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.


API Series: Introducing the Znode API 2.0

Last week we announced the release of Multifront 7.1, the latest version of our .NET ecommerce platform, which continues to improve the overall experience for our customers. Multifront 7.1 includes a number of important enhancements and additions, such as multiple ship-to addresses, customer-based pricing, and an improved internal provider engine. But the most significant item in Multifront 7.1 is our new API. In fact, it’s so important, it gets it’s own version number: 2.0.

Overhauled for the Long Haul

Version 2.0 of the API has been overhauled from the ground up and redesigned with the future in mind. It’s a completely open set of REST endpoints from which nearly anything can be built on top of the Multifront ecommerce platform. From the shopping cart checkout process to creating administrative reports, it includes rich querying and filtering capabilities that allow you to request as much or as little data as you need.

A Shift In Thinking

This new API represents a shift in our overall platform architecture as it now becomes the key piece in almost everything we do. From building user interfaces and applications to integrating with various back office systems, the API is being positioned as the central figurehead that makes everything go within, and outside of, the Multifront ecommerce platform.

Why Is It So Important?

There are three reasons why the API is as important as we’re making it out to be:

  1. The Headless Engine – We’ll talk more about the headless engine in a later post, but it’s really about being able to build any type of UI on top of the API. External web sites, desktop apps, mobile apps, whatever.
  2. Integration – Naturally you can’t talk about an API without talking about integration, and our API is no different. The Znode API 2.0 allows for integration with any kind of system in your infrastructure.
  3. Extensibility – The API serves as the outer boundary of Multifront, and can be used to extend our ecommerce platform any way you see fit.

Technical Highlights

For the developers out there, here are a few technical highlights of the API 2.0:

  • Built Using ASP.NET Web API – This provided a lot of the heavy lifting for us, allowing us to focus on our endpoint design instead of lower-level concerns.
  • 100% RESTful Endpoints – When we say 100% RESTful, we mean it. We spent more time going through the actual HTTP specification than we care to admit.
  • Supports JSON Format Only – You won’t find any angle brackets in our API as XML is not supported. It’s all JSON all the time.
  • Built-in Caching System – The API has its own caching layer that you can tune to meet your exact requirements.
  • Built-in Help and Documentation – Part of the ASP.NET Web API, we customized and extended it to make it easy for developers to get up to speed quickly.

See It In Action

All this talk about our awesome new API sounds great, but how about we show you instead? Head on over to and start clicking around. In particular, click on the “API” link in the top-right corner of the page so you can see all of the endpoints which are currently exposed.

More to Come

We’re thrilled with how the API 2.0 turned out, and we’ve got plenty more to say about it. In fact, this post was just the introduction in a series of upcoming posts about what’s in the API and how it was made. Some upcoming topics include:

  • HTTP Verbs and Status Codes
  • Expands and Filters
  • Sorting and Paging
  • Help and Documentation
  • Models and Responses
  • Caching
  • And more…

Stay tuned.