by Jason Madison
By now, it is common practice for companies to have a web presence. eCommerce is such a well-established part of our daily lives in 2016 that even the smallest of businesses have a simple storefront integrated into their website. Now is the time to start implementing advanced eCommerce strategies to capitalize on today’s speed of business.
The online marketplace is getting larger and more competitive each year. Today’s companies and their sales teams are being asked to drive more revenue and higher profitability while having fewer resources, labor, or funding.
If you want to remain competitive, a simple web store isn’t enough. You must move beyond the basics into advanced eCommerce strategies that are integrated with your other business initiatives in order to have an impact on your overall revenue growth.
Don’t Just Open New Sales Channels; Intelligently Target Them
The eCommerce market is huge, totaling over $1.95 trillion worldwide in 2016. Having a functioning eCommerce website is only the first step in claiming your share of the profits. Thorough research into your online customer base and how they perceive your products and services will help you to eliminate ineffective sales approaches and uncover new sales opportunities.
But if you are only thinking locally, you may be leaving money on the table. eCommerce has the potential to open up new, global opportunities for you, even for service based businesses. Imagine that you are accustomed to selling in some parts of the United States during certain seasons. Data intelligence might reveal that your products could sell well in other states or countries during different seasons. By putting extra energy into learning where, when, and how customers are interacting with your eCommerce website, you can develop inroads into new markets.
Streamline Your Efforts by Integrating Your ERP and eCommerce Solution
Lower overhead costs and operational efficiency are always at the top of business leaders’ minds. The need trickles down to sales organizations, forcing them to be nimble in their processes as well. Sometimes, sales people need access to sophisticated data fast so that clients can make buying decisions. This can only happen when your various enterprise technologies communicate well with each other.
Further streamlining your eCommerce presence by integrating it with your ERP is crucial. ERP integration helps to cut down on many of the time-killers such as duplicate data entry, incorrect inventory levels, or incomplete customer information. Typically, the efficiency savings pays for the cost of integration within months and allows you to provide a better customer service experience from start to finish.
This valuable merger is often overlooked because of perceived cost and complexity. The reality is that today’s options are more cost effective than ever. ERP systems like Sage 100, Epicor, and Microsoft Dynamics are already part of standard business practices. If you already have an ERP system, we cannot recommend integrating it with your eCommerce solutions enough. It is the single biggest efficiency booster available.
Demand More from Your eCommerce Technology
Business owners used to complain that eCommerce solutions were rigid, expensive and that they failed to adapt to a changing and demanding marketplace. But we promise you those are a thing of the past. Today’s options are robust, expansive and versatile, making it easier to implement advanced eCommerce strategies. Having a sophisticated storefront environment and an eCommerce website loaded with customer-friendly self-service features have
become the new standard.
Even though the plethora of solution providers can be overwhelming, it is a good problem for business owners and sales teams to have. In general, we recommend a flexible, non-proprietary eCommerce solution. Avoid getting locked into one vendor’s ecosystem. Markets will change, and your eCommerce solution needs to be versatile enough to change with them.
Think about these questions: how are your customers go-ing to buy in the future? Who will your customers be in the future? If your current solution or the one you’re shopping for doesn’t have the flexibility to change with your business as it grows and responds to market demands, look somewhere else.
Complement Your Product Listings with Product Education
Modern consumers are more sophisticated in how they shop online and they are empowered with more product knowledge than ever. Customers are moving away from only looking at product lists on a site and mindlessly clicking “buy now.” They scour the internet hunting for additional information, competitive products, and user reviews before they pull out their credit card.
Today’s successful organizations take a customer-centric approach and add additional content to their website to boost product and service sales. They often have an educational blog that demonstrates their company’s knowledge of the industry and dedication to their customers. They incorporate reviews and encourage customers to post honest reactions by incentivizing them. Successful sites also display related accessories and complementary products. If you’re not incorporating some or all of these techniques, you missing an opportunity to create a loyal client base.
At Kissinger, home of Web-Stor®, we recognize that every company has unique needs and should research which eCommerce solution is right for them. We work tirelessly to help organizations and their sales professionals succeed by assisting with the right technology to help them implement some of the advanced eCommerce strategies that I’ve shared. Hopefully, these tested and successful tactics will help you to spark new growth in your business.
About the Author
Jason Madison is the Web-Stor® Solutions Manager for Kissinger Associates, where he helps businesses grow their sales and increase efficiency with leading e-commerce solutions for Sage 100. Kissinger has been providing cutting-edge eCommerce solutions for 30+ years. Learn more at www.blytheco.com/web-stor.
Article reprinted from the Winter 2016 issue of Bellwether.
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