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Channel Conflict

Manufacturer eCommerce Solutions: Channel Conflict

Channel conflict alone has kept many manufacturers out of online sales for fear of hurting current business relationships with their vendors. But that has also meant the loss of some remarkable opportunities to create and exploit some amazing new sales channels.

There are more options than you might realize

If a manufacturer only considers consumer direct online sales it’s clear that channel conflict can endanger existing vendor relationships. But direct sales are only one venue for manufacturer eCommerce. If you think about all the ways that your product can marketed, then a world of opportunities opens up. All without damaging existing relationships.

Options for manufacturer eCommerce include:

  • Specialty stores for specific vendor segments.
  • Regional and local language online catalogs for vendors.
  • Refurbished and closeout online stores.
  • Private label consumer direct sales.
  • And much more.

The online store is only one option for manufacturers. Multifront can open a world of potential for manufacturers. There are many ways that you can take advantage of eCommerce if your systems are flexible enough. Znode designed Multifront to be flexible, fast, and affordable, all with the needs of manufacturers in mind.

Photo by quinet

The Latest Trends in eCommerce User Experience

It’s finally 2016 and a great time to evaluate your eCommerce user experience. Holiday shopping is over, so you probably have oodles of analytics and data.  Now is the time to make some tweaks to your eCommerce site.  It seems like there are new trends every day. We’re here to break them down (note: this a list, not a ranking of importance).

Responsive design.

It’s the hottest buzzword in the techsphere because everyone is using a mobile device.  Shopping on a mobile device is more popular than ever.  Internet Retailer recently cited a report from Forrester that $1 trillion in purchases were influenced by a mobile device in 2015!  So that means a shift towards mobile shopping, making responsive web design (RWD) especially important.  Mobile shoppers quickly get discouraged if the process of completing a transaction is hindered by a messy, non-responsive eCommerce store.

Personalization.

Tailor your website and mobile website for your customers.  This might be a “Hello,” message, product recommendations, or anything that adds a personal element to the online shopping experience. You’ve made an effort to differentiate your customers and this makes the user experience unique.  As Practical Ecommerce notes, online shoppers want to feel like people, especially when it comes to things like product recommendations or “frequently bought with” prompts.

Communication.

Your eCommerce store needs to have every form of contact information and all of it should be easily accessible. A phone number, email, and even social media should be clearly visible because customers always have questions.  If I can’t quickly find a phone number during my shopping experience, I probably won’t complete my purchase.

Now, don’t go and completely change your site from top to bottom!  That will just confuse your customers and search engines.  Rather, look at pain points on your site and use these tips as a guide to plan your strategy.

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eCommerce Holiday Shopping 2015: How to Prepare

Now that it’s October, online retailers can start preparing for eCommerce holiday shopping 2015.  Every year the shopping window grows, with some deals even starting before Halloween.  To help your eCommerce business thrive this season, we’ve compiled our best tips for conquering online holiday shopping 2015.

  • Mobile ready.  As Practical Ecommerce notes, “having a responsive website is not a competitive advantage in 2015; it is a competitive requirement,” making is absolutely essential to have a mobile-ready store.  The same article also notes that 28% of last year’s eCommerce sales came from a mobile device.  67% of consumers are also using multiple devices for online shopping.

  • Abandoned cart management.  As of March 2015, abandoned carts increased 4.3% over two years, making it a great time to invest in an eCommerce platform to get these consumers to revisit your store.  Email reminders are a great way to entice shoppers to checkout, especially when the clock is ticking for holiday gifting.

  • Personalization.  Use content and recommendations to make the shopping experience more personal for your shoppers.  Consider offering personalized offers or deals through your eCommerce platform.  You want to capture those indecisive or unsure customers.  According to invesp, personalized recommendations help up to 45% of online shoppers make a transaction.

Keep in mind this is not an exhaustive list; these are trending topics in the eCommerce world, all of which will help your site meet consumers’ demands.

It’s crucial not just to upgrade your eCommerce store for online holiday shopping, but also to keep up with the times in general.  eCommerce is booming and this is not a fad or a trend.  Znode’s Multifront eCommerce platform can help you conquer the world of online shopping this holiday season and beyond.

