E commerce best practices

Retail

orchestrate-technologies-llc
  • E-COMMERCE BEST PRACTICES Methods to get a cut above the rest Solutions for higher performance!
  • Introduction E-commerce (also written as e-Commerce, eCommerce or similar variants), short for electronic commerce, is trading in products or services using computer networks, such as the Internet. Electronic commerce draws on technologies such as mobile commerce, electronic funds transfer, supply chain management, Internet marketing, online transaction processing, electronic data interchange (EDI), inventory management systems, and automated data collection systems. Modern electronic commerce typically uses the World Wide Web for at least one part of the transaction's life cycle, although it may also use other technologies such as e-mail. E-commerce businesses may employ some or all of the following Online shopping web sites for retail sales direct to consumers Providing or participating in online marketplaces, which process third-party business-to-consumer or consumer-to-consumer sales Business-to-business buying and selling Gathering and using demographic data through web contacts and social media 11
  • Business-to-business electronic data interchange Marketing to prospective and established customers by e-mail or fax (for example, with newsletters) Engaging in pretail for launching new products and services Introduction 2
  • Types of Licensing Models On-premise E-commerce On-premise E-commerce software usually requires initial one time purchase investment in terms of licensing fees. Also, it implies extra costs related to hardware and installation services as well as data migration and on-going maintenance fees that are usually charged on a yearly basis for software updates and support. Some examples of typical on premise E-commerce platforms are Hybris (company), Intershop Communications, Sana Commerce., Oorjit. and IBM WebSphere. 3 Advantages Easily customizable Data security High performance Disadvantages Large initial investment Self-maintenance Technical knowledge
  • Software as a service (SaaS) E-commerce Software as a Service (SaaS)- is a cloud based delivery model in which applications are hosted and managed in a service provider's datacenter, paid for on a subscription basis and accessed via a browser over an internet connection. Two examples of typical SaaS E-commerce solutions are Shopify and Demandware. But there are much more of such examples. Advantages Affordable low-cost solution Hosted/upgraded by E-commerce provider Easily scalable Disadvantages Limited integration with back-end systems Lack of data security Limited control over the system 4 Types of Licensing Models
  • Open source E-commerce Open source E-commerce is a free of charge platform that doesn’t imply licenses fee. Furthermore, open source users are also responsible for installing, maintaining, securing and configuring the software on their own servers. In order to set up an open source platform, basic technical expertise is required in the areas of web design and development. Software products that are distributed as open source are generally free, and users can access and modify the source code. Several examples of typical open source E-commerce platforms are PayCart, PrestaShop, osCommerce and Magento. 5 Types of Licensing Models
  • Categories of E-Commerce As with traditional commerce, there are four principal categories of E-commerce: B2B, B2C, C2B and C2C. B2B (Business to Business) — This involves companies doing business with each other. One example is manufacturers selling to distributors and wholesalers selling to retailers. B2C (Business to Consumer) — B2C consists of businesses selling to the general public through shopping cart software, without needing any human interaction. This is what most people think of when they hear "E-commerce." An example of this would be Amazon. C2B (Consumer to Business) — In C2B E-commerce, consumers post a project with a set budget online, and companies bid on the project. The consumer reviews the bids and selects the company. Elance is an example of this. C2C (Consumer to Consumer) — This takes place within online classified ads, forums or marketplaces where individuals can buy and sell their goods. Examples of this include Craigslist, eBay and Etsy. 6
  • E-Commerce Strategy As in any new venture, the first step in succeeding in E-commerce is to set goals. Do you plan to increase revenue from existing customers? Gain new customers? Increase the average order value? Sell through new channels? Lower prices? Once you have figured out your goals, it's time to set a plan. A SWOT analysis can help you assess the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats of your company's current environment. What does the market look like? Where does your business excel, and where does it falter? Review your entire business, not just segments of it. Evaluate external opportunities, because this is the often the primary place to invest time and money. Be honest with yourself when analyzing weaknesses and threats, or else the analysis will not be helpful. After the SWOT analysis is done, see how it fits into your overall vision. Where do you see your business in five years? In 10 years? This will help you set business objectives for the current year, where you set objectives for sales, profits, customers, traffic, new systems and new staff. After the objectives are set, you can set a strategy into place yourself, or hire an E-commerce consultant to help you. 7
  • Other tools that can help you determine how to best grow your company into a new segment include PEST (Political, Economic, Social and Technological), MOST (Mission, Objective, Strategies and Tactics), and Porter's Five Forces analyses. 8 E-Commerce Strategy
