Guest posts

The Four Most Important Partners for Ecommerce Sellers

The ecommerce space is growing at an exceptional rate, expected to reach a value of over $47.73 trillion by 2030. However, as the market evolves, the challenges eCommerce sellers face are growing increasingly complex. To thrive in this competitive market, eCommerce vendors need exceptional global reach, the right technology, and consistently high-quality products. 

Fortunately, the right partnerships can help online sellers overcome common hurdles. By partnering with industry leaders, experts, and vendors, eCommerce sellers can gain access to new markets and revenue sources, reduce risks, and differentiate themselves from the competition.

The question is, who are the most important partners for eCommerce sellers? And which partnerships should online sellers prioritize to drive strategic growth?

The Four Most lmportant Partners for Ecommerce Sellers

The partnerships you forge for your eCommerce business may vary depending on a range of factors, such as your go-to-market plan, your budget, and even your internal resources. However, in virtually every sector, there are four key partners that no eCommerce vendor can afford to ignore, particularly if they hope to scale their business and revenue.

1. Manufacturers and Suppliers

No matter which niche you’re targeting, manufacturers and suppliers should be at the top of your list for essential partnerships. These are the groups responsible for creating your product, or providing you with the resources you need to create whatever you sell. 

There are various different types of manufacturers and suppliers you can consider, from companies that produce your products for you according to your exact specifications, to suppliers that give you access to private label, white-label, or wholesale products. 

Whichever type of manufacturer or supplier you choose, there are a few key things you should evaluate, such as:

  • Product quality: How does your manufacturer or supplier ensure you adhere to your customer’s expectations when designing products? Can they accommodate requests to use specific materials? Do they have comprehensive quality assurance measures in place? How do they handle requests for replacements and refunds?
  • Pricing: When it comes to assessing pricing, look beyond the simple “cost per unit” for your product. Think about any minimum order quantity requirements your manufacturer or supplier might have. Find out if there are any setup fees involved in working with a specific partner, and what you’ll pay for shipping. 
  • Performance and Reputation: Learn as much as you can about the reputation of each supplier or manufacturer you consider working with. Do they have excellent reviews from previous or current clients? Have they earned awards for their work? How long do they take to produce and ship products (i.e. what are their lead times?)

Finding Suppliers or Manufacturers

Because suppliers and manufacturers come in various forms (and offer differing services), there are various ways to find the best option for your company. If you’re looking for a vendor that specializes in a specific niche, you could consider using directories to pinpoint local, relevant manufacturers. The National Associations Member Organizations website is a good place to start. 

Alternatively, you could search through online marketplaces for popular suppliers. For instance, ShopClues is a marketplace that lists millions of products from manufacturers in various niches, from fashion to home and kitchen, sports, and technology.

2. Freight Forwarding and Shipping Partners

If you want to scale your business and reach customers all over the world, then shipping and freight forwarding partners will be essential. These are the specialists that help you manage international logistics and overcome a range of common challenges, such as navigating customs, insuring your goods, and dealing with diverse shipping regulations. 

Depending on your strategy and company’s reach, you may be able to rely on basic third-party logistics companies (3PLs) for most of your shipping strategy. However, if you want help maintaining visibility into the shipping process and overcoming common hurdles, a freight forwarder is a good choice. Look for a company that offers:

  • An Intuitive Online Platform: An online platform will help you manage and track the movement of your products more effectively. You’ll be able to book shipments in a matter of minutes, leverage strategic route planning tools, and even keep track of crucial documentation, such as insurance policies and customs reports in one place. 
  • Excellent relationships with logistics companies: A freight forwarder with strong relationships in the logistics and shipping sector will be able to communicate with partners on your behalf. This not only saves you time when it comes to finding the best shipping options, it can also save you money, by helping you access preferred rates. 
  • Extensive customer support: The best freight forwarding partners should offer comprehensive support on a 24/7 basis. They should be able to answer any questions you have quickly, and assist you with things like customs clearance, cargo consolidation (LCL shipping), and documentation management.

It’s also worth looking for vendors that can offer additional value-added services, such as access to high-quality cargo insurance options, support with door-to-door delivery, and proactive risk management services. 

