May 17, 2020

How eBay is keeping up the ecommerce pace

3 min
The number of orders increased by 125% from 2013 to 2014
Ebay Enterprise has demonstrated how it is keeping up the ecommerce pace by announcing it secured 1,015 new client wins and 1,711 renewals and extension...

Ebay Enterprise has demonstrated how it is keeping up the ecommerce pace by announcing it secured 1,015 new client wins and 1,711 renewals and extensions with premier brands and retailers in 2014.

As the leading global provider of commerce technologies, order management, fulfilment, customer care, and marketing solutions, eBay Enterprise has further strengthened its client portfolio during the past 12 months and kept pace with the likes of Amazon and Alibaba in the ecommerce industry.

For example, last year eBay announced its Retail Associate platform to help retail brands better engage with their customers in stores. Now, top retailers including Nine West and Aeropostale are successfully using the platform.

The platform supports a wide range of in-store activities and is built in a modular fashion to support retailers of all sizes. It is designed to replace the retail associate’s ‘little black book’ as a high tech tool that empowers brands to drive long-term engagement with shoppers and increase the value of an average in-store order.

David Geisinger, Head of Retail Business Strategy at eBay, said: "The Retail Associate Platform levels the playing field between retail associates and consumers by utilising data, mobile technology, and good old fashioned service principles to create better in-store experiences for consumers. It’s a huge opportunity for both retailers and shoppers.”

EBay stated that top retailers are using the Retail Associate platform in conjunction with the National Retail Federation’s annual expo. Aeropostale and Nine West began using the platform in stores in the fourth quarter of last year.

According to the eBay white paper “From Cashier to Concierge,” 85 percent of retailers currently cannot customise a store visit due to lack of information about the customer. Retailers must be able to recognise when frequent shoppers enter their store. Among retailers surveyed by eBay, 76 percent did not know when a specific customer was in their store.

Geisinger, whose team is focused on transforming how retailers engage in an omnichannel world, said: “Traditionally, when a customer enters a store and doesn’t buy, the retailer has no notion that the customer even exists. The Retail Associate Platform helps retailers capture, retain and leverage more information and function more effectively in an omnichannel shopping environment.

In 2014, key focus areas for many of eBay Enterprise clients, including Ace Hardware, Achica, Belk, British Airways, Destination XL Group, DSW, Karmaloop, and Munchkin were expanding omnichannel strategies, driving customer loyalty, strengthening demand generation efforts and streamlining business operations.

Elsewhere, its clients have achieved more than $1 billion in sales using its industry-leading Store Fulfilment Solutions. EBay Enterprise clients are leading their peers in local commerce by utilising store fulfilment as a competitive advantage in more than 6,500 stores representing 42 brands across three continents.

It really was a breakthrough year for its Retail Associate platform too, with it being implemented in more than 1,500 in 2014. Magento meanwhile, which serves more than 240,000 retailers worldwide, was recognised as the leading ecommerce platform for fast growing retailers in the 2014 Internet Retailer 500. Magento also powers 26 percent of all ecommerce sites in the Alexa one million sites list; more than any other ecommerce platform.

Craig Hayman, President of eBay Enterprise, said: “With the Retail Associate platform, retailers can deliver customised shopping experiences that leverage intelligence about consumers’ habits and preferences to drive engagement and incremental sales. It’s a great example of how we are helping our clients scale and innovate at an unparalleled pace.”

The Retail Associate platform will be deployed in more stores as 2015 progresses, and Women’s Wear Daily has covered the news about retailers deploying it in stores. EBay Enterprise will continue to scale this technology to additional retailers in 2015.

Share article

Jun 11, 2021

NTT DATA Services, Remodelling Supply Chains for Resilience

6 min
Joey Dean, Managing Director of healthcare consulting at NTT DATA Services, shares remodelling strategies for more resilient supply chains

Joey Dean, the man with the coolest name ever and Managing Director in the healthcare consulting practice for NTT DATA and is focused on delivering workplace transformation and enabling the future workforce for healthcare providers. Dean also leads client innovation programs to enhance service delivery and business outcomes for clients.

The pandemic has shifted priorities and created opportunities to do things differently, and companies are now looking to build more resilient supply chains, none needed more urgently than those within the healthcare system. Dean shares with us how he feels they can get there.

A Multi-Vendor Sourcing Approach

“Healthcare systems cannot afford delays in the supply chain when there are lives at stake. Healthcare procurement teams are looking at multi-vendor sourcing strategies, stockpiling more inventory, and ways to use data and AI to have a predictive view into the future and drive greater efficiency.

“The priority should be to shore up procurement channels and re-evaluate inventory management norms, i.e. stockpiling for assurance. Health systems should take the opportunity to renegotiate with their current vendors and broaden the supplier channel. Through those efforts, work with suppliers that have greater geographic diversity and transparency around manufacturing data, process, and continuity plans,” says Dean.

But here ensues the never-ending battle of domestic vs global supply chains. As I see it, domestic sourcing limits the high-risk exposure related to offshore sourcing— Canada’s issue with importing the vaccine is a good example of that. So, of course, I had to ask, for lifesaving products, is building domestic capabilities an option that is being considered?

