RetailBiz spoke with ChannelAdvisor managing director, APAC, Mark Gray about how the company is supporting its Australian customers as they seek to grow their businesses domestically and across borders into Asia and beyond.

What’s the history of ChannelAdvisor in Australia?

Following rapid success in the US, ChannelAdvisor opened its Australian office in 2007 to bring more local support to existing and new Australian customers as they sought to grow their businesses domestically and across borders into Asia and beyond.

By establishing and developing its footprint in Australia, ChannelAdvisor has been able to not only help many local retailers (big and small) reach more consumers, but also facilitate the growth of new business models and opportunities for retailers and — more recently — manufacturers who wish to sell directly to consumers.

Located in Richmond, Victoria, the Australian office now functions as ChannelAdvisor’s APAC headquarters and serves many customers across the entire region.

How have ChannelAdvisor’s products adapted to the e-commerce industry and why have you done this?

The global e-commerce industry has seen significant changes and growth in recent years. Given the online engagement and preference for digital communications in both developed and developing markets, the growth in global e-commerce is expected to continue.  On top of this, a large number of game-changing technologies — such as the cloud and mobile payments — have emerged, not to mention the ever-changing ways consumers are now choosing to research and make their purchases. When considered together, these trends have forced retailers and e-commerce vendors to adapt constantly to stay ahead of the curve.

ChannelAdvisor has leveraged the benefits of the cloud to provide sophisticated technology for retailers that’s web-based and available anytime, from any computer. ChannelAdvisor’s products are also designed to be agile and responsive to changes in the e-commerce space (for example, changes to the algorithms for Google Product Listing Ads or eBay), to ensure that retailers are operating in the most current e-commerce environment.

ChannelAdvisor has also long encouraged retailers to leverage a combination of channels effectively to reach as many customers as possible. Earlier this year, the company streamlined its offerings for retailers by launching Digital Marketing, which integrates ChannelAdvisor’s industry-leading feed management and bid management capabilities for paid search campaigns, Google Product Listing Ads and other advertising channels, from affiliate marketing to social media. By offering this bundled solution, ChannelAdvisor is looking to help retailers be more agile and better able to deliver the best customer experience.

Is there a particular success story that ChannelAdvisor can share with our readers?

A great example is RetailSplash. In just a few short years, co-owners Neville Samuels and Dov Herdan have grown their business from selling video games on eBay (via their Dungeon Crawl brand) to now running three online multichannel retail brands under the RetailSplash umbrella.

Each RetailSplash brand employs the ChannelAdvisor product suite to manage operations across its multiple online channels, including marketplaces such as eBay; digital marketing channels such as comparison shopping sites and paid search; as well as its own webstores. Since centralising its operations with ChannelAdvisor, RetailSplash has been able to achieve impressive annual turnovers, and has also gained the freedom to focus on growing its business.

ChannelAdvisor has also helped local retailers leverage the power and size of third-party marketplaces globally. For example, ChannelAdvisor has helped urban apparel retailer Box13 expand successfully via multiple marketplaces, namely eBay, Trade Me and Amazon.

When Box13 launched on eBay, it experienced an almost overnight increase in sales of 30 per cent. New Zealand sales now account for approximately a quarter to a third of the company’s total sales.

ChannelAdvisor believes the next big shift will come from larger retailers recognising the benefits of marketplaces and digital marketing to complement their own webstores and bricks-and-mortar locations.

How is ChannelAdvisor preparing for upcoming challenges?

As a software-as-a-service provider, ChannelAdvisor has always been primed to respond to changes in the e-commerce landscape quickly. Having a cloud-based platform means that the company is able to react quickly to the emergence of new online marketplaces, changes in Google algorithms and evolving technologies and channels, just to name a few.

One potential challenge for Australian retailers is the influx of international players in the country. ChannelAdvisor believes that domestic retailers can stay ahead of this curve by leveraging multiple digital marketing channels effectively. Accordingly (and as mentioned above), ChannelAdvisor has provided a bundled solution — ChannelAdvisor Digital Marketing — to help retailers succeed on these online advertising channels.

Another option is for Australian retailers to expand internationally. ChannelAdvisor supports retailers looking to take advantage of cross-border trade, particularly through marketplaces. Marketplaces are a relatively low-risk way to expand internationally, as sellers can take advantage of their loyal shoppers and robust infrastructure. The ChannelAdvisor platform can support international marketplaces such as Amazon, eBay, Trade Me, Best Buy, La Redoute, MercadoLivre, Newegg, Rakuten.com Shopping, Sears, Tesco and more.

On top of this, ChannelAdvisor plays an important advisory role to many online retailers. The company’s expertise in the global e-commerce space allows it to serve as a reliable source of information for retailers, offering relevant advice and solutions. 

How has your experience in the UK and US helped guide ChannelAdvisor in Australia?

I have been with ChannelAdvisor for nine years, having worked with the company in the US and the UK prior to spearheading its operations in APAC. My international experience has contributed significantly to ChannelAdvisor’s direction and success in Australia. I've had the advantage of working in the US and the UK while the online retail landscape was maturing in both markets. As a result, I am able to glean many insights from the challenges and successes that retailers there experienced and apply it in Australia.

Australia also tends to lag behind the UK and the US in the adoption of new channels and technologies, which has allowed me to take the lessons learned overseas and anticipate the same trends in Australia a few years later. In essence, my expertise is helping Australian retailers leapfrog their international counterparts by not having to repeat other regions’ lessons and mistakes.