Most Unappreciated Skillset in Marketplace eCommerce

If you are an entrepreneur or part of a business in eCommerce, your behavior will most probably capture by Facebook or Google during your search for information regarding eCommerce or selling online.

Subsequently, your Facebook page will be bombarded by sponsored ads for classes and services. All these ads are about eCommerce. To name a few will be:

  • Website creation and Google SEO

  • Facebook marketing

  • Content marketing & Copywriting,

  • Photography and videography

  • Social media, Instragram and etc.

However, If you ask the older generation businessman, they will mostly agree that the CASHBOOK (账簿) is a critical success factor of any business. In some of the triad (黑社会) movies, they even kill for the sake of getting a hold on the CASHBOOK because it contain all the data and evidence.

In my book, in relating to eCommerce, it will be Data Analysis. Data is the evidence of your business and you need to know how to use it to increase your survival and success rate!

In fact, in my experience helping sellers, Data Analysis with Excel is one of the Most Unappreciated Skill Sets in eCommerce and Entrepreneurship.

It is simply understanding and working with the data around your business, learn how to use it ACCURATELY & EFFICIENTLY. It allows you to have a good understanding of your business growth, risk and opportunity in order for you to make the right decision.

No, this is not those sales data for Facebook or Google such as CTR, CPE or etc. There are many seminars and workshop about this.

I am referring to the data & numbers generated within your company or directly link to your company. It is inclusive of accounting, but the scope it is much more than accounting needs.

Do you ever see such class in your social media feeds? I haven't seen one myself.

Recently there was some issues in Lazada, regarding the financial report which highlight the needs of this skill set more.

After working with sellers, I had encounter sellers which:

  • Enjoyed great sales but having cash flow problem

  • Do not even know how much they are profiting on Lazada.

  • Not aware of unpaid subsidy after 1 year later

  • Keep increasing new SKU while their top SKU had no stock.

  • Give up completely as it is too painful.

These sellers often are interested to learn eCommerce sales skill sets which are available widely on the market, in order to generate more sells for better listing position on the marketplace.

Subsequently, they will relegate the data analysis task to others as they felt it was not beneficial for sales and too burdensome.

Now then if this person "Checking" on the data is not train properly, and do not have the skill set, then the vicious cycle of ineffective and inefficient data analysis will continue to harm the business.

Inaccurate data analysis leads to wrong decisions made. Inefficient data analysis drain much time and resource to spend on analyzing something.

Let's take the most recent example - Lazada

A lot of sellers complain that Lazada data structure sucks, when compare to Shopee.

From my point of view, it is better than Shopee.


If you convert the report to excel format, all data in a cell contain only A SINGLE VALUE. The only disadvantage is for an order, they have entries in different payment cycle, which make it difficult for layman - normal person which hand not experience data analysis.

Shopee in comparison has multiple data in a cell for Product Info. This is a big NO-NO in data structure because it complicates data processing. Additionally the header for each data such as "Product Name" is in the cell itself!

However, Shopee had only one line for a specific order. In presentation wise to a layman, it is easier to understand. That's why lots of seller like it.

If you have the skill set in EXCEL, Lazada report is much easier to analyze than Shopee. In fact, in within 10 minutes with all the data available, I can generate the report showing the revenue, cost of goods and gross profit of a business started in 2016 until now as below.

We can even drill down to categories or even specific SKU. Data analysis provides this seller with a road map to prioritize which area to improved first. As it is nearly effortless and easy to generate data, sellers will find the numbers fascinating and engaging, and often come up with insights and idea which I had never thought off also.

Managing 30 SKUs is different from managing 300 SKUs. For 30 SKUs, you still can roughly guess hows the performance of the SKUs. If you want to scale to 300 SKUs to increase your business by 10X, Data Analysis is a must.

With the correct method, you can manage 300 SKUs and detect a drop and rise in the product efficiently and on time. This allows the seller to increase stock holding as soon as possible when a spike for a "STAR" SKU is detected. If a "CASH COW" SKU performance is deteriorating and detected earlier, the seller can react to the competition faster and avoid the further erosion of their market. Also, a lot of sellers had so much headache and spent so many resource in auditing Lazada report. if you can audit Lazada payment in 1-0 minutes for every payment cycle by Lazada, it allows you to claim back monies effectively and further releasing the time for better sales activities. In fact I had written a popular blog about this, and the method is just a tiny bit of the power of Data Analysis.

Why Excel?

Using 3rd party software for data collection and syncing is good. However, the data analysis module in such software is limited. The coded analysis method is normally fixed in stone, and not flexible to change. Modification of the software code at times is very expensive or impossible.

If an entrepreneur develops the skill set in Excel, they can avoid all the modification cost. Subsequently the entrepreneur can own the data, link it with various marketplace and design data analytic method suitable to the business. This is as long as it has access to the raw data structure from the collection point or from 3rd Party software. Sellers then often felt that doing it is very difficult. Even the pic up there shows such a a disadvantage of Excel

It is hard if there is no good teacher haha. In fact, it is even easier than writing a blog like this.

It is just working with your mouse, click click and key in some excel formula. How hard is it going to be?

It is easy to learn and and you will get some immediate result. But of course, to master it takes lots of practice and exercise.

You don't believe, come to this workshop in Ipoh on Oct 3rd in Tower Regency, and I will show you the magic of Excel with Lazada. I assure you, that if you are a Lazada Seller, you can't really find such workshop anywhere working on real life data from Lazada.

It is not glamorous and attractive as other class which promise you much sales. Can I help more people with this workshop? Will People come? I don't know. Lets try it out.

This is the link

If you didn't come, please don't say I never share some really useful tips with you. It is you who did not give face.

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