Lessons from Prosper Show 2016: Embrace change Bowie-style

“Ch-ch-ch-changes”, sings David Bowie through my headphones as I gaze out at Salt Lake City’s nearby mountains from my Delta Airlines seat at however-many-thousand feet. As I begin my journey home from Utah’s state capital and reflect on a hectic two days attending the Prosper Show, a conference for Amazon sellers, the words of the recently departed music icon seem incredibly apt.

There are changes happening in the world of eCommerce – changes that are affecting how online sellers think about the future of their businesses, how solution providers like xSellco develop products to help their customers, and ultimately how consumers worldwide experience shopping online.

The Multichannel Age has arrived

Having had the privilege of speaking to hundreds of online sellers over two days, one recurring theme of our conversations was diversification. Merchants are looking beyond the traditional marketplaces of Amazon and eBay to grow their businesses. Many Prosper attendees told me they were already expanding into new channels such as Sears, Newegg, Walmart, Rakuten and Jet, as well as launching their own web stores. Established sellers are increasingly looking beyond the dominant duo of Amazon and eBay to drive their next phase of growth.

The same can be said of international expansion. Many US-based sellers are already firmly established in European Amazon channels, such as the UK, Germany and Italy, while more and more look towards Asian markets as their next opportunity.

“Multichannel” is a word that has been around for years, but it seems to me that the Age of Multichannel has now truly arrived.

Multichannel solutions

For solution providers like xSellco this is excellent news. Maintaining operational excellence through multiple channels and in multiple geographies is a complex process. In order to deliver consistent and seamless experiences for customers, online sellers are increasingly turning to software solutions that remove this complexity from the sales process.

However before we sit back, crack open the bubbly and drink toasts to the “Age of Multichannel”, solution providers must also be wary of the winds of change.

As I circled the exhibitor room at the Prosper Show, snooping on our competitors and picking up as many freebie pens and stress balls as my pockets could fit, I couldn’t help but marvel at the scale of choice now available to online sellers. For every service, from listings and shipping to repricing and feedback, there are more options than ever before.

The implications for a company like xSellco are clear: we need to continuously bring our A-game. Online sellers who trust us to help them run their businesses have ever-increasing expectations. We have to meet them by relentlessly refining our products and delivering outstanding service.

The Consumer Wins

One end result of these changing dynamics is an ever-improving experience for the consumer – the customer who buys online. As sellers diversify, there is increasing choice and value available. As solution providers raise their game, the operational challenges of selling online become simpler. At the end of the day, the consumer is the overall winner.

These are exciting times for anyone involved in eCommerce, from online shoppers to sellers to solutions providers. We should relish the changes that are happening and embrace them.

As an artist, Bowie had many faces, he embraced change and used it to motivate his success. In these changing times for online sellers, those who diversify their businesses and embrace change will be the ones who prosper.

The Prosper Show is a two-day conference for Amazon sellers which took place in Salt Lake City on February 8-9 2016, and was attended by over 500 Amazon sellers and a number of software companies. Rob, our Head of Commercial, had the pleasure of taking part in the two-day extravaganza and shared his thoughts on some of the key lessons he took away from the event in this blog.