2018 was a mixed year for retail and cCommerce: bankruptcies, acquisitions, consolidations, spin-offs, etc. Add in interest rate hikes, trade wars, and a stock market in a tailspin, it seems that the compass is pointing in all directions at one time.
Not to fear! From this chaos is emerging a new, more efficient and more diverse economy.
Through eCommerce, smaller wholesalers are becoming their own retailers, gaining more direct access to customers, and enjoying bigger profit margins. 3PL automation is making drop ship more efficient and cost effective than distribution centers for all parties.
And while the “big guys” are pushing our package delivery system to its limits (unfortunately with many delivery promises broken), necessity is the mother of invention. New concepts and providers are entering the market.
No matter the problem, the lubricant is EDI. Let’s just call EDI the WD-40 of IT. EDI keeps the wheels of commerce moving.
I’m not referring to the rigid old standards (which no doubt are still the heavy lifters) but to the bigger concept of Business-to-Business Electronic Commerce: connecting purchasing systems with order processing systems with warehouses with delivery services, across industries, countries and continents.
The underlying technologies Web Services and JSON provide out-of-the box construction sets, mix in the experience of established standards organizations such as X12 and OASIS, add a dash of support from the Federal Reserve and you get some really exiting possibilities. (If this kind of stuff excites you, come join me at X12 with B2X and BPC in January in Seattle.)
What a great time to be in the eCommerce platform business!
So with that wonderful vision of next year, all of us at Loren Data wish you and yours a wonderful, healthy and joyous holiday season and a plentiful new year!
Todd Gould, CEO