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They are one of the first e-commerce platforms to understand what is B2B network effect, leveraging on developer ecosystem and APIs to fuel its growth.
Here is the thought process explained in layman terms.
1. Customer A wants this, Customer B wants that, Customer C wants yet another.
2. We (software providers) can’t possibly build them all, can we?
3. Why don’t we empower the customers? Or their developers, system providers etc? Let them DIY.
4. Let them build API, and let’s not charge for it (unlike BigCommerce), remove the friction of usage.
5. Customers hire developers, system integrators, or get vendors to build their needs utilizing the APIs.
6. Once the APIs are built, the switching cost grows. As more integrations are done, the price to switch platform grows. More customers are tied in.
7. Developers, system integrators and vendors will promote Shopify once their integration is done.
For example, DHL has built their shipping integration with Shopify, suddenly the DHL sales force becomes the Shopify promoter too. They will recommend Shopify when their customers come asking for e-commerce platform needs.
8. The virtuous cycle continues and the mout is built and strengthened over time.
9. It takes a global ambition and vast development resources to make this happen, Shopify is the first one in e-commerce platform space to crack it.
Are you selling on Shopify and looking to expand your sales channels to Lazada, Shopee, TikTok? Or, are you selling on marketplaces now and looking at building your own brands.com on Shopify?
This article adapted from Adrian Oh’s post.