerce, why he started an outsourcing company (and how sellers can outsource successfully), and what he sees as the next big trend in ecommerce.
This post is by Victor Levitin, the CEO and co-founder of CrazyLister (a tool for easily creating professional eBay templates), and author of the eBay sellers journey to $100k a month blog.
In 2013 eBay awarded us with a certificate of achievement for the highest conversion rates. As a result of the gained publicity we received requests from a wide range of eBay sellers and businesses to help them grow sales.
In this article, I’m presenting detailed case studies from the work we’ve done with some of them, and how we helped them optimize their listings and boost sales.
This post is by Radoslav Albrecht, the founder and CEO of Bitbond. Based in Berlin (Germany), Bitbond is a peer-to-peer lending platform that specializes in providing loans to online sellers and small businesses. The platform uses bitcoin as a payment network and is therefore available to everyone who has access to the internet. Previous to starting Bitbond, Radoslav was advising banks at Roland Berger Strategy Consultants and has worked for Deutsche Bank in London.
As an online seller you want to spend your time optimizing and growing your sales. Your products and the service you provide to your customers are at the center of your attention. Other administrative activities that don’t relate to making sales directly are often regarded as chores.
Frequently, this also applies to the financing of a retailer’s activities. As a financial product, loans and credit lines are often untried territory for online sellers. To someone who is not familiar with financing, the associated terms and costs might look opaque and not easily understandable.
Cross-border ecommerce has never been hotter. The big online marketplaces of eBay and Amazon have been leading the charge, driving growth by pushing their sellers to trade internationally.
Many of those sellers have had great success trading across borders, becoming prolific exporters while suffering few of the headaches experienced by more established businesses. Or so it seems at first.
While ecommerce technology has adapted quickly to cross-border trade, the worlds of logistics, regulation and taxes are stuck in the past. Many international sellers have been tripped up by a bewildering combination of rules, classifications, policies and providers.
With a major global ecommerce event ThinkGlobal Retail just around the corner, I decided to ask over thirty sellers, consultants and service providers about the biggest challenges they had seen with cross-border ecommerce. This is what they said.
UK Sports Warehouse, based in Oxfordshire, England, has been selling sporting goods though online marketplaces for fifteen years. They specialise in clearance – products which other retailers have been unable to sell through their normal channels.
Clearance (or liquidation) is a normal part of the retail business. Shelf space in stores and warehouses is a valuable resource, so items that don’t sell need to make way for those that do. And that often means selling them off in bulk for less than the cost price. Sometimes much less.
So clearance can be a great source of profitable stock for marketplace sellers, but there are downsides. One problem is that the supply changes every day – you can’t simply reorder bestselling products. Other businesses can sell the same line successfully for months or years, but clearance sellers need to constantly refresh all their SKUs.
UK Sports Warehouse (UKSW) saw the risk in only selling clearance products and decided to diversify, by adding a number of current product lines to their portfolio. But there was a problem. A “cheap and cheerful” image can work for a company selling clearance gear, but people who want the latest equipment expect to buy from a company that is serious about sports. That’s a very different brand.
So I caught up with Elizabeth Hitchins, an experienced ecommerce consultant who has been working with UKSW for a number of years. Elizabeth had the job of building a whole new sports brand for UKSW. This is the story of how she created SportsBubble, and the ups and downs of launching it as a new business on multiple online marketplaces.