One of the fundamental decisions an ecommerce retailer must make is the platform on which they sell their goods and services.
With so many platforms available, it’s important that you make these selections carefully, understanding that a platform is not just a place to sell but also a place to build a brand.
The Ecommerce Times spoke to several ecommerce professionals to learn how retailers can choose and customize platforms to get just the right match between product, culture, and customer.
“A decade ago, an e-commerce platform was often little more than a product catalog and a till,” Brennan Heyde, vice president of product at Miva, told the E-Commerce Times. “Modern e-commerce platforms act as the central hub of an online business, offer a content management experience and act as a marketing engine.
“E-commerce platforms are becoming more powerful and complex, integrating functions from CRMs, content management systems and business automation solutions to become the core platform for the entire online business.”
In other words, a platform isn’t just a business – it’s a place for an e-commerce retailer to connect with customers and get a feel for the brand.
“Although there will always be a need for stand-alone, ‘best-of-breed’, CRMs and similar solutions, as e-commerce continues to develop, we see that these will be integrated into the e-commerce platform and become one , powerful application that manages the entire online shop, “explains Heyde.
“Ecommerce platforms are increasingly equipping marketing teams with tools and opportunities to excel, be more creative, and run promotions quickly,” he added.
Finding the right connection between brand and platform is the key to success in the e-commerce world.
“As the world moves increasingly online, a strong online presence is imperative so retailers have to adapt,” said Heyde. “Online sellers should be careful not to focus too much on short-term metrics and make the wrong decision when choosing an e-commerce platform.
“A poorly fitting e-commerce platform – one that won’t grow with your business, meet your complex needs, and integrate with your back-end systems – will ultimately cost your business.”
Ideally, a platform is not an immutable, fixed space, but rather one that is adaptable to both the business and the consumers who frequent it.
“The right e-commerce platform will help sellers keep pace with the changing needs, preferences and shopping habits of their consumers,” said Heyde.
“Retailers invest time, care, and design into creating unique in-store experiences. Why shouldn’t they do the same for their online customers? Choosing an ecommerce platform that grows with a business makes business online -Growth with minimal effort, “he argued.
Adjusting the room
Once a platform has been selected, it is important that it be customized with the specific needs, goals and customers of the company in mind. One way to customize a platform is to build promotions into the design and flow of the website itself.
“Everything revolves around creating a holistic picture of your customers; create digital journeys for them that will engage and return to your website, ”said Chemi Katz, CEO and co-founder of Namogoo, the E-Commerce Times.
“No two buyers are alike, and no two online shopping sessions are alike. Therefore, creating an experience that autonomously adjusts the experience of each individual site visit to the expectations of the e-commerce company should be the top priority Buyer customizes. Brand.
“There are many other brands that offer goods that buyers may find comparable. So brands need to make sure that the journey they offer customers wins every time, ”advised Katz.
E-tailers can also add special features to a site – such as: B. Scheduling – to personalize your customer’s experience and create a connection between the online and in-store areas.
“The current trend is to find the right balance between personalized online and store experiences and to offer high-touch experiences with less face-to-face contact,” said Nancy Liberman, vice president of marketing at JRNI, told E-Commerce Mal.
JRNI is a provider of experience relationship management platforms for planning and managing personalized experiences.
“Consumers are now in control of their choice of channel, time of day, and type of experience they want, and appointments have become more important as a direct response,” she observed.
Customizing a platform to schedule appointments not only gives consumers the ability to interact with the brand, it also gives the brand the ability to collect data and information about the customers.
“Appointments give retailers the opportunity to collect specific and detailed data and combine it with historical data, and most importantly, provide the best experience for every shopper,” said Liberman.
“This personalized, face-to-face experience is unique to retailers when it comes to building brand loyalty online because it creates relationships consumers won’t easily forget and increases the likelihood of returning to your brand.
“We give that experience to shoppers and do it in a way that also allows them to choose how they want to interact – in person or virtually, at the time they want, for the type of time they want, and with the ability to do anything as a no-touch interaction – this will help retailers differentiate themselves from the competition and get customers to come back, “she suggested.
In addition to choosing a back-end platform to sell, brands also need to choose and customize front-end channels.
“Each channel has different standards for the degree of customization it allows on a detail page of the offering,” Lesley Hensell, co-founder of Riverbend Consulting, told the E-Commerce Times.
“My recommendation is to develop a wide range of assets for your brand and then use as many of them as possible in each channel. As the most basic, create snippets of text that describe the values and benefits of your brand. This can feed into the product description , even on channels that only allow a minimum of branding, “she advises.
Paying attention to the specific information, details, and design of a brand’s area in a given channel can help the customer feel that that area is specifically designed for that brand.
“Provide several secondary images in addition to your hero image,” Hensell said. “These should include close-ups of product packaging that capture your logo and appearance. Lifestyle images can also convey the ‘feel’ of your brand to people.
“If you can’t add a logo to the detail page or a storefront, your logo will still appear in the images. After all, product videos and advanced content have been shown to increase conversion rates. Invest in developing these assets. Over time, any platform will have these capabilities.” allow.”
As ecommerce businesses evolve, so do the platforms they sell on.
“An e-commerce platform should do two things in particular,” Sean Turner, CTO of Swiftly, told the E-Commerce Times.
“First, it should build loyalty and follow the entire customer journey from the app to the store. As e-commerce grows, 90 percent of transactions are still in-store. The platform needs to stay connected with customers at all times. ”In order to have the login, connect to the retailer’s loyalty program and connect to in-store prices.
“Second,” he continued, “the platform needs to be able to generate digital advertising money with a retail media network. This will generate new revenue for retailers and ultimately improve operating margins. “
Ultimately, customers don’t think about the platform on which they interact with a company, but rather their relationship with the company itself. Companies therefore need to look for platforms that offer customers a seamless journey as well as a robust and branded shopping experience.
“It is important for retailers to know their consumers and to consider their needs and wishes when choosing a platform,” explains Heyde from Mivas. “Online sellers should prioritize a platform that offers accessible and knowledgeable support that can help quickly address and resolve problems.
“A ‘cookie-cutter’ approach to e-commerce will only cause problems for technical teams as their business grows and creates a messy patchwork of plugins that slow operations and negatively impact bottom line results.”