Jun 4, 2021

How to enhance your e-procurement process

3 min
As the worldwide pandemic forces businesses to change to online procurement strategies, we investigate how you can maximise your e-procurement process.

While e-procurement is not a completely new concept, the sudden onset of COVID-19 across the world has forced businesses to re-evaluate and, in many cases, change the way their procurement process functions. For many, this has meant moving it online, and so it’s worth knowing how you can get the best out of online procurement, and here are a few ways to do it. 

Use electronic catalogues to improve vendor selection and research 

This is important for several reasons. Firstly, selecting a supplier or vendor is quite a complex process and involves the use of various methods. However, e-procurement can make this easier, for example with the use of electronic catalogs which can help you to research, select, and communicate with suppliers more efficiently, quickly, and easily. As a result, electronic catalogs or e-cataloguing can help you to master your vendor selection and research. 

This also has the potential to lead to stronger supplier-management deals as the selection and research process is more effective. It’s important that this relationship is maintained so that it can grow and develop. It also means that a proactive quality management system is enabled and that sub-tier contracts are passed to auxiliary vendors. 

Implement advanced metrics and automation 

Current e-procurement solutions are able to implement machine learning and mathematical modeling to leverage advanced forms of analytics. The best strategy, however, is to have a more adaptable approach and deal with situations and events as soon as they arise. 

This will ensure you are ready for the first step in the implementation process: to be certain that the vendors your business works with are embracing Industry 4.0 and are using their own forms of real-time data. Following this, it is important to unite the resulting streams of data and leverage an analytics platform capable of identifying mission-critical trends in supply. 

This data will then inform you of what is happening and when it is happening. Predictive modeling of this type can also help strategise the events and come up with more successful solutions to any challenges.  

Terminate contracts at the end of a supplier relationship

In addition to any long-term relationships with suppliers, there will likely also be short-term ones as well. However, no matter whether they are long or short, it is important to close contracts as soon as the job in hand has been completed. This may involve exit interviews, greenlight inspections, and counting inventory and supplies. The adoption of digital tools and an e-procurement process framework can help with his as the strategy should have a set of rules that deals with the close-out procedure, as well as provide valuable insights for your business. 

By ensuring that your e-procurement strategy is set up effectively - and your team to manage it is well prepared, your business will be able to continue functioning smoothly, which is the tell-tale sale that your e-procurement process is as enhanced as possible. 


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Jun 13, 2021

How Covid-19 Shook Up the Who's Who of American Retail

3 min
We check out the new Digital Commerce 360 Top 500 analysis report to see how Covid-19 shook up the who's who of American retail

According to the new Digital Commerce 360 Top 500 analysis report, the massive shift in ecommerce habits due to COVID-19 resulted in a windfall for the US’s largest retailers, including Amazon, Walmart and Target.

The study found that the top 500 companies generated a combined total of $849.5 billion in online sales in 2020, representing a 45.3 per cent increase YoY, the largest jump since Digital Commerce 360 began tracking the statistic in 2006 and more than double the median growth of 18.0% seen over the last decade.

Although retailers of all sizes saw an uptick from online sales, in large part, throughout the pandemic, customers looked to familiar big name brands to fulfil much of their essential needs. Demand for items began to spike as manufacturing in Asia was forced to shut down, causing supply chain shortages. As large retailers tend to hold more inventory, this became a crucial differentiator for customers, says Digital Commerce 360.

Combined, Walmart Inc., Amazon.com Inc. and Target Corp. added $265 billion in US revenue to the $791.70 billion U.S. ecommerce market in 2020, accounting for a third of the market.

Considering the need for people to stay busy during lockdowns as well as the requirements of homeschooling, it’s not surprising Joann, a crafting company, showed the fastest online growth of Digital Commerce 360’s top 500.

  • In 2019, the bottom 100 of the top 500 registered the fastest growth while the top 100 showing the slowest growth rate. In 2020, however, the analysis showed the opposite, the top 100 largest companies grew at a rate greater than that of the whole, and the top 10 on the list enjoyed a growth rate even faster than the top 100.


  • In 2020, collectively the top 10 grew web sales 52.5%, almost five percentage points faster than the top 100 and accounted for 62.8% of Top 500 sales, up from 59.9% in 2019.


  • Who made the top 10 was shaken up some. For example, Walmart made it into the second spot, both Kroger Co. and Costco Wholesale Corp. crept into the top 10 for the first time, landing at No. 8 and No. 10 respectively

Segments of retail that enjoyed fueled courtesy of COVID included toys and hobbies, jumping an average of 24 spots in the rankings and food and beverage merchants moved up an average 23 ranks. In contrast, apparel retailers dropped an average 15 positions in the Top 500, whereas jewellery retailers fell an average of 10 spots.

Although Digital Commerce 360 attributes some of the growth to stock positions and the ability of large retailers to manage supply chain issues, even the largest internet retailer experienced disruption. In March of 2020, during the first save of the US pandemic, even the Amazonian giant found themselves running into meeting customer commitments and delivering orders on time. Order cancellations and extended lead times became commonplace. For a time, Amazon stopped fulfilling orders for items considered “non-essential”.

Despite the issues, Amazon maintained its spot as the top online retailer in North America by a large margin, representing 35.7% of all Top 500 sales. Although it should be noted that the share is down from the 36.7% it saw in 2019.

At the outset of the pandemic Etsy, a solely ecommerce company focused on handmade, vintage items and craft supplies, was expected to perform poorly. However, as supply chain shortages for face masks caused a sudden need for cloth masks, many began to turn to Etsy, tripling its stock value by June. 


You can check out the new Digital Commerce 360 Top 500 analysis report here.

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