This past year saw incredible online shopping growth, due primarily to the pandemic and people not wanting or able to physically shop in store fronts, requiring suppliers globally to step up and provide products in a way many were not accustomed to provide.

Suppliers are accustomed to providing products directly to retailers with pallet shipping.  However, with increased demand and the expectation of timely delivery, suppliers have become much more efficient at drop shipping directly to consumers in this past year.  Efficiencies of this scale require software automation with products like OPAL to manage the backend order processing and shipping so that your team can keep up with the ever-increasing pace of products ordered.

With the surge of online shopping for household goods and holiday gifts, many delivery companies also saw incredible growth, but UPS reported record revenue in the last 3 months of 2020. Their CEO, Carole Tome, believes this to be the new normal, especially with older generations now accustomed to shopping online.

As online shopping continues to grow in popularity, suppliers are now faced with a shift to include social commerce, where consumers want to interact with products and purchase through various social platforms.  

Is your business ready to include this new opportunity for growth?

Drop Ship Packages for Marketplaces

Suppliers made a monumental shift this year– from the simplicity of pallet shipping to the more complex model of drop shipping individual items directly to consumers.  

This required suppliers to automate processes and pivot to a new business model that now focusses on daily shipments to anywhere their marketplace ships and to maintain the backend operations integrity to do it all again tomorrow.

Suppliers are now more prepared than ever to ship to additional customers acquired through social media. Software automation simplifies the backend ordering and shipping so that your team can focus primarily on picking and packing products to ship to consumers. Another important factor is selecting a software that includes EDI, so that profits are not reduced by the increase of individual transaction fees.

Customer Experience Expectations

One of the greatest benefits to shopping online at marketplaces is access to consumer reviews on products.  This feedback is essential for suppliers to know if their product offering is successful, meeting the needs of consumers, and if it is not, then what needs to change.  

Suppliers are also now well accustomed to larger marketplace processes and efficiencies and understanding the importance of a customer’s overall experience – from placing the order, to communication of shipment, to when they actually receive the package, to overall satisfaction of the product itself.  

This knowledge will make it easier to develop your own brand and customer experience as you replicate a similar process for social platforms and shopping.

Social Commerce as an Emerging Trend

The number of social commerce buyers in the US grew roughly 25% in 2020 and is expected grow an addition 12-15% in 2021, meaning suppliers who are not already on the path to pursuing both social commerce and marketplaces are behind.  

Facebook launched Instagram shops in 2020, aimed to directly compete with Amazon by blending eCommerce with the world’s largest social media platform, with the goal to claim a piece of the estimated 30% social commerce market.  

Similar to UPS, Facebook is planning on consumers keeping this new normal of shopping online for products.  It is an efficient platform for product discovery and connecting consumers with suppliers instantaneously. 

However, it is absolutely crucial for suppliers to have solid ordering processing and shipment methods in place.  Over promising and under delivering is the quickest way to earn negative ratings and damage your image online.  

Simplify with OPAL’s 4-in-1 Software Solution
EDI | Order Management | Warehouse Management | Shipping

As your business looks to grow into this emerging trend on social platforms while maintaining its presence in online marketplaces, automation of all backend processes will be critical for success.

OPAL is the innovative solution to simplify your small to mid-sized to enterprise business fulfillment needs in today’s rapidly transforming retail world.

To learn more about how to optimize your eCommerce business with OPAL, click here!

Click here to book your customized demo today.  We are here to support you through this time of change and are here to help you innovate and thrive!