  • Best Practices U.S. retail E-commerce sales for the first quarter of 2015 were $80.3 billion, up 3.5% from the fourth quarter of 2014. E-commerce sales are expected to continue rising steadily, putting pressure on E-commerce websites to deliver intuitive user experiences, fast-loading content and simple shopping cart checkouts. What best practices are being used today on high-performing E-commerce sites? Better site search, larger product images and responsive site design. 9
  • Leveraging Key Facets For Improved Outcomes Design features Customer engagement Design is key to website success and each online store should be tailored to visually appeal to the customers as well as provide user-friendly functionality that will smooth the process from browsing through products, to finalizing a transaction. There is no absolute rule for design; not all features are appropriate for all websites but keeping up-to-date with the latest options is necessary to keep pace with ever increasing customer expectations. How a company chooses to engage with customers is a direct reflection of the company brand and their values. Engagement can be in both a passive way, by putting online tools available to them, or actively by seeking participation in voting polls, social media or feedback contributions. Whichever way a company decides to engage with their customers it should be a means that can be maintained given the resources available, as well as fulfilling any sales-related objectives. Once a positive interaction has been experienced, people will expect that to be equaled second time around, or improved upon. 10
  • Currency, customs and discounts The price of an item is always a central consideration to any consumer, and generally a significant factor in the decision to buy or not. In the same way, it is essential for a positive customer experience to clarify all customs charges, currency and discounts information in order to secure the sale. Unexpected customs duties from a cross-border sale can leave a lasting negative impression on a customer and affect their future shopping choices, whether to buy cross-border or not, whether it is from the same retailer or another. The greater number of retailers that behave responsibly in this area, the increased number of happy customer there will be, and the E-commerce industry stands to benefit. 11 Leveraging Key Facets For Improved Outcomes
  • Delivery options Feature the search box Delivery is both the fulfilment of the retailer’s obligation to the customer and a moment of direct contact; the importance of the delivery experience is because these two factors are a reflection of the company. The delivery can be frustrating and disappointing in the worst case, but in the best case, it can leave such a positive impression that customers want to buy again. By understanding the value of convenience and performance meeting stated expectations the latter is achievable for all E-retailers. Most E-commerce sites treat their site search as an afterthought. Compared with featured-product slideshows and animated overlays and other "toys," the humble site search box can seem static and utilitarian. But it doesn't have to be. More than most other pieces of the online shopping experience, site search allows for direct communication between the customer and the retailer. It doesn't need to be limited to that dictionary-like lookup system of the last generation of E-commerce. It can be a dynamic, intuitive, and interactive tool for directly connecting with the customer. 12 Leveraging Key Facets For Improved Outcomes
  • Instead of hiding the search box in a corner of the site navigation, A/B-test locations to find where search performs best and where it's most intuitive for your visitors. Write more copy in your product descriptions Product descriptions are at the heart of an E-commerce site. Nearly every customer who converts on a product will do so only after reading the product description. If your product description is bland, undescriptive, unemotional, boring, or otherwise uninspiring, it is less likely that a customer will buy your product. What should you do? Write more copy. Don’t just list the article; describe it. Write about it. Explain how to use it. Discuss its advantages. Powerful product descriptions will make people want to buy. There’s another major advantage in producing longer product descriptions: SEO. More copy is better for search engines. The more copy you write, the higher your likelihood of appearing and ranking in search engines. 13 Leveraging Key Facets For Improved Outcomes
  • Make your images bigger Generally speaking, larger product images improve your conversion rates. Intuitive customer expression and smart search suggestions Is your site search smart enough to recognize "pants," "slacks," and "trousers" as the same kind of product? Can it recognize spelling mistakes and auto-suggest alternatives in real time? Can it dynamically create such connections, rather than rely on constant manual updates from programmers? When you make images larger, it helps shoppers gain a closer look and better experience of the product. Pictures are more effective than words at engaging attention and capturing users’ interest. When you make your images nice and big, it forces the user to pay attention and encourages them to convert. 14 Leveraging Key Facets For Improved Outcomes
  • The smarter your site search, the more likely it is to result in conversions. People are pretty good at making connections between similar concepts, overlooking obvious mistakes, and filtering out obviously irrelevant details and results; unfortunately, those are also things that most computer programs are terrible at. In other words, your site search results are only as good as their programming. 15 Leveraging Key Facets For Improved Outcomes
