What Retailers Should Consider When Choosing An Ecommerce Platform



May 28th, 2024

Certainty in Uncertain Times

The world of ecommerce is one of rapid technological, social, and economic changes, often occurring relatively simultaneously. Ultimately, these factors require agility in problem-solving and swift adaptation.

The 2020s started with unique challenges that have exposed potential blindspots in global commerce, forcing more retailers to increasingly divert their efforts toward online sales. These events have only compounded the need for technological infrastructure capable of quickly and comprehensively facilitating change.

At the strategic level, Chief Technology Officers will inevitably face the dilemma of where to build in-house infrastructure or choose an existing solution and whether that solution can allow them to experiment with new markets or revenue streams.

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To Build, Buy or Blend

A core element of business success is standing out from the competition — having a unique service proposition. As a natural extension of this thinking, many will consider building a unique platform to offer their customers something different from their competitors.

On the surface, an in-house build promises a host of advantages, from customization to performance to ownership. However, it is an enormous decision that should be weighted strongly against factors such as organizational size, resources, objectives, and timelines.

Unforeseen or unanticipated issues can create timeline budget overruns or backlogs, forcing an organization to push back its planned launch date. Also, a one-of-a-kind system will likely require a detailed understanding, meaning that staff turnover can have an increased effect on the business.

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Hitting the Ground Faster

Buying pre-existing software allows Retailers to deploy faster on a proven platform with dedicated support as required.

Firstly, it significantly reduces time to market, sparing resources and offering robust documentation and support. Maintenance and integrations are major self-build challenges, requiring continuous monitoring and substantial developer involvement. Conversely, SaaS platforms provide pre-built integrations, easing development and fostering vendor collaboration.

Labor costs associated with self-building are substantial, considering the need for skilled software engineers and ongoing maintenance. In contrast, SaaS solutions offer detailed developer documentation, reducing labor expenses. Additionally, scalability and adaptability are crucial considerations. Custom systems demand rebuilding for scaling or changing direction, consuming time and resources. SaaS platforms, however, offer support networks and guidance for seamless expansion into new verticals.

A blended approach, offered by platforms like Onport, offers a perfect middle ground between the two perspectives. It provides a base infrastructure for customization, enabling companies to launch faster and allocate resources to strategic objectives like scalability and revenue expansion through composable technology.

New Opportunities

Another key requirement that any enterprise-level software should offer its users is the ability to capitalize on new opportunities. An increasingly popular revenue stream for online retailers is dropshipping.

Dropshipping, a burgeoning ecommerce segment, is increasingly embraced by companies, especially curated marketplaces featuring products from various third-party vendors. Projected to surpass $7 trillion in revenue by 2024, marketplaces attract traditional brick-and-mortar retailers seeking to diversify their distribution channels.

As a fulfillment model, it enables retailers to list products on their online platforms without physically storing inventory. When a purchase occurs, the supplier ships the item directly to the customer, often white-labeled, for a seamless delivery experience.

The model offers several benefits for retailers. First, it allows for the swift incorporation of new vendors and products at a fraction of the cost of traditional channels, thereby rapidly diversifying revenue streams. Retailers can experiment with new product categories, ranges, and markets, fostering greater customer retention through a broader product selection aligned with the core offering.

Flexibility is Key

Dropshipping is just one such example of new revenue open to online retailers, it is important that a software solution enables the retailer to make the most of such lucrative opportunities and pivot towards them with relative ease.

A bulky, legacy based system may require significant time and resources to expand its infrastructure to accomodate changing in direction. As a result, time may be lost and the ability to stay on step ahead of the competition.

It is simply not enough to deploy an ecommerce platform that only addresses today's challenges. Retailers should ensure that their stack is embedded with future-proof solutions, flexible enough to respond to fast-changing macro conditions and consumer expectations.

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Onport is an Ecommerce Marketplace and Dropshipping Platform enabling companies to centralize the core areas of backend marketplace dropshipping operations using next-generation composable technology - inventory syncing, order routing, shipping workflows, payment automation and returns management.

With Onport, we could launch in less than three months, which we just couldn’t have done had we built the system ourselves.

Frank A. Ricciardi | Founder & CEO at Maavee

Over 200+ companies in the e-commerce space are future-proofing their business with a solution trusted by brands such as Stadium Goods, Cupra, Ivalo, and Naduvi.

Navigate your business with Onport, a multi-vendor marketplace solution to scale your operations.

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