12 Key Characteristics for an eCommerce B2B Website

The standard model of the shopping cart does not work for the B2Bs. Here, in this article, you can easily find a list of the essential functions to avoid failure and create a successful e-commerce website from your B2B.

Very often, when we hear the words “online shop”, this creates the images of different e-commerce platforms that sell products such as shoes, jewelry, stationery, or grocery stores. If it is unquestionable that the B2C companies compose an essential part of e-commerce shops, B2B portals slowly emerge to dominate the online sales.

Today, more and more B2B customers are making their purchases online. A study from Forrester indicates that more than 74% of the B2B customers do some online research before buying something. Customers searching first proves the everyday increasing levels of B2B portals. The needs and requirements of the customers are very different for B2C and B2B enterprises.

Therefore, B2B enterprises should change how they design and display their online shops to their customers. The standard model of the shopping cart does not work for the B2Bs. Here, in this article, you can easily find a list of the essential functions to avoid failure and create a successful e-commerce website from your B2B.

Customized Pricing

Unlike the B2C portals that have uniform pricing for all the customers, the B2B enterprises propose different pricing—depending on the client or the quantity that is bought. The wholesale purchases offer you higher discounts compared with a smaller amount of purchases.

Also, B2B enterprises offer group prices for specific products, quantity discounts, etc.

Your site should be designed to display the right price for different customers. Once a particular customer logs in, he must access the price for him, depending on the quantity ordered and other discounts.

Advanced Payment Method

We agree that the process for B2B orders is more complicated than B2Cs. More complicated means that the shopping cart model should be the most appropriate. Your e-commerce website design company needs to design your site to make it easier to pay and reduce the basket desertion.

The payment process must not only be streamlined but also help to remember some other factors such as:

  • Customers must be able to transfer their shipping costs to their delivery partners accounts (such as FedEx, USP, etc.)
  • Customers must be able to retrieve their payment information from previous orders.
  • They must have the possibility to pay for orders through different payment methods such as a line of credit, a purchase request, commercial credit, etc.
  • It should be possible to repeat an order previously placed and not to research individual products again.

Wholesale Purchases

Very often, B2B customers place large orders. In such cases, searching for all the products in your online catalog is tedious and time-consuming. To simplify the task, you can provide your consumers with a form for a bundled order.

When designing a group order form, ensure that the customers can add products only with the part number or the SKU. Also, they should be able to specify the desired amount for each item. Once the bundled order form is completed, it should take the customer directly to the payment page.

Minimum Amount of Order

Making the minimum order amount is another feature that makes a difference between B2C e-commerce websites and B2B portals. Very often, B2B companies sell products only in quantities of wholesale. Customers must order a specific minimum amount of order so it can be completed.

Degressive Discounts for the Wholesale Purchases

B2B customers often make bulk purchases. In this way, instead of listing products that are frequently sold as individual items, you can also list them as packages, boxes, cartons, or even pallets. The labeling designations will make things easier for the customer as well for you too. If a customer is looking for nails, he can easily add them to the basket in a box instead of 100 individual nails.

In addition, B2B companies offer different levels of discounts to customers depending on the number of products ordered. For example, offering the same value to a customer who buys 10 air filters and a buyer of 1000 air filters makes no sense. Your online store must be able to accept different discounts depending on the quantity ordered.

Restricted Access

Some B2B companies only allow pre-registered customers or resellers to order products from their online stores. For example, if your business only sells through a network of resellers, your website should be designed so that only authorized resellers can access it.

When choosing an e-commerce platform, make sure it can protect with a password your entire site and restrict access to customers.

You can also restrict access to specific parts of the site to non-registered customers. Restricting a site area means that the home page and product line are accessible to everyone, but only authorized retailers can buy from your online store.

Improved Mobile Experience

The mobile shopping experience is growing. Today, more and more B2B customers are looking for professional products on their mobile. As mentioned above, almost 94% agree that they start looking for commercial services or products on their smartphones. Offering your site on mobile means that mobile-friendly sites are no longer an additional feature. They are essential to provide your customers with the best user experience.

When designing a responsive mobile e-commerce store, you need to look for advanced features such as:

  • Auto-entry – this allows your clicks to fill out forms using information already stored on their device. This way, they don’t have to enter repetitive keys to get standard information such as name, address, email address, phone numbers, etc.
  • A clear call to action button – with this button, customers can contact your customer support team with just one click.

Make sure your site has fast loading times and offers an optimized experience on all screens.

Intuitive and User-Friendly Searches

One of the best ways to increase the conversion rate on the website is to improve the search functionality of your B2B e-commerce portal. Customers should be able to locate the items they are looking for without going through your entire list of products.

Being user-friendly and accessible means that you need more than just a search bar on your website. Here are some improved search features to provide to your site:

  • Search filters – customers should locate a product or refine default search results by varying attributes such as product size, color, availability, etc.
  • Long-haul searches – your e-commerce portal must be able to manage and interpret long-trailed semantic searches. Studies show that the dropout rate decreases significantly (40% to 2%) with a semantic approach than research.
  • Auto-entry – while this may seem like a simple feature, it does indeed have a considerable impact. Auto-entry not only saves consumers time but also makes them buy other products that they haven’t thought of buying before.

Flexible Payments

In the B2C world, getting paid immediately before processing an order is very important. B2B companies, on the other hand, do not operate that way. There is a stable relationship between the company and the customer, and very often, companies give their customers a line of credit. A line of credit leads to the need for flexible payment options.

Flexible payments add to the overall user experience. While different payment methods are very convenient for B2C online stores, they are incredibly critical for B2B stores. While offering several payment methods (uppler dot com) on your B2B e-commerce, be sure to provide options for offline modes as well as the usual ones such as credit cards, transfers, etc.

An example of an offline payment method is to complete the order and then allow the customer to pay for it using the order number within 30 days of the end of the transaction.

Available Customer Support

To make sure you increase conversion rates, you need to provide more than a “Contact Us” page on your e-commerce portal. You can add the “Ask for a free quote” form or add a live chat service to provide your customer with real-time customer support.

Real-Time Inventory Updates

This is an indispensable feature of all B2B e-commerce portals. Only with real-time inventory updates, you can provide your customers with the most accurate information.

If a consumer completes an order, only to find that you don’t have the required products, they not only lose confidence in your brand, but you also end up losing potential repeated sales and even the customer.

Real-time inventory updates have far-reaching implications beyond your online box. You get a clear picture of your overall inventory, and this helps streamline your operations, especially if

you run a business model just in time.

Advanced Personalization

Very often, B2B electronic stores fail because they are rigid and designed on the basis of a standard model. Your B2B e-commerce store should be tailored to the specific needs of your business and not the other way around if you want to take advantage of your e-commerce business.

This starts with choosing the right e-commerce platform that meets your specific needs.

Last Thoughts

The launch of a successful B2B e-commerce store is not possible overnight. You need to choose the right platform and provide your customers with advanced and additional features to make sure that it works the way you want it to work.

While this list of B2B e-commerce themes is essential for your business to stand out from your competitors, some of them may not apply to your industry. Make sure you choose a reputable B2B platform solution that understands your business and offers you the best solution.

Image Credit: ketut subiyanto; pexels

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Zoe Kahn

In charge of Marketing at Uppler. A digital firm selling the most complete all-in-one solution for creating B2B platforms. My background is fully digital and my objective is to help people understand how this new trend can help to develop their business.

Ecommerce: The Essential Components Your Site Needs to Turn Visitors Into Buying Customers

Making sure your brand’s website is living up to its fullest potential should be at the top of any ecommerce leader’s to-do list. 

Making sure your brand’s website is living up to its fullest potential should be at the top of any ecommerce leader’s to-do list.

We’ve all been there. You head to a company’s website to check out a product or service offering and while the website may avoid the dreaded slow page-load, it’s not exactly a wealth of information. A website that is poorly designed or just plain lackluster isn’t doing your brand any favors and certainly won’t entice customers to conduct their business with you.