  • Personalize results for mobile shoppers One of the greatest frustrations for mobile shoppers is wading through a site search system that isn't optimized for the smaller screens and touch-based interfaces of today's smartphones and tablets. Search results on mobile platforms tend to be excessively long reels of results, laborious to review and often irrelevant to the shopper's actual interests or needs. By making use of intelligent preferences and observations about the shopper, you can deliver results that are prioritized for their individual interests so that the most relevant and preferred items are listed first. There is no need for endless swiping and scrolling to find the right items, because those items are always at the top of the list. Even the limitations of smaller screens become minimized when the most relevant results are presented first. 16 Leveraging Key Facets For Improved Outcomes
  • Conclusion While E-commerce is a growing industry from the figures, and the trends we can see happening around us, there is no guarantee of success that having a website or becoming an E-retailer will result in sales, or happy customers. As we have tried to draw attention to in the previous pages, there are numerous and often simple ways of engaging with customers and building up a reservoir of confidence that will encourage repeat purchasing. While not all the ideas mentioned in this publication may be applicable or affordable for every online retailer, being aware of possible future improvements and making an effort to remain up-to-date with best practice website developments will be an important factor when aiming to establish an online business. 17
  • E-commerce is an expanding industry, as is the technology it is based on, which means website best practice is constantly evolving and changing, both increasing the pressure to have a state-of-the-art website and allow newcomers to the online world to catch up fast provided they can invest the necessary funds and manpower. Also, although the internet has opened up competition through accessibility, website design is one way that helps differentiate brands and allow leaders in retail to stand-out and capture more of the market. The offline side of E-commerce cannot be overlooked however, for this is the confirmation of the retailer-customer relationship that has been initiated online. Fulfilling the online order through delivery of physical goods is vital, and as we have indicated through examples, it should be as easy as possible for the consumer, so that their experience is positive and memorably so. Clarity of obligation and therefore customer expectation must be established in order for there to be satisfaction with the service received and to avoid unpleasant surprises. 18 Conclusion
  • Orchestrate is a US based business process management organization with Headquarters in Dallas, Texas. Orchestrate offers services to the diverse outsourcing requirements of clients in an extensive range of businesses including IT, finance, mortgage and contact center. We provide a comprehensive suite of technology and services to our clients that help accelerate sales and boost their profit. Our solutions and services help SMEs and enterprises implement technologies and processes that boost their profitability across the organization. About Orchestrate 1330 Capital Parkway, Carrollton TX 75006 [email protected] Free: 800-232-5130 www.orchestrate.com Solutions for higher performance! Orchestrate © 2015. All rights reserved. https://www.linkedin.com/company/orchestrate-it-services http://www.orchestrate.com/blog/ https://plus.google.com/+Orchestrate-Technologies-LLC/posts
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  • E-COMMERCE BEST PRACTICES Methods to get a cut above the rest Solutions for higher performance!
  • Introduction E-commerce (also written as e-Commerce, eCommerce or similar variants), short for electronic commerce, is trading in products or services using computer networks, such as the Internet. Electronic commerce draws on technologies such as mobile commerce, electronic funds transfer, supply chain management, Internet marketing, online transaction processing, electronic data interchange (EDI), inventory management systems, and automated data collection systems. Modern electronic commerce typically uses the World Wide Web for at least one part of the transaction's life cycle, although it may also use other technologies such as e-mail. E-commerce businesses may employ some or all of the following Online shopping web sites for retail sales direct to consumers Providing or participating in online marketplaces, which process third-party business-to-consumer or consumer-to-consumer sales Business-to-business buying and selling Gathering and using demographic data through web contacts and social media 11
  • Business-to-business electronic data interchange Marketing to prospective and established customers by e-mail or fax (for example, with newsletters) Engaging in pretail for launching new products and services Introduction 2
  • Types of Licensing Models On-premise E-commerce On-premise E-commerce software usually requires initial one time purchase investment in terms of licensing fees. Also, it implies extra costs related to hardware and installation services as well as data migration and on-going maintenance fees that are usually charged on a yearly basis for software updates and support. Some examples of typical on premise E-commerce platforms are Hybris (company), Intershop Communications, Sana Commerce., Oorjit. and IBM WebSphere. 3 Advantages Easily customizable Data security High performance Disadvantages Large initial investment Self-maintenance Technical knowledge
  • Software as a service (SaaS) E-commerce Software as a Service (SaaS)- is a cloud based delivery model in which applications are hosted and managed in a service provider's datacenter, paid for on a subscription basis and accessed via a browser over an internet connection. Two examples of typical SaaS E-commerce solutions are Shopify and Demandware. But there are much more of such examples. Advantages Affordable low-cost solution Hosted/upgraded by E-commerce provider Easily scalable Disadvantages Limited integration with back-end systems Lack of data security Limited control over the system 4 Types of Licensing Models
