Unpicking the e-commerce conundrum in APAC
Businesses as old as the hills have relied on partnerships, between traders, re-sellers, logistics, warehouses, customers and businesses. Even when a great deal of trade is done online (and even physical face-to-face deals are backed by electronic systems), partnerships still underpin even the most modern e-commerce business.
The complication that anyone trading faces today is that beneath each partnership or relationship are often different technology platforms. In practical terms, manufacturer x uses a proprietary piece of software to control the manufacturing process, distributor y still does much of its business via Excel sheets, and marketplace z is entirely based on SAP.
Creating an all-encompassing management system is a complex beast, therefore, and one that needs to be able to integrate seamlessly to power each relationship. And gone, of course, are the days of a single marketplace for any goods.
Most traders today operate through multiple platforms and outlets, from retail stores to different marketplaces, on different continents, via a mix of their own and others’ storage, logistics and warehousing. With each difference— in languages, currency, legislation, and customs— comes greater complications, and businesses invariably find that as their company grows linearly, the administrative burden grows (or seems to, at least), exponentially.
In the US, Russia or China, companies can keep to localized business, and have at least a slightly less difficult time of it. But, as history has proven time and time again, firms that confine themselves to a single outlet are taking a massive gamble. Companies that only sell to a single chain of supermarkets, or via a single retailer (like Amazon) are liable to be held virtual hostage. The answer lies on omnichannel trade and, of course, in the APAC region, that’s a given.
The highly fragmented Asian market usually means that any single order will go through several iterations of email, Word document, Excel file even before it hits (and must be manually re-typed into) a warehouse management system. From there, the shipping and distribution complexities add up, and it’s not uncommon for a $10 per order penalty to be suffered or an inevitably delayed or oversold order. Managing a modern e-commerce business across the 70+ marketplaces or channels— plus warehousing, shipping, and physical outlets— means that companies are beginning to use very clever technology to help them negotiate the highly complex day-to-day realities of APAC trade today.
Here at Tech Wire Asia, we’re looking at four suppliers of the type of technological platform that will genuinely free up and empower modern traders, by removing much of the daily administration tasks and drudgery that many have to undertake: one of the following solutions may have the power to stop your organization from having to run fast just to stand still. From operating on platforms as disparate as Lazada is from SnapDeal, 11Street, Amazon, and Qoo10, the robust solutions now on offer can literally revolutionize how your operation does business. Marketplaces plus warehousing, marketing to retail, via cross-border differences and native languages alike, we recommend you check out one or all the following. Each has the potential to change the way you do business, today.
Anchanto’s solutions were born and bred in Asia, and it shows. Its multilingual SaaS platforms (customizable for eCommerce & logistics businesses of all sizes) come with an unmatched know-how of the APAC market at their hearts. SelluSeller, the multichannel eCommerce management system has ready integrations with 70+ regional marketplaces, from niche players right up to giants such as Lazada, Zalora, Shopee, and Amazon. It is also pre-integrated with ERP tools such as SAP & Tally, along with accounting tools & last mile carriers.
It enables businesses such as yourself to streamline your core multichannel selling operations across multiple marketplaces and different sales channels— including your own online shop. It helps your teams to manage inventory, order, pricing, promotions, catalogs, and much more on a single dashboard that supports multi-lingual GUI (Japanese, Mandarin, Bahasa, English, etc.).
SelluSeller can readily integrate with any existing systems or processes you may already have, but automates the entire selling management process, so you no longer have to employ staff to manually cross-enter information and make sure the different systems are aligned with each other.
The Wareo platform (previously known as Anchanto eCommerce Warehouse Management System) facilitates brands, distributors, service providers, and logistics & warehousing businesses to run core B2B and B2C eCommerce operations through their warehouses. It enables warehouse, orders, inventory management, & equips businesses with eCommerce capabilities.
Deployed as SaaS, the secure platforms are always on, and are constantly upgraded with powerful capabilities by the Anchanto team. All you have to do is focus on your business, and let Anchanto’s robust platforms deal with the backend operations & all the heavy lifting. You can read in more detail about Anchanto here.
The British outfit TradeGecko covers inventory management, orders, and fulfillment, customer and supplier data (like a trade-oriented CRM, if you will) and provides the basis for powerful business reports, like sales, inventory snapshots and an up-to-the-minute update available at any time.
It integrates neatly with the standard gamut of trade platforms, like Magento, Xero, Intuit’s QuickBooks and Shopify, plus, being a UK company— as you might expect— smooth integration with the Amazon platform, which is a market leader in Europe and the US.
There’s integration baked in with The Iconic for fashion and sports clothing retail in Australia and New Zealand, plus the platform speaks to a range of popular marketing platforms like HubSpot and Klaviyo. There’s also interface capability with warehousing systems like Shiptheory, so any existing systems used by your 3PLs or warehousing partners can also be addressed electronically, rather than relying on phone calls and emails between partners. This then, is a platform that’s designed to scale as your company does.
The Asian market does not go unmentioned, with platforms like Rakuten onboard, plus with CartRover compatibility (you’ll need a CartRover account) then the sky’s the limit. With a 14-day free trial, if your business is looking West, try TradeGecko.
With a name that contains the word Ninja, you’d expect the company that owns it to be flexible (if not deadly), and in that respect, the Ninja Van platform doesn’t disappoint. It’s well-known in APAC as a large and professional logistics services provider, and the company’s offering covers not just delivery but can also manage, on its clients’ behalf, cash on delivery (vital in parts of Asia) and omnichannel order fulfillment, including click-and-collect options for full or partial order fulfillment and return, irrespective of location in Asia.
It’s already in daily use by household name like Shopee as that company’s trusted shipping specialist, and even for smaller companies, that should come as some reassurance as to its ability to scale up as your business grows.
The Ninja Van offerings operate as standalone systems in certain respects, which means that the large company’s significant investment in its systems— like customer order tracking online— is a benefit that can be passed onto your customers with no extra overhead for you. From small scale operations sending out just a few Ninja Packs a day, to full -scale, enterprise-level shipping requirements, Ninja Van should be your go-to delivery and logistics supplier for your growing e-commerce concern.
Like several of the other offerings features on these pages, Cin7’s platform is cloud-based. This offers several advantages over an on-premise solution, not the least being that it is available at the click of a mouse— simplicity itself to get up and running.
However, the ease with which its platform can be fired up belies the platform’s power, as it’s highly comprehensive. It possesses the facility for traditional POS, but with a twist– its iPad interface is the epitome of cool, perfect for hip young retailers to use in their brick-and-mortar facilities.
The platform operates in full omnichannel environments, integrating with many dozens of marketplaces right across the world. It also has in-built connections into world-class logistics providers, like DHL, MainFreight and PikPak. There’s direct EDI into places like Walmart and Nordstrom, and its open, extensible nature means that even small, boutique stores can be used to explore a niche.
The platform even offers smaller manufacturers a facilities management platform, meaning that if you make, sell, distribute and deliver your own products (as well as or in addition to those of others), the Cin7 offerings have you covered.
*Some of the companies featured in this article are commercial partners of Tech Wire Asia