There’s no shortage of articles on the web of how to attract more website traffic, and while a strong SEO strategy truly is essential, it’s too easy to overlook what it is that keeps people coming back. After all, your business would prefer regular visitors to its website rather than someone who visits once and never again, right? (Of course, you would!)

Related: Building an Ecommerce Website: 8 Technical Aspects You Need to Know

Everyone knows that ecommerce has been on the rise for years, but nobody expected 2020 to turn out the way it has, and in relation to the topic at hand, its impact on ecommerce. According to TechCrunch, ecommerce sales in April jumped nearly 50 percent. While that jump didn’t continue to climb at such a rapid rate in the following months, this year is expected to see an overall jump in ecommerce sales of 18 percent. With those kinds of numbers, making sure your brand’s website is living up to its fullest potential should certainly be at the top of any leader’s to-do list.

Long story short, if customers don’t have a pleasant experience on your website and find it to be of value, they won’t give you their business. Which is why entrepreneurs and business owners should be asking themselves: “What’s my website offering to the customer?

Customers want to learn something when they visit

The reason you’re on this article is the same reason visitors come to your brand’s website — to hopefully learn something. That could be as simple as your business’s contact information. However, your chances of turning a website visitor into an actual customer are going to substantially increase if you teach them something of real value. What products or services do you offer? What separates you from the competition? What new industry insights or developments should potential customers know about?

Related: What Comes Next for Ecommerce and Digital Retail?

Don’t make the mistake of simply thinking of this as marketing, what your website should be providing is insight and context. Take for example furniture. You could simply create website marketing that highlights the appeal of a leather couch, but a more effective strategy would be a buying guide that offers both the advantages and disadvantages of a leather couch compared to one with fabric upholstery. Customers who are more educated are going to make a wiser purchase decision, which in turn, is going to increase the likelihood they’re happy with their choice and your business.

If customers don’t learn something visiting your website (or at least feel it was worth their time) they won’t be back. So teach them something.

Don’t let a lack of customer support result in a lack of customers

The rise of ecommerce is due in large part to the convenience it offers, and a big part of the equation to factor in is customer support. If your business makes it difficult for visitors to reach out and make contact, then it’s really shooting itself in the foot. Studies have shown that 89 percent of consumers would take their business elsewhere within a week if they received poor customer service. Avoiding that starts with offering complete contact information: email, social media channels, phone number, and yes, a physical address. Reliable contact information is one of the things consumers demand on a business website, so do your brand a favor and provide it.

Companies should also consider using live chat to provide 24/7 support to visitors. Most businesses probably don’t have the manpower to operate an in-house customer support team around the clock, but artificial intelligence has come a long way in recent years. Providing AI customer service can also help keep track of recurring issues visitors may be having and provide valuable feedback for customer support managers.

Wow them, but don’t overwhelm them

Imagine if you walked into a brick-and-mortar store (remember those?) and all the products were haphazardly tossed all over the place, no signage, no organization, just as much stuff as possible randomly scattered about. You’d probably do a 180 and move on to someplace else. That’s exactly the sort of thing that potential customers are going to do if your website tries to cram too much onto a single page — especially if it’s the ever-so-important homepage.

Related: 10 Tools to Help Your eCommerce Business Get off the Ground 

Take Apple for example. Its website is incredibly clean with large images that pop. It wows the visitor without overwhelming them. Even the copy is kept rather minimal and crisp, yet folks can still easily find what they’re looking for with the navigation bar at the top.

One of the best things you can offer visitors to your brand’s website is visual appeal. We’re visual creatures and our brains process images infinitely faster than text — around 60,000 times faster. Even if your business offers as many products as Amazon, you don’t want to make the mistake of bombarding visitors to your website with all of them at once. Let a few kew images do the talking.

The right SEO strategy is key for driving traffic to your business’ website, but if visitors are disappointed once they get there, they’ll never return. In this day and age, a brand’s website is often its most powerful selling tool, so take the necessary steps to ensure that it offers real value to existing and new customers.

Shippo Makes Scaling Your Ecommerce Business Easier

As more consumers turn to online shopping, is your business ready to meet the demands? Grow Your Business, Not Your Inbox Stay informed and join our daily newsletter now! September 14, 2020 2 min read Disclosure: Our goal is to feature products and services that we think you’ll find interesting and useful. If you purchase…

As more consumers turn to online shopping, is your business ready to meet the demands?

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2 min read

Disclosure: Our goal is to feature products and services that we think you’ll find interesting and useful. If you purchase them, Entrepreneur may get a small share of the revenue from the sale from our commerce partners.

As the COVID-19 pandemic has derailed many businesses and even entire industries, e-commerce continues to play a valuable role. In fact, e-commerce has shown more growth amid the pandemic than the previous 10 years combined. While Amazon and other major corporations may have been able to keep pace with some of the challenges (to be honest, even Amazon struggled to keep up), many small- and medium-size businesses weren’t ready to pivot and scale as quickly.

That’s where Shippo comes in. Shippo democratizes the advanced shipping services and strategies that have previously been reserved for only the most resource-rich and technically savvy merchants. Without any coding or volume requirements, Shippo connects to all of your sales channels and helps you identify the best shipping option for every order. The total setup process takes less than a couple of minutes. Shippo can automatically identify the least expensive and fastest options across several carriers, so you can make sure you are always making the best choice, both for your business and your customers.

Shippo is able to do this because it can negotiate much more effectively with major carriers when compared to any single merchant. In turn, Shippo passes on the absolute lowest rates from USPS, UPS, DHL, and several more carriers to your business, regardless of your current volume.

Once you’re up and running, Shippo can also help you scale out your fulfillment process. For example, you can create automation rules to completely automate repetitive tasks, like mapping a specific box size or service level to specific order types. You’ll also be able to do things like schedule carrier pickups, print free return labels for every one of your orders (and only pay if they get used by your customers), and automatically generate all necessary customs paperwork for international shipments.

The COVID-19 pandemic has spurred unprecedented growth for e-commerce businesses. Shippo can help you simplify your shipping process so you can focus on providing the best brand and customer experience possible. Try out Shippo today.

Learn Ecommerce From a Highly-Rated Business Instructor for $19.99

While brick-and-mortar stores are struggling in some places, eCommerce is booming right now. If you are looking for a way to make money from home, you might want to take The 2020 How to Start an eCommerce Business Course. This guide offers 28 in-depth tutorials, and you can get it now for just $19.99. Pretty much anyone…

While brick-and-mortar stores are struggling in some places, eCommerce is booming right now. If you are looking for a way to make money from home, you might want to take The 2020 How to Start an eCommerce Business Course. This guide offers 28 in-depth tutorials, and you can get it now for just $19.99.

Pretty much anyone can set up an online store nowadays. But to be successful, you need to attract customers. With tips and tricks from professional sellers, this course focuses on marketing techniques that are tried and tested.

Through concise video lessons, you learn how to create a sales strategy and target potential customers. Along the way, you discover how to dominate your niche on Amazon and use long-tail keywords to appear first on Google searches.

This knowledge comes from Alex Genadinik, an entrepreneur and best-selling author who has taught over 252,000 business-minded students. He is rated at 4.4 stars from 21,000 reviews on Udemy.

It’s normally priced at $199, but you can grab the course today for $19.99.

sale 38818 primary image 1mf6 - Learn Ecommerce From a Highly-Rated Business Instructor for $19.99
The 2020 How to Start an eCommerce Business Course: Amazon, Ads & SEO – $19.99

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Do you have your stay-at-home essentials? Here are some you may have missed.

6 Smart Insights You Can Use to Guide Your eCommerce

When eCommerce revenue hit $700 billion in 2017, statistics confirmed how rapid and constantly it will grow by 23 percent year over year. Meanwhile, this has always been the hope for eCommerce owners. Amazon is a prominent example; this company has confirmed how fast the shopping world is going. Amazon first launched back in 1994,…

When eCommerce revenue hit $700 billion in 2017, statistics confirmed how rapid and constantly it will grow by 23 percent year over year. Meanwhile, this has always been the hope for eCommerce owners. Amazon is a prominent example; this company has confirmed how fast the shopping world is going.

