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Tips on Boosting Functionality

Reese Mimi Tseayo
Author Reese Mimi Tseayo

Small and medium-sized enterprises now have the chance to scale up and become bigger thanks to the opportunities awarded to them by eCommerce. Customers tend to expect a lot more from online businesses these days so this pushes them to continue improving the quality of their online stores. Every aspect of their operations, from inventory management to customer-facing operations needs to be constantly upgraded on the back-end to improve the way they function and boost their efficiency. There are a number of improvements that can be made such as optimization for mobile, online personalization, and intelligent commerce which all contribute to making the process of engaging with customers a lot easier and improve supply chain activities.

Focus on mobile

Mobile devices are now among the top methods consumers use to gain access to eCommerce as many people own a smartphone and prefer it for online shopping. To convert internet users into customers that pay, it is necessary for eCommerce merchants to have a mobile-friendly experience when customers visit their site. Thanks to changes in technology, there are tons of upgrades ongoing in the mobile-first initiative landscape and responsive design is one of such initiatives. Merchants can also look forward to other forward-thinking designs being introduced in the coming months. Things like progressive web apps which give your users an experience akin to using a regular app but uses internet tech on a web browser or mobile browser is also another popular feature on many eCommerce sites today. These progressive web apps are much easier to maintain and they are readily accessible to SMEs who may not have the budget or skills for IT development. Also, app stores are crowded with numerous apps these days and there is hardly any justification for SMEs to add even more apps to that space when they can get the same functions like push notifications, modern interfaces, easier navigation, and more on progressive web apps. it’s also super convenient as there is also no need for the customers to upgrade the app when new updates are made.

Personalization is key

With the new developments in technology that gives customers a wealth of information on whatever product or service they search for, has also been accompanied by a massive increase in customer expectations. These days’ customers can now browse through eCommerce sites and read reviews before making a decision to buy a product. In the past, competitive pricing and great service delivery would have been enough to satisfy customers however these days’ businesses need to think more along the lines of personalization. The likelihood of your buyers remaining loyal to your brand is increased when the brand can demonstrate how well they know their customers based on their shopping habits. In order to stand out from the numerous competitive options available to your customer, a brand would need to offer a highly personalized experience and thankfully, even the smallest businesses can do this. Personalization is not only limited to content available to customers as they browse through your eCommerce site, but other things like customized email marketing campaigns and other promotional efforts can also be made to specifically suit and connect with customers according to insights gained from their shopping habits.

Online checkout should be improved

It is not enough to have an amazing eCommerce site packed with all the features your customers love if 9 out of 10 times carts get abandoned. To reduce the level of cart abandonment on your site, you need to use as much data as you can to understand why visitors who come to your site do not complete their purchases. Sometimes, an abrupt end to a shopping session on your site can be as a result of distractions in the life of your customers, other times it could be that they were merely window shopping, and then again it could be that your prices are out of their budget. All of this information can be used to gain insights on whether or not a reminder email should be sent to the customer including discount codes so they are prompted to return and complete their purchase. When customers show a tendency to abandon their carts during checkout, it could also be because the process needs to be redesigned as it may not be seamless enough.

Capitalize on intelligent commerce

Relying on advancements in the field of machine learning [ML] and artificial intelligence [AI] technology, intelligent commerce seeks to make website functionality much better. A good number of eCommerce sites are already using this technology to increase the dynamic nature of their websites. Merchandisers and marketers are now able to harness a multitude of data on their customer’s behaviors but more importantly, they are now able to put such data to working using more responsive intelligent commerce. Additionally, what is so great about these innovations is that they are easily accessible to SMEs so they have a better chance at competing with already established brands in their industry, using AI to supplement other data-driven initiatives has also contributed to boosting personalization on many eCommerce sites.

Back end integration

In order to improve the front end of operations on your eCommerce site, you would first need to connect with back-end support so that your customers have a better view of product inventory visibility. This can help manage customer expectations and improve their chances of satisfaction when they do make a purchase. This will also mean satisfied customers are less likely to return some products which can be expensive to restock. Also, having improved inventory visibility will make it such that customers who shop in-store can see whether their chosen location has their preferred item or if they would have to shop online or visit another location. Being transparent also lets you know which of your warehouses can distribute items the fastest at lower costs. In the end, when there is no visibility or easy access to inventory, this could lead to an increase in logistics costs that could end up in your business losing the sale.

Think ahead

Using these few tips to better the functionality and efficiency of your operations touch on some of the most important areas that lead to progress and advancement for your business in the future. To make the front and backend of the business work together seamlessly, it is important to use a holistic approach to ensure loyalty and customer satisfaction. Any SME that shows a willingness to go over and beyond to provide personalized transactions using a mobile-first experience while meeting the expectations of their buyers, using intelligent eCommerce solutions, making inventories more visible, and improving online checkouts will retain the attention of its buyers and ensure they remain returning customers.