Enhancing your current E-Commerce Solution
Create growth by enhancing your current e-commerce solution to increase revenue, reduce cost, and optimize your customer experience.
E-commerce is the driving force in many organizations, and demands investments in skilled people, and the right tools and processes. But how can you be sure these investments always deliver on their potential? Always ask which tool or feature will actually make your business grow and more profitable.
A successful E-commerce strategy helps you balance short-term return on investment with long-term business value. It creates the features your customers need today, while at the same time allowing you to build a strong and flexible framework that prepares both your E-commerce platform and organization for tomorrow.
How do you keep your feet on the ground when facing the current abundance of marketing hypes, new and exciting tools and technologies, and ever-growing customer demands? Our answer; go back to the basics.
Increase growth with an e-commerce strategy
Let’s make things a bit more tangible by looking more in-depth at the three basis strategies we just mentioned; increasing revenue, reducing cost, and optimizing your customer interactions through a deeper integration of your channels and touchpoints (omnichannel or unified commerce).
1. Increase your revenue with your e-commerce platform
All too often conversations about revenue and e-commerce are reduced to a good long look at conversion rates. We tend to forget there are many reasons a customer looks at a product, or add it to their cart even. They might be curious about a product a friend recently bought, or simply want to find out more about a product they discovered online. Adding it to their cart could serve as a reminder they’re potentially interested, or is done to check the delivery options, with no intention to buy. This is still considered a ‘loss’ since the customer did not convert. The better we understand the intentions of our customers, the better we can determine how to measure success and guide the customer on his journey.
Increase your revenue using the SEE THINK DO CARE model:
Google has introduced us to their SEE THINK DO CARE model, that places your relevant audience in one of four phases, based on their intention:
- See: this is defined as the “largest addressable qualified audience”. This group show interest in the product or service (according to its behavior), but have no intention to buy.
- Think: an audience that displays a weak commercial intent.
- Do: an audience that displays a strong commercial intent.
- Care: These are your super- loyal customers.
Using this model, you can optimize the journey for each and every one of your customers. This way you can avoid flashing ‘On sale now’ banners in the eyes of visitors in the See or Think group, and support your Care audience in promoting your product, to name but a few examples.
2. Reduce costs with your E-commerce platform
A professional e-commerce platform has the capability to be fully integrated into your e-business organization. This is necessary to facilitate the ever increasing need to align and manage essential processes, as a result from your e-commerce scaling up. This deep integration also brings forth new challenges and opportunities, including cost savings. When the organization grows, decreasing your costs becomes more and more important. Despite the fact that setting up a new platform costs time and money, you get a clear return on these investments. At the same time this prepares you for further growth, by integrating and digitalizing your processes.
Let’s look at some examples of how an e-commerce platform can help you reduce costs on:
Save On Customer Onboarding
By digitizing the process, creating workflows, and supporting the customer in entering the required information independently.
Save On Product Onboarding
By automating the process of importing, validating, correcting, and enriching supplier data.
Save On Order Management
By enabling customers to manually add their (complex, B2B) orders, automating processing and reducing errors.
By enabling customers to cancel or change orders that are in progress (but not yet shipped), or schedule and change recurring orders (replenishments).
Save On Customer Service
By providing rich, easily accessible, and reliable product information.
By providing the customer with up-to-date information on their order status, order history, and legal documentation on their products. If customers can view, edit, or request changes to all their personal data in the ‘My account’ section, the load on your CS is reduced, while improving customer satisfaction.
Save On Logistics
By automating the order management process and optimizing your delivery, stimulating the customer to enter (non-urgent) orders as early as possible, and applying predictive analysis on your assortment.
3. Optimize customer interactions through a deeper integration of your channels and touchpoints
Omnichannel or unified commerce. In case your business has physical outlets in addition to digital outlets, e-commerce growth can be further stimulated by better connecting and integrating these channels. The main driver of growth in this scenario is the improved customer experience, that results in greater customer loyalty. However, integrating online and offline channels is no easy task. The preferred order is to set up and optimize e-commerce as a separate channel first, before completely focusing on omnichannel. This way, when it’s time to shift focus to an omnichannel experience, your e-commerce platform supports your omnichannel e-business. This is achieved by:
ROPO (Research Online, Purchase Offline)
- Enable the customer to save his preferred stores online.
- On the PDP, provide the customer information on where the product can be bought, and if possible, the stock in his preferred store.
- Enable the customer to reserve a product in the store, or make an appointment.
- Measure omnichannel effects by implementing a loyalty system, mapping customers that started online but complete their purchase in a store.
Enable the customer to return the product anywhere. This does introduce some pitfalls:
- The refunding mechanism is an important element, and it may not be possible to refund customers in cash.
- Calculating refunds of promoted articles and loyalty rewards can be complex.
- Endless aisle; enable customers to order from your larger online assortment while in the store (or from the known stock of other physical locations).
- Personal recommendations. When you’re able to identify customers in the store you can also access their past purchases, preferences and profile information. This enables store employees to provide better, more relevant service to your customers.
- Pickup in store: provide the customer with an option to pick up his product in a store (or at another commercial pickup point)
- Delivery from a store. This can be beneficial due to short distance/time to the customer and stock management: connect your customers to the (last items in) stock in specific stores.
The complete guide to enhance your current E-commerce solution
Increase profitability and future-proof your current e-commerce platform.
As illustrated by this article, there are many scenarios that allow your business to grow and improve through the correct deployment of your e-commerce platform. Certain scenarios we haven’t even touched upon in this article may prove to be even more relevant for your business, but the most important takeaways are that
- Some scenarios demand specific functionality of your platform.
- Many scenarios require proper integration in your processes and IT landscape.
- All scenarios need to be evaluated on their costs, risks and business value.
Whether you want to optimize an existing e-commerce platform, or are looking for brand new solutions, we can support you on this journey.
At SQLI we believe in looking at the bigger picture.
- We are the ambassadors for your customers.
- We are curious about your internal drivers and how your existing processes work.
- And we’ll make sure every step you take drives the most value possible.