Amazon first launched back in 1994, selling books online. But today, the company doesn’t necessarily have one clear-cut specialty as they sell everything with $232 billion in net sales annually.

However, if you’ve chosen to become an eCommerce entrepreneur, thriving top among nearly 24 million e-commerce stores across the globe requires a foundation that will help stand even if the environment seems stormy. How to focus is one thing; what to consider is another. The critical analysis is to improve future success; to match a must-win attitude actualizing your goals of domination. However, be smart.

Hauling your eCommerce store to a successful destination might have been tugging at you; as such, consider the following for your success in the eCommerce business, to be smart is a sneaky way to get top fast surreptitiously.

1. The Layout of Your Store

You must have an option to choose regarding the layout of your store; however, only those reviewing your store would know what the option is about- Good, Very-Good, Excellent, or Worst. A store layout doesn’t necessarily mean that you have to do something that has never been done before. In fact, by implementing a store layout ideas that have been used in the past, you can make your store more comfortable.

E-Commerce doesn’t only depend on price and product selection. Although these factors are critical to getting customers into your store. To convince them to make a purchase takes more than just price and product selection. You need to attractively and conveniently display products in an appealing and presentable way. A poor store layout can have a crushing effect on sales and conversion rates.

When it comes to product layout, it’s best to stick to convention and follow what market leaders are already doing. Customers can be very fickle. Customers, in return, want the shopping process to be easy and satisfying. They prefer a pleasant shopping environment, the merchandise is easy to find, and there are sufficient items.

However, when you implement the right store layout, it shows you understand your customers, creating customer flow that makes your eCommerce business successful.

2. High-Quality Products

The world is changing at pace with so many intellects coming day after day trying to improve past products. Likewise, users always want to be satisfied at any cost to make them free from any deficiencies. High-quality products mean a lot to customers, as it is believed that they come with unique features.

Choosing a product for your eCommerce store to sell may very well be the most critical and difficult decision you will need to make if you’re aspiring to become successful. It is essential, you update and fill your store with high-quality products.

A good brand is an indicator of good quality, and people are brand conscious. It’s easy for customers to rely on buying products from trusted brands with a good quality feature as people are making smarter purchase decisions and the trends are slowly changing. However, you must behave rationally and tend to look at the positive elements of having a good product there in your store.

3. Bring to Being Marketing Strategy 

Customer demand for online shopping may be underestimated if you haven”t researched it. The heart of a smart owner tends to insight a marketing strategy that can attract more positive attention, interaction, and sustainable conversions.

When it comes to marketing, you’re focusing on customer relationships more than just endlessly and exclusively promoting your own products. No matter which marketing solution you choose, you must get the right to ensure that this eCommerce marketing strategy will work for you.

There are many different types of marketing strategies. But how many of them will actually work for your eCommerce business? What kinds of marketing strategies should you choose to pursue, and why?

  • SEO Sooner, Rather Than Later: Search Engine Optimization is an essential part of marketing, and you want to make sure that both your business site and all of your individual product pages are fully optimized for the exact keywords your audience is searching for.
  • Content Marketing: Content making is a very powerful tool that pledges after SEO. Most times, people call it blogging but far beholds. It allows you to communicate your industry to customers in the simplest reading method and market personally. One big reason content marketing works so well for eCommerce is that Google is infatuated with content. Meanwhile, content is one of the three most significant ranking factors.
  • Email Marketing: At its very core, email marketing is simply sending promotional emails. Email marketing has been found to have an ROI of 3800 percent. The average order value of email marketing is three times higher than social media. To reach your audience most effectively, provide useful content within your emails. However, you have to be very careful about the content within your emails and who is included in your outreach.

4. Ads Investment For a Worthwhile Bunce

Tracking customers while they’re browsing the internet is a smart way to get them back to your store. This is a very powerful technique, if not all, successful eCommerce leaders used and are still using.

Marketing, on the other hand, is based around product, place, price, and promotions. It’s the sum of all the steps you take to get your store product to market while generating attention and interest in what you’re selling. The best advertiser is often discovered through pure experimentation and how habituated to advertisements.

Over 65 percent of Instagram users look for online shopping inspiration while also looking to discover new brands. These are users who are looking for stores like yours to purchase from. However, investing a token to yield promotion might be worth it to increase your awareness so people start purchasing from your store.

Besides that, powerful Facebook ads can be. A mattress company, Purple, has generated 75 million dollars in sales just by running Facebook ads. Although, many social media pay this attribute. However, this only goes to show how powerful investing in Ads can be for you and your eCommerce store. This opens up your existing product lines to a vast new audience without having to launch any new products and establishes a forward-thinking that is aligned with changing societal values.

5. Customer Retention

Growing your eCommerce, you need a collection of activities so as to increase the number of repeat customers and to increase the profitability of each existing customer.

A study from Harvard Business School showed that an increase in customer retention of  5 percent could increase profits by 25–95 percent. Many eCommerce is now shifting and focusing, so that customer retention is something they work towards from the start, rather than thinking about it later.

Without a doubt, when you’ve just started your store, there is one thing you should be focused on: getting customers. However, once there is an acquisition, you should introduce retention elements to encourage each customer that you have acquired to buy more.

According to Marketing Metrics, the likelihood of selling to an existing customer is 60-70 percent, and the same figure for new customers is 5-20 percent. Therefore, retention marketing is recommended to be done earlier. It’s a major shift in focus that recognizes the value of marketing to your existing customer base rather than constantly trying to grow it.

Regardless of what your store is made of, the fact remains: customer retention is essential to your long-term success. If your eCommerce has a healthy flow of new customers each month, then leveraging those customers with a solid retention strategy is one of the best things you can do to safeguard and maintain an increase in your profitability.

6. Analytics and Go-Over-Again; Free tool to use is Google Analytics  

To improve growth strategies,  eCommerce owners need to monitor their progress. These analytics serve as a staple component of your marketing strategy that will allow you to monitor and grow online conversions.  Analytics are coupled with customer surveys, customer experience reviews, and heatmaps are very powerful tools and give you great insight into potential areas of improvement.

Based on the actions that your visitors take, such as visiting the product detail page but not adding anything to the cart or making a purchase, you can create segments and retarget these visitors accurately. If you work actively with this type of data and reports, it can be used as valuable input for efforts to improve merchandising efforts, conversion rates, and revenue.

Now You Know

With rapidity growth occurring, eCommerce owned the portion of the customer journey covering all of the steps necessary for a customer to find, understand, and choose a product. As such, you should work closely in the initial phases.

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Adedeji Omotayo

Adedeji Omotayo is a Digital marketer, PR expert, content writer; the CEO, founder, and president of EcoWebMedia, a full-service digital marketing company. Adedeji is passionate about technology, marketing, and at the same time work with both small and big companies on their internet marketing strategies.

What Comes Next for Ecommerce and Digital Retail?

Grow Your Business, Not Your Inbox Stay informed and join our daily newsletter now! September 15, 2020 4 min read Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own. No sector of the economy has been put in a stranger spot by the Covid-19 crisis than ecommerce. Some ecommerce players have gone bust, while others like…

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Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

No sector of the economy has been put in a stranger spot by the Covid-19 crisis than ecommerce. Some ecommerce players have gone bust, while others like Amazon have cemented their place as cornerstones of the global market. For most ecommerce leaders, their stories land somewhere in between those extremes.

Even so, with 75 percent of millennials buying goods online during the pandemic they’d never bought before, the potential for a widespread ecommerce boom is still very much there. The last several months have made the industry more fractured and competitive than ever before — but some are looking to change up that attitude once and for all.

Related: The Pandemic Economy Has Made Ecommerce More Indispensable Than Ever

A ballooning market 

Between April 2019 and April 2020, online retail orders grew by nearly 150 percent, an unprecedented spike that shows just how much lockdowns have accelerated the trend towards ecommerce. Digital sales are making up a larger and larger share of all sales nationwide, and the companies at the top are pulling in the lion’s share of the new business.

