Lesson And Experiences From Building Cross Border Commerce In India
How it started
We started Eunimart in 2016. Back then, I was an ex-Naval Officer and an INSEAD graduate. With my extensive experience in managing and expanding e-commerce services as the Global Head of Cross Border Sales, MD of Jumia Group, I have learned that most manufacturers don’t know much about international markets or cross-border e-commerce. With this concept in my mind, I grew a business around it and created my own thesis of cross-border ecommerce and started Eunimart.
Back in 2016, when I started Eunimart to build something that I was certain would help Indian SMEs to globalize their products, at that time I had anticipated that just because I was able to successfully help SMEs from 21 countries to succeed in cross border sales in my last job, I thought it would be easy to repeat the same process in India. But, at that time I had not expected two things.
Primarily, the systemic apathy from policymaking, bureaucracy all the way to investors and the general public who had little faith in SMEs being able to sell globally from India. Secondly, even worse, this feeling permeated into the SMEs and made them risk-averse.
Now, in 2020 we have spent almost four years to build one of the most comprehensive platforms ever built connecting Artificial Intelligence, e-commerce, and the supply chain across many countries around the world. We offer solutions to address real-life issues and impact the overall efficiency of an organization.
Helping SMEs to scale up their business
We believe that SMEs find it difficult to scale their business, especially cross border due to lack of data, proper inventory management, catalogue creation, logistics management. Other than that, they are also unable to access the markets, lacking the knowledge required to sell globally, technology, support systems and people – which enterprises typically have.
Eunimart solves the above problems by enabling SMEs to sell their products globally through cross-border e-commerce. Our platform provides merchants with access to over 25 marketplaces, 20 logistics and warehouse partners and 6 global payment partners in over 100 countries.
Eunimart brings all these marketplaces on one dashboard and automates the process so that SMEs don’t have to hire more workforce or incur losses while selling overseas.
E-commerce is a challenging industry; a saturated market and mass availability of goods to consumers means that successfully capturing customers has become less about the products you offer and more about the experience you deliver to each user. Hence, company must seek for the best practices in these following operating models:
- Inventory optimization – Ensure that you have visibility over demand and you are able to identify top SKUs, regions, times etc and optimise inventory accordingly.
- Omnichannel – Ensure that you’re able to connect all the channels of sales to get full visibility over your orders and products across all channels. Today, omnichannel includes retail, ecommerce, distribution channels etc.
- Control tower – Connect all your operational tools across all your departments. Without that you’re playing blind. Spray and pray doesn’t work most of the time. If you’re using separate shipping, orders, inventory, customer data, sourcing, vendor management, warehousing etc tools, connect them in one platform and create the most efficient workflows. You’ll see margins increase almost immediately as you eliminate inefficiencies. Data shows most companies see 15-35% increase in margins.
- Outsourcing. Outsource your supply chain as far as possible if you’re not a supply chain company. Your customers are shopping across the channels and your delivery and fulfillment options need to match this.
That either means a massive investment in the supply chain, which isn’t the preferred option for most companies, or outsource this to your partners who are focused on the supply chain. With virtual warehousing, you can integrate with their warehouse management systems and be able to still get full visibility, define your own workflows but reduce cost of fulfillment by 10-15% per order.
On the marketing side
Use marketing automation. Ensure that you have full visibility over every stage of your customer journey. Where did they originate? Why did they come? What do they want to buy? When do they want to buy? What actions are they performing on your platform?
Once you get this data, you can run Machine Learning or Artificial Intelligence algorithms to understand patterns in their behaviour. This can open up great insights for you on how to run your business. You can provide loyalty programs, communications, etc.
Other than that, programmatic marketing also can be done. Use a well established programmatic ad marketing tool to run your ad budget. This will give you very high visibility in your ad spend. There are several things which these tools won’t tell you though. Mostly marketing teams confuse correlation with causality.
People might have ended up on your platform on their own and then clicking that brand keyword ad may not be the reason why they landed on your page. However, you ended up paying nevertheless and felt better that your ad converted. It’s best to evaluate these conundrums and finalise which channels and why.
Challenges during the pandemic
In today’s COVID world, SMEs are facing multiple challenges related to warehouse management, inventory based management, sales prediction, integrating with multiple shipping partners, competitive pricing, creation of catalog, optimisation of images and content.
Many ecommerce platforms get millions of visitors a month which means that it needs a fast platform with a unified view, which can provide a fully-integrated approach to sales and marketing.
To solve these challenges, organisations need a platform with cutting edge infrastructure and robust AI to build, operate, automate and grow their business in today’s complex, multi-cloud environment.
Here at Eunimart we are growing with each step because we have the vision to accomplish a dream which is much bigger than any of these challenges. It is Eunimart’s approach to bring justice to the equation. The aim is to be known as a startup that entitled all businesses with million-dollar outcomes.
One thing that we have learned during this pandemic is how important Eunimart’s platform is to the customers. Thanks to our proactive team that our services have not been affected in any way owing to their immense foresight. When it comes to competition, we lie at the confluence of several industries – retail, ecommerce and supply chain and, as such, have several competitors across the globe.
There are numerous aggregators focusing on local markets, as solving cross-border ecommerce requires understanding and creating solutions that are complicated. Be it any business, big or small is full of competition, especially if you are a start-up.
Here at Eunimart, we endured all the past odd experiences and strived, undoubtedly we are prepared to encounter difficult times in the future and stand out to be stronger and better.
We live in a technology driven world, where more than 50% of global companies are planning to use AI-related transformational technologies in supply chain operations by 2023. We are already in a phase where Artificial Intelligence is impacting business decisions, inventory management and warehousing solutions.
Indian E-commerce companies use artificial intelligence to provide personalised recommendation, catalogue creation, image powered search, voice powered search to their shoppers, analysing AI to predict supply, sales and demand.
Going forward in the future, we can witness higher A.I impact on E-commerce businesses by providing static image recognition, classification, object identification, detection, text query of images and prevention from cybersecurity threats. I strongly believe that Indian E-commerce is on its way to become the fastest growing e-commerce market, as more and more organisations are investing in technological advancements.