The advent of the online marketplace helped democratize the entrepreneurial landscape. Sellers no longer needed to manage orders and couriers, on top of managing a website to facilitate it all. They just had to register at a plug-and-play platform that handled most of the legwork for them.

But being on these marketplaces has its downside. A single product search yields thousands of results, putting your product right alongside every single one of your competitors, all on an even playing field — brand identity be damned.

And that’s where Josh Supan, CEO of Xpanse Technologies saw an opportunity. Through Xpanse, Supan launched Noah, a purchase aggregator and courier management system that beefs up the back-ends of branded websites with all the conveniences of your favorite online marketplace.

Stepping up the game

When Josh Supan, CEO, first worked as a retail-leasing manager for a mall, his realizations on the limitations of brick-and-mortar led him to pursue e-commerce. But while the digital side of retail was freer in more ways, he noticed that online marketplaces came with their own limitations as well.

So with David Marquez, CTO, and Jeremiah Abalos, Head of Front-end, they developed Noah, a platform that aggregates purchase orders and automatically forwards them to couriers. Previously, sellers had to manually do all of these tasks. And to ensure that the items are well-taken care of, Noah pushes more orders to better-performing couriers, determined by heavy analytics and historical trends.

“Instead of giving couriers all the power, you’re telling them, ‘You guys have to step up before we can give you this many or before we can pass orders through your system,’” Supan said. “They go beyond now: they call, they text, they’re really aggressive when it comes to the last mile part.”

Through this automatic and intelligent courier management, macro brands like Lacoste and The Gap, which previously never sold online, were able to tap into a new market with ease, while micro brands like Instagram sellers are enjoying a staggering 300 percent increase in their number of orders.

And according to Supan, the return-to-seller rate was only 4 percent across the board, a far cry from the 15 to 20 percent industry rate.

Whether in a store or a marketplace

Beyond technical performance, Xpanse also believes that having your own website can help boost marketing effectively. Aside from strengthening your brand, it also pushes your other products to potential customers who may not immediately be aware of all of your offerings.

“If you put your items in a marketplace — let’s say you’re a shirt company — you’re competing already with bigger players. And you won’t be able to cross-sell your items because when [customers] type ‘shirts’, it’s going to be everybody’s shirts, not just yours,” he said.

It’s important to note, however, that Xpanse doesn’t plan on usurping the online marketplace: They want their clients to get their own website to complement their marketplace selling. So while a brand-dot-com does wonders for brand-building, for example, it doesn’t have the same traction that an online marketplace does.

“There are obvious benefits for both, and we never tell our brands to choose one. You need multiple streams of revenue,” said Supan.

Expanding horizons

Regardless of the location, Supan wants to do the “dirty work” for as many businesses as possible so that sellers can focus on the bigger picture.

“If you can have somebody doing your logistics for you, you can do so many other things. You can find better products and suppliers. You can diversify,” he said. “We have clients that didn’t know how to do SEO before, but since they have time, they’re studying [it now]. And they made the business better.”

Aligned with their belief that sellers need an online arm to expand, Xpanse is working on ad words and omnichannel services to help generate more traffic and develop a holistic retail experience for their clients, respectively.

If all goes well, they’ll be able to bring their products to Vietnam, Thailand, and Indonesia by 2021.