In the second quarter of this year, Amazon posted online sales of $88.9 billion as Walmart topped $10 billion in ecommerce action for the first time ever. As the world has scrambled to adopt an ecommerce-focused mindset, big companies with the infrastructure to handle high order volumes and same-day deliveries are crowding out smaller players. As suspicion grows that Amazon may be using its own platform to undermine its competitors, ecommerce businesses need the right resources in order to carve out their own portion of the market.

Changing ecommerce for the better

In response to this, more and more platforms are whipping up tools to help businesses break into the ecommerce world on their own. Freelancing platform Fiverr introduced a new tool called The Shift, designed to help streamline the transition from brick-and-mortar retail into the world of digital sales, and existing platforms designed to help facilitate ecommerce are regularly outpacing earnings estimates.

Related: Why You Should Bet On The Future of Ecommerce

Now that there are more than enough tools available for someone to make the ecommerce business of their dreams, budding digital entrepreneurs need a few different kinds of resources in order to achieve success: guidance, mentorship, and insight. 

Shaping ecommerce together

Hawke Media conceived, planned and executed its E-Commerce Week (which provides the sort of opportunities for learning, connecting and networking that are more difficult to come by than ever) in partnership with both the Mayor and City of Los Angeles, connecting it with one of the world’s most vital ecommerce ecosystems that is home to over 700 thriving ecommerce brands. 

Because of the nature of the pandemic, however, the event will be fully digital, allowing anyone or any business from around the world to join in on the conversation. Featuring panels, keynotes, networking sessions, Q&As, and more, the conference is designed to be an even mix of learning and collaboration, ensuring that you’ll learn something new regardless of your experience in the industry.

Related: 5 Reasons Your Ecommerce Store Needs a Mobile App Today

Knowledge is always a powerful thing to have, but in times like these the old adage rings truer than ever: it’s not what you know, it’s who you know. Digital retail giants like Dollar Shave Club, Winc, Ritual, and FabFitFun will all be participating in E-commerce Week, meaning that attendees will be rubbing virtual shoulders with the titans of their industry — just the kind of cross-pollination ecommerce needs in order to thrive.

Collaboration has always been the name of the game in ecommerce, and 2020 has made that more true than ever. The next several months are going to be a crucial period in ecommerce history, determining who the viable players will be for the next generation of virtual shopping. Events like E-Commerce Week can help you get the knowledge and connections you need to make your business part of that group. 

3 Drop Shipping Secrets Beginners Need to Know

Although drop shipping has become all the rage in the ecommerce world over the past few years, there’s a right way and a wrong way to do it. If you’re a beginner, here are three drop shipping secrets you need to know. 

Although drop shipping has become all the rage in the ecommerce world over the past few years, there’s a right way and a wrong way to do it.

So, you want to get started in drop shipping. You’ve heard it’s a great way to make extra money and are interested in trying your hand at it. Although drop shipping has become all the rage in the ecommerce world over the past few years, there’s certainly a right way and a wrong way to do it. It’s hard to break into the drop shipping world as a beginner because of the fierce competition in the space. There’s a learning curve, and it can be hard to make your product stand out. Don’t let that discourage you.

From my own experience in drop shipping, I know it appeals to many entrepreneurs because they think it’s an easier business model than others. That’s actually not true. And just because you aren’t manufacturing the product yourself, doesn’t mean you shouldn’t treat your drop shipping operation as a full-fledged business — because it is one, and needs to be treated as such to thrive. If you’re a beginner, here are three drop shipping secrets you need to know.

1. Study your competitors at length

All businesses should have a robust understanding of their competition, but it’s specifically important in drop shipping. What distinguishes one product from another is based on marketing. It’s likely that other competitors sell the same exact product you do from the same manufacturer (it’s the nature of the competitive scene within the industry), so how you market it is everything.

Look at the current competitive scene. How are the other products marketed? What are their prices? Do a full sweep of ecommerce platforms like Amazon so you have a full picture. Once you understand the competition, you can confidently choose which product to begin with for drop shipping — and understand how to make your product stand out amongst the noise. This could be with a lower price, an added gift or by adding something helpful such as a well-produced tutorial video for the product. Your goal is to make sure a consumer wants to pick your product when they too are examining the competition, because you offer something that none of your competitors do.

Related: 6 Steps to Building a Successful Online Drop Shipping Business

2. Make sure to find a good supplier

When finding a supplier for the product, look beyond cost. Sure, profit is central to the drop shipping equation. But a good supplier can make all the difference in a drop shipping operation. First, get to know them. Are they willing and able to support your growth if you scale tremendously? Or will they lag behind on production or even run out of products if you sell too many? Make sure to set clear expectations around their capacity.

Make sure to also first complete a quality check. Order the product just as you would if you were a customer ordering directly. Take note of all the basics: timely shipping, packaging and the quality of the product. Use the product just as you would if you were a customer, too. Does it lose its quality after one or three uses? Be as diligent and detail-oriented as possible in your approach, and remain skeptical until every box has been checked. If you don’t suss out potential issues with the product or shipping process, your customer might, which in turn can lead to negative reviews and a mess that you could have prevented.

Related: 3 Ways to Grow a Multi-Million Dollar Drop Shipping Business

3. Test the market first

Finally, adopt the mindset that you’re first testing the market. Once you’ve chosen a manufacturer and a product, don’t invest thousands of dollars up front until you’ve completed a “test period” to make sure it’s a market fit. You have to make sure that people like the product and that it’s of the highest quality, first and foremost. Many drop shippers get excited once they’ve found their niche and a manufacturer and think it’s best to order in bulk upfront because of bulk discounts, but this must be done cautiously. Test first to reduce risk! Once the test is successful, you can proceed with white labeling and ordering in bulk.

An easier method of drop shipping is to wait to order until a customer orders rather than fulfilling shipping yourself. It might make you feel more in control to have the inventory stashed away in your garage, but it’s best to outsource the shipping and distribution, especially if an ad takes off and products start to sell quickly.

The website I’ve Tried That shared several drop shipping horror stories that beginners run into often: angry customers (if the product malfunctions or isn’t what was advertised), major shipping delays and partner problems. Make sure to test out the company you’re ordering from by ordering the same way you would for a customer, but have it shipped to you or your business partner. How long did it take to ship and arrive? Were there any snafus with confirmations or tracking numbers? Starting small helps you plan ahead so you don’t run into any unexpected issues.

Make sure to pay close attention to detail and keep these secrets going long after you’re a seasoned drop shipper. A competitive analysis, abundant reviews and starting small (if you’re expanding product inventory) will always serve you in drop shipping.

Related: 6 Routine Mistakes People Make When Setting Up a Drop Shipping Online Store

Maria Wik’s 5 Tips for Automating and Organizing Your Online Business

September 9, 2020 4 min read Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own. Is your business taking more time away from you than a corporate job? When you are the main or only person in your business, you will find yourself doing most of the lifting. That means doing all the accounting, marketing, lead generation…


4 min read

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Is your business taking more time away from you than a corporate job? When you are the main or only person in your business, you will find yourself doing most of the lifting. That means doing all the accounting, marketing, lead generation and more. It’s time-consuming, and if we’re being honest, that’s not why you started your business. As a young entrepreneur, business and lifestyle coach Maria Wik quickly learned how important it was to automate processes and organize tasks. Before making those adjustments, she was working seven days a week, balancing part-time jobs and going to college. Something had to give.  

I recently asked Wik to share her top-five tips for organically automating and organizing an online business to become as time-efficient as possible. Below are my takeaways from our conversation. 

1. The Basics: Building know, like and trust — 2020 style

The first thing someone sees in your business is marketing content, whether it’s on a social media platform, a website, a video or an ad. Reduce, reuse and recycle it. But most importantly, keep it organized in the backend. 

Wik teaches her clients to batch-write copy. This is a hack that saves entrepreneurs time and energy so that they can get to the tasks that actually make money in their business. Once written, use an application like Later to post for you.   

