Our client is a major player in the smartphone market, specializing in luxury and rugged smartphones and related accessories. They have a strong online presence, driven primarily by their website. They also operate eCommerce stores across multiple online marketplaces, including Amazon (across eight regions), eBay, NewEgg, and OnBuy.
Their web store is designed on nopCommerce with MS SQL Server 2012 as the backend database. It has a simple, intuitive interface to ensure user-friendly shopping experiences. However, high user traffic was causing difficulties in effectively tracking and addressing technical and performance-related concerns, thus negatively impacting customer experience.
Their team already had their hands full with other critical activities. So, to address this challenge, they sought a reliable website maintenance company that could provide comprehensive support and expertise. When they reached out to our team, they were specifically looking for nopCommerce development and customization. We initially assigned a team of two developers to maintain their website.
As the client acquired more confidence in our team, we were exposed to other critical business challenges.
Maintaining inventory, updating prices, and managing orders across all sales channels were their biggest obstacles. While they tried solving this with popular multichannel marketplace management solutions like ChannelAdvisor and SellerCloud, those ready-to-go solutions proved incompatible for various reasons. This included high cost, complexity, limited customization flexibility, inconsistent customer support, steep learning curve, potential bugs and glitches, and integration issues.
While these platforms are widely-used, the restrictions made it difficult for our client to tailor the solutions to their specific needs, further limiting their ability to expand their online presence.
So, we brainstormed an automated centralized sales channel management solution with a management console and customized dashboards for every online marketplace. This solution would allow the client to maintain all product inventory, manage product data, and update prices across all selling channels from a single platform via automation, thus enabling them to focus on growing their business and maximizing profitability.
Initially, we only collaborated with SunTec for website maintenance, but we realized soon that the team was quick, efficient, and skilled. We decided to engage them to help us address some of our larger business challenges and in hindsight, that has proven to be one of the best decisions for us!
- The Client
nopCommerce is an open-source eCommerce platform based on Microsoft's ASP.NET Core framework. It is a fully customizable and scalable solution for building online stores, offers a user-friendly interface, and supports multiple languages and currencies.
The SP-API (Selling Partner API) is a RESTful web service designed to provide selling partners with programmatic access to critical data on any eCommerce marketplace. By leveraging the SP-API, sellers can easily and securely access information on orders, shipments, payments, and other key areas of their business, thus optimizing selling efficiency.
Amazon EC2 is a highly-scalable cloud-based web service that allows users to rent virtual computers, known as instances, to run their applications. It is a reliable and cost-effective solution for running applications in the cloud.
Amazon EC2 (Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud) instance
RESTful Selling Partner API (SP-API) on the Amazon Web Services (AWS) Cloud
We ran customizations on the web store built on nopCommerce as per the client's requirements.
The competitor price monitoring tool was written in Python and deployed alongside the core application.
The idea was to build a unified and centralized system that would facilitate effortless management of inventory, suppliers, and prices. After thoroughly analyzing the requirements and constraints of the system, we automated essential tasks in phases and released the first working model of the system within seven months. Afterward, we worked on solution customization and maintenance.
Soon after, we were supporting the client with nearly 90% task automation while also providing manual support for bulk data upload.
We built multiple integrated dashboards for all sales channels and suppliers and integrated them under one roof. We used nopCommerce's built-in features and tools to design the management console and created custom plugins and extensions as needed. We also used BI (business intelligence) and analytics tools to ensure consolidated operational functionality. Additionally, we added two data specialists to the client team for appropriate listing data management and upload.
After deploying the first working model, we faced issues like slow website loading due to 100% memory utilization and database deadlock. The slow website speed led to high bounce rates and thinning sales. To manage this complication, we offloaded the burden of the main server by diverting over a hundred regularly scheduled processes to a new daemon server. This helped us ensure effective resource utilization and provided the space needed to scale the solution.
To sync supplier's inventory automatically to the client's database, we used RESTful Selling Partner API on the Amazon Web Services (AWS) Cloud, using Amazon EC2 instances for hosting and scaling our web servers and Lambda functions for event-based processing. These allowed us to access Amazon's marketplace data easily. We also used eBay RESTful APIs from the eBay developer's program, the Newegg Marketplace API, and OnBuy API to sync supplier inventory from those marketplaces.
We built a price calculation algorithm to map supplier prices (also considering shipping charges, exchange rates, delivery charges, etc.) and determine and update an optimal price for the listings on the client's sales channels. This competitor price scraping tool was written in Python and implemented alongside the core solution. It located the price elements on the web, extracted the value, and returned a CSV file with all the data which was then processed for optimal price calculation.
The success of this project has inspired the client to sell it as a 'software-as-a-service' solution and capitalize on eCommerce sellers dealing with the limitations of popular multichannel management solutions like ChannelAdvisor.
Online sales channel management is a sum of several activities, like data management, data updation, related web and app development, content creation, search engine optimization, marketing, and ongoing maintenance. While we started out with the intent to automate sales channel management for our client, our team ended up providing the client with end-to-end eCommerce support by utilizing our human-in-the-loop approach.
With a combination of automation and a team of eCommerce experts, we delivered high-quality support that met the unique needs of our clients for web development, solution customization, eCommerce support, and data management.
Overall, SunTec has been an excellent partner, and we are thrilled with the results achieved. Their team's technical expertise was apparent from the start, and they made suggestions and offered solutions that we had not considered. Despite encountering challenges, they delivered beyond the expectations. For nearly three years now, they have been an essential cog in the wheel of our business, and we look forward to continuing our association with their team for our future projects.
Are you tired of using generic sales channel management tools that don't fit your unique needs or paying high fees and commissions to third-party platforms that still limit your control and flexibility over your online sales channels?
Take charge of your online sales channel and grow your business faster with a smart, automated solution for multi-channel sales management.
Get in touch with our team at email@example.com