Somdutta Singh, Serial Entrepreneur | Founder, CEO, Assiduus Global | Investor | Bestselling Author | Advisor – Govt of India.
These last few years have brought about an overabundance of e-commerce suffixes, creating an information overload in the minds of consumers and businesses alike. One of these new terms is an e-commerce accelerator. In such an environment, you might ask, “What does e-commerce accelerator mean, and why should I care?”
The Current State Of E-Commerce
To answer that question, you need to understand the current state of e-commerce and, subsequently, “e-commerce marketplaces.” Gone are the days when it took multiple (and often excessive) channels to reach the end customers. Customers (and more importantly, their data) are now increasingly within reach of brands, allowing them to establish connections with their end consumers like never before. It has been said that data is the oil of the 21st century, and brands need to recognize this before they become increasingly disconnected from their audience.
With the growth and success of direct-to-consumer (D2C) brands, traditional brands need to rethink their strategy completely, which is where an e-commerce accelerator comes in.
E-Commerce Accelerators Role In An E-Commerce Strategy
Traditionally, an e-commerce accelerator was a support system for brands designed to help established businesses embrace e-commerce. On a program scale, the accelerator typically provided access to resources, mentorship and networking opportunities for brands. Consequently, an accelerator program typically only lasted for several months, and then the brands were left on their own, navigating a constantly evolving digital landscape.
E-commerce accelerators, however, have evolved from merely an advisor to hands-on business partners. They now offer wide-ranging solutions for brands interested in strengthening their e-commerce sales engine while simultaneously being present on several marketplaces and geographies to ensure optimal performance. For example, over the last few years, some e-commerce accelerators have evolved to offer:
1. Expertise: E-commerce accelerators give companies access to thought leaders who provide insights and best practices for success in the e-commerce market.
2. Data: They offer data on inventory, product, competition, sales and marketing data insights, which can help to improve data-driven decision-making.
3. Logistics: They can help to solve logistics challenges, allowing companies to focus on core business operations and improving product development and marketing.
4. Operational support: Some provide a global presence and website management, which help companies maximize product visibility and increase brand awareness. This may be crucial as Grand View Research expects the global cross-border B2C e-commerce market size to reach $5.58 trillion by 2030, growing at a CAGR of 25.8% from 2022 to 2030.
5. Technology: A few e-commerce accelerators offer technological solutions such as apps or dashboards to operate data, logistics and fulfillments more proficiently.
Three Considerations For Working With An E-Commerce Accelerator
All of that said, there are a few key considerations that companies should be aware of before working with an accelerator:
1. Some accelerators prefer to do business on sales or return models, meaning that a partner must trust that the accelerator can sell the product.
2. As a standard part of increasing sales relates to advertising, businesses with strict advertisement budgets may not effectively scale with accelerators, as accelerators require a minimum advertising budget commitment.
3. Upon adopting an e-commerce acceleration partner, the daily e-commerce operations become outsourced. Similar to how companies may let employees go due to improved AI solutions, larger e-commerce teams may become expendable, and cost-efficient companies should reflect on reorganizing.
Companies should consider these challenges while they investigate whether an e-commerce accelerator would make a good partner for their business. The next few years, though, are crucial to establish a considerate domain in the e-commerce market, as the adoption of online shopping, the rise of new D2C brands, improved delivery options, mobile shopping and technological advancements (such as virtual reality and increased consumer confidence) continue to reshape the landscape.
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