Developing an Innovative eCommerce Site, as an Extension of your Brick and Mortar Store
As web technology becomes increasingly sophisticated, more and more consumers are shopping online; the web has now become a competitive “battlefield” for retailers. The fact that anyone can purchase products in the comfort of their own home is one of the most valuable assets for a retailer in the new age of technology.
Staying ahead of the competition requires retailers to understand and leverage newer best practices for online retail. While developing an effective strategy may be different for each type of retail business, there are commonalities all retailers should focus on, such as mobile-first, SEO, the customer experience, and innovative technology integrations – all to help drive traffic and sales to you eCommerce website. This article describe some of the best practices for online retail businesses.
Make It Easy For Online Shoppers
One of the most important steps to a successful online business is ease-of-use. Fostering a booming eCommerce business requires designers to reduce the shopper’s effort. In “The Six Perspectives on Retail Innovation,” the author stresses that reducing annoyances in the purchasing process is an important step to innovation, and lists three important steps to achieve this.
- Improve the consumers’ quality of life before and after purchase and make it easy to navigate the storefront.
- Make the storefront look appealing and straight to the point to reduce the amount of time needed to purchase an item.
- Focus efforts to automate back-end processes (i.e., inventory, production, fulfillment) to increase efficiency and speed.
With an easy-to-use, effortless storefront, customers will be more inclined to revisit your website.
Develop an Innovation Strategy
The next best practice for online retailers is having a developed, and well thought out digital strategy. When developing a strategy, keep in mind the type of business that is being run and what type of consumer that business is appealing to. Not all strategies work for all retail businesses and there is no universal plan that works for everyone. Featured in “You Need an Innovation Strategy,” the author provides an innovation landscape map, which lists four key areas a business should focus on when developing a strategy.
These four areas answer the question of, will they require a new business model or an old one, does it use new technological competences or existing ones?
- With those questions in mind, the first area falls under disruption, which signifies how much a company breaks “the norm” and recreates it for any field of retail.
- The second is architecture, building the type of business the owner is trying to run.
- The third area is routine, which is consistently developing new products related to your business, like a film studio producing new movies.
- The last area on the landscape graph is radicalization, how crazy the idea is and how it’s implemented to better everyday life. Examples of radicalization that exist today include jet engines for aircraft, biotechnology for advanced security systems, and fiber optic cables for lightning fast internet speeds.
Whether it’s a company developing a new technology or an online retailer selling products for consumers, finding the perfect balance with the help of an innovative landscape map help develop the right strategy for any company, effectively raising in-store and online sales.
Stay Update-to-Date with Emerging Technologies
Keeping up with emerging technologies is perhaps one of the most important best practices for retailers. Retail storefronts and eCommerce are highly competitive and having the latest and greatest technology will keep businesses ahead of the competition. One of the most important technologies that’s constantly being upgraded is POS software. POS (Point of Sale) is the combination of hardware and software that regulates how the customer purchases a product.
An example of this system would be a register at a clothing store. The barcode scanner, computer, receipt printer, card reader, and cash drawer are all components making up the POS hardware. The POS software is the application that is run on the POS equipment, and it is important to choose a retail technology provider that is keeping up with the changes in the industry.
In “What Is a Point of Sale System,” The author describes two common POS software types used in online marketing today .On-premise POS software sells the license needed to download and use the software on local computers or servers. Cloud-based POS software stores customer information on the cloud and doesn’t require installation on the devices, since the software is simply accessed from an internet browser.
The major difference between the two POS software types is on premise requires the company buying the license to maintain their own system, requiring IT specialist to fix any problems that may surface while cloud-based services have their own team of IT specialists that fix the problem, “in the cloud”. With the use of the right POS software, retailers can run their business much more efficiently enabling them to provide better customer service to their shoppers.
In conclusion, it’s very important to stay innovative in the competitive world of retail. Building an online storefront that is easy to use and effortless for the consumer can become an extension of a brick and mortar retail store. Staying on top of emerging technologies helps to improve and expedite transactions and overall customer experience, both in-store and online. All in all, the business with the best innovation practices will always stay relevant in today’s competitive economy.