Today, more people are shopping online than ever before. Part of that trend is a result of the COVID-19 pandemic and the disruption it has caused in the brick-and-mortar retail world. However, it is also due to the fact that online shopping is simply more convenient and efficient.
For companies that have to deal with a rising number of online orders, ordinary fulfillment systems can quickly get out of hand. That’s why many are turning towards automation as a turnkey solution.
A French startup called Bigblue is hoping to become a major player in that space. It just raised $3.6 million in seed funding to pursue its goals. Bigblue will hire a team of 50 new employees and develop more integrations for various e-commerce platforms with the money.
There is a lot that goes on behind the scenes after a customer clicks “buy” on an e-commerce website. While getting customers to order your products is one challenge, the logistics that occur after a purchase present a challenge of their own.
Managing the fulfillment process typically involves a number of different companies for things like shipping, supplies, and inventory. Bigblue simplifies the process by working with existing logistics firms so that the retailer only needs to manage one relationship—the one it has with Bigblue.
The startup gives companies the ability to store their inventory at a number of shared fulfillment centers and ship orders with multiple carriers. Doing that without a special solution would be a logistical nightmare.
To make its services easily accessible, Bigblue has integrations with all major e-commerce platforms. That includes Shopify, WooCommerce, Magneto, Wix Store, Prestashop, Fastmag, and even Amazon.
Once a customer places an order with a company using Bigblue’s service, their product is packaged and shipped directly from a partner fulfillment center. The startup’s platform chooses which warehouse and shipping carrier are most appropriate based on a number of variables. This process is automated on the backend, meaning clients don’t need to worry about a thing.
They simply pay Bigblue a flat rate fee for each purchase and the startup handles the rest. For small online businesses, this sort of logistics networking is invaluable. It makes it possible to compete with giants like Amazon without building multiple fulfillment centers or paying an in-house logistics team.
Defining the Future of Retail
It is clear that consumers want to do more of their shopping online. That is true for almost all products—even groceries. With that in mind, there is a growing need for innovation in the e-commerce space.
Advanced technologies have the potential to revolutionize how online shopping is done. Bigblue’s automation is one example of this.
Another example is the use of artificial intelligence for things like fit testing. A different startup, Neatsy AI, uses the iPhone’s FaceID camera to take 3D scans of a shopper’s foot before providing them with sneaker suggestions.
Meanwhile, social networks like Facebook and Instagram are making a big push into the shopping space, giving users new ways to buy online.
It will be interesting to see how the e-commerce space evolves in the coming years. Although no one knows exactly what it will look like, advanced technologies will certainly be involved.