Assortment Optimization: Why It Is Important For Your eCommerce Business

Assortment Optimization

When it comes to maximizing the potential revenue of your eCommerce business, few things can be more valuable than assortment optimization. The right mix of products can make all the difference in helping control your business costs, while also maintaining your appeal with customers.

Sound assortment planning is especially valuable in today’s environment, when supply chain issues continue to disrupt operations for many products and industries across the globe.

Here’s a closer look at how product assortment optimization can help your eCommerce business or marketplace thrive — and how today’s technology makes assortment planning easier than ever.

What Is Assortment Optimization?

In its most basic sense, product assortment optimization is the process in which an eCommerce business or marketplace decides which products it should offer to shoppers. This mix of goods is strategically selected based on customer preferences to maximize the store’s revenue.

Finding the optimal assortment generally focuses on two main types of products: fast-moving goods that sell at higher quantities but deliver a lower profit margin per item sold (like clothing), and higher-end goods that sell slower but have a higher profit margin (such as electronics). 

Successful eCommerce marketplaces generally build their merchandise assortment strategy with these two broad types of products in mind, as this ensures the most consistent flow of revenue from their customer base.

Why You Should Use Assortment Gap Analysis

While assortment optimization may sound easy, the reality is far different. It is all too easy to develop an inadequate product mix that doesn’t offer enough variety to keep customers engaged. In some cases, a lack of alternative products can result in lost sales if an item goes out of stock due to supply chain issues or other factors. For other products, SKUs that are too similar to each other can ultimately cannibalize sales.

A recent analysis by Pimcy determined that while product failure rates aren’t the staggering 95% reported by some sources, at least 40% of new product launches could be considered a failure. In their analysis, they also noted that “a distinction in failure rates can be made across the various types of innovation: incremental innovation, more innovative development, and radical innovation. […] The failure rate increases the more innovative the solution is. However, on the upside, there also is the potential for a bigger return.”

Whether the product is something completely new or simply an improved version of a product that is already on the market, there is never a guarantee that it will be a success. This is especially true in the competitive world of eCommerce, where new marketplaces often struggle to thrive against more established competition.

Despite these sobering statistics, customers are often interested in trying something new, particularly in product categories like clothing or jewelry. Part of what keeps them coming back to an eCommerce business is the promise that it will have something new for them to try — be it a new T-shirt design, improved backpacking gear, or something else entirely.

Because of this, assortment optimization is an ongoing process. It can’t be a “one and done” activity. Customer preferences, supply chain factors, the introduction of new products and the discontinuation of old products means the product mix may be constantly changing. An assortment gap analysis must be performed regularly to ensure your business is introducing new products that will connect with customers — and removing products that are no longer making a profit.

Why the Time Is Now For Better Assortment Planning

With more competition thanks to the rising popularity of digital shopping, eCommerce businesses and marketplaces must prioritize assortment optimization like never before. Understanding which items are missing from your catalogs can make all the difference — and fortunately, this process no longer needs to be left to guesswork.

Running an assortment gap analysis helps your business determine best-selling products or categories from reputable sellers that should be added to the online store. Data-driven, AI-enabled tools use web scraping and other data retrieval methods to gather information on billions of products across multiple channels. 

eCommerce stores that use these solutions can download information on a relevant product category, retrieve GTINs for best-selling items and obtain product lists by seller. By running this assortment gap analysis, an eCommerce marketplace can ask its current sellers to onboard new items that have a proven record of successful sales on other channels. If this isn’t an option, an eCommerce marketplace could attempt to onboard new sellers who offer the desired products.

With quality information readily available through a data-driven assortment gap analysis, it has never been easier to access and utilize this data. Such information is crucial for staying ahead of your competitors — many of whom are using similar resources for their own assortment optimization efforts.

The Benefits of Assortment Optimization

A sound assortment optimization strategy offers several tangible benefits for eCommerce businesses. An assortment gap analysis can help your business understand the eCommerce landscape as a whole — including customer preferences and competitor behaviors. 

With this data, eCommerce businesses can do more than identify new options that can be added to their marketplace. They will be able to identify which mix of products will create a good blend of high-volume and high-profit sales that appeal to their target audience. They will also be better able to identify product lines that are declining in popularity and potentially reducing their profit margins.

