How are Integrated Platforms and Super Apps Automating E-commerce As the trend of platform integration seems to be emerging around the globe, e-commerce automation and scaling become increasingly relevant.

By Anna Trybocka

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We are witnessing a trend of commerce sites integrating to form a behemoth of online platforms all over the world. From Amazon's acquisition of Whole Foods in the US and Grab taking significant strides towards becoming a super app in Southeast Asia, offering a myriad of online services like e-payments, food delivery, ads, banking, payments and more – all through a single platform. Alibaba-backed Lazada Group acquired online Singapore grocer Redmart back in 2016, causing Redmart to migrate its site onto the Lazada platform recently. We are now seeing platforms like WeChat, Uber, and Go-Jek following suit.

Apple's iCloud Sync is yet another excellent example of integrating multiple platforms and syncing devices to create one common bank of information and data. To exemplify this in the simplest terms, when you start working on a report in your office on a mac and can continue finishing the same report right from where you left off on your iPad in a coffee shop, the convenience is unparalleled and unmatched. Similar examples can be cited for Google, too.

As the trend of platform integration seems to be emerging around the globe, e-commerce automation and scaling become increasingly relevant.

Making the Best of Technological Advancements

With the emergence of the integration of multiple platforms into one super app or website, e-commerce automation has become more relevant and, not to mention, necessary to be able to manage commerce data coming in from various channels. On integrated platforms or super apps, multiple channels bring in data from millions of users via a host of sources, and the scope of managing and streamlining the entire operation manually is diminishing.

With latest advancements like artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML), cloud commerce is the emerging tech trend that enables e-commerce platforms to automate the entire operation and scale their business while eliminating chances of human error. Cloud commerce facilitates the incorporation of the whole cloud ecosystem across different channels and also enables retailers to have access to a whole commerce cloud suite, including eDM, CRM platforms, e-stores, hosting, and marketing, to name a few.

Automation and Scaling of E-commerce

Automated commerce platforms fill the void between retailers and buyers by strategically integrating content and commerce into a single, modern business-to-business (B2B) system. With this approach, brands are able to incorporate product descriptions, and increase their speed of sales and efficiently to create an informed buyer base.

Automation also allows companies to onboard more products, with thousands of SKUs processed in minutes, not months. Automated platforms equip them to manage all the commerce channels from one place, allowing easy maintenance of product data and inventory. Even while dealing with large quantities of data, businesses can now become more time-efficient, expand to more commerce channels, and go-to-market faster.

Time and Cost Effectiveness

Commerce automation helps with product management, tagging customers for segmentation and marketing, standardising visual merchandising, streamlining tracking and reporting, and halting high-risk orders. By using AI and machine learning, product data can be automatically mapped, categorised, and syndicated across different commerce channels quickly. Automation of e-commerce gives the company more time to focus on the core business and other important areas. It also saves extra expenses on maintenance costs as well as internal IT infrastructure and resources.

Eliminating Errors

With more verticals—sections of target audiences and data—there is a pressing need to eliminate human error as businesses grow. Through automation and scaling, product data can be extracted and mapped automatically across multiple channels without the need for manual input.

For example, Lazada's new grocery section now features more than 165,000 products, making its product data management complicated and cumbersome. If done manually, mistakes are likely to arise through human error when managing such a vast amount of data. But, by automating this process, companies can reduce the number of staff required for onboarding products and dealing with data discrepancies.

An automated commerce operating system not only manages product data information through the stages of integration and scaling, but it also collects customer data that can be used to devise the best marketing strategies and campaigns. It enables brands to launch new products more quickly, more often, and more efficiently, while easily maintaining a conversation with their buyers, keeping them informed about all products. With the growing trend of platform integration, it is inevitable that technologies like commerce cloud will play pivotal roles in helping the industry scale.

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Anna Trybocka

CEO, CrescoData

Anna Trybocka is the CEO and founding partner of CrescoData. She has a 17-year digital career spanning across Europe, Australia and Asia where she has worked with brands, telcos, publishers and agencies. She has enjoyed working on a number of bleeding-edge projects. In Australia, she was the Head of Mobile for Yahoo! She has also served as the Director of Investment and Institutional Investment for UKTI. Anna holds a BSc from the London School of Economics and an MA from City University, London.

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