Related: ‘There’s Nothing Like a Crisis to Make You Think With Speed and Creativity’

2. Lead generation

Once your “know, like, trust” factor is established from your marketing, it’s time to actually call your leads to action and capture them. Sounds a little scary, but that’s what we do: hook, line, sinker. Wik recommends service-based businesses to capture leads with free value, i.e. a free guide, workbook or training. (Wik’s favorite platform for capturing leads is LeadPages.)

3. The warm-up

Wik used to hate technology, but once she realized how easy it actually was to have all her platforms integrate and automate, she was hooked. When your new lead comes in through a landing page, the next step is warming up for a sale. Having your emails automated is a game-changer, eliminating any need to agonize over trying to get repeat buyers or warming up your leads individually.

Wik’s preferred platform for this is ConvertKit, but whatever you tool you choose, the idea is to be able to step back from working on the weekends.

4. Sales pipeline

One of Wik’s favorite, and free, resources is a lead-tracking spreadsheet. It’s extremely important to not only know where a lead comes from and which point the sale is made, but where the lead drops off. This is easy to track, and with a little analysis, it makes money-making efforts that much more profitable.

If projections are rustrating or overwhelming, imagine knowing that every time a specific email goes out, X amount of sales should be made. Or when X sale goes live, this is the typical buying pattern. Tracking the sales pipeline allows you to fully know what is coming, to have peace of mind and also to be able to sleep at night. 

5. Outsourcing

Wik used to run a one-woman business, but quickly realized she was trading time for money, and her relationships were suffering. So she first outsourced management of her website, then hired an assistant for engagement and nurturing leads, and now has a team of three supporting her entire business. Wik currently works two-to-three days per week at a max of 15 hours total, and her platforms are thriving.

When outsourcing, ask peers and friends for recommendations, but also bear in mind that LinkedIn, Fiverr (fiverr.com) , Freelancer and Upwork can help you find the support you need. Use your best judgment, and remember: You’re the boss. Communication and management are equally important to ensure all that support works to its fulluest petential. 

Related: “As a Black Female Founder, I Know Times Are Hard. Here’s How I Push Forward.”

Automation may seem overwhelming or even a waste of time or money, but as Wik’s methodology underscores, the simple truth is you want your business to be around for the long run. When your car runs out of gas, you fill it up. When you run out of energy in your business, you continue to hustle, because your business can’t exist without you.

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Amazon Live Is A Thing: Here’s How Your Brand Can Benefit

As ecommerce shows no signs of slowing down, brands and influencers have a new way to boost awareness and sales. Here’s why you should try Amazon Live today, along with some guidance how to start your own Amazon Live stream to boost your brand awareness and sales.

As ecommerce shows no signs of slowing down, brands and influencers have a new way to boost awareness and sales.

Ultimate Guide to Social Media Marketing by Eric Butow, Jenn Herman, Stephanie Liu, Amanda Robinson and Mike Allton is available now via Entrepreneur Press. Order from Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Apple Books.

The phrase “innovate or die” is one way to describe the life of any ecommerce brand right now. We are seeing many get creative by deploying user-generated content for digital ads. Influencer marketing is a staple in marketing budgets, and live streaming is a big part of content strategies. This is why Amazon Live and its new influencer program presents an intriguing opportunity for brands and influencer entrepreneurs to “innovate.”

You already know the usual suspects for live-streaming platforms: Facebook, Instagram, YouTube and Twitch. But is Amazon Live worth exploring? Here’s why you should try it today, along with some guidance how to start your own Amazon Live stream.

Related: 10 Laws of Social Media Marketing

What is Amazon Live?

Imagine the infomercials on QVC, except instead of being on TV, you’re showcasing your products on Amazon.com, the world’s largest retailer. For a more literal explanation, Amazon Live is a live-streaming feature for Amazon sellers and influencers to promote products and drive sales through live video. The tool became available in 2019, and all broadcasts appear on Amazon.com/live. Compared to Facebook and Instagram, broadcasts usually stay on the brand or an influencer’s profile. With Amazon, there’s a dedicated landing page where shoppers can discover and watch streams that are “live now” or have previously streamed.

It’s quite the sales tool, as you can give live demonstrations, chat with customers in real-time, unlock extra benefits the more you stream and grow your following on Amazon.

How do you start an Amazon Live stream?

The nice thing about Amazon Live is it’s free and simple to get started. However, it’s not available to all users. You need to be part of the Amazon influencer program with an active storefront, be a U.S. Professional Amazon Seller who uses seller central or a U.S. Vendor with an approved Amazon Store.

If you meet the requirements, here is all you need to get started:

  • Download the Amazon Live Creator app.
  • An iPhone or iPad (the app is currently only available for iOS users).
  • A strong and stable Wi-Fi connection.
  • You can go live directly from the app or connect to an external mic or camera using broadcast software like Restream or Ecamm or a video encoder.
  • I also recommend having a tripod for stabilization if you’re streaming via an iPhone or iPad.

When you’re ready to go live, you will be asked to pick a brand of the product you want to showcase (the brand needs to be registered with Amazon’s Brand Registry). Then you add products to your product carousel to display during your stream, name the stream and either go live now or schedule for later.

What are the benefits?

For ecommerce brands….

Two marketing trends continue to rise and deliver positive ROI. Live streaming is growing fast, with 47 percent of live-streaming viewers worldwide streaming more live video than the previous year — and all signs point to this number continuing to grow.

Influencer marketing budgets are a real thing, and the numbers show it works. Almost 90 percent of marketers say the ROI from influencer marketing is comparable to or better than traditional marketing channels.

With Amazon starting its influencer program, it’s a great opportunity for brands to work with influencers — especially live streamers with an established audience to help increase brand awareness and boost leads and sales.

For Influencers….

This is where things get interesting. There’s a sense of exclusivity added with Amazon Live and extra incentives for influencers. Here’s why.

  1. Only influencers accepted into the Amazon Influencer Program will have access to broadcast on Amazon. For all other platforms such as Instagram, Facebook or YouTube, you don’t have to worry about that, and you’re competing much more for attention.
  2. Amazon Live rewards influencers when they stream more and earn more. You start as a Rising Star and can earn an A-list status where your products show up on the Amazon.com homepage. Check out more about Amazon levels here.
  3. When you go live, your followers are notified and your stream automatically appears on your influencer page. As an influencer, your business thrives on traffic and sales, and when people buy from your Amazon live stream, you earn commission on top of what brands pay you. (You can see if you’re eligible to be an Amazon influencer here.)

See how some top influencers, like fitness and transformation expert Corrie Calliet and fashion-and-style influencer Shea Whitney, use the platform.

Related: Beginner’s Guide to Social Media Marketing

So, is Amazon Live ultimately worth trying?

The stats and signs are all pointing to yes. Even though Amazon Live isn’t as well-adopted by users like Instagram and YouTube, there’s no hiding the influence Amazon has on the ecommerce world. Amazon was responsible for 45 percent of U.S. ecommerce spending in 2019, and that number is expected to grow to 47 percent this year.

With the right planning and promotion, you can easily showcase how products can be used, leverage special offers and build a strong following that leads to more sales.

From what I hear from other influencers and business owners, Amazon Live is a best-kept secret, and it feels like only a matter of time before more brands and influencers jump on the opportunity. So, in my professional opinion, I think it’s worth being one of the early adopters. I mean, it’s freaking going live on Amazon.com.

How AI and Machine Learning Are eCommerce Tech Game Changers

The trend in eCommerce has been driving quickly towards AI and Machine Learning. The onset of COVID-19 has accelerated this development for many companies. With a reduced workforce and many employees having to work at home, AI technology has been filling the gap and keeping eCommerce running at full speed. We know the Big Four…

The trend in eCommerce has been driving quickly towards AI and Machine Learning. The onset of COVID-19 has accelerated this development for many companies. With a reduced workforce and many employees having to work at home, AI technology has been filling the gap and keeping eCommerce running at full speed.

We know the Big Four tech giants: Amazon, Apple, Google and Microsoft are benefitting.