This allows marketplaces to create a collaborative relationship with their sellers that focuses on creating win-win solutions. After all, by utilizing shopper insights and providing data-based product onboarding recommendations, marketplaces and sellers can increase their sales success. This creates an atmosphere of transparency and accountability that sees all parties involved better able to optimize their product lineup and take ownership of their results.

Collecting these insights in real time can also lead to more agile and flexible decision making. Quickly identifying trends can help your business mitigate supply chain concerns by adapting its product line based on seasonal changes or other trends. Rapidly pivoting your product assortment ensures you can always offer relevant items at any time of year.

By providing products that shoppers actually want, your eCommerce business can become the go-to online resource for your target audience. 

Strengthen Your Merchandise Assortment Strategy With Cluster

If you’re ready to strengthen your assortment planning processes, Cluster can help. Our Optimal Assortment services are designed to help both marketplaces and brands identify category gaps by assessing product data across channels. With full visibility across the entire eCommerce landscape, you can gain the insights you need to boost sales by presenting relevant, high-demand items to your customers. 

As you use assortment optimization to continually present shoppers with trending, best-selling products from trusted sellers, you will be able to accelerate sustainable growth that builds your reputation and keeps customers coming back time and time again.
With Cluster on your side, lasting marketplace success is closer than you think!

5 Ways Power Sellers Can Make Or Break Your eCommerce Marketplace

Ways How Power Sellers Can Make Or Break Your eCommerce Marketplace

eCommerce sales account for nearly $5 trillion in revenue today. Regardless of what industry you specialize in, it’s clear that this is the landscape of business that we all need to capitalize on. 

When building your own eCommerce marketplace, it lives and dies by your ability to attract the best sellers. These top performers, known as power sellers, are essential to the growth and success of your platform. 

Keep reading to learn more about the benefits of improving the marketplace seller and buyer experience by encouraging power sellers. 

1. Quality Sellers Bring More Shoppers

If you don’t have sellers, you don’t have shoppers. A marketplace power seller has the most volume and a vast inventory of products that people can choose between. 

Not only does this attract new buyers, but customers will begin shopping exclusively with these sellers, offering them repeat business. These marketplace power sellers bring you the most revenue when you collect your fees. 

Seller intelligence is a solution that can help identify power sellers providing you with the contact information that you need to build a rapport. This relationship can help you grow their conversions and improve your market share. 

2. You’ll Increase Brand Awareness and Trust

When you have power sellers, they legitimize your marketplace on a larger level and build trust with consumers. 

It typically takes at least 5 impressions for buyers to make a decision to purchase. Your marketplace vendors have a vested interest in getting more attention to their personal stores, which ultimately brings more awareness to your platform. 

This is why encouraging power sellers ranks highly among the most important eCommerce tips you can follow. Buyers are more hesitant to shop with vendors that only have a few confirmed sales or reviews. Having more trusted sellers will give you a larger inflow of traffic and revenue for the long haul. 

These sellers serve as your foundation, which you can build on the more you attract these power sellers. 

3. Shoppers Will Have a Better Experience

Power sellers are full-timers with their online stores that are constantly making improvements. The customer wins most because these improvements reward them with a better shopping experience as a whole. 

Power sellers also deal with greater sales volume, are more responsive to customers, offer more payment options, and tend to ship orders faster. They often run full-time businesses offline, such as a brick-and-mortar retail store that sells similar products. 

Because of this, these professionals are more likely to stay up-to-date with new eCommerce ideas and trends to consistently accommodate their customer base. They often run blogs and post videos so that their customers are informed. 

You’ll build shopper intelligence and attract your ideal customers when you’re always investing in improving their experience. 

4. Your Platform Will Attract Different Segments of Business

Power sellers will consistently bring you more eCommerce leads. This is one of the best things to learn when figuring out how to attract sellers to your marketplace. 

These power sellers will network with each other and always find new and different ways to improve what they do best. For instance, a power seller that is successfully selling products to consumers might choose to take the private label approach or look into things like dropshipping. 

This ultimately expands the reach of your outlet and the type of service that you provide to consumers. When your shoppers have more options for the types of products that they can get on your platform, it’s a net positive for everyone involved.  

5. Power Sellers Provide Constant Marketing

You can also count on power sellers to continuously market themselves and their brands. They have a vested interest in building their brand awareness, which will also raise more awareness to your platform. 

