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(Source – FedEx)

How e-commerce integration has transformed online retail

Article by Kawal Preet, President, Asia Pacific, Middle East and Africa (AMEA), FedEx Express

When transformation happens, it can be swift, dramatic yet far-reaching. The e-commerce landscape was once fairly simple – typically single-vendor online shops. However, today’s e-commerce ecosystems are sophisticated and complex networks that encompass enablement platforms, marketplaces, social commerce, subscription models, and trends like buy now, pay later.

Never before have customers been offered so much choice and convenience.

Unprecedented growth means transformation is happening faster

Post-pandemic consumer behavior is vastly accelerating online transactions and cross-border e-commerce. In Southeast Asia alone, an estimated 70 million more people started shopping online since the pandemic began, with the region’s 350 million online shoppers expected to grow to 380 million by 2026 (Bain and Company, 2021).

The global e-commerce market was worth US$13 Trillion in 2021, and is forecast to reach US$ 55.6 Trillion by 2027. The Asia Pacific is at the epicenter. According to McKinsey (March 2022), 60% of inter-continental trade originates from Asia – a dynamic market. And all of this is accelerating the growth of omnichannel e-commerce.

Omnichannel is a multichannel approach to sales that focuses on providing a seamless customer experience – whether the client is shopping online from a mobile, a laptop, or in a brick-and-mortar store. The rise of omnichannel has been fueled by API-led connectivity, which allows third parties to plug into each other’s platforms.

Time to shift – and integrate

Legacy e-commerce stores are quickly realizing that website upgrades and product reorganization isn’t enough.

Kawal Preet, President, Asia Pacific, Middle East and Africa (AMEA), FedEx Express

To ensure that each customer touchpoint is enhanced, integration is on most e-tailers’ list of priorities. Merchants need to provide a premium delivery experience as part of end-to-end e-commerce. However, opportunities to win customers also come with the rising complexity of running a business and managing sales and fulfilments online.

How we sell and shop has revolutionized. Customers and businesses are unanimously choosing e-commerce marketplaces over websites. Marketplaces are now an important part of the purchasing mix – one in five B2B companies have already built one, either directly or through partnerships, and another 60% are in the process of doing so.

The more platforms, marketplaces, and payment systems being built, the more processes and complications for e-commerce merchants – the players who are actually driving cross-border commerce. With this context, forging the right alliances will drive SMEs forward in this fast-paced and complex world. It’s will accelerate business growth, from integrated marketplaces like eBay, Lazada, and TaoBao to payment gateways like Airwallex, Payoneer, and Ping Pong.

Innovation in this space doesn’t stop with small businesses

It’s been a real coming-of-age moment for digital channels of commerce and e-merchants alike. SMEs and e-tailers are on a continuous digital journey to make sure their business is primed for the new e-commerce landscape. And so are we.

At FedEx, we’re also at the center of exciting e-commerce transformation. We’re driving huge regional e-commerce growth with our global connections – supporting businesses of all sizes to build and expand.

In the past two years, we’ve embarked on integrations with e-commerce tech platforms across the Asia Pacific, the Middle East, and Africa (AMEA) seeking out compatibilities and forging alliances. Our growing list of alliances ranges from software providers to e-commerce platforms, including Allroot, Easyship, and Ship&Co.

Our aim is a win-win e-commerce experience

Local language e-commerce platforms are vital in enabling traditional small businesses to market their products to global customers. This is why we’re working to provide our customers with local solutions that work for their business.

For instance, we teamed up with Ship&Co – a Japanese startup and now one of the largest e-commerce shipping enablers in APAC – through our FedEx Compatible Solutions Program. This alliance helps e-commerce merchants with automated returns, shipping insurance, customs declarations, and branding – and gives Ship&Co customers one-stop access to FedEx services. Today, over 600 e-merchants in Japan have benefitted from this program to grow their cross-border e-commerce business.

Ruiyun, Mabang, and ECPP are our recognized solutions providers in China – enabling quick and easy integration to popular local platforms for customers

At the start of 2022, we also joined forces with leading platform BigCommerce to empower SMEs across the region to tap e-commerce opportunities. With 58,000 online stores in 147 countries, BigCommerce is a platform for launching and scaling any e-commerce operation – including store design, catalog management, hosting, checkout, order management, and reporting – plus third-party services like payments and shipping.

Benefits to small businesses – from enablement to ease of operations

At the heart of such partnerships are very clear benefits, including:

  • Highly competitive discount rates for merchants
  • Simple, streamlined access to our shipping services
  • Enhanced shipping opportunities which come from being able to leverage a vast portfolio of e-commerce solutions, including FedEx Electronic Trade Documents

Plus, smaller customers get to punch above their weight. Programs like these are an effective solution to make billing simpler and address customer needs as they arise.

A brave new world of integration

Albert Einstein once said: “You can’t use an old map to explore a new world”.

The latest McKinsey B2B Pulse survey shows customers want many more channels, more convenience, and a more personalized experience. If they don’t get it, they’ll take their business elsewhere.  Customers in India now use an average of 11 channels when moving through their purchasing journey. Demands for integration and multi-vendor collaboration will only increase.

By integrating e-commerce ecosystems, all players are helping to power business growth like never before. And most importantly, powering economies where everyone wins. The power of working together offers not just exponential growth, but seamless delivery and ease of doing business.