What Does An E-commerce Enabler Do

How do people shop for their goods? In previous years, physical stores may be the answer, but consumer behaviour has changed drastically over the years. These days, a lot of people would say their preferred shopping method is through online. The improving infrastructure or environment from internet penetration, logistics duration, to development of e-commerce marketplaces have made online shopping even more enjoyable to date. In Southeast Asia, the internet industry has hit the $100 billion mark in 2019, which has tripled in size since 2015 according to a study by Google. Temasek and Bain & Co pointed that the result is contributed mostly by e-commerce and ride hailing. The number is predictable to achieve $300 billion by 2025.

On the other hand, while a lot of businesses are struggling to cope with the sales slump caused by the Covid-19 outbreak, Nike has allowed itself a little buffer with the increase of 37% in its online sales. Online sales did not just aid Nike but other brands as well, which is why online platforms are crucial for companies.

Is your company in view of penetrating or refocusing its e-commerce sales? If so, the word of e-commerce enabler should not be nascent to you. Despite the emerging ecommerce enablers in the market, many still do not know what an e-commerce enabler does.

A brief definition of e-commerce enabler is the company that provides full or partial solutions for brands on setting up their e-commerce store. These third-party outsourcing companies provide services such as consulting, storefront management and operation, inventory management, consumer management, digital marketing, customer service, warehouse storage and logistics, and IT services. These services will provide value for the company in upstream and downstream of the e-commerce industry chain.

An e-commerce enabler is not only an industry veteran that has all the answers to your needs for driving sales effectively online, but also able to help the company to keep up with latest changes and promotion on the platforms or e-commerce marketplaces. They are there to ensure the company will not miss out any possible opportunity. For example, if company X wants to sell on e-commerce marketplace A to utilize its traffic and customer base but has zero experience in operating its store at A, X can expand its business without hassle by hiring an e-commerce enabler named Y to solve its problems.

To make things clear:

An e-commerce marketplace refers to a platform where sellers list their products to sell to consumers.

Some of the most recognized marketplaces include: Lazada, Shopee, Amazon and Alibaba.

An e-commerce enabler refers to a one stop service provider for brands to sell their goods on e-commerce marketplaces effectively.

The existence of e-commerce enablers amid the rapidly growing internet business industry and abundant companies lack internal resources to accommodate their needs.

So how does e-commerce enablers work?

Generally, e-commerce enablers may be categorised into 3 models including general operation model, distribution model and content service model.

General Operation Model:

On behalf of the operation service provider, it manages the online stores of the brand side and provides full-process services for e-commerce sales. The marketing and promotion costs of the store are borne by the brand side. Income may be earned in the form of fee + sales commission.

Distribution model:

Under the distribution model, service providers buy funds from the brand side with their own funds and set up stores on the e-commerce platform for sales. 

After the goods are wholesaled to the service provider, the sales will be completed, and the subsequent marketing costs will no longer be borne;

Content Service model:

Service providers offer services for a certain link of the brand’s e-commerce operation, or provide marketing planning solutions for a certain product or activity and help to execute the plan. Under this mode, the service provider mainly charges service fees for corresponding services.

What makes e-commerce enablers a perfect solution for brands to start venturing into e-commerce marketplaces?

Brand consulting with experience.

E-commerce enablers have experience and expertise in running e-commerce stores for their clients and know exactly how the industry works. They have the most precious weapon in the world to grow your e-commerce store – data and industry best practices. By holding this weapon, e-commerce enablers can be sure of effective growth even for clients with minimal knowledge.

Store Operation.

What are the aspects that are needed for an effective and efficient store operation? From launching your store, managing product listing and ordering across marketplaces, to consumer insight and reporting, a lot of tedious tasks are involved. You need a well-versed team to do it so that you can focus on other aspects of the business such as product developments.

Customer Services

Apart from store operations, you have to admit that customer experience plays a crucial role in converting your visitors to buyers, or even loyal customers in the long run. As your online business grows, you will need a team who are responsible to handle every single question or feedback from you customer in a timely manner.  E-commerce enablers have a professional customer service team that is skilled to ensure your customers are well taken care of.

Digital Marketing.

When you are running an online business, you will know that digital marketing is a necessity to grow the business. Do you have a digital marketing specialist who handles social media, ads buy, copywriting? It’s good if you have one but if you don’t, how would you manage your digital marketing matter? Will you hire an in-house or leave it to an agency? E-commerce enablers usually have an expert digital marketing team to handle their client’s digital marketing and integrate it with the e-commerce store, which makes it one of the best options to go for.

Visual Merchandising Design

Visual Merchandising is not only used in brick-and-mortar stores but also e-store. From colour schemes, layout, banner design to product display page (PDP) design, each and every detail matter when it comes to converting your store visitors to buyers. E-commerce enablers generally have a professional visual merchandising design team to craft the design that best fits the brand image and user experience.

Content Localization

If you are thinking of expanding your business to another country, then an e-commerce enabler with strong content localization ability would be one of the factors when it comes to choosing one. Content localization not only covers the language, but also the formatting and design, as well as cultural sensitivity. For instance, if you are a brand that originates from a European country that wants to enter the Asian market, your brand content needs to adjust to their local language, cultural sensitivity, ways of living and preferences. This way, not only it helps to create a better brand image but also sales growth.

Apart from the aforementioned services that would make your venture to e-commerce a worry-free journey, professional e-commerce enablers usually have several clients within the same category which allows them to have the resources to negotiate exposures and traffic resources with the marketplace. This is definitely an unbeatable advantage of having an e-commerce enabler to run your e-store.

How about starting an e-commerce team in-house?

To start an e-commerce team in-house, you will need a team who is able to handle all the aforementioned aspects. To form a professional e-commerce team, you will need at least 4-6 months. Recruitment consumes a lot of time and financial resources. The team needs to run at the initial stage of establishment, and the professionalism of the team cannot be guaranteed. The turnover for e-commerce talents is so high that employees often leave the team when the team spirit has just established.

Besides, what do you think about the cost of running an e-commerce team? A solid e-commerce team with design, marketing, operation, copywriting and etc, would cost you at least USD 10,000 and above excluding expenses such as computers, office space, utilities and so on.

Finally, the risk of starting your own e-commerce team is that the team member is unstable and the technology is insufficient to keep up with the development of e-commerce marketplaces, which may cause the store to be in a state of slow sales and at loss.

If you have stayed and read through the article, it means that you are either curious about what an e-commerce enabler is or you are considering choosing one. If you are the latter, congratulations! You have just found one of the best e-commerce enablers in Southeast Asia, Arriva. Arriva came to Southeast Asia with the invitation of Alibaba where its technology transferred from Alibaba to local e-commerce marketplace, Lazada. Arriva is equipped with expertise from its parent company, Buy Quickly, which was awarded as “Tmall Top Service Provider” for 7 consecutive years with a total of 13 awards.

Arriva is here for your successful venture to the e-commerce industry with a proven track record. Arriva was awarded the Best Ecosystem Partner during the very first Lazada Awards Night 2019. Not to mention, Arriva also helped its clients to rank top in their categories during several mega campaigns with outstanding performance.

For more information, do send your enquiries to inquiry@arriva-asia.com.