When you have a relationship with these power sellers, you can use eCommerce marketplace data to study the demographics of their customers and how they get their conversions. This can help you with ad placements and figuring out which customers you’d most likely to target. 

Having data at your disposal is best when you’re trying to figure out where to find eCommerce business leads because your goals will be more accurate and measurable. 

You’ll be able to scale your platform to achieve the type of growth that you expect, and can collaborate with your power sellers on ideas. 

For example, with Seller Intelligence, you’ll have the benefit of:

  • Taxonomy mapping
  • Analytics and price benchmarking
  • Access to seller store analytical tools
  • Product matching for more accurate categories
  • Real-time data to help get more sales and traction from seller channels
  • Product data enhancement
  • Catalog enhancement tools

It’s best to work deliberately with power sellers so that you can get on the same page with your marketing goals and steer them in the same direction. 

The Ultimate Marketplace Seller Experience

The marketplace seller experience that you create means everything when you’re trying to grow your platform. Power sellers are your bread and butter, and will help you get the results that you’re looking for. 

If you’re intent to get sellers to your eCommerce marketplace website, you need a helping hand. At Cluster, we have a team of professionals that are skilled and equipped to make all of your goals a reality. 

With Seller Intelligence by Cluster, you’ll have the data needed to put it all together.  

To book a meeting with us, use our contact form or send us an email at info@datacluster.com.

3 Product Page Data Enhancements to Win More Traffic

Product Page Data Enhancements

The eCommerce market is expected to surpass $52 trillion by 2027. That’s nearly 4 times as large as its 2021 value.

More customers mean more competitors. While eBay and then Amazon long dominated the eCommerce scene, the pandemic created a shift. With more time spent at home, consumers had more time to shop around.

Because of that, smaller eCommerce sites have more opportunities to make their mark. How can an online marketplace stand out amongst the growing competition?

The first step is retaining customers. The number one way to do that is product page enhancements.

That’s right, it’s not all about SEO! There’s no point ranking highly on a search engine if customers abandon or don’t even fill their carts. For long-lasting success, your product pages have to convert browsers through to purchase.

Then your site traffic and search engine rankings will organically increase. And your product pages will be optimized enough to sustain your success.

Here’s our guide to specific product page enhancements every marketplace should be making and why.

Improve Loading Speeds

As basic as it sounds, loading speeds can make or break organic traffic generation. If your site or your product images take a few moments to load, it can put users off completely. In fact, 53% of people expect a web page to load within 3 seconds

If it loads too slowly, the same survey found that nearly half of customers will be dissatisfied. And if they click away from your site that quickly, it hurts your traffic substantially.

Buyers want a swift, painless experience. Don’t give them time to second-guess their purchase or your professionalism! 

Accurate Product Information

The best product page enhancements are all about product information. Product data enhancement is the key to winning more site traffic. Attention to detail at this stage is the number one way to push customers through to purchase.

eCommerce product data includes written information, as well as images and other details. We’ve broken down how to improve each area.

Product Descriptions

Product data is everything. Potential buyers want to know every detail about your products. Data-driven product catalog management should be central to your strategy.

That goes beyond dimensions and delivery dates. An eCommerce product description should be as thorough as seeing it in person.

In a brick-and-mortar store, shoppers can pick up the product. They can feel its weight, gauge its size, and read more information on the package.

eCommerce marketplaces can combat these challenges by providing just as much information.

If any product information is missing, consumers won’t have the confidence to buy. Or they may return the product.

For online purchases, the average return rate is a staggering 20%. The problem is not just lost revenue, it’s a loss of confidence in your marketplace.

If your product descriptions do not accurately represent the product, they won’t just return it – they won’t come back. That is less site traffic from repeat customers, which leads to less organic traffic generation.

Clearly, an accurate product description is key to repeat customers, which drives organic traffic.

Accurate product data also helps your product get identified by search engines. Besides a clear description, search engines respond well to these details:

  • Global trade item numbers
  • Manufacturer part numbers
  • Brand names
  • Stock keeping unit numbers

Consistently structured product data is also helpful for both search engines and consumers. On every product page, data should appear in the same order and in the same places, so people know where to look. 

This is especially important if several stocked products are relatively similar. Their differences and unique identifiers should be clear enough that customers and search engines can distinguish between them.

High-Quality Images

Good images are just as important to consumers as good data. Bad images, or worse, none at all, reflect badly on your business. If you can’t provide several high-quality images from a variety of angles, buyers jump to questioning your authenticity.