The big four love that we have the stay-at-home orders as more people shop from home and spend time watching movies and social media.

The Big Four are also increasing their use of AI and Machine Learning to streamline work and stay in contact with the customers with AI-powered consumer insights.

To stay ahead of the competition and to reach your potential customers more effectively, it is essential to integrate Machine Learning and AI technology into your eCommerce site.

Here are some powerful ways this technology can make a difference:

Chatbots

Chatbots have come a long way since they first appeared on websites.

They now can create a smooth, realistic experience that can make users feel as if they are conversing with a real person. Chatbots enable your company to keep in touch with present and potential customers any time, day or night.

These chatbots can get even smarter and personalized as time goes on, since thanks to AI, they can “remember” which kinds of replies worked well in the past and employ similar formats.

In addition, smart chatbots can make suggestions for new products based on past purchases and browsing habits of specific customers.

Product Descriptions

Take the tedium and expense out of writing product descriptions with the help of AI technology. Not only can you create descriptions, but AI technology can update listings instantly.

Revisions can be refined to what customers find useful and relevant according to consumer data. The technology can also pinpoint what listings are not working and how they can be tweaked to boost sales.

In addition, listings can be adjusted according to the region to appeal to different customers in the global marketplace.

CRM

Machine learning can make data collection for CRM, or Customer Relationship Management, automatic.

The old-fashioned way of doing things was to sift and work through customer data over a period of years, which can be incredibly time-consuming and expensive hiring people to do the work.

AI-enabled CRM can expedite and automate these data-collection tasks so your sales staff can add a personalized and human element to reaching out to customers and nurturing relationships.

Dealing with Reviews

Many customers will look at reviews before clicking a button to make a purchase. Most of them know that some of these reviews are fake, but an impression counts.

One strategy that has become notorious is some unscrupulous companies leave negative reviews about competitors.

It can be impossible to keep track of all of these fake and damaging reviews in time to deal with them — unless you have AI technology that can help determine real from fake reviews. Make sure you have positive, user-generated views reach the top of the list.

Voice Assistants

It began for most people with Alexa on Amazon, but pretty soon, nearly all eCommerce sites are likely to have voice assistants powered by AI technology.

The more finely-tuned the tech, the more useful your voice assistant will be for customers, and it may be able to “remember” what customers purchased in the past and make informed recommendations based on past data and changes in inventory.

Market learning can take algorithms and predictive analysis to determine what customers may find appealing and suggest items for them.

Inventory and sales management

Inventory can involve a lot of guesswork, particularly because it may be hard to predict future sales. To keep your business lean and profitable, sales forecasting is essential and involves predicting how many items you will sell in a certain amount of time.

AI and Big Data can prevent you from overbuying or understocking certain items and find the sweet spot that will make our inventory move smoothly.

Market learning can take past sales and new trends and help create forecasts that can inform merchandise buying decisions.

Taking demographics, weather, trends, and past consumer behavior into account, AI technology can help keep your inventory at the right level at all times and can update information instantly as the orders come in.

Incorporating Machine Learning and AI into the running of your eCommerce site and your marketing efforts can put you in the same league as some of the biggest companies, such as Facebook, Google, Coca-Cola, North Face, and thousands of others.

With the increase of the use of AI in the era of COVID-19, it is essential not to be left behind by competitors but reach your present and future customers through advanced techniques such as chatbots and voice assistants.

AI can also enable you to automate everyday activities and help your team focus its creativity and energy into fostering relationships with clients and customers and increasing sales.

Alon Ghelber

CMO

Alon is a Tel Aviv-based Cheif Marketing Officer who supports b2b tech startups in capturing customers’ (and VCs’) attention through marketing based on data-driven storytelling.

Ecommerce is Booming. Here’s How to Take Advantage

Grow or scale an ecommerce business with help from this course. Grow Your Business, Not Your Inbox Stay informed and join our daily newsletter now! September 1, 2020 2 min read Disclosure: Our goal is to feature products and services that we think you’ll find interesting and useful. If you purchase them, Entrepreneur may get…

Grow or scale an ecommerce business with help from this course.

Grow Your Business, Not Your Inbox

Stay informed and join our daily newsletter now!


2 min read

Disclosure: Our goal is to feature products and services that we think you’ll find interesting and useful. If you purchase them, Entrepreneur may get a small share of the revenue from the sale from our commerce partners.

Despite the COVID-19 crisis wreaking havoc on the global economy, ecommerce has surprisingly thrived through the pandemic and set itself on an incredibly promising growth trajectory. Yes, it’s a crowded market, but if you’ve ever thought about starting an ecommerce business, now is one of the best times to do it. The 2020 How to Start an eCommerce Business Course will show you how to get started.

Growing an ecommerce business is about far more than selling a few products on Shopify or Etsy. In this one-hour course, you’ll learn how to boost your ecommerce sales through a number of proven strategies. Here, instructor Alex Genadinik will show you how he’s coached more than 1,000 entrepreneurs worldwide to creating six- and seven-figure ecommerce businesses through growth marketing.

From getting the best reviews possible on Amazon to retargeting ads, using voice and traditional SEO, and beyond, this course aims to help you leverage many mediums to maximize your sales. You’ll learn how to dominate your niche on Amazon and other ecommerce sites, use long-tail SEO keywords to get ahead of the competition, and much more. Whether you’re just starting out or you have a small ecommerce business already that you’d like to scale, this course can help.

Student Alexander Rodriguez says, “I am a digital marketer working on an eCommerce business. The course gave me the background information I needed to fulfill my client’s needs!”

Ecommerce is booming and now is the time to take advantage. Normally $199, The 2020 How to Start an eCommerce Business Course is on sale for just $19.99 now.

Kanye West Accused of Plundering Trade-Secret Tech To Fund His Internet Church

Photo: Angela Weiss (Getty Images)In yet another reminder of how 2020 is a surreal, hellish fever dream that we’re doomed to be trapped inside forever, it looks like Kanye West—Grammy winner, sneaker connoisseur, and political underdog—is being sued for pulling the tried-and-true Silicon Valley tactic of allegedly stealing trade tech secrets.First spotted by TMZ, the…

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Photo: Angela Weiss (Getty Images)

In yet another reminder of how 2020 is a surreal, hellish fever dream that we’re doomed to be trapped inside forever, it looks like Kanye West—Grammy winner, sneaker connoisseur, and political underdog—is being sued for pulling the tried-and-true Silicon Valley tactic of allegedly stealing trade tech secrets.

First spotted by TMZ, the suit is being spearheaded by small, Pennsylvania-based ecommerce company MyChannel (MYC, for short). MYC allege that after pouring millions of dollars and half a year’s worth of work into mocking up a spiffy new site for Ye’s online clothing store, the rapper stepped out on their contract. According to the lawsuit, West then took the company’s ideas for himself, and from the sound of things, just… ghosted them—breaking multiple promises, violating NDAs, and acting like a huge tool in the process.

But that’s not the half of it. The full 30+ pages of MYC’s complaint—which you can read at the bottom of this article—are, as the kids would say, pretty cringe. According to the docket, West initially contracted MYC back in the spring of 2018 with the promise that if the company created a juiced-up video platform for his e-commerce site, he’d not only, y’know, pay the company for its services, but would invest a hefty $10 million into the business. MYC also had West sign an NDA just to make sure that the company’s proprietary video tech wouldn’t be “ripped off” without any payment.

Probably assuming that Kanye would keep his word, MYC says its team spent the next six months clocking 80 hour workweeks on the project, spending tens of thousands on the proposed video software in the process. Not only that, but because Kanye “demanded” that the team move its HQ from its home in Philly over to California, and later Chicago, living expenses sunk them even deeper into the hole. All told, MYC claims to have spent spent $7 million of its own funds before confronting West and telling him to make good on his end of the deal.

This might be a good time to mention that while MYC seems to have gotten rid of its website, the company’s page on the investment hub Crunchbase notes that to date it received around $1.4 million in investments—and only lists three staffers working at the company at all.

