Market Integration

Connecting manufacturers, distributors, wholesalers and resellers directly to the major online marketplaces.

The digital evolution and market forces in online channels are forcing manufacturers, distributors and wholesalers to supply directly to the online marketplaces.

Each marketplace platform has its own structure, terms of participation, policies, fees, charging mechanisms, restrictions, modes of integrations and increasingly punishing quality requirements.  Achieving and maintaining a profitable position in inevitable races to the bottom is ultimately challenging and not a game for the faint-hearted.

For your business to thrive in these ultra-competitive environments, your operations need to be intelligently & highly automated, frictionless, highly-responsive and super-efficient.

3WM have been operating successfully and competitively, with large and complex data sets, in the marketplaces since 2008.  We have built deep and extensive knowledge of the opportunities, pitfalls and developments and have built a myriad of bespoke integrated systems, geared to achieve and maintain market-leading positions.

Key Considerations

There are many facets to trading successfully on marketplace platforms such as Amazon®.  Here are just some of the elements that we can provide solutions to support.

Marketplace Platforms

We have built API-based bespoke integrations with:

  • Amazon® (UK & Europe)
  • eBay®
  • Rakuten® (formerly Play.com)
  • Flubit®/SKUCloud®
  • Not on the High Street®

Product Catalogue Listings

Inaccurate listings, dirty data and poor product associations can cause customer service headaches, financial losses, performance and infringement penalties.  In the worst cases you could be suspended or permanently removed from the selling platform before being able to identify the problem.

Example solutions:

  • Product associations/mapping tools and services.
  • Data cleansing, attribution and association.
  • Data consistency and format standardisation.
  • Bulk product data publication.
  • New and withdrawn products management.

Inventory management

Accurate stock levels are essential to satisfy the stringent performance requirements of the major marketplaces.  Being unable to fulfil orders promptly will always result in heavy penalties.  Stock figures can be particularly difficult to manage when utilising the ‘shared’ virtual stock of fulfilment partners out of hours, or on exceptional demand (say seasonal) products.

Example solutions:

  • Real time stock level API updates.
  • Detection, alert and reaction to exceptional product demand.
  • Predictive stock management alerts, management and safeguards.
  • Virtual stock instant reservation/allocation mechanisms.

Pricing

Pricing is one of the most important factors when competing for sales in an online marketplace.  Some platforms offer their own dynamic pricing utilities in an effort to encourage a ‘race to the bottom’, but these tools offer no support in management of your actual margins.

3WM develop more intelligent bulk price management solutions, geared to be reactive and competitive but also designed to protect and maximise margins:

  • Intelligent, dynamic and reactive cost-based price management tools.
  • Built-in product/category specific margin protection & controls.
  • Real time price reactions with safeguards.
  • Competitor price reporting and analysis.
  • Auto adopt time-limited marketplace and supplier promotional offers.
  • Automated break prices and time-limited promotional/sale prices.

Fulfilment

Integration of the front end marketplace presence with your back end fulfilment presents more opportunities for intelligent automation.

Example solutions:

  • Pass marketplace orders seamlessly, quickly and intelligently to back end fulfilment systems.
  • Auto notify customers when orders are dispatched.
  • Auto update order statuses in marketplace.
  • Provide tracking details to customers and marketplace.
  • Automated customer invoicing.
  • Exception management systems.

Customer Services

This is the hidden and often underestimated, traditionally labour-intensive cost of online trading.  Having the right systems in place to automate, streamline and support the human input reduces overheads, maximising efficiencies and can actually define the viability of your marketplace position.

Example solutions:

  • Automate order exceptions, product returns, RMA processing.
  • Automate processing of order cancellation requests.
  • Automate responses to customer service issues outside of working hours (keeping response times low.)
  • Integrate the platform’s own messaging system into your customer service/ticketing system.

Marketplace Policies & Conformance

Every marketplace expects their sellers to maintain a minimum level of service & competence in order to continue selling on their platform.  You can ensure your compliance (and avoid any nasty surprises) by continually monitoring your own performance.

  • Monitor your performance metrics and alert when failing to meet required standards.
  • Monitor for policy violations and other account issues.
  • Automate leaving positive feedback for customers to encourage reciprocal ratings.
  • Monitor higher degrees of conformance required for access to restricted markets (e.g. selling toys on Amazon during Christmas.)
  • Ensure legal compliance when selling regulated/restricted products (e.g. knives, high-power batteries.)

Accounting, Fees & Reconciliation

On most marketplaces, the platform will process all customer payments, deduct fees and hold your income for a length of time (typically 2-4 weeks), finally settling your account with a lump sum & remittance.

Example solutions:

  • Auto-reconciliation and absolute balancing of remittances against receipts.
  • Auto-generation and import of transactions to accounting system ledgers.
  • Continuous summary and granular reporting of commissions, fees and margins.

With our knowledge, experience and developed IP, we are perfectly positioned to support your business in penetrating, developing, consolidating and improving your position in the online marketplaces.

Building you the tools needed to truly perform, compete and benefit from this essential revenue stream.

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