Your goal should be to provide enough images that users feel they’ve seen the product in person. That will give them the confidence to buy and come back in the future.

Visible Product Reviews

Reviews add to your site’s verifiability. In fact, nearly 90% of customers surveyed said that they read reviews before purchasing a product online. The same survey found that even more than 90% of people trust reviews as much as recommendations from people they know.

Make sure it’s easy to leave a review so that previous buyers do so.

Include an image option with reviews so that buyers can upload images alongside them. These candid review images add to buyer confidence even more than professional ones.

Buyers are also interested in your responses to reviews. If any customer leaves a negative review with a complaint, you may want to respond to save face.

According to the survey mentioned earlier, these business responses are read by and are important to nearly 60% of customers. Make sure you represent your business well and respond in the most considerate way possible.

Product Page Enhancements for Your Online Marketplace

Putting these enhancement tips into practice will win you more traffic. But working with us gets that number even higher.

Our solutions for marketplaces go beyond product data enhancements. They win more traffic by fixing attribution, removing duplicates, forecasting demand, ensuring accurate taxonomy, and creating an optimal shopper experience.

Don’t struggle through manually improving product pages in-house. Instead, let us go through your marketplace with a fine-toothed comb and find every optimization opportunity.

Book a demo with us today to learn how.

The Ultimate Guide To eCommerce Product Catalog Management

The Ultimate Guide To eCommerce Product Catalog Management

eCommerce has become more lucrative than ever, with total US sales reaching a record-breaking $960.1 billion in 2021. However, this doesn’t mean that every eCommerce marketplace is automatically set up for success. In fact, the highly competitive nature of digital marketplaces means that many sellers struggle to make any impact whatsoever.

This is where eCommerce product catalog management comes in. Quality eCommerce product catalog data can make or break your business by providing customers with crucial information to help you build a brand that appeals to your target audience.

What is eCommerce Catalog Management?

In the simplest terms, your catalog is the full range of products that you offer on your storefront. eCommerce catalog management is the process of ensuring that you have accurate pricing and product information available for each item in your store or marketplace.

This information can be highly detailed. For example, product descriptions can include color options, sizes, dimensions, materials, price and other unique attributes that help a customer make his or her buying decision. The eCommerce product catalog must also be presented in an SEO-friendly manner to improve site rankings, while also being easy to navigate on your own web page.

Why is Catalog Management Important in eCommerce?

Regardless of whether a customer is shopping in a physical store or online, they value convenience. In fact, research from the National Retail Federation found that 52% of shoppers say at least half of their purchasing decisions are influenced by convenience. And, 97% will back out of an inconvenient purchase.

eCommerce product catalog management helps you deliver the convenience that can make all the difference in enticing customers to make that initial purchase — and continue to buy from you in the future.

A quality eCommerce product catalog delivers convenience by offering the right type of information to help customers make a purchase with confidence. Quality information can also reduce the likelihood of customers being dissatisfied and returning their purchases.

By streamlining the purchasing decision, you make your eCommerce store easier to use and foster brand loyalty. 

3 Common eCommerce Product Catalog Management Mistakes You Should Avoid

Quality eCommerce product catalog management can be more difficult than you might expect. The following issues can result in lost sales and a poor customer experience:

Not Accounting For Different Sales Platforms

Your merchants likely sell across a wide variety of channels, such as Amazon, Instagram, eBay, and more. However, not accounting for differences between these sales platforms can create pitfalls. Different channels may require different sets of product information. They may also display product details in a different manner.

Your eCommerce product catalog data must be consistent across multiple sales channels so that customers always receive accurate information. Otherwise, you run the risk of creating an inconsistent experience, which will make it harder to build customer loyalty. This could also make some platforms fail to deliver adequate sales.

Not Adapting Catalogs For Different Audiences

Many sellers target multiple audiences, who require different sets of information. For example, a store like Home Depot will sell materials to both DIY homeowners and contractors. While a homeowner may only need to buy a few pieces of lumber, a contractor would likely look to buy lumber in bulk.

Failure to display the right information to the right consumer can cause major navigation issues that make it harder to make a buying decision. Inventory technology can help you display the right details to the right audience.

Inaccurate Product Categorization

Poor product categorization can undermine your online marketplace’s dynamic search and sorting abilities. If customers can’t easily search for and find a product, they will quickly abandon your store. Inaccurate categorization can also make it difficult to track SKUs and manage inventory.

