How To Make An eCommerce Platform Cross Borders
As we continue working on the development of our blockchain eCommerce platform, we often think about what will be the best way to manage cross borders listings. This is a problematic that every marketplace faces and using the blockchain can bring new found solutions.
The challenges with international sales and listings
As a background, we need to start first describing what is happening on different centralized marketplaces today. A vendor that intends to list their products on these platforms will often need to recreate a different listing per country or region. Because of the different processes that exist for each country in which these marketplaces are present, you cannot simply copy and paste an offer easily. Even when one manages their own store and sell directly to consumers, certain limitations are often imposed by the platforms that power those online shops.
As an international vendor on the most famous marketplaces, you will often have to change SKU number, EAN/UPC code, ASIN, or other product information. This will also mean that the information on a similar product would hardly be combined to a single data point, forcing vendors to recreate their marketing efforts from scratch and having to manage different labels and inventories for similar products. On the buyers side, you would get perspectives, reviews, and information coming only from the markets that you can actively participate in. The quality of information will not be as good as if it would englobe all the data from across the world.
Another important limitation is that vendors who want to list their product globally are limited to the geographical reach of each of these marketplaces they work with. They will need to work across platforms for different regions and manage different listings with different requirements and guidelines. They will need to learn the different systems and manage different relationships. This consumes an important amount of internal resources, create payment and accounting headaches, and force merchants to constantly find new platforms for the geographies that they want to get into.
From an internationalization point of view, central marketplaces often limit vendors geographically while online stores platform don't offer all the capacity needed to serve customers internationally.
A listing lives on centralized databases
Another challenge is that each listing is a different piece of information in a database of a particular marketplace. The way the system is built today means that a multitude of different listings (and hence information) get to be created for the same product. There is no way to leverage a protocol that would allow vendors to easily transpose the same listing and simply display it on different marketplaces. Because today these listings belong technically to the marketplaces, they can decide at any point to block them, suspend them, or remove them.
Global and transportable listings
At Spacelens, we believe that using the blockchain will help tackle a lot of these challenges. This is the reason why we are gradually adding layers of decentralized technologies to our marketplace in order to solve these issues. We believe that a merchant should own their listings as part of their "wallet" or other asset management mechanisms and should be able to transport it when and where they want. Users should be able to see all the information regarding a product and get the full data pictures from around the world. Listings should be able to be placed all around the world easily, taking into account only the legal and regulation differences.
In the next coming weeks, we will hopefully release several updates to our website app and mobile app that will continue building our platform towards that goal. They are many other challenges when discussing internationalization and global commerce such as shipment, buyers protections, languages, or compliance. We will be explaining over time here what are the different solutions we will put in place to tackle those as part of our system.