Overcoming the e-commerce executive dilemma

The world of e-commerce is expanding rapidly. From food deliveries and groceries to gadgets and clothing, businesses and consumers alike agree that online shopping has revolutionised modern life. In Southeast Asia alone, the Internet economy is expected to reach US$1 trillion in gross merchandise value by 2030. This significant growth indicates a wealth of online opportunities for consumer brands.

The pandemic compelled businesses to venture into the global online market, as retail sales had to swiftly transition from brick-and-mortar stores to digital platforms during widespread shutdowns. According to McKinsey, consumer demand for online shopping experienced remarkable growth, advancing a decade within the first three months of COVID-19. Faced with challenges such as an expanding pool of competitors and increasing customer expectations, consumer brands had little choice but to invest in enhancing their online purchasing channels or risk being left behind.

Now that businesses are returning to normal operations, executives find themselves in an advantageous position to capitalise on growth opportunities and prevent stagnation in the e-commerce space. However, there are various costs and complexities involved, and burnt out and resource-constrained e-commerce teams pose a major pressure point, leading to slower progress than expected. This predicament, known as the “executive dilemma,” needs to be addressed.

What is the e-commerce executive dilemma?

E-commerce teams often face an overwhelming workload that surpasses their individual and team capacities. They are entrusted with a plethora of responsibilities, including expanding product presence on crucial global online marketplaces, ensuring fresh and conversion-optimised listings, creating and managing direct-to-consumer (DTC) sites, as well as handling the necessary technologies to support these operations. Additionally, they must navigate advertising strategies across various channels, oversee distribution and fulfilment, and so much more.

In our experience, most brands rely on two to five e-commerce experts to oversee their online business, resulting in a significant lack of resources. To cope, these teams often resort to utilising a patchwork of disparate tech platforms and agencies, attempting to offload some of their extensive workload to focus on more mission-critical issues. Unfortunately, this approach fails to provide a viable solution. Instead, it leads to complicated work processes, unnecessary complexity, and a lack of cohesive integration or interoperability—both within local project execution and across regional teams.

The long-term implications are significant. Without the right resources, brands are ill-equipped to scale their e-commerce endeavours. Attempting to expand an online business across multiple regions using disjointed technologies and organisational silos, not to mention the existing cultural and logistical gaps, is a nearly impossible mission.

Consequently, the executive dilemma leaves decision makers in a quandary: Should they invest in building a larger e-commerce team, knowing it will incur additional costs?

Solving the dilemma with an e-commerce accelerator 

Online marketplaces are very different from each other. They have their own rules, and that presents its own challenges. Businesses often underestimate how many people it really takes to manage and scale e-commerce successfully, and what kind of talent is required to maintain a formidable presence. For example, while some team members may be well-versed in DTC, they might not have B2B or wholesale expertise; it helps to have team members who understand the nuances and complexities of each channel. 

However, the solution isn’t necessarily about hiring more people, particularly as even bigger teams struggle to compete against brands that leverage advanced data science and technology to gain a strategic advantage. Instead of solely recruiting e-commerce specialists, the emphasis should be about fortifying teams with essential human resources such as project managers (for agility, problem-solving, and resource management) and technical experts (for in-demand e-commerce skills such as software development, data analytics, and AI).

The ideal solution to help companies achieve unprecedented growth is to partner with an e-commerce accelerator. E-commerce acceleration is the process of applying data-driven technology and expertise to increase revenue growth across major online commerce channels, including e-commerce marketplaces like Tmall, Coupang, Amazon, JD.com, Lazada, and Shopee.

An accelerator’s job is to optimise traffic and conversion rates for product listings by unearthing and analysing the patterns in the data and any number of adjustable on-page and off-page variables available on each marketplace or digital channel. Moreover, with ever-changing ranking algorithms within each marketplace, AI-backed accelerators are equipped to adapt quickly to market dynamics.

Expand your e-commerce team’s potential

To unlock the full potential of ecommerce and capitalise on the wealth of opportunities it offers, businesses must overcome the complexity of global online commerce.

Enabling people with access to the right technology and tools is essential for brands looking to achieve e-commerce success and scalability. Growing an e-commerce business can be costly with various factors to consider, including freight, reverse logistics, advertising, and marketing. A better solution is to partner with an e-commerce accelerator that buys a brand’s inventory and sells it on their behalf through online marketplaces.

With the support of AI and machine learning, e-commerce acceleration helps consumer product companies unlock measurable and repeatable growth opportunities. It enables them to increase online sales on DTC websites, online marketplaces, and other digital channels. Through a partnership with an e-commerce accelerator, brands gain access to a wide range of essential services for online growth. These services include marketing, SEO, shipping, warehousing, customer experience, and marketplace expertise.
The growth of e-commerce in Asia-Pacific is forecasted to outpace the rest of the world, with 90% of global growth between 2021 and 2026 originating from the region. E-commerce, and the region at large, have tremendous opportunities and potential for scaling. The time is ripe for brands to pair data science, technology, and expertise to accelerate e-commerce, or risk stagnation.