3 Tips for Efficient eCommerce Product Catalog Management

Your eCommerce product catalog data can become a key differentiating factor that helps drive sales and customer loyalty. Here are some tips for more efficient catalog management:

Use Your Data to Upsell and Cross-Sell

eCommerce catalog data can be used to suggest related or alternate products when a customer is looking at an item on your site. This can be a great way to upsell and increase the value of an order, or to help customers find what they’re looking for if the current product isn’t a perfect fit. Amazon has previously attributed 35% of its sales to this practice.

Track Demand With SKUs

eCommerce product catalog data can also aid merchants’ SKU management. Tracking inventory using SKU numbers will help merchants identify when items need to be reordered. It can help them identify seasonal trends in demand, as well as when they should allocate more or less stock to a particular product. Automating reorder points can ensure that merchants never run out of stock, so that a marketplace is always ready to fulfill customer orders.

Use the Right Data Provider

The right data provider can make all the difference in effectively managing your product catalog. Cluster will help you keep all your cross-channel data in one centralized location. With real-time updates and complete visibility into your inventory, you can accurately track and manage product data. 

This will help you standardize your catalog management process and break down information silos so you can have more trust in your backend data and be better equipped for winning more customers.

Make the Most of Your eCommerce Product Catalog Management 

Quality eCommerce catalog data will make all the difference in helping your company drive revenue and improve the customer experience. With Cluster for Catalog Enhancement, you can have confidence that you are getting the data you need to put the right products in front of the right customers at the right time.
With data drawn from over one billion products, 23 million brands, and 85 thousand digital POS data providers, you will have the robust (and accurate) information you need to succeed. Additional marketplace services, such as price and demand benchmarking, can further help you increase your competitive edge and drive revenue. Book a meeting today to learn how we can help enhance your eCommerce product catalog data.

10 eCommerce Payment and Fraud Protection Strategies You Should Follow In 2023

10 eCommerce Payment and Fraud Protection Strategies You Should Follow In 2023

Just because people can’t physically steal from online retailers doesn’t mean they can’t invade your business through fraudulent activities. In fact, about $20 billion in eCommerce losses were reported in the US — in 2021 alone.

If you manage or own an eCommerce marketplace, it’s absolutely crucial that you secure your business against online criminals with eCommerce fraud protection.

In this guide, we’ll tell you everything you need to know about eCommerce fraud prevention and 10 strategies that will keep your business safe.

What is eCommerce Fraud?

eCommerce fraud refers to when online hackers and scammers block and intercept transactions that happen in an online store. They can do this through a variety of methods that can steal money from either the merchant, the customer, or both. 

As the world becomes more and more reliant on online transactions, scammers are finding new and creative ways to hijack customer data and commit fraud.

eCommerce fraud mitigation is not a one-time event. You must continually be vigilant and update your online platform’s security to keep up.

10 eCommerce Fraud Protection Strategies

Many business owners don’t begin implementing fraud protection for eCommerce until it’s too late. It’s always better to start being prepared and aware of different signs of fraud.

Let’s take a look at 10 different strategies that you can use for your online marketplace today.

1. Review Abnormal and Risky Orders

If you receive orders that seem odd or risky, it’s best to reach out to the customer to prove their legitimacy. Some examples of red flags include:

  • Low-value orders from unusual IP locations
  • Several orders placed in a row
  • Different billing and shipping addresses
  • Obscure shipping locations
  • Abnormally large orders

If the customer doesn’t reply to your inquiry, there’s a good chance that the order was made from stolen data. You can also take a look at the customer’s order history to see if there are any odd patterns. 

2. Limit Order Quantity

Orders that involve a high quantity of products can also be a red flag for scammers. You can up your eCommerce payment protection by limiting the number of products a customer can buy in a single day. 

To do this, go back through your purchase data to determine the average number of products you typically sell. Then, set a limit to the number that can be sold at a single time based on this number.

3. Clearly State Your Business Policies On Your Website

It’s not only important to clearly state your policies for your customers to understand your business practices, but it’s also a way to help customers understand how to prevent fraud. 

Some things your business should include are:

  • A strong password policy to prevent scammers from hacking into customer accounts
  • A return policy to clarify chargebacks and refunds
  • Promotion and rewards policies to prevent fraud that may happen during promotions

The clearer you can make your policy, the better you’ll protect yourself against future fraudulent activity.

