Retailers are increasingly aware of the growing proportion of revenue contributed by their digital store. However, many often miss the influence the digital store has on in-store sales. Your ecommerce platform is the foundation upon which you build your digital presence, it is the digital representation of your brand. The biggest impact on your customers – for awareness, consideration and buying – is your digital store.
With digital touch points providing more and more influence in the customer’s buying journey, 40 percent of all instore visits were influenced by digital touchpoints – investing in a new ecommerce solution is truly a strategic business decision, and should not only be about the technology that best addresses your requirements today, but one that supports your organisation’s continuous growth into the future.
Tip one: Choose a solution that will best support your Digital and Business Strategy
Discovery is the first step in the customer’s purchase journey. Your eCommerce solution must be able to natively support all your SEO requirements to leverage free traffic into your website, in order to maximise discoverability of your brand digitally. It must natively support device-responsive and device-adaptive designs to ensure the optimal brand experience and customer journey across all devices. Beyond a mobile-first approach, the eCommerce solution must support omni-channel retail: a seamless customer experience, and a 360-degree customer view, no matter the sales channel. Customers must be able to buy online and pick up in-store, use mobile in-store to research or make a purchase, or buy in-store and initiate a returns process online.
Tip two: Choose a platform that will scale with your business
Scalability goes beyond being able to seamlessly and reliably perform to handle your current peaks and seasonal requirements. It is the ability to support your eCommerce requirements as you grow and add complexity; it is the ability to support your requirements as you grow your existing markets, establish new brands, and expand into international markets.
Tip three: Choose a platform that will help improve your business agility
84% of business leaders say that disparate legacy systems impact the speed of development of new digital experiences, and 25% find it difficult or very difficult for third-party partners or service providers to integrate with their existing systems. Many of these legacy systems are business-critical and cannot be replaced overnight, in fact most organisations are not looking to replace them. Your eCommerce platform must be flexible and adaptable enough to accommodate your business requirements. An open architecture, with a solution roadmap tailored to market requirements, ensures integrations and platform extensions are achievable with the least complexity. A solution roadmap that is tailored to the market’s requirements ensures you need not reinvent the wheel.
Tip four: Choose a solution that simplifies your operations
eCommerce platforms should be an out-of-the-box, end-to-end solution that provides the right functionality to reduce complexity. In integrations (do you really need two separate modules for order management and fulfilment, and 10 feature extensions?); in daily operations (do your eCommerce teams really need to login to more than one application each day to perform their tasks?); and in maintenance (do your eCommerce and IT teams really need to spend hours upon hours on testing when hotfixes and security patches are applied to your eCommerce solution?).
Bonus Tip: Choose a partner who will work with you to achieve success
The eCommerce solution is but a tool to achieving your business goals. The online retail game has moved beyond mere platform feature-and-function completeness to focus on customer journeys, and the ability of the business to successfully meet customer expectations – especially in the ease, accuracy, and timeliness of order fulfilment. Beyond security, reliability, scalability, and flexibility, you need a partner that lives and breathes Retail and eCommerce. You need a partner that understands your business, and will work with you to achieve your goals.
As an example, eStar recently announced its role in helping Plumbing World move into ecommerce. Customers can now buy online in an ecommerce strategy led by eStar to strengthen the brand position of the co-op’s 48-store network, as well as help it compete with larger big box retailers as well as emerging online-only players.
The new website will initially sell Plumbing World’s range of tapware and accessories. Plumbing World’s ecommerce strategy is aimed at the consumer market including first home buyers and DIYers, who expect a range of online and in-store options.
“eStar has created an entirely new channel to our existing store network, enabling us to compete with established and emerging online-only retailers,” says Rob Kidd, general manager of Plumbing World. “Our customers invest significant time and energy when selecting bathroom, kitchen, laundry and heating fittings, and the new website will help them easily visualise and research products, enhancing their overall brand experience.”
eStar also led the customer experience design process, which included deep analysis of Plumbing World’s online customer behaviours, interviewing store sales people to determine what great one-to-one experiences look like, and digitally translating these physical experiences into the digital context to create amazing online experiences.
The website is designed to drive foot traffic and strengthen the store network. Functionality includes the ability to book an instore bathroom consultation and to gather certain product specifications.
Plumbing World’s physical catalogue is now digital so customers can click through to view specific items and create their own ‘wish list’ before they embark on a renovation or do-up. Recommendations ‘to complete a set’ are available to help customers assemble matching or complementary products, such as part of an en-suite.
“Plumbing is a category that has been slow to fully adopt ecommerce, but consumers now expect a range of online options for all products,” says Andrew Buxton, CEO of eStar. “Plumbing World’s ecommerce solution will challenge traditional ways of shopping for selected bathroom fittings.”
eStar is Australasia’s leading specialist eCommerce solutions provider, delivering outstanding experiences with some of the region’s best brands, through a combination of thought leadership, user experience, development, design and partners.
T: 0800 151 655