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Instead of fulfilling his side of the bargain, the suit describes how West—who it’s worth pointing out is a literal billionaire—came up with some “untrue perceived slight,” and cut all ties with MYC’s team, leaving them stranded and in a mountain of debt. Meanwhile, West spent the months immediately afterward using what MYC describes as a near-carbon copy of their platform as part of the promotion for “Sunday Service,” West’s so-called pop-up church experience.

A faux-gospel-themed-ecommerce-platform is a batshit idea, but it’s also one that’s been very, very profitable. Back in March, Kanye bragged on his Instagram account that the ecommerce sales off the backs of these events were netting him a good one million dollars per night—or, a good $350 million annually from the pilfered software alone.

MYC might be smaller potatoes than the high-profile NDA-busting cases we’ve seen brought to court by the likes of say, Google, and Kanye is unlikely to face anything close to the same wrath—or prison sentence—that Anthony Levandowski was struck with when the California courts found him guilty of pawning off that company’s proprietary tech. Nor is West being accused of ripping off small-time tech firms on the scale of Amazon.

Much of that distinction is likely owed to the fact that Kanye West, a musician by trade, isn’t a name that makes most of his living through tech products. But the case still smacks of the same business-side shenanigans that always seems to happen whenever someone with money and power

Activist investor Starboard slashes eBay holding in second quarter, filing shows – Reuters

FILE PHOTO: The German headquarters of online marketplace eBay is pictured at Europarc Dreilinden business park south of Berlin in Kleinmachnow, Germany, August 6, 2019. REUTERS/Fabrizio Bensch/File PhotoBOSTON (Reuters) – Starboard Value said on Friday that it sold nearly three quarters of its stake in eBay Inc (EBAY.O) during the second quarter when the activist…

?m=02&d=20200814&t=2&i=1529682067&r=LYNXNPEG7D1OF&w=20 - Activist investor Starboard slashes eBay holding in second quarter, filing shows - Reuters

FILE PHOTO: The German headquarters of online marketplace eBay is pictured at Europarc Dreilinden business park south of Berlin in Kleinmachnow, Germany, August 6, 2019. REUTERS/Fabrizio Bensch/File Photo

BOSTON (Reuters) – Starboard Value said on Friday that it sold nearly three quarters of its stake in eBay Inc (EBAY.O) during the second quarter when the activist investment firm also ended its proxy fight at the ecommerce company.

At the end of June, Starboard owned 2,090,000 eBay shares, down 73% from the 7,920,000 it owned at the end of the first quarter, according to a regulatory filing the firm made on Friday. The filing did not say when Starboard cut its stake.

Starboard did not respond to a request for comment.

In April, Starboard withdrew its four director nominees after eBay had selected a new chief executive. The hedge fund had spent months pushing the company to tap an outsider for the top job and had also pressed for a sale of eBay’s classifieds advertising business.

This year’s proxy contest was the second time Starboard had pressured eBay since having won the right to help fill one seat on eBay’s board in early 2019.

Starboard also trimmed its position in software maker Commvault Systems Inc (CVLT.O) by 5% to own 4.36 million at the end of the quarter. Starboard ended its proxy contest at Commvault in June when the two sides agreed to add three newcomers to the company’s board.

Starboard launched three campaigns in the first half of 2020 and won 17 board seats during that time, the most of any activist investment firm, data from investment bank Lazard showed.

Reporting by Svea Herbst-Bayliss; Editing by Will Dunham

Activist investor Starboard slashes eBay holding in second quarter, filing shows – Reuters India

FILE PHOTO: The eBay logo is pictured on a screen in this photo illustration in New York, U.S., July 23, 2019. REUTERS/Brendan McDermidBOSTON (Reuters) – Starboard Value said on Friday that it sold nearly three quarters of its stake in eBay Inc (EBAY.O) during the second quarter when the activist investment firm also ended its…

?m=02&d=20200814&t=2&i=1529682096&r=LYNXNPEG7D1OG&w=20 - Activist investor Starboard slashes eBay holding in second quarter, filing shows - Reuters India

FILE PHOTO: The eBay logo is pictured on a screen in this photo illustration in New York, U.S., July 23, 2019. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid

BOSTON (Reuters) – Starboard Value said on Friday that it sold nearly three quarters of its stake in eBay Inc (EBAY.O) during the second quarter when the activist investment firm also ended its proxy fight at the ecommerce company.

At the end of June, Starboard owned 2,090,000 eBay shares, down 73% from the 7,920,000 it owned at the end of the first quarter, according to a regulatory filing the firm made on Friday. The filing did not say when Starboard cut its stake.

Starboard did not respond to a request for comment.

In April, Starboard withdrew its four director nominees after eBay had selected a new chief executive. The hedge fund had spent months pushing the company to tap an outsider for the top job and had also pressed for a sale of eBay’s classifieds advertising business.

This year’s proxy contest was the second time Starboard had pressured eBay since having won the right to help fill one seat on eBay’s board in early 2019.

Starboard also trimmed its position in software maker Commvault Systems Inc (CVLT.O) by 5% to own 4.36 million at the end of the quarter. Starboard ended its proxy contest at Commvault in June when the two sides agreed to add three newcomers to the company’s board.

Starboard launched three campaigns in the first half of 2020 and won 17 board seats during that time, the most of any activist investment firm, data from investment bank Lazard showed.

Reporting by Svea Herbst-Bayliss; Editing by Will Dunham

This Site Shows You Where Big Brands Source Their Products

Photo: David McNew/Staff (Getty Images)David Applegate runs a site called WrestlingMart. It’s an ecommerce store dedicated to, well, wrestling. In his five years in business, he always wanted to know where his suppliers were getting the gear he sold, including singlets, shoes, and mat tape.Instead of hunting through hundreds of records by hand, however, he…

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Photo: David McNew/Staff (Getty Images)

David Applegate runs a site called WrestlingMart. It’s an ecommerce store dedicated to, well, wrestling. In his five years in business, he always wanted to know where his suppliers were getting the gear he sold, including singlets, shoes, and mat tape.

Instead of hunting through hundreds of records by hand, however, he figured out a better way. He built something called ImportYeti. The site searches through bills of lading, the documents that suppliers attach to shipments to their customers, to tell you where a retailer is getting its goods.

The biggest problem in building a product is sourcing. Many big brands source from the same company, and if you’re a smaller company or startup trying to break into a crowded market—yoga mats, for example—knowing where your competitors source their products from can be game-changing. If you can buy the same products in bulk for the same cheap prices, you have a chance to be competitive and break into the market.

Most brands don’t manufacture their own products, and they often outsource mass production to companies in Asia. The information ImportYeti compiles lets competitors know where to look if they want to purchase similar products in bulk.

“I focus on answering a singular question: ‘How do I find the right supplier to create my product overseas?,’” Applegate said. “I approach this two ways. I allow you to find the suppliers that are used by reputable companies and I allow you to vet suppliers by understanding whether or not they actually move volume in the product you’re interested in.”

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Northface sources from multiple places.
Screenshot: ImportYeti.com

The data pages are a wealth of interesting information. From the aforementioned yoga mat suppliers we learn that Manduka, as advertised in its marketing, imports from Germany, among other places, while Gaiam sources primarily from Asia. Meanwhile, a search for Apple shows us the tech behemoth imports from Hon Hai, Quanta, and companies associated with Foxconn.

One odd thing is that ImportYeti seems to think that Apple is importing Heineken and Estrella beer. I asked Applegate about the mixup, and he suspects the naming conventions used in the bills of lading are confusing the system.

“We are attempting to clean up the data a little bit. For example Apple is under Apple, Apple, Inc, Apple Computer, Apple Computer Inc, Apple Computer C O OHL, etc.,” he said. “There is a chance there is another company named ASA Apple that imported to the same freight forwarding house in New Jersey.”

We reached out to Apple for comment but haven’t heard back.