4. Use Address Verification Service (AVS)

Address verification system (AVS) helps verify your customer’s billing address with the card that they are purchasing with. This can help detect any suspicious transactions that happen in real time and increase price anomalies mitigation. 

5. Require Card Verification Value (CVV) for Purchases

Requiring a card verification value (CVV) for purchases requires customers to add the three-to-four digit number as a required field. This adds an extra layer of security so that fraudsters can’t make purchases with just the front of a credit card.

This is one of the most popular forms of payment and fraud protection.

6. Use Other Verification Software

Although AVS and CVV are two of the most popular verification software out there, there are several others that you can use to enhance your eCommerce fraud management.

Some verification systems include:

  • Email verification
  • Customer Order History 
  • 3-D secure authentication
  • Telephone number verification
  • Postal Address Validation Services
  • Blacklists
  • Payment protection

These extra steps can help you secure your platform against fraud.

7. Conduct Regular Site Security Audits

Make sure to conduct audits on your website regularly. Go through all of your plugins and make sure they are updated to the latest version. Here’s an example of an audit checklist:

  • Check if shopping-cart software is up-to-date
  • Check if your SSL certificate is working correctly
  • Check how often you are backing up your store data
  • Remove any inactive plugins
  • Update strong passwords for every account
  • Regularly scan for malware

There are also several eCommerce fraud protection services available that can help take care of everything for you. Things are constantly changing in the online world. It’s important to keep up.

8. Avoid Collecting Too Much Customer Data

One general rule of thumb is to never collect more customer data than you actually need to run your business efficiently. If there is ever a data breach in your store, hackers will only be able to take the data that is there, so the less, the better. 

Avoid collecting any sensitive data like Social Security numbers, birth dates, and more.

9. Use Hypertext Transfer Protocol Secure (HTTPS)

HTTP is the main protocol used to send data between a web browser and your store. HTTPS is the more secure version of it. It encrypts data which can protect sensitive information from hackers. Use HTTPS by purchasing an SSL certificate.

10. Avoid Non-Physical Shipping Addresses

Fraudsters often use PO boxes or other anonymous locations to avoid being detected or having their physical address found. Avoid shipping any orders to PO boxes or other virtual addresses to avoid any fraudulent activity.

Take Control of Your Marketplace

eCommerce fraud protection is an ongoing process that never ends. As long as you’re selling products on the internet and there’s money involved, hackers will try to find new and innovative ways to invade your store’s data.

If you’re an online marketplace looking to identify reputable sellers, detect fraudulent prices and remove suspicious listings before customers get to payment, book a free demo today!

From the Tech Trenches: 5 Questions with Cluster Chief Technology Officer

When the company was first launched in 2016, the mission for Algopix was seemingly simple, “To make eCommerce marketplace data more accessible and usable so online brands can make informed decisions.” It was able to aggregate marketplace data in real-time to help sellers research, source and launch their online businesses. 

Fast-forward to today (and throwing a global pandemic into the mix), eCommerce has been thrust into the spotlight – as a survival mechanism for brick-and-mortar and even restaurants, to accommodate social distancing mandates, and to get essential goods and services to those in unprecedented circumstances. 

Whatever the reason to shift to eCommerce, Algopix also began its own shift. As more and more enterprises and big brands started to pique their interest into learning more about what real-time data can do for their online marketplaces, we also had to pivot and create new products and services for a broader audience. 

And while the only certainty in eCommerce is change, we also know that: 

1. eCommerce/online shopping is here to stay (now that we’ve figured out how to buy groceries online, why would we want to go back?), and 

2. Data, analytics and technology can’t be static in a constantly changing world. 

So, here we went right into the trenches and caught up with our Chief Technology Officer Yaniv Cohen, with five top-of-mind questions to see what advice he uses to thrive and what technologies to watch going into 2022 and beyond:  

 

Q: What did you learn along your career path that you still use today?

COHEN: First, when you get the chance to build something from scratch, make sure you get it right the first time. This ensures you won’t face any issues with systems that someone else has built (especially if they didn’t do it right). 

Next, even if someone else is to blame, don’t use that as an excuse to report failure. Make it work by doing everything possible to get things moving in the right direction until it gets done. Try to help others around you become better at what they do, you’d be surprised how much improvement you’ll see in their performance. The most talented people I’ve had the pleasure to work with during my career are not those who have the best looking CVs.

