Amazon has the ecommerce industry cornered, or so it would seem. A recent Business Insider report finds that at least 53% of all online sales for 2016 went to Amazon. Insiders are speculating that this marketplace could experience more growth this year, with some experts predicting that its hold on the market could expand to as much as 60% of all online sales in 2017. Understanding Amazon’s recipe for success is made easier when you look at the four pillars of ecommerce success that this marketplace incorporates into their selling methodology: Great selection, fast and cheap (or free) shipping, easy returns and competitive prices.

A majority of Amazon merchants are multichannel sellers. But with the current proprietary backend system, many are left with piles of tedious manual work at the end of each day, if they really want to have a look at their true cross-channel numbers and customer data. Newer software solutions are emerging that could change this data conundrum, though. But first, let’s take a look at just how widespread the data pinch is for cross-channel Amazon merchants.

Most Amazon Merchants Are Selling on Multiple Channels

At first glance, one may not think that there’d even be a data pinch for Amazon sellers. That’s because it’s easy to think that a merchant may just list their wares on this marketplace and be done with it. But the real numbers reveal quite a different story.

According to Tech Crunch, Amazon hosts more than 2 million merchants worldwide, and they combine to sell 2 billion products and counting. It’s this massive offering that has made Amazon the go-to ecommerce destination for shoppers, accounting for over half of all Google product searches last year.

But how many of these merchants are using more than one sales channel? A Web Retailer survey finds that 77% of them sell on at least one other channel. Around 35% are using a Shopify shopping cart, 32% are using Magento and the rest are using a mix of 3dcart, WooCommerce and others. With more than two-thirds of these merchants selling across multiple sales channels, the data pinch is real.

Amazon’s Expensive for Sellers

While Amazon is great for the shopper, merchants pay steeply to list their wares. A quick look at Amazon’s fees is telling. Individual Seller and Pro Merchant accounts result in as much as 15% in fees that the seller must pay before they get their cut of the sale. If they are using Fulfillment by Amazon (FBA), additional fees can be added to the sale. At the end of the day, sellers are making far less than they would on their other sales channels, while also being forced to manually consolidate their data between all these channels.

Resolving the Data Hurdle

If a seller wants to compete on other marketplaces and sales channels, they also need to know how their Amazon numbers look. What’s more, the seller needs a way to proactively engage with their customers so they can build the relationship. Currently, Amazon limits this to their backend system, and safeguards this data with direct and encrypted emails, and a rating systems that has been proven to be timelessly biased and flawed.

For the cross-channel seller that needs to consolidate data and gain access to cross-channel reporting that tells them what’s hot, what’s not, who’s buying, who’s returning, shipping preferences and more, there have not been a whole lot of viable options until now.

Emerging Amazon CRM solutions with cross-channel functionality could be the silver lining. These systems connect all the seller’s accounts, and create customer profiles based upon real-time order data. They combine all of the known staples of CRM with new features that give retailers a way to see past the sale and learn more about their customers and their habits. Retailers can use this data to better manage their inventory, reduce return rates and lower shipping costs, all to the benefit of their bottom line.

Ecommerce’s Evolution is Coming from SaaS Integrators

Integrators are changing the name of the game for ecommerce. As the Huffington Post reports, “Integrators will become the new hub for e-tailers, namely because they will merge data from all sales and social channels, including cloud services, hybrid cloud applications and even light client applications.”

As far as the cross-channel e-retail space is concerned, CRM for ecommerce is far more than the flavor of the day; it’s a game-changer. A recent Forrester report predicts that 2017 could yield $1.8 trillion in cross-channel sales. With newer cross-channel Amazon CRM solutions such as these available, retailers will finally be able to connect a name and face to each sale—so they can improve their operation from top to bottom while boosting profit margins along the way.

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Courtesy – strategy Blog