Selecting Freight Forwarding and Shipping Partners

Ultimately, the right freight forwarding and shipping partners for you will depend on the level of support you need and your shipping strategies. If you’re a small to mid-sized business (SMB), Ship4wd is an excellent option, as it fights to make sure that SMBs get the same treatment as bigger companies when it comes to freight forwarding. Often, SMBs have a hard time finding a quality freight forwarding partner, since many freight forwarders prefer to only work with big companies that handle high volumes of shipments. But Ship4wd says they guarantee container allocation even for SMBs, at affordable pricing.

3. Payment Processing and Finance Partners

Another critical partner that’s necessary for every eCommerce seller is a payment or finance solution provider. Ecommerce payment processing partners give you the tools you need to quickly and conveniently process a range of payment methods through your online store or marketplace. 

They ensure customers can pay for the products they want using the payment method that appeals to them (from credit and debit cards to mobile wallets). They also help to keep your business compliant with financial regulations by protecting and encrypting every transaction. Key factors to prioritize when choosing a payment processing partner include:

  • Flexibility: The best payment processors ensure your customers can pay for products however they choose. They support the top credit and debit cards, as well as mobile wallets, invoicing options, and even buy-now-pay-later solutions. 
  • Security: Security is crucial when choosing a payment processor. Ensure any partner you work with offers PCI-compliant software and enterprise-level encryption. Leading vendors can also offer access to intelligent fraud prevention solutions. 
  • Financial reporting tools: Financial reporting tools make it easier to keep track of payments and ensure you remain compliant with tax regulations. Some companies can offer access to a range of other financial tools, like customizable invoices. 

Options for Payment Processor Partners

There are various well-known payment processing and payment gateway companies out there, popular among ecommerce vendors. PayPal is a particularly well-known solution, combining ease of use, with predictable processing rates and exceptional security. It supports a range of payment methods, integrates with most eCommerce platforms, and offers access to invoicing tools.

You can also consider options like Stripe, known for its global flexibility, or Square, which also offers companies tools to manage point of sale transactions.

Marketplace Software Vendors

Finally, if you want to unlock incredible scale and revenue as an eCommerce brand, you’re going to need the right marketplace software provider. Innovative vendors give you access to the tools you need to build, manage, and grow a custom marketplace or online store. 

They give you the resources to manage every aspect of your growing business, from processing orders to managing inventory, and even handling shipping requirements. When searching for the best partner in this area, focus on:

  • Exceptional flexibility: Look for a platform that allows you to maintain complete control over the customer experience. You should have access to comprehensive tools for marketplace management, flexible shipping systems, and platform design tools. Some vendors can even allow you to build and launch your own mobile app. 
  • Order and product management: The more your marketplace grows, the more important effective order and product management will be. A great marketplace software vendor will make it easy to fill your catalog with thousands of products, tweak settings, automate order processing, and track stock. 
  • Growth solutions: Leading marketplace software vendors give ecommerce sellers the tools they need to grow and scale their brand. This means access to everything from automated payment systems to marketing and SEO tools. 

Choosing the Right Marketplace Software Vendor

The top marketplace software vendor will be the company that offers you the best possible user experience, as well as the broadest selection of powerful features. CS-Cart offers organizations an exceptional platform, where you can build and manage your own multi-vendor marketplace with incredible ease. You can also design online, MVP, and custom marketplaces. 

CS-Cart combines secure payment systems with order, product, and marketplace management, marketing and SEO tools, and state of the art security. Plus, it provides access to powerful analytics and reporting tools, so you can leverage data to grow your store over time. 

Grow your Ecommerce Business with the Right Partners

Achieving incredible results in today’s competitive ecommerce landscape isn’t easy. If you want to stay one step ahead of the competition, take advantage of every opportunity to scale your business, and unlock new sources of revenue, you need the right partnerships. 

While the relationships you forge may vary over time, if you start with a focus on the four primary partners mentioned above, you should have the core resources you need to cultivate success.

Head of Content Marketing at CS-Cart | Website

Yan Anderson is the Head of Content Marketing at CS-Cart with over 10 years of experience in the eCommerce industry. He's passionate about explaining complicated things in simple terms. Yan has expertise in building, running and growing eCommerce marketplaces. He loves to educate people about best practices, new technologies, and trends in the global eCommerce industry.