Amazon is so tied to eCommerce that every retailer who sells online has had to figure out how to navigate its shadow. However, a lawsuit brought by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) against Amazon.com could change the status quo and present new challenges, or possibly new opportunities for many online sellers.
FTC Antitrust Lawsuit Against Amazon
The FTC’s lawsuit against Amazon centers around its role as a hub for eCommerce, alleging that the company leverages monopolist powers to impede current competitors from growing and new competitors from emerging. Per the suit, these include “[a]nti-discounting measures that punish sellers and deter other online retailers from offering prices lower than Amazon, keeping prices higher for products across the internet.”
This lawsuit could complicate the challenges eCommerce retailers have with Amazon, which provides access to a wide audience as well as market-leading features for buyers to find, order and receive products. At the same time, the margins from selling on Amazon are severely lower than selling directly.
Yet few online retailers can recreate what Amazon does on their own and often face a tough choice: A) sell more and gain more visibility while earning less profit through the Amazon marketplace, or B) sell less and gain less visibility, but generate higher profit by going direct to the customer.
Navigating eCommerce in 2024 With or Without Amazon
The good news is that your eCommerce business can find success with either choice – and taking advantage of the right solutions and services to build and maintain your digital storefront can help tremendously.
Online sellers find the most success when they diversify their portfolios. Marketplace places like Amazon give you additional channels to work and broader reach, access and visibility, as does working with affiliates and other partners. Having multiple income streams does not hurt either, and with the Internet those streams can be turned into rivers.
The challenge is that not everyone has the time or resources to handle all these moving parts. This is where technology comes in – building a tech stack of integrated software will make your eCommerce value chain run like a well-oiled machine. When done right, each connected app should be able to share data – and even functionality – seamlessly, keeping your customer journey running without hiccups.
Here are the top solutions we suggest you get started with:
Every online seller’s journey starts with choosing how to build your digital channel, whether you create a website from scratch and handle sales manually, or decide to automate the process to make it easier. The right eCommerce solution makes a world of difference and is your gateway to building and maintaining your web storefront, even when selling through Amazon. No matter the number of websites, third-party marketplaces or affiliate domains you sell your products through, a good omnichannel system will help you manage all of these moving pieces.
ERP and Accounting Software
Accounting software may be low on many lists for retail software priorities, but many do not realize how big a gap this could leave. Even more important than ensuring your bookkeeping complies with reporting regulations, you need to have a central repository for the entirety of your data. This is why an ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) system is ideal for being the cornerstone of your application stack, where it can record and process everything from inventory tracking to financials.
Sales Tax Software
Sales and use tax collection is an ever-present regulation in online retail. In addition to economic nexus laws, as a marketplace facilitator Amazon.com has additional requirements to follow for taxation on top of geographic considerations for fulfillment locations – this is why it is vital to have a sales tax solution that tracks these stipulations automatically.
Building an Integrated eCommerce Stack
Here are some of the top software systems to consider for integrating eCommerce, ERP and sales tax:
BigCommerce is a market-leading eCommerce solution that is tailored for scalability, with robust features and a big ecosystem of integration partners that includes the best names in ERP, sales tax automation, email automation, shipping and more.
Feedonomics is a feed management tool that helps you automatically generate and manage your product listings, either through your own website or for any connected marketplace storefront.
Acumatica Cloud ERP
Acumatica is a modern cloud ERP that goes beyond traditional accounting software and provides users with an intuitive experience, a powerful SaaS platform and a flexible architecture that makes it easy to sync data with integrated apps.
Avalara is a premier sales tax automation solution that takes the pain out of identifying, certifying, applying, and reporting on taxation requirements for economic nexus for eCommerce retailers and marketplace facilitators.
Acumatica ERP Integration with BigCommerce and Avalara
There are two important factors to consider for the above three solutions:
- They are leaders in their respective software markets
- They are built to integrate with different application APIs, including with each other and Amazon
Even better for point #2, all feature native connectors with each other and Amazon.com, allowing data to be transferred seamlessly for your technology stack. There are different ways you can leverage this close level of integration depending on whether you are using Amazon’s storefront or your own.
When using Amazon:
- BigCommerce manages your storefronts and channels from a central portal, letting you sync data from your eCommerce solution as well as other apps with Amazon’s shopping cart.
- Feedonomics for Marketplaces tailors your product listings for Amazon.com compliance and feeds the data from BigCommerce into your storefront and shopping cart.
- Acumatica syncs financial and order data between your other solutions, giving you end-to-end value chain visibility from your inventory to your storefront.
- Avalara integrates directly with Amazon.com orders and has automated calculation processes for applying sales tax requirements specific to the marketplace, ensuring compliance with various economic nexus regulations.
When selling without Amazon:
- BigCommerce helps you build and manage your website(s) with as many storefronts as you need, as well as bridge data shared between the rest of your tech stack and other marketplace channels besides Amazon.com, such as Target+.
- Feedonomics synchronizes data for listed products across all channels and optimizes it for each storefront, whether a product is listed on your own website(s) or is being fed into a marketplace listing through API integration.
- Acumatica will take on a more central role as your ERP, holding onto the “crown jewels” of data and helping you manage the operational components as well as financial, inventory and order management.
- Avalara will maintain its automated process for certification and calculations of sales and use tax and apply the proper rates for each order that is passed through your eCommerce and ERP systems.
Positioning Your Business for Success in eCommerce
Navigating the world of eCommerce today is tough, but choosing the right technology and learning how to best use it will make it much easier to adapt to changes in this market, whether more giants like Amazon rise or fall.
Hector Bonilla is an SEO and content marketing specialist who has been writing about technology and SaaS for the past 8 years. Hector currently oversees inbound marketing at SWK Technologies, Inc., a technology solutions provider and consultant that helps SMBs and midmarket businesses streamline their processes and solve for challenges in their software and IT systems. SWK is also a cloud service provider (CSP) with a SOC 2 security certification, as well as a 3-time Acumatica Partner of the Year.
If you need help looking through your options or just want to learn more about what’s available, feel free to reach out to us at www.swktech.com/contact.