Transitioning to a digital commerce platform presents a myriad of compelling advantages. These include a lower cost structure in the long run, greater accountability, greater flexibility, faster transactions, and broader scale and scope of services. The extensive growth of E-commerce initiatives across the world is a clear reflection of these amazing perks – and a revelation of immense opportunities that should be seriously tapped by today’s businesses.
As the research by Statista highlights, global E-commerce sales are poised to hit a threefold shift from $1.3 trillion in 2014 to $4.5 trillion in 2021. This booming industry is experiencing lucrative outputs, with many businesses setting up online stores even as we speak.
Expanding into a digital commerce platform opens up a new, untapped market. However, there are certain indicators that determine whether the leap into the world of e-commerce is appropriate. So, if you’re planning on building an e-commerce solution, this post gives you a detailed explanation on how to tell when it’s time for a digital commerce platform.
Consequently, it’s imperative to consider the following factors before you initiate building a digital commerce platform. This will ensure your digital plunge is a success.
Understand Your Customer Needs & Wants
Gathering customer feedback should be the first step to shifting onto a digital commerce platform. Customer feedback provides a comprehensive understanding of what they need from your business, as well as specific ways they interact with it. By asking questions and listening to their feedback, you’ll be able to understand:
- Your customer frustrations
- How your customers currently order products from your store
- How to improve the process your customers use to order your products
- Whether it’s difficult to get in touch with your customers through phone calls or one-on-one meetings
Once you’ve understood your customer needs, you’ll be able to determine whether or not your business is ripe enough to adopt a digital commerce platform. Similarly, the feedback shows you exactly how some features can be prioritized in line with what your customers want.
Focusing on how the features can immediately help your customers is fundamental as far as building a platform is concerned. Depending on your customer prerequisites, you might want to concentrate on such features as automated price quotes, guided selling, or even self-service reordering.
Alignment with Business Objectives
You’re eager to dive into the e-commerce bandwagon, right? That’s remarkable. But, to be sincere; you may not reap the expected benefits. Especially not if you jump into the digital commerce platform without an apparent understanding of your business goals. Before you hop on to the platform, first have an understanding of the following attributes of your business in order to ensure your e-commerce solution development is properly aligned with your business objectives:
Know your target market
Undoubtedly, a digital commerce platform opens up unlimited opportunities for retailers. An up-and-running e-commerce website allows you to capture global markets easily and effectively.
While having the ability to sell products worldwide is quite enticing, there’s a catch to it. You must understand and explore your target market before you start rolling your products overseas. Some of the key things to put in mind include:
- Applicable taxes
- Shipping costs
- Excise duties
- Ability to comply with international trade practices
Understand your target customers
Whether you plan to sell offline or online, it’s always necessary to conduct proper customer profiling. This involves segmenting customers based on their spending power, shopping habits, digital footprint, likes, dislikes, demographics, and more. Knowing who your target customers are will help you to decipher the features and functionality you must put in place in the quest to meet their needs.
Costs & Return On Investment (ROI)
It’s necessary to factor in the various costs you might incur when moving to a digital commerce platform. Some costs can put you off, especially considering the risk associated with uncertain ROI.
When shifting to e-commerce for the first time, you’ll have increased running expenses to cover. These include the costs for the actual platform, web design services, upkeep, and even changes to marketing methodology, parcel delivery, and inventory. It might be hard to predict the costs involved when dealing with a mash-up of small and big parcel delivery along with estimating costs at the checkout.
With the shift in business plan and online competition, jumping on to the digital commerce bandwagon may seem like a wasted investment. At least if the business isn’t ready for it. You must put in place enough financial backing in conjunction with a solid plan so that the movement to E-commerce can be a reality.
Scope of Scalability with Backend Systems
In all honesty, a digital commerce platform is of no use if it’s incapable of growing with you. Launching a digital commerce platform calls for a proper preparation coupled with the right solutions. The right backend systems with the capacity to support effective digital experiences are essential when it comes to building a digital commerce platform.
For that reason, you’ll want to carry out a meticulous evaluation of your CRM and ERP. Not to mention warehouse management systems to determine whether or not they’ve got the flexibility and scalability to integrate with your system.
There are several questions to ask yourself while assessing your systems. For instance, will you be able to increase inventory visibility with your systems? Do your systems offer order statuses to customers? And, once you launch your website, will your systems provide the much-needed support and inventory to address a substantial uptick in sales?
If the answer to these questions is YES, then know that your business is ready for a digital transformation. Otherwise, you’ll need to opt for more scalable and flexible backend technologies for easy integration with an E-commerce platform.
Adopting a digital commerce solution for your brick-and-motor business isn’t a piece of cake. Most business managers tend to have one major false misconception. That the process is all about choosing the best solution you can find and everything else will fall in place. Well, finding the best E-commerce solution isn’t a guarantee that your digital transformation journey will be a success. It all boils down to how you plan and implement your E-commerce strategy.
You’ve got to define a realistic timeline when shifting to a digital commerce platform. You cannot expect to realize outstanding results within a short time frame. That’s a NO NO. What you need to do is adhere to the time vs. quality approach, whereby you put more time into development to ensure higher quality. That means you’ve got to segment the project into diverse stages and make incremental progress one step at a time.
And, one last thing before we wind up. As you ready your business for a digital commerce platform, it’s important to pair it with a good CRM and as many enablement tools as possible. Veloxy gives you an AI powered plugin that that will allows you to see how your actions drive the pipeline. Likewise, Veloxy Engage and Veloxy Mobile will help you in setting up your platform as well as understanding and forecasting your customers needs. It’s like having a virtual assistant that does all the legwork so you and your team can focus on implementing your digital Ecommerce platform.