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eCommerce Trends: How to Keep Your Site Relevant

eCommerce itself was a trending topic once upon a time, but now it’s all about the latest buzzwords and trends within the eCommerce world. The eight trends/features below will help you convert more customers and keep your site relevant and fresh.

note: these are not ranked in order of importance and this is not an exhaustive list

1. Responsive design.   It’s one of the hottest topics in the eCommerce world because Google now awards responsive sites.  Think of the boost in SEO if you make Google happy!  What’s more, 61% of shoppers will leave a site if it’s not responsive.

2. Abandoned cart management.  59% of consumers agree that reminder notifications are helpful.  The most relevant advantage of abandoned shopping cart management is an increase in conversions.  This could be email reminders and/or incentives enticing consumers to purchase.

3. Shipping promotions.  Free shipping or shipping discounts can increase your average order value (AOV).  According to Deloitte, 40% of customers will purchase more if they qualify for free shipping.

4. Incentives to sign up for newsletter or register an account.   Providing a point of contact for your site is a cost effective way to acquire new customers.  Get Elastic suggests an overlay or a social sign-up upon opening the site with an incentive such as a 20% discount on your first purchase if you create an account.  Make these call to actions stand out and easily accessible for your visitors.

5. Product customization.  Can it be customized?  Today’s consumer wants to personalize everything.  If your product can be customized then provide a responsive, user-friendly configurator.  If your product cannot be customized, then meet with your marketing team to see if you can offer this.  Customized products are a great way to differentiate your offerings from competitors, according to Forbes.

6. Security.  Don’t store those credit card numbers.  Some shoppers are apprehensive about using credit cards online (especially after data breaches like Target’s), so PCI compliance is crucial.  Give your customers peace of mind.

7. Customer reviews.  Let your customers’ voices be heard.  Reviews and product ratings are a necessity for online shopping.  “Product page visitors who interact with customer reviews convert at a 58% higher rate compared to those who do not,” according to a recent report cited on Internet Retailer.

8. Personalized shopping experience.  This could be anything from personalized ads to shopping habits.  Mobile personalization is also key, especially tailored content.  For example, if you click on a Facebook ad focused on running shoes and clicking takes you to a landing page with running products and promotions.  In this example, marketing activities are targeted to individuals’ lifestyles.

Don’t get carried away with the latest buzzwords.  First ensure that the basics of your eCommerce site are strong with search, navigation, product details, competitive pricing, affordable shipping rates, easy checkout process, order notifications, etc.  Establish the backbone of your site and then build its robustness with these features.

Multifront is the industry’s leading .NET eCommerce platform.  It will help you capitalize on these trends and create relevant online shopping experiences.

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What is Relevant eCommerce?

With eCommerce booming ($1.5 trillion annual sales just for B2C), relevant experiences are crucial to target the right market.  The online experience shapes the way your customers interact with you — it’s the gateway for creating conversions.  Online shoppers demand personalized and engaging eCommerce website experiences.  This is where relevant eCommerce will connect you with your shoppers.

But first — what is relevant in eCommerce today?

Mobile commerce (m-commerce), for one, is a preferred mode of shopping since the advent of tablets and smartphones.  This is not just a fad — it’s a requirement of online shoppers today — 30% of online transactions take place on a mobile device.   If your customers cannot seamlessly engage with your store on a mobile device, you’ve put up a barrier and shopping carts never see the final checkout.

Speed to market is also relevant.  With new trends, changes in the marketplace, and seasonalities, adjusting to the market quickly is crucial.  Your eCommerce system should allow you to launch a new storefront or sell new products online to meet new demands in the marketplace.

Relevance can even pertain to finding a product online.  This means consumers should be able to visit your site and search by product name or attribute versus a SKU.  Faceted search is another layer of this concept: if I am shopping for full sized bedding under $150 I might click ‘bedding,’ followed by ‘under $150,’ followed by ‘full/double.’  I might also look for those products in a search box.  The point is to design your eCommerce system in such a way so consumers can easily find what they’re looking for and don’t leave your site.  Instant gratification.

Relevance also applies to your business role–it’s twofold.  Not everyone can write code and manage IT operations, so your eCommerce solution should be relevant to all roles — marketing, IT, sales, etc.  For example, a marketing manager should have the ability to adjust current promotions or marketing strategies in the back end.

This is not an exhaustive list.  Relevance for your business might pertain to APIs, a central admin, or endless customization options.  Whatever is pertinent to your online business, Znode’s Multifront platform can help your company develop a relevant eCommerce system.