It’s no surprise many small businesses fear an Amazon take-over – with Wall Street firm Needham predicting that Amazon will make up 50% of all US eCommerce, the eCommerce giant continues to set the stage for successful online sales. However, instead of worrying about losing sales to Amazon, many savvy small business owners are taking advantage of all that Amazon has to offer and are teaming up with the company to sell their own product. With more than half of Amazon’s sales coming from 3rd party sellers who list their own products, and total net sales of $177.9 billion USD in 2017, Amazon provides a great opportunity for small businesses to sell more product and reach new customers without a lot of extra effort. Instead of spending money on proprietary websites and SEO, small retail and wholesale operations are investing in eCommerce inventory integration between marketplaces like Amazon and back-end inventory and accounting software as a way to efficiently fulfil orders from multiple sales channels.
How it Works
eCommerce inventory integration enables online marketplaces and websites such as Amazon, eBay, Etsy, Shopify, Magento etc. to electronically share information with back-end inventory and accounting ERP software. ERP software acts as the central database and point of truth for a business. Information from all business departments and sales channels is managed within the system. Everything from inventory information, to accounting, to sales, to customer service, to purchases is maintained in a single database. This means data is accurate across all areas of the company and proper integration enables the flow of data between your warehouse and sales channels for efficient order fulfilment.
FBA – Fulfilment by Amazon
Fulfilment by Amazon provides another option for small businesses to reach even more customers both locally and around the world. In this situation, items sold through Amazon are also stored, picked, packed and shipped through the company for easy delivery and customer service – meaning your business can grow without having to purchase additional resources in terms of hiring warehouse staff and purchasing warehouse space. Even with FBA companies still require eCommerce inventory integration to share order and inventory information between systems and across all sales channels.
Proper integration of sales channels and data systems helps businesses manage an increase in order volume, without needing to hire additional employees for simple manual tasks such as order input. This means small businesses can increase their online presence utilizing online search opportunities and vertical markets on Amazon where potential customers are already shopping. Other benefits include:
- Consumers and businesses trust the Amazon brand, and many opt to search for product through Amazon as opposed to directly on the retailer’s site. Small businesses can take advantage of this trust by listing products on Amazon to get more exposure to customers through different channels and to help to make products discoverable without having to spend time and money to develop a website.
- Amazon’s automated warehouse technology and great customer service – such as the ability for same-day shipping – provides businesses a competitive edge and is not something most wholesale businesses can’t compete with on their own.
- Selling product through Amazon means your company is open for business 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.
- Working with Amazon allows your business to focus on expanding its customer base vs. managing eCommerce orders.