Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.
I first learned about the world of ecommerce through a friend’s side hustle. He was working on an ecommerce storefront selling headbands for girls designed and produced by his wife. They raked in $2 million in their first year. When I asked how they did it, I learned that their success didn’t just come from the quality of the headbands, but also from extensive data research into how to reach the right customers and get them to purchase.
At the time, leveraging data science to scale ecommerce programs was novel. But now, it’s becoming table stakes for brands that hope to command their fair share of the exploding $6 trillion global ecommerce market.
What exactly is ecommerce acceleration?
Ecommerce acceleration is the process of applying data-driven technology and expertise to increase revenue growth across major online commerce channels, including ecommerce marketplaces like Amazon, Walmart, Target, Tmall and eBay. Companies that specialize in providing such services are called ecommerce accelerators.
While the term is nascent, leading global brands are already leveraging many of the practices and technologies involved in ecommerce acceleration to achieve unprecedented growth.
How do ecommerce accelerators work?
It all boils down to a simple (but powerful) equation: Revenue = traffic x conversion x price.
An accelerator’s job is to maximize traffic and conversion on product listings by using data to uncover the relationship between them and any number of adjustable on-page and off-page variables available on each marketplace or digital channel. As those relationships are uncovered, brands can apply an accelerator’s technology and expertise to spin up traffic and conversion.
While a brand could achieve acceleration on its own, the typical ecommerce team is small, under-resourced and lacks access to leading technology to achieve a profitable scale. And they have to compete in a brutal recruiting war for the right talent to do so.
Those closely watching online commerce know that 2021 was a banner year for ecommerce aggregators, sometimes referred to as rollups. Last year, these aggregators raised billions in funding. However, 2022 is the year of the accelerator.
Aggregators purchase small-to-medium marketplace brands in the hopes that they can apply their investment and operational expertise to achieve scale. With options for acquisitions dwindling, many aggregators are now looking to new frontiers, partners and technologies for growth. This is where accelerators come in.
Ecommerce acceleration is systematic, data-driven and capable of producing greater value over time for any brand with a quality product. Accelerators help brands leverage patterns in data to discover the relationships between an array of on-page and off-page variables that elevate revenue impact, effectively making the acceleration process stronger over time.
What’s more, when marketplaces change their ranking algorithms (as they are wont to do), the AI-powered technology powering many accelerator platforms will adapt quickly — a valuable capability for any brand, whether they are part of a rollup or stand on their own.
The future of ecommerce is incredibly exciting, particularly because there are an array of companies democratizing access to powerful, data-backed tools that help brands both big and small reach customers all over the world.
Want to understand how customers prefer to interact with a product or service before buying? Or learn which kinds of imagery, content and experiences move people to purchase? Or discover how to create hyper-accurate and adaptable inventory forecasts that ensure products are never out of stock? These are the kinds of problems the world’s top ecommerce accelerators are tackling for brands right now.
This new frontier is helping brands achieve unprecedented growth. The only question now is: Are you willing to be left behind?