2017 in e-commerce has been a mixed bag a contradiction of extreme lows and highs. We have seen many established brands filing bankruptcy, big ticket store closings and even internal strife’s and lawsuits pull down companies.
On the brighter side according to a study by MasterCard holiday season sales has seen an exponential jump to 4.9%. This is the best figures since the year 2011 benchmarking. All thanks to e-commerce companies investing in new technologies. Apart from the market though leader Amazon, traditional retailers like Walmart and Target are starting to step on the gas too.
With more emphasis on AI enables e-commerce, advanced algorithms analyzing shopper’s behavior, providing personalized experience through integrated e-commerce. The year 2018 is only bound to get more exciting and there are some particular trends which e-commerce managers and CEO,s should watch out for.
Cannot resist saying but we are entering a brave new world indeed.
- Brand vs Marketplace quandary
As stated above year 2017 has been a bountiful reaping as far as sales are concerned and it is only bound to grow in 2018. Now with this comes the quintessential question should your brand device a marketplace centric strategy or start developing a robust online presence yourself?
What we personally see initially is most of the e-commerce managers tend to place their own website for basic e-commerce functionality. They prefer selling their fast moving products on established marketplaces, the reason being more visibility.
We always suggested a balanced approach for our clients and it worked just great. The objective is simple why stick to a single channel when you can have the best of both worlds. You as a brand need to establish a strong online presence and have your own distribution in place down the line. We develop a robust Magento 2 based e-commerce platform which handles a vast product line, SEO optimized and advanced API,s with the ability to integrate with ERP and CRM,s.
Then we integrate their third-party marketplace accounts such as Amazon, eBay, and Walmart with their Magento 2 e-commerce store. This helps them achieve a uniform inventory view on all their channels, channel centric promotions based on their internal strategy and a complete distribution network suiting their requirements and orders.
- Reducing operational costs
Reducing operational costs is another important point which e-commerce managers and CEO,s agree upon in unison. This should definitely be their agenda for the year 2018. We have seen numerous retail houses fall to bad management strategies which lead to spiraling operational costs.
This can be attributed to improper time management of resources to unchecked logistics and distributions cost. E-commerce operations ought to draw a draft plan which will place criteria’s for areas which are eating into their revenues.
I95Dev believes in getting the basics right and we have helped numerous clients set their house in order. They had great products, resources, and management the only cog missing for them was getting all these on a single platform.
We developed solutions where their Magento 2 e-commerce platform was developed and integrated into their backend ERP and other fulfillment systems. Even during a surge in orders, all the details were able to sync between their e-commerce and ERP systems without any mismatch of information. Customer information, product SKU,s available, product description, financial details were made available without their resource going the extra mile irrespective of the increased order bandwidth.
This greatly reduced their operational costs and freed time for their resources which increased their efficiency and reduced burnout. Our suggestion for the year 2018 would be to develop a scalable e-commerce platform like Magento 2 and then build the integrated ecosystem on top of it.
- Convergence of offline and online presence
There have been numerous examples of retail operations both e-commerce and physical going bust. The reason being laying too much emphasis on their physical or e-commerce channel. Some of the companies were not even able walk the thin line between online and offline presence leading to excess spending and decreased margins.
Some of the prime examples who we observed and extensively reported on this syndrome were Gander Mountain, Sports Chalet, Sporting Authority etc. The interesting part is traditionally conservative industries like vineyards are even actively joining the e-commerce bandwagon and year 2018 is set to see more such welcome moves.
I95Dev always knew that statements like “Physical retail will die” or “Brick and Mortar presence will decline” were too outrageous. We stand by our thought even now. You should be striving to achieve a perfect balance between your online and offline presence and let your brand grow.
We have helped our clients evolve their customer experience both offline and online. By integrating e-commerce platform with various channels including your physical stores your customer representatives on and off the floor can make informed decisions. It can help you to add advanced options like buy online or pick up in store near you. In short, we helped our clients emulate the coveted ‘Burberry experience in their CEO,s words “Walking through the doors is just like walking into a website”.
We deliver this experience by integrating Magento 2 e-commerce platform with various backend systems such as ERP, CRM, Mobile POS, Physical stores and PIM.
- Rethink your omnichannel strategy
In the year 2017 retail giant Walmart has posted impressive returns all thanks to its diversified Omnichannel strategy. E-commerce managers and CEO,s should add additional channels to their marketing mix and let their shoppers decide which channel to buy from.
Omnichannel strategy is an exercise which even requires a huge internal rehaul to achieve. All departments such as product, marketing, sales, customer support should be on board for omnichannel success.
We suggest the inclusion of third party marketplaces, physical retail outlets, POS, CRM, ERP, mobile commerce, social media, and PIM to achieve the perfect Omnichannel strategy mix. Designing this strategy requires a completely responsive e-commerce platform such as Magento 2. This provides the same customer experience irrespective of the place where your shoppers shop your products from.
Integrating your e-commerce platform to the backend systems such as ERP, CRM and POS is equally important. This is where again we place our bets on Magento 2 e-commerce platform which can easily integrate with the backend.
The main objective of providing personalization, increase sales and improve branding. If you are interested in implementing a perfect omnichannel strategy for your brand and want an in depth insight click here for a more detailed read.
- Next level personalization
Personalization will set stage to the next grand plan of e-commerce. Many e-commerce retailers have started investing heavily on personalization. The like of Amazon and Warby Parker have even gone the extra mile by inculcating Artificial Intelligence factors into their personalization strategy.
Voice enabled shopping commands, personalized shopping recommendations, see now buy now trends and personalized gift coupons are some of the steps that you should be thinking about for year 2018.
I95Dev always strong emphasis to include personalization in our client’s strategy. Personalization not only increases your brands standing but also the chances of repeat purchase and customer loyalty. Let your customers know that you do not treat all of them the same.
By throwing Magento 2 into the mix of integrated e-commerce we increase the chance of offering personalized gift coupons to your customers. Magento 2 ability to sync with point of sale systems helps business to integrate gift card system to the online business. This is one of a major step to achieve personalization and earn a loyal customer.
Apart from Magento 2 ability to integrate with CRM systems helps businesses to give customized product recommendations and personalized customer service. This is based on the availability to view the customers buying pattern and behavior across your various channels and platforms to make an informed sale.
The functionality that Magento offered in terms of scalability, personalization, and ease of doing business is just amazing. We have been closely associated by working with Magento since the inception of our business.
I95Dev deployed various e-commerce integration solutions with Magento at the heart of it and helped them achieve seamless operational finesse. If you are looking for a tailor made custom solution to take on challenges for 2018 contact us at email@example.com