How to be Competitive with your Online Store
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 greatest assets for any retailer in this new age of technology.
Staying ahead of the competition requires retailers to understand and leverage modern 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 your eCommerce website. This article describe some of the best practices for online retail.
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 attract and guide consumers to the most relevant areas of your website.
- Focus efforts to automate back-end processes (i.e., inventory, fulfillment, emails) to increase efficiency and speed.
With an easy-to-use, effortless storefront, customers will be more inclined to revisit your website.
Develop an Innovative eCommerce Strategy
Now that your site is easy to use, it’s time to develop a digital strategy. Keep in mind that your strategy will vary based on your goals, industry, competition, budget, and other factors- there is no universal plan. Featured in “You Need An Innovation Strategy,” the author provides a blueprint, which lists three key areas an online retail business should focus on when developing a strategy.
- Differentiate: How will you differentiate yourself from competitors (i.e., price, product, experience)?
- Foundation: What components will you need to run your business (i.e., website, Amazon, drop ship)?
- Innovation: How will you continue growing your business in the future (i.e., new products, popup shops, marketing)?
Whether you’re selling innovative products, or merchandise already on the market, developing an online strategy is vital to an effective online business.
Stay Up-To-Date with Emerging Technologies
We all know technology is constantly evolving, and it’s up to you – the online retailer – to keep up with the “latest and greatest”. Not only will it help you compete, it will improve the experience for you, your staff, and most importantly, your customers.
One of the most important retail technologies that’s constantly evolving is Point of Sale (POS) software. A modern POS system consists of CRM, inventory management, accounting, automation, Cloud technology, POS hardware (i.e., computers/tablets, card readers, cash draws, barcode scanners, receipt printers, mobile POS devices), and more. It’s important to choose a retail solution provider that supports all these components, and keeps up with industry changes.
When building an online store, we suggest starting out with an eCommerce website that is easy to use, and can also automate as many internal processes as possible. Next, build a plan, or strategy, that is realistic, actionable and measurable. And finally, choose a retail software provider that can support all your technology needs.