  • Open source E-commerce Open source E-commerce is a free of charge platform that doesn’t imply licenses fee. Furthermore, open source users are also responsible for installing, maintaining, securing and configuring the software on their own servers. In order to set up an open source platform, basic technical expertise is required in the areas of web design and development. Software products that are distributed as open source are generally free, and users can access and modify the source code. Several examples of typical open source E-commerce platforms are PayCart, PrestaShop, osCommerce and Magento. 5 Types of Licensing Models
  • Categories of E-Commerce As with traditional commerce, there are four principal categories of E-commerce: B2B, B2C, C2B and C2C. B2B (Business to Business) — This involves companies doing business with each other. One example is manufacturers selling to distributors and wholesalers selling to retailers. B2C (Business to Consumer) — B2C consists of businesses selling to the general public through shopping cart software, without needing any human interaction. This is what most people think of when they hear "E-commerce." An example of this would be Amazon. C2B (Consumer to Business) — In C2B E-commerce, consumers post a project with a set budget online, and companies bid on the project. The consumer reviews the bids and selects the company. Elance is an example of this. C2C (Consumer to Consumer) — This takes place within online classified ads, forums or marketplaces where individuals can buy and sell their goods. Examples of this include Craigslist, eBay and Etsy. 6
  • E-Commerce Strategy As in any new venture, the first step in succeeding in E-commerce is to set goals. Do you plan to increase revenue from existing customers? Gain new customers? Increase the average order value? Sell through new channels? Lower prices? Once you have figured out your goals, it's time to set a plan. A SWOT analysis can help you assess the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats of your company's current environment. What does the market look like? Where does your business excel, and where does it falter? Review your entire business, not just segments of it. Evaluate external opportunities, because this is the often the primary place to invest time and money. Be honest with yourself when analyzing weaknesses and threats, or else the analysis will not be helpful. After the SWOT analysis is done, see how it fits into your overall vision. Where do you see your business in five years? In 10 years? This will help you set business objectives for the current year, where you set objectives for sales, profits, customers, traffic, new systems and new staff. After the objectives are set, you can set a strategy into place yourself, or hire an E-commerce consultant to help you. 7
  • Other tools that can help you determine how to best grow your company into a new segment include PEST (Political, Economic, Social and Technological), MOST (Mission, Objective, Strategies and Tactics), and Porter's Five Forces analyses. 8 E-Commerce Strategy
  • Best Practices U.S. retail E-commerce sales for the first quarter of 2015 were $80.3 billion, up 3.5% from the fourth quarter of 2014. E-commerce sales are expected to continue rising steadily, putting pressure on E-commerce websites to deliver intuitive user experiences, fast-loading content and simple shopping cart checkouts. What best practices are being used today on high-performing E-commerce sites? Better site search, larger product images and responsive site design. 9
  • Leveraging Key Facets For Improved Outcomes Design features Customer engagement Design is key to website success and each online store should be tailored to visually appeal to the customers as well as provide user-friendly functionality that will smooth the process from browsing through products, to finalizing a transaction. There is no absolute rule for design; not all features are appropriate for all websites but keeping up-to-date with the latest options is necessary to keep pace with ever increasing customer expectations. How a company chooses to engage with customers is a direct reflection of the company brand and their values. Engagement can be in both a passive way, by putting online tools available to them, or actively by seeking participation in voting polls, social media or feedback contributions. Whichever way a company decides to engage with their customers it should be a means that can be maintained given the resources available, as well as fulfilling any sales-related objectives. Once a positive interaction has been experienced, people will expect that to be equaled second time around, or improved upon. 10
  • Currency, customs and discounts The price of an item is always a central consideration to any consumer, and generally a significant factor in the decision to buy or not. In the same way, it is essential for a positive customer experience to clarify all customs charges, currency and discounts information in order to secure the sale. Unexpected customs duties from a cross-border sale can leave a lasting negative impression on a customer and affect their future shopping choices, whether to buy cross-border or not, whether it is from the same retailer or another. The greater number of retailers that behave responsibly in this area, the increased number of happy customer there will be, and the E-commerce industry stands to benefit. 11 Leveraging Key Facets For Improved Outcomes
