Marketplace Sellers

Andy Geldman has written a nice piece on the third party marketplace seller. Increasingly, this is the way to startup online for a variety of reasons but in particular due to customer/traffic opportunities and things like third party fulfilment. The elephant in the space is offcourse Amazon though others are entering the space.

As Andy says:

Those sales are made not by Amazon themselves, but by more than 2 million independent businesses – businesses which are largely hidden from view.

Read more at Pulse

China E-Commerce Summit: “Catch the Dragon”

A large e-commerce conference will take place in Shanghai, China in March of the New Year.  This is testament to the growth and variety of e-commercial industries in China and also a clear signal to western firms that China’s online market is ripe for further development and expansion. The conference will focus on cosmetics as this is a huge area of expansion in China, the market increases by 20% per year. More than a decade ago, e-commerce was starting to grow in China, the fastest-growing internet economy in Asia. In 2010, China’s e-commerce sales totaled RMB 460 billion. That figure is expected to triple to RMB 1.5 trillion in the next three years.

In spite of its increasing influence a series of laws and regulations have been enacted by the government, resulting in some restrictions. Thus challenges remain for small to medium-sized businesses looking to do business in China.
Businesses are still enamored by the huge market with over 300 million Chinese now online. Practical guidance for selling their quality goods or doing lucrative business in China is needed currently more than ever. This is the objective in organizing the “Catch the Dragon” event – to help entrepreneurs gather necessary information, as well as to conduct e-commerce in China through strategic partnerships and/or third party platforms.
Language specialists ‘Tailor made Chinese’ emphasized the importance of speaking Mandarin; “Businesses need to communicate in Chinese and understand the more complex nuances of the language, a Chinese partnership is often necessary as cultural and language barriers can be an issue”.
China’s e-commerce market still has plenty of room for growth and this coupled with an insatiable demand for western products presents a key opportunity.
Benji specializes in e-commerce and digital marketing in China, he is passionate about finding solutions for western brands looking to expand into the mysterious orient. For me information see his website and blog here.

The Art of Service in Ecommerce

How products and services are being delivered to customers is going through frame-breaking change, according to ex Apple Retail boss and now Enjoy CEO Ron Johnson. Johnson argues the capabilities of new channels to deliver great experiences through service and information is turning traditional retail on its head. Whether or not you agree it’s an interesting thought.

Check out the full interview below.

Don’t Know What to Sell?

I’ve seen the question over and over again; what should I sell? and how much of it?

In ecommerce (and commerce of any kind) you have to find a product that people want to buy. Quite simple sure but in a free market where anyone can do exactly the same, finding a profitable product is more tricky.

My advice? I refer to a post by Chris Jones:

But if I had started my ecommerce business five years ago, my Thing would have been running marathons. It doesn’t matter what your Thing is; what matters is that you have something that wakes you up in the morning, gets you excited, and that you find yourself thinking about all the time.

Think about what matters to you, and to the world. At the end of the day, in business, you can’t win if you don’t enjoy what you’re doing. It’s that simple.

Hosted vs Self-Hosted

I was browsing through some of my old bookmarks today and found an excellent article by EcommerceFuel’s Andrew Youderian. In the article, “Migrating to Shopify from Magento: The Results of our $50,000 Redesign”,  Andrew discusses moving his ecommerce store from Magento to Shopify.

This is well worth a read if you’re considering moving your site in general but more importantly, discusses the age old question in ecommerce; hosted or self-hosted?

Andrew sums up the argument:

I gave up having micro-level insights in order to more efficiently transform the website and brand into what I wanted it to be.

This is exactly why smaller stores and ecommerce newcomers should go with hosted aka less technology, more commerce. As you scale in terms of SKU’s, required functionality etc it makes more sense to go self-hosted (or proprietary for that matter).

What’s your thoughts on hosted vs self-hosted? your technology preferences?