“Domestic supply chains are sparse or have a high dependence on overseas centres for parts and raw materials. There are measures being discussed from a legislative perspective to drive more domestic sourcing, and there will need to be a concerted effort by Western countries through a mix of investments and financial incentives,” Dean explains.

Wielding Big Tech for Better Outcomes

So, that’s a long way off. In the meantime, leveraging technology is another way to mitigate the risks that lie within global supply chains while decreasing costs and improving quality. Dean expands on the potential of blockchain and AI in the industry

“Blockchain is particularly interesting in creating more transparency and visibility across all supply chain activities. Organisations can create a decentralised record of all transactions to track assets from production to delivery or use by end-user. This increased supply chain transparency provides more visibility to both buyers and suppliers to resolve disputes and build more trusting relationships. Another benefit is that the validation of data is more efficient to prioritise time on the delivery of goods and services to reduce cost and improve quality. 

“Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning (AI/ML) is another area where there’s incredible value in processing massive amounts of data to aggregate and normalise the data to produce proactive recommendations on actions to improve the speed and cost-efficiency of the supply chain.”

Evolving Procurement Models 

From asking more of suppliers to beefing up stocks, Dean believes procurement models should be remodelled to favour resilience, mitigate risk and ensure the needs of the customer are kept in view. 

“The bottom line is that healthcare systems are expecting more from their suppliers. While transactional approaches focused solely on price and transactions have been the norm, collaborative relationships, where the buyer and supplier establish mutual objectives and outcomes, drives a trusting and transparent relationship. Healthcare systems are also looking to multi-vendor strategies to mitigate risk, so it is imperative for suppliers to stand out and embrace evolving procurement models.

“Healthcare systems are looking at partners that can establish domestic centres for supplies to mitigate the risks of having ‘all of their eggs’ in overseas locations. Suppliers should look to perform a strategic evaluation review that includes a distribution network analysis and distribution footprint review to understand cost, service, flexibility, and risks. Included in that strategy should be a “voice of the customer” assessment to understand current pain points and needs of customers.”

“Healthcare supply chain leaders are re-evaluating the Just In Time (JIT) model with supplies delivered on a regular basis. The approach does not require an investment in infrastructure but leaves organisations open to risk of disruption. Having domestic centres and warehousing from suppliers gives healthcare systems the ability to have inventory on hand without having to invest in their own infrastructure. Also, in the spirit of transparency, having predictive views into inventory levels can help enable better decision making from both sides.”

But, again, I had to ask, what about the risks and associated costs that come with higher inventory levels, such as expired product if there isn’t fast enough turnover, tying up cash flow, warehousing and inventory management costs?

“In the current supply chain environment, it is advisable for buyers to carry an in-house inventory on a just-in-time basis, while suppliers take a just-in-case approach, preserving capacity for surges, retaining safety stock, and building rapid replenishment channels for restock. But the risk of expired product is very real. This could be curbed with better data intelligence and improved technology that could forecast surges and predictively automate future supply needs. In this way, ordering would be more data-driven and rationalised to align with anticipated surges. Further adoption of data and intelligence and will be crucial for modernised buying in the new normal.

The Challenges

These are tough tasks, so I asked Dean to speak to some of the challenges. Luckily, he’s a patient guy with a lot to say.

On managing stakeholders and ensuring alignment on priorities and objectives, Dean says, “In order for managing stakeholders to stay aligned on priorities, they’ll need more transparency and collaborative win-win business relationships in which both healthcare systems and medical device manufacturers are equally committed to each other’s success. On the healthcare side, they need to understand where parts and products are manufactured to perform more predictive data and analytics for forecasting and planning efforts. And the manufacturers should offer more data transparency which will result in better planning and forecasting to navigate the ebbs and flows and enable better decision-making by healthcare systems.

Due to the sensitive nature of the information being requested, the effort to increase visibility is typically met with a lot of reluctance and push back. Dean essentially puts the onus back on suppliers to get with the times. “Traditionally, the relationships between buyers and suppliers are transactional, based only on the transaction between the two parties: what is the supplier providing, at what cost, and for what length of time. The relationship begins and ends there. The tide is shifting, and buyers expect more from their suppliers, especially given what the pandemic exposed around the fragility of the supply chain. The suppliers that get ahead of this will not only reap the benefits of improved relationships, but they will be able to take action on insights derived from greater visibility to manage risks more effectively.”

He offers a final tip. “A first step in enabling a supply chain data exchange is to make sure partners and buyers are aware of the conditions throughout the supply chain based on real-time data to enable predictive views into delays and disruptions. With well understand data sets, both parties can respond more effectively and work together when disruptions occur.”

As for where supply chain is heading, Dean says, “Moving forward, we’ll continue to see a shift toward Robotic Process Automation (RPA), Artificial Intelligence (AI), and advanced analytics to optimise the supply chain. The pandemic, as it has done in many other industries, will accelerate the move to digital, with the benefits of improving efficiency, visibility, and error rate. AI can consume enormous amounts of data to drive real-time pattern detection and mitigate risk from global disruptive events.”


Share article