Finally, leadership is never given by authority. Leadership is given to those who take care of others around them. 

 

Q: If you could go back and give yourself advice when you first started your career, what would that advice be?

COHEN: As a software engineer, you should have a very solid knowledge of the basics (data collections, algorithms and even design patterns). They apply to almost every development language you will use.

Additionally, make sure to surround yourself with highly professional and GOOD people. It will make you a better professional and a better person.

I started out in the industry when XML became all the hype and JSON hadn’t been thought of yet. Today, nobody would use XML if they can avoid it, so if I could go back to when I first started, I’d say, “Use JSON, not XML!”

 

Q: What advice would you give to any entry-level business/tech person today?

COHEN: What you do at the beginning of your journey will most likely lead to what you’re doing for the rest of your career. So, choose your first role carefully.

The majority of interesting, challenging and innovative positions are usually not found in high profile, large companies. It is usually at the smaller or digitally born organizations that are trying to build something new and innovative using the latest technologies.

 

Q: What resources do you use for continuing your education or learnings as technology continues to evolve and change.

COHEN: Online blog posts and technology-centered websites. But above all, I look to my colleagues and peers who I’ve become to know well during my career. I get to discuss new technologies with them especially if they’ve had experience with them already.

 

Q: What is the greatest piece of technology to watch?

COHEN: I think that quantum computers are going to change everything. Programming languages are going to change considerably in order to support this new technology.

 

Benefits To Using an API-First Strategy

Over the past few years, eCommerce businesses have had to deploy new digital technologies to better serve their customers and stay one step ahead of their competitors.

As such, many eCommerce providers have adopted application programming interfaces (APIs) to integrate their software with such shopping platforms as Shopify, Magento, eBay, Amazon, and more. This eCommerce API integration works as a data transfer bridge between the eCommerce shopping platforms and the eCommerce tools, enabling the vendors to provide their customers with the functionality of their platforms.

An API is a set of functions that lets an application interact with operating systems, microservices, external applications, or data. Put simply, APIs allow software to “talk to” and interact with each other. An API for an eCommerce website connects consumers and eCommerce companies by transforming data into valuable business information.

Participating in the API economy is critical to the long-term success of eCommerce vendors as it allows them to connect to tools that help them as well as their customers operate more efficiently. The key to this, however, is using an API-first strategy. 

 

Benefits of an API-first strategy

Generally, software vendors add APIs on top of their platforms, allowing customers to access some of their software’s underlying functionality but not all the functionality. The API-first strategy makes system integration easier. 

An API-first strategy ensures that customers can access all of the functionality of the vendors’ software through the APIs. This API-first strategy enables eCommerce vendors to create and extend the solution they need to develop to meet their needs as well as the needs of their customers. Not only does the API-first approach improve the development of a solution, it also makes the development process more agile.

Today, applications must not only be well-designed but they have to be on the market within six months. Another benefit of an API-first strategy is that it allows companies to get their products to market faster and it enables customers to derive value more quickly from those products. 

And an API-first model allows developers to customize the features of their solutions according to the business needs of their clients. API-first also makes it easier for developers to make improvements and adjustments to the solutions without having to re-architect the entire system to meet the ever-changing business needs of their customers

The following are benefits of an API-first strategy for eCommerce vendors:

  • Saves time and money on developing applications and rolling out updates. 
  • Changes to the API happen simultaneously across all applications. 
  • Enables automation, which accelerates production.
  • Developers don’t have to build new programs for each application.

Benefits of an API-first approach for eCommerce companies:

  • Lets teams identify design or programming flaws before rolling out applications to customers. 
  • User-facing information looks the same across all platforms. 
  • Website content can be customized to meet the needs of returning customers and website visitors.
  • Improves user experience, as APIs let companies offer customers more services in less time.
 

Importance of a product price API strategy 

Price monitoring software enables eCommerce companies to monitor the changes in their competitors’ prices in real time. It also gives them real-time insights into stock availability, promotions, and other information eCommerce companies can use to optimize their pricing strategies on the fly.

It’s important for eCommerce companies to use price-monitoring APIs that provide up-to-date eCommerce data that collects information from large retailers and eCommerce marketplaces. This includes information about the top-selling products, product availability, shipping costs, and more. 

