Your website is your business card to the world. It can tell potential customers a lot about your brand, the products or services you sell, your company values, and what kind customer you’re looking to attract - all in a matter of seconds.
Websites have evolved substantially from the simple pages seen back in 90’s. This is, in part, due to the evolution of buyer behaviour. According to many different studies, your potential customers are now moving through an estimated 60-80% of the buyer journey without speaking to a single sales rep or making contact with your company. The majority of this process is now happening online.
Providing a Great Online Experience
It’s now more important than ever to have an eCommerce strategy and provide a great online experience to both your existing customers and potential new customers. Having an eCommerce solution that’s integrated with your ERP or business management software can further enhance your offering to buyers.
Let’s take a look at the top 7 ways an integrated eCommerce solution can help your business reduce costs, attract new customers and keep your existing customers coming back.
1. Your Virtual Showroom
With a huge increase in buyers researching, comparing and finding new products and services online, your website has become your virtual showroom. Whether you have an existing website or are looking to implement a new site, the information about your products that you’re hosting and displaying has become much more important. Buyers want to see detailed information so they can make informed decisions about potential purchases themselves. Adding multiple, high-quality images for your products gives buyers a better sense of what to expect and help them compare products. Also including product information with features and benefits, size, colour, weight and other aspects can give buyers what they’re looking for.
Many businesses keep this information in their back-end system or static files, manually re-keying it all into their website Content Management System (CMS). Rekeying can create quite a bit of additional work for your employees and leave you open for manual keying errors. If you have a lot of products, it could be time to start looking at a smarter way of working – with an integrated solution that reads all information from a central ERP system.
2. Real-Time Information
When your eCommerce platform is integrated with your back-end ERP or business management system, it empowers your customers with live information. Buyers love the convenience of seeing real-time updates including stock information, back-orders, order statuses and invoices. Being able to check this information without ever picking up the phone or sending an email is a time-saver that your buyers appreciate.
3. Customer Self-Service
Offering an eCommerce platform which has an online customer portal can be a huge selling point for your business. Give customers access and control of their data. Customer portals can allow customers to enter and update their details directly and avoid any human errors with manual keying processes. Accessing invoices becomes as simple as downloading directly from your secure web store. And when customers are trying to remember the name of that great product from one of their previous orders, it’s instantly available for them, right there in their detailed order history. Adding an easy re-order option on top of this will deliver an exceptional customer experience that’s sure to make an impact.
4. Reducing the Workload
Providing customers with self-service functionality also means reducing the workload for your employees. Think about how often customers call your office to request a copy of an invoice or check stock levels before placing an order.
Employing resources just to handle your manual order entry no longer becomes necessary. With integration from your website to your ERP, online orders flow seamlessly into your back-end system for processing. There’s no longer a need for double-entering any data. Orders are completed with the exact details the customer entered, so you’re removing the chance of order errors from manual rekeying; along with saving a whole lot of time and work at your end.
5. Your Store that Never Closes
In this day and age, not everyone works to the same daily schedule. Many workplaces have recognised this and offer flexible hours and conditions. So you need to consider this when it comes to buyers who are accessing your online store. An eCommerce website is your store that never closes. Buyers have the convenience of browsing and shopping from wherever they are, whenever they like.
Think about also adding FAQs or a knowledge base to provide that extra bit of help for those accessing your store outside standard business hours, or let them know up-front how long it takes to get a response from your company, should they email or submit a query to you via online forms.
6. Building Your Brand
Every business wants to make an impression on its potential buyers; to have their brand be seen, be identifiable, and be memorable. Creating an online platform that’s consistent with your brand can drive that important impression through digital channels.
If you don’t already have a blog, think about starting one straight away. Not only will it help with getting your website found through organic search, but it becomes a great resource for extending the reach of your content and ultimately your brand. Social media sharing can be quick and easy – and with great blog content on a consistently branded website, it will drive traffic back to your site as well as your brand identity.
7. A True Omni-Channel Solution
When you have an integrated eCommerce system that’s synchronised in real-time with your backend system, creating a true omni-channel solution becomes much easier. With everything tying back to the one, central ERP system that’s in sync with your website, information flows easily between your sales channels.
An omni-channel solution means customers can see their full order history regardless of whether they placed an order online, in-store, by email or phone. They can see accurate stock online that takes physical store sales into account. They can even order through your website for convenient in-store collection if they like.
For retailers, adding POS integration can also empower sales staff with real-time customer information available on laptops and tablets. They can also see customer activity as it happens, such as logging of support cases, purchasing trends and brand engagement from multiple sales channels.
Bringing all your channels together not only keeps your employees empowered with real-time data but also keeps customers informed and able to transact seamlessly between your sales channels.
In a fast-paced and ever-changing business environment, simply having a website isn’t enough to continue attracting new customers and deliver the exceptional experience your existing customers deserve.
Having an eCommerce platform that’s integrated with your backend system to provide real-time information, help customers manage their orders, invoices and account details quickly and conveniently, and unifying your different sales channels will put you a step ahead. If you’re not working with an integrated eCommerce solution already, it’s certainly the right time for your business to evolve.
If you’d like to find out more about how JCurve Solutions can help you build an integrated eCommerce solution that fits your business needs, why not get in touch and start a conversation.