Growing your brand these days is no easy feat. Marketplace giants have shaped consumers’ expectations to include fast shipping, easy returns, and quick customer service. To deliver on these expectations, brands often leverage strategic partners – enter Ecommerce Accelerators and Ecommerce Aggregators.
The terminology Ecommerce Accelerator and Ecommerce Aggregator is a relatively new naming convention. They define two primary options that brands may leverage to achieve rapid online growth. The two do not compete.
The Ecommerce Aggregator model had a breakout year in 2020, following the hastened adoption of ecommerce, which was spurred by the COVID pandemic, among other factors. Ecommerce Accelerators were more widespread before the pandemic, but the term gained traction to distinguish these models from each other.
The basic way to understand their difference is that Aggregators buy brands, usually smaller ones, generating their profit from scaling the brands and selling more products. Accelerators, on the other hand, build deep partnerships with brands to achieve growth goals. They typically purchase products at a negotiated wholesale rate and generate their profit from reselling those items. Below, we’ll break each model down and dive further into their key differences.
What is an Ecommerce Accelerator?
First, let’s define the word.
Ecommerce can be simply defined as commercial transactions conducted electronically on the internet. ‘Electronically’ lends the ‘e’ in front of the traditional ‘commerce’ root.
We can then define an Accelerator as a person or thing that causes something to happen or develop more quickly.
Put those together, and you have a basic understanding of an Ecommerce Accelerator’s functionality. It is an organization that helps brands sell across the internet quicker. The definition naturally leads to the following question:
How do Ecommerce Accelerators help brands scale online?
First, know that there is no blanket answer for the ‘how.’ Each accelerator operates slightly differently – whether through the marketplace integrations they can offer, account management level, global footprint, or service level customization.
In almost every case, fulfillment, or physically getting orders to customers, is a key capability of Ecommerce Accelerators. Brands need to be able to offer 2-day shipping, at minimum, to earn an Amazon Prime badge. To meet that need, significant warehouse space, a trusted workforce, and an inventory management system are required. That said, not all Ecommerce Accelerators can offer this (nationwide or globally). If your brand needs a fulfillment partner, be sure to understand the capability of the Ecommerce Accelerator that you’re considering. Spreetail offers next-day shipping to 80% of the US.
Ecommerce Accelerators do more than just fulfillment. Another key capability lies in marketplace integration or marketplace management. Some Accelerators only focus on Amazon, but others partner with many online retail channels, getting your brand in front of new and different customers. Spreetail specifically partners with 15+ retail channels.
Other capabilities of Ecommerce Accelerators may include advertising, customer service, reverse logistics, data and growth planning, content management, creative services, and more.
What is an Ecommerce Aggregator?
Let’s start by defining the word again. We know Ecommerce means commercial transactions conducted electronically on the internet.
Aggregator, in its simplest form, means someone or something that gathers together materials from a variety of sources.
Ecommerce Aggregators, then, gather materials [by acquiring small brands/ companies] that sell online. There over 100 Aggregators, the most recognizable in the US being Thrasio, Heyday, and Perch. They primarily buy smaller, private-label brands that sell on Amazon under the FBA model.
It’s important to note that Ecommerce Aggregators almost exclusively focus on Amazon. For that reason, the term Ecommerce Aggregator is synonymous with Amazon Aggregator. They only buy brands, they do not buy 3rd party sellers or distributors.
How do Ecommerce Aggregators help brands scale online?
Ecommerce Aggregators scale brands in a similar way that Accelerators do. They have a team of experts running advanced ad optimization, improving merchandising, and ensuring that inventory stays in stock and is ready to sell. They often have their own technology and tools to inform their strategy.
All of this mirrors the services of Ecommerce Accelerators, so the main consideration for brands is whether they want to sell their company or if they want to continue to grow it themselves.
Each Ecommerce Aggregator offers slightly different processes and may value your brand differently. If you’re interested in selling to an Aggregator, do your homework. Figure out which matches your brand and get valuations from a few different companies.
Spreetail is an ecommerce growth partner focused on accelerating brands and channels to compete for tomorrow’s ecommerce customer. Our ecommerce experts purchase products from world-class manufacturers, list these top brands on marketplace giants such as Amazon, Walmart, Target, and eBay, and fulfill orders with next-day speed. Our completely home-grown software helps us provide unmatched value to our brand partners, channel partners, and the millions of customers we delight in the US and beyond. Get in touch by completing the form below.