Price monitoring APIs also allow eCommerce retailers to trace the pricing history of any product for a specific time period. In addition, the automated price tracing capabilities help organizations save time and money on competitive analysis.

Conclusion

By adopting an API-first development strategy, eCommerce vendors will have agility to meet ever-changing customer expectations and remain competitive in the market. An API-first strategy gives online retailers more control over the selling experience and offers them more options when it comes to scaling up and improving services. APIs also help online retailers get more insight into their customers so they can offer them products customized to meet their needs.

API tools enable online retailers to build more scalable and robust eCommerce platforms that are critical in today’s business climate.

The Importance of Detailed Product Attributes in eCommerce

We all know that as people we have characteristics that set us apart from one another and make us unique. But the products customers buy on eCommerce websites also have attributes that define them — attributes that affect consumer decisions about which products they purchase.

Put simply, eCommerce product-related attributes are specific product characteristics that define a particular product or group of products. However, these aren’t just general descriptions of a product but rather they point to the value of a product and detail what makes it unique. 

There are two types of product attributes:

  • Tangible attributes: these are the physical characteristics of a product, such as size, height, weight, material, smell, quantity, color, that customers care about when they’re searching for or purchasing a product.

  • Intangible attributes: these are the characteristics that customers can’t physically touch or see, such as the quality, reliability, and aesthetics of a product. However, intangible attributes still help buyers decide if a particular product is right for them or if they should look for something else.

Although eCommerce product attributes don’t change, the attributes sellers choose to show consumers will change based on a particular marketing campaign, the brand, and/or the customer.

Product attributes are important because they give buyers extensive information about your product. And the more detailed you make your product attributes, the better chance you’ll have of convincing consumers to purchase your product. 

Product information management (PIM) systems enable you to collect, store, and manage all the attribute data about your product that you need to sell online. A PIM tool lets you centralize all the product information and digital assets in one place that can then be distributed through various sales channels.

Why Product Attributes Are Important

Good eCommerce product attributes can help you increase your sales by helping you:

Set Your Product Apart From Competitors’ Products

If people view your product’s attributes as unique, they will serve as distinguishing characteristics that will set your product apart from your competitors’ products. When consumers see the information that you’ve provided and understand the value that it offers, those individuals will likely become buyers. 

If you want to be a smart seller in today’s digital world, then you must provide consumers with a top-notch digital experience and that includes giving them the information they need to make informed purchasing decisions. 

Since buyers do most of their product research online, they need accurate, comprehensive information at their fingertips — information that they can find easily. That means you must tell them what your product is, offer information about its qualities and features, any details about its suitability for specific occasions, e.g., birthdays or anniversaries, and why shoppers should buy your product. 

Enhance Your Recommendations

In eCommerce, personalization has to do with matching potential buyers with products that trigger positive responses. Typically, that revolves around sending consumers product recommendations in emails or in ads in sales channels. However, those recommendations are really not very specific. For example, some recommendations might be based on similar items, e.g., showing more pants to a person who has purchased pants in the past or maybe recommending shirts to someone who has purchased pants.

However, if you bring together an in-depth knowledge of eCommerce product attributes with an understanding of the way customers behave and then use data science to figure out what drives your customers, you could make more personalized and smarter recommendations. For example, you could make recommendations based on such factors as particular size or color preferences. And more personalized recommendations will likely result in more sales.

Reduce Returns

Product attributes let consumers find, understand, and compare products. When you sell online not only do you have to offer the best product, but you also have to provide the best descriptive information you can about your product. Offering customers accurate attribute data about your product means they’ll be less likely to return their purchases. And that’s good for you as well as for the environment as shipping items back and forth creates additional greenhouse gas emissions. And fewer returns mean fewer products that end up in landfills.

Use Real-Time Data To Help You Win the Order

To be successful, you must understand the relationship between your customers and your product. PIM systems synchronize data in real-time to ensure all the data is up to date and consistent across channels. Having in-depth knowledge of your customer data and your product attribute data will enable you to serve your ideal customer, deliver better customer experiences, and generate more revenue by increasing conversion rates, the size of customers’ orders, and customer lifetime value.

Conclusion

Providing consumers with detailed eCommerce product attributes enables them to better understand your product, making them much more likely to purchase from you. And having accurate product attributes in place can give you exactly the boost in sales that you’re after.