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While Apple is importing… beer?
Screenshot: ImportYeti.com

gif;base64,R0lGODlhAQABAAAAACH5BAEKAAEALAAAAAABAAEAAAICTAEAOw== - This Site Shows You Where Big Brands Source Their Products

Is Apple throwing keggers? Probably not.
Screenshot: ImportYeti.com

Applegate, for his part, loves this data. He’s a self-described techie and built the site himself.

“I eat, breathe, and sleep ecommerce,” he said. “I use this data myself to find vendors. I’m fairly technical and due to the covd-19’s brutal effect on my store, I have some extra time on my hands.”

He said there are few sites that offer the same data for a price, and he hopes to keep the whole thing free for as long as he can.

“The system searches over 70 million bills of lading to understand which suppliers to choose based on data rather than than empty claims and seemingly endless options,” he said—even if it sometim

Ecommerce: Will E-Pharmacies Become the Norm?

The days of waiting in line at CVS are coming to an end thanks to the widespread adoption of ecommerce. Free Book Preview Ultimate Guide to Social Media Marketing This book takes readers through a 360-degree perspective of social media marketing in businesses. August 16, 2020 4 min read Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are…

The days of waiting in line at CVS are coming to an end thanks to the widespread adoption of ecommerce.

Free Book Preview Ultimate Guide to Social Media Marketing

This book takes readers through a 360-degree perspective of social media marketing in businesses.


4 min read

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Your neighborhood pharmacist has a new address — they’re now on the web. While brick-and-mortar CVS and Walgreens can still be found in thousands of American cities and LloydsPharmacy is a dominating chain throughout much of Europe, the days of waiting in line — or even hitting up the drive-thru — for your meds are quickly fading into the past. 

Welcome to the e-pharmacy. Just like e-commerce, the e-pharmacy is exactly what it sounds like: pharmacists take medication orders online that are then delivered straight to the recipient’s doorstep. Unlike so many other industries, the e-pharmacy market isn’t being fueled by millennials or gen-Zers, but instead by baby boomers and is expected to be a $155.4 billion industry by 2026 — and that’s just in the United States. 

Related: How pharmacies are coping up with the lockdown

Much like telemedicine that allows patients to connect with world-class doctors from the comfort of their homes, the e-pharmacy industry has a number of advantages with convenience being at the very top of that list. According to the Mayo Clinic, convenience was the motivating factor for over 50 percent of people who used online pharmacies (44 percent of customers said a lower cost was their primary reason for choosing one). 

Not surprisingly, the COVID-19 pandemic saw a surge in people seeking out e-pharmacies as an alternative to putting themselves at risk by visiting a traditional pharmacy. There’s also the advantage of greater accessibility. Because brick-and-mortar pharmacies keep a limited inventory, customers may not always have access to needed medications. However, since online pharmacies aggregate their supplies, they have greater access to certain hard-to-find medications. 

There’s also the benefit of discretion. In addition to providing everything from general headache medicine and cholesterol and diabetes medication, e-pharmacies provide medications that some patients may be more reserved about acquiring such as Viagra or the morning after pill. The script can be filled and delivered in as little as 24 hours with discreet packaging to ensure privacy. 

Related: 5 Things That Cause Reasonable Consumers to Abandon Their Shopping Carts

Despite convenience, discretion, and the appeal of reduced costs on medicine for consumers, e-pharmacies do have challenges. Online pharmacies tend to fall into three main categories: independent online-only pharmacies, online branches of “brick-and-mortar” pharmacies, and sites representing partnership among neighborhood pharmacies. 

The United States and Europe have largely been able to bypass concerns about the potential for online pharmacies as being a dangerous liaison for drugs to be sold online without being prescribed by a doctor or with poor guidance. Regarding prescription-only medicines, an online pharmacy must receive a legally valid prescription before any medication is ever dispensed. Essentially, they function just the same as a normal pharmacy and you’ll either need a paper prescription or an electronic prescription from your healthcare professional.

As for the concern of illegal online pharmacies shipping any variety of outdated or dangerous drugs across international borders and misleading consumers. To combat this, the European Union has issued a logo for all legal and authorized pharmacies. Similarly, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has a guide to help consumers determine if the online pharmacy in question is legitimate and safe. 

The idea that the medicine could be coming from several states away or even a foreign country and lacks any sort of verified trail of origin is also a misconception. Any medication from a verified e-pharmacy will always be tracked, and any inappropriate product can be traced back to its manufacturer. Transparency in the system is of the utmost importance if credibility is to be maintained. 

Related: The CEO of Silver Oak Wine Breaks Down a Winning Ecommerce Strategy All Entrepreneurs Can Use

India has seen its own struggles with the growing e-pharmacy market and nearly half of online orders are rejected because of various prescription-related errors. The country has been slow to bring its Drug & Cosmetics Act of 1940 up to date with the internet, despite the emergence of e-commerce. A host of regulations and account for the industry’s unfavorable growth and e-pharmacies constitute only 3 percent of pharmaceutical sales in India 

Just as e-pharmacies can provide life-saving medications and empower people in rural parts of the U.S. and U.K. to make better-educated decisions regarding their health, they offer an overwhelming benefit to consumers in India who may not have a traditional pharmacist in close proximity. 

The advantages of e-pharmacies clearly outweigh the obstacles that stand in the industry’s way and with consumers staying at home and shopping online more than ever, e-pharmacies are only filling more prescriptions.

Canalys: Google is top cloud infrastructure provider for online retailers

While Google Cloud Platform has shown some momentum in the last year, it remains a distant third behind Amazon and Microsoft in the cloud infrastructure market. But Google got some good news from Canalys today when the firm reported that GCP is the number one cloud platform provider for retailers. Canalys didn’t provide specific numbers,…

GettyImages 76530606 - Canalys: Google is top cloud infrastructure provider for online retailers

While Google Cloud Platform has shown some momentum in the last year, it remains a distant third behind Amazon and Microsoft in the cloud infrastructure market. But Google got some good news from Canalys today when the firm reported that GCP is the number one cloud platform provider for retailers.

Canalys didn’t provide specific numbers, but it did set overall market positions in the retail sector with Microsoft coming in second, Amazon third, followed by Alibaba and IBM in fourth and fifth respectively.

unnamed 2 - Canalys: Google is top cloud infrastructure provider for online retailers

Image Credits: Canalys

It’s probably not a coincidence that Google went after retail. Many retailers don’t want to put their cloud presence onto AWS, as Amazon.com competes directly with these retailers. Brent Leary, founder and principal analyst at CRM Essentials, says that as such, the news doesn’t really surprise him.

“Retailers have to compete with Amazon, and I’m guessing the last thing they want to do is use AWS and help Amazon fund all their new initiatives and experiments that in some cases will be used against them,” Leary told TechCrunch. Further, he said that many retailers would also prefer to keep their customer data off of Amazon’s services.

Canalys Senior Director Alex Smith says that this Amazon effect combined with the pandemic and other technological factors has been working in Google’s favor, at least in the retail sector. “Now more than ever, retailers need a digital strategy to win in an omnichannel world, especially with Amazon’s online dominance. Digital is applied everywhere from customer experience to cost optimization, and the overall technological capability of a retailer is what will define its success,” he said.

COVID-19 has forced many retailers to close stores for extended periods of time, and when you combine that with people being more reluctant to go inside stores when they do open, retailers have had to take a crash course in eCommerce if they didn’t have a significant online presence already.

Canalys points out that Google has lured customers with its advertising and search capabilities beyond just pure infrastructure offerings, taking advantage of its other strengths to grow the market segment.

Recognizing this, Google has been making a big retail push including a big partnership with Salesforce and specific products announced at Google Cloud Next last year. As we wrote at the time of the retail offering,

The company offers eCommerce Hosting, designed specifically for online retailers, and it is offering a special premium program, so retailers get “white glove treatment with technical architecture reviews and peak season operations support…” according to the company. In other words, it wants to help these companies avoid disastrous, money-losing results when a site goes down due to demand.

What’s more, Canalys reports that Google Cloud has also been hiring aggressively and forming partnerships with big systems integrators to help grow the retail business. Retail customers include Home Depot, Kohl’s, Costco and Best Buy.