Big data is changing the ecommerce profession in unimaginable ways. It is leveling the playing field between large brands and young entrepreneurs launching their first ecommerce site. Forbes reports that many of the most promising ecommerce entrepreneurs are under 30. However, younger people often have a hard time acquiring the capital needed to get their businesses off the ground.
Fulfillment is an Important But Overlooked Part of Big Data and eCommerce
Every ecommerce marketer needs a reliable fulfillment solution. Ecommerce entrepreneurs sell products to customers all over the country. In some cases, they sell internationally. Their business model would fall apart without a way to get goods to their customers.
Big data helps with the fulfillment process in a number of ways:
- Companies can use big data to forecast sales trends, so they know how much inventory they need to keep.
- They can use big data to streamline the delivery process. They can find the best routes or shipping solutions to get goods to their customers most efficiently.
- They can monitor demand and environmental changes in real-time.
Companies can get data from a number of sources, including their own order histories, supplier data, Google monthly search volume and social media metrics. This data has enabled them to fulfill orders much more cost efficiently and bolster customer satisfaction. Ecommerce providers use companies like Whiplash, because they use big data to streamline their fulfillment.
Iron Mountain, a leading big data service provider, was one of the first companies to benefits of using big data for fulfillment. Jennifer Randall of Llamasoft has also talked about the benefits of using big data for fulfilment. Randall states that brands that sell through both online and brick-and-mortar channels are using big data to streamline distribution.
“Sure, the face of retail has changed with the ecommerce boom, but stores are just as important as ever and are being viewed in new and innovative ways, especially with the surge in omni-channel fulfillment. Consumers don’t think about their shopping experience in terms of channels and retailers are tirelessly working to offer a seamless experience. One such way is to determine the best means to use their brick and mortar stores as fulfillment centers to meet service demands. This can be a tough challenge in itself. And yet, others are taking that idea to the next level (including one major outdoor and sporting goods retailer) and proactively planning new retail store placements with the mission to include acting as a distribution center to fulfill online orders,” Randall writes.
Fewer brands have discussed the benefits of using big data as part of a fulfillment strategy for an ecommerce site. However, many younger entrepreneurs have discovered that data-driven fulfillment solutions are invaluable.
According to Peoplevox’s “The 2017 E-Commerce Fulfilment Report”, 82% of small ecommerce entrepreneurs using big data fulfilment solutions reported a rise in revenue. Only 6% reported a decrease.
Boosting sales isn’t the only reason big data entrepreneurs are using fulfilment solutions. For many entrepreneurs, it is the only way they could stay in business, because the costs of purchasing and managing inventory are a major barrier to entry in the ecommerce field.
“I started my ecommerce site in my college dorm room last year,” Miguel Miller, a 19-year old ecommerce entrepreneur told me. “I was operating on a very tight budget and couldn’t possibly afford to manage inventory on my own. Using drop-shipping tools has made my online business much more manageable.”
These solutions have made it much easier for cash-strapped entrepreneurs like Miguel to launch their own ecommerce sites.
Big Data Concerns With Fulfillment
While the benefits of big data fulfillment solutions are indisputable, there are also some risks that need to be discussed. Iron Mountain points out that one of the biggest concerns is protecting customer data. They warn that a data breach could devastate a company’s brand image and expose them to massive regulatory fines.
This means that young ecommerce founders need to make sure their customer data is well protected. They need to choose fulfilment providers that use adequate security.
Big Data and New Fulfillment Technology Are Breaking Down Barriers to Entry in eCommerce for Young Entrepreneurs
eCommerce is a growing field that is attracting many young entrepreneurs. However, founders of some online stores have struggled to find cost-effective ways to reach their customers. Dealing with inventory management has been one of their biggest hurdles.
Fortunately, new big data solutions have eliminated many of these barriers and helped them lower costs. This makes it much easier for them to create sustainable ecommerce businesses.