On Monday, we announced that BizSlate Just Released its ERP for Mid-Sized Distributors and Retailers that gave the masses a useable, and affordable, ERP solution with exceptional supply chain support — especially where inventory and order management were concerned. With the BizSlate ERP, it’s a breeze for a retailer to order hundreds of variants of dozens of SKUs with a few mouse-clicks and keystrokes and to see inventory requirements at any point in time in the future. And this is great for inventory and storefront management, but what about the e-Store?
As more and more retailers need to turn to online sales to compete in the new marketplace where a consumer can get almost anything she wants online — and do so within two days, as the bigger retailers, following Amazon’s lead, are now packing and shipping same-day if an order is received by the cut-off time — the mid-sized and small retailers have to offer the same convenience or get pushed out of the market. Also, sometimes the only way to survive is to create a unique shopping experience for a niche market and offer all of the products, and only the products, related to that niche through a single, customized storefront. (For example, maybe the way to survive is to cater to the fantasy gaming enthusiast and provide a unified storefront for all of the relevant card games, board games, video games, RPGs, and spin-off/related novels and/or movies when the shopper might normally have to go to a local comic/game shop, book store, and online DVD store to find the items of interest.)
However, this need to both integrate (live) inventory (feeds) from dozens, and sometimes hundreds of suppliers (like Amazon) does, and then parse a customer order into separate orders for each vendor that is supplying an item to you and sending it direct to the consumer through its drop-shipping capabilities poses an integration nightmare for the average e-tailer. The reality is that every supplier will have a different database format / taxonomy and every other supplier will have a different access method. One (group of) suppliers will provide access through an FTP site that will contain inventory exports (in a multitude of raw or compressed file formats), another (group) will provide database access through a secure tunnel, the more technical will provide a web API, and the non-technical will e-mail spreadsheets. Some will use (a variation of) CSV format, some will be on an (old) version of EDI, the more techie will have an XML format, etc. Nightmare!
But this is only a quarter of the challenge. The inventory files need to be processed and the relevant data pushed to the live site, after a human has selected or verified what items need to be pushed. Then, the orders need to be pulled from the live site, parsed, and the proper data pushed back to the suppliers for (drop) shipping in the required time-frame — in the format required by the suppliers.
In other words, today’s small-and-mid-sized e-tailers need a solution that makes it trivial to get inventory manifests (if you will), process those manifest, select (groups of) product(s) for the online store, (create a schedule to) push those products to the store, define rules for parsing orders and pushing them back to the appropriate suppliers (on a schedule), create the requisite e-documention, and push the documents to the vendors and the order management systems.
This is the system that DropShip Commerce provides, and it’s the first solution that the doctor has seen that solves the round-trip mid-market problem in a manner uniquely tailored to the specific needs of retailers and their drop-shipping suppliers. And like the other modern SaaS solutions on the market, it’s slick, quick, and very easy to use. By targeting a specific, relatively unaddressed, problem for a specific vertical (consumer-oriented retail), like BizSlate, they were able to create a unique solution that is just what the average mid-sized e-Tailer needs. The DropShip Commerce solution is definitely something the average mid-size e-Tailer that sources from multiple suppliers needs to check out if they haven’t already.