E-Commerce software, once rudimentary venues that helped fledgling companies sell products and services via the ‘Net, have morphed into highly sophisticated vehicles for e-sellers. Along with highly accomplished shopping cart functions, high level sensitive information security protection, state-of-the-art hosting platforms, and order fulfillment services, cutting edge e-commerce software also offers cloud functions that protect all manner of data.
You might even want to use the cloud to host your site. There are now some e-commerce platforms that offer cloud hosting for those who want to “pay as you go” and save dedicated server space. In some cases, you can select a combination of cloud and more traditional managed hosting programs. Some services even allow your company to access a “private cloud” to securely manage your e-commerce site, integrate supply chains and streamline order fulfillment functions.
Should you employ multi-channel operations, there are equally sophisticated e-commerce platforms that offer the tools you need to coordinate all features of your business. As more e-sellers feel the pressure of thinner profit margins, product quality, pricing and order fulfillment become even more significant components.
How effective e-commerce platforms drive sales
The combination of outstanding e-commerce platforms and willing buyers helped online retailers experience a highly successful holiday shopping season. 2011 also recorded more than five $1 billion (yes, with a “b”), online sales days. Yet there is widespread concern that e-sellers must remain diligent with operational efficiency controls, superior supply chain management and high quality customer service.
While many e-retailers are becoming more concerned with their fiscal ability to make new investment in e-commerce platforms and more efficient website development, revenue and profit generation, as usual, will enhance or decrease this ability. The classic retailer mantra, “It’s the price you pay, not the price you charge,” still applies.
Saving money with savvy branding
However, the importance of successful branding has never been higher. While smaller e-sellers face challenges achieving the highest levels of branding success, e.g., Nordstrom, using the best e-commerce software, suppliers and order fulfillment services they can afford will help reach the revenue goals and profit margins they desire.
Those companies contemplating some budget tightening should do their homework. With branding, quality customer service, and order fulfillment occupying influential positions, cost cutting in these areas can be self-destructive. Similarly, your company needs to employ the most effective e-commerce software the budget permits. Cutting back on IT, call centers, order fulfillment or e-commerce platforms might dangerously affect revenue levels.
Creating a winning marketing combination
Feeling comfortable with every aspect of your business efficiency has never been more significant. Utilizing e-commerce software features will help you “ride the wave” of holiday season success into the New Year.
Should you be a bit uncomfortable with one or more of these crucial components upgrade them—do not shrink their budget levels. If you had a successful holiday shopping season, you simply cannot afford to intentionally support a decline in these functions, all of which contribute to your customer satisfaction.
Remember, these components must all integrate and function well. Think like a football coach. Assume you have a great quarterback, but no talented receivers, running backs or offensive line. Your quarterback (company) cannot perform well without an effective supporting cast.
Investing in the optimum e-commerce software, without quality products, efficient supply chains or professional order fulfillment services may fit budget constraints, but will not increase revenue or profitability. You need the full menu of features, working together, to achieve your goals and objectives.
Do you have any outside the box ideas that might help you achieve the success that you crave? Are you bullish on a 2012 continuation of e-commerce success? Are you pleased with your e-commerce software, supply chains and customer service? If you are, maintain your course. Should you have some concerns, invest in more efficient systems, people and services.