  • Delivery options Feature the search box Delivery is both the fulfilment of the retailer’s obligation to the customer and a moment of direct contact; the importance of the delivery experience is because these two factors are a reflection of the company. The delivery can be frustrating and disappointing in the worst case, but in the best case, it can leave such a positive impression that customers want to buy again. By understanding the value of convenience and performance meeting stated expectations the latter is achievable for all E-retailers. Most E-commerce sites treat their site search as an afterthought. Compared with featured-product slideshows and animated overlays and other "toys," the humble site search box can seem static and utilitarian. But it doesn't have to be. More than most other pieces of the online shopping experience, site search allows for direct communication between the customer and the retailer. It doesn't need to be limited to that dictionary-like lookup system of the last generation of E-commerce. It can be a dynamic, intuitive, and interactive tool for directly connecting with the customer. 12 Leveraging Key Facets For Improved Outcomes
  • Instead of hiding the search box in a corner of the site navigation, A/B-test locations to find where search performs best and where it's most intuitive for your visitors. Write more copy in your product descriptions Product descriptions are at the heart of an E-commerce site. Nearly every customer who converts on a product will do so only after reading the product description. If your product description is bland, undescriptive, unemotional, boring, or otherwise uninspiring, it is less likely that a customer will buy your product. What should you do? Write more copy. Don’t just list the article; describe it. Write about it. Explain how to use it. Discuss its advantages. Powerful product descriptions will make people want to buy. There’s another major advantage in producing longer product descriptions: SEO. More copy is better for search engines. The more copy you write, the higher your likelihood of appearing and ranking in search engines. 13 Leveraging Key Facets For Improved Outcomes
  • Make your images bigger Generally speaking, larger product images improve your conversion rates. Intuitive customer expression and smart search suggestions Is your site search smart enough to recognize "pants," "slacks," and "trousers" as the same kind of product? Can it recognize spelling mistakes and auto-suggest alternatives in real time? Can it dynamically create such connections, rather than rely on constant manual updates from programmers? When you make images larger, it helps shoppers gain a closer look and better experience of the product. Pictures are more effective than words at engaging attention and capturing users’ interest. When you make your images nice and big, it forces the user to pay attention and encourages them to convert. 14 Leveraging Key Facets For Improved Outcomes
  • The smarter your site search, the more likely it is to result in conversions. People are pretty good at making connections between similar concepts, overlooking obvious mistakes, and filtering out obviously irrelevant details and results; unfortunately, those are also things that most computer programs are terrible at. In other words, your site search results are only as good as their programming. 15 Leveraging Key Facets For Improved Outcomes
  • Personalize results for mobile shoppers One of the greatest frustrations for mobile shoppers is wading through a site search system that isn't optimized for the smaller screens and touch-based interfaces of today's smartphones and tablets. Search results on mobile platforms tend to be excessively long reels of results, laborious to review and often irrelevant to the shopper's actual interests or needs. By making use of intelligent preferences and observations about the shopper, you can deliver results that are prioritized for their individual interests so that the most relevant and preferred items are listed first. There is no need for endless swiping and scrolling to find the right items, because those items are always at the top of the list. Even the limitations of smaller screens become minimized when the most relevant results are presented first. 16 Leveraging Key Facets For Improved Outcomes
  • Conclusion While E-commerce is a growing industry from the figures, and the trends we can see happening around us, there is no guarantee of success that having a website or becoming an E-retailer will result in sales, or happy customers. As we have tried to draw attention to in the previous pages, there are numerous and often simple ways of engaging with customers and building up a reservoir of confidence that will encourage repeat purchasing. While not all the ideas mentioned in this publication may be applicable or affordable for every online retailer, being aware of possible future improvements and making an effort to remain up-to-date with best practice website developments will be an important factor when aiming to establish an online business. 17
  • E-commerce is an expanding industry, as is the technology it is based on, which means website best practice is constantly evolving and changing, both increasing the pressure to have a state-of-the-art website and allow newcomers to the online world to catch up fast provided they can invest the necessary funds and manpower. Also, although the internet has opened up competition through accessibility, website design is one way that helps differentiate brands and allow leaders in retail to stand-out and capture more of the market. The offline side of E-commerce cannot be overlooked however, for this is the confirmation of the retailer-customer relationship that has been initiated online. Fulfilling the online order through delivery of physical goods is vital, and as we have indicated through examples, it should be as easy as possible for the consumer, so that their experience is positive and memorably so. Clarity of obligation and therefore customer expectation must be established in order for there to be satisfaction with the service received and to avoid unpleasant surprises. 18 Conclusion
  • Orchestrate is a US based business process management organization with Headquarters in Dallas, Texas. Orchestrate offers services to the diverse outsourcing requirements of clients in an extensive range of businesses including IT, finance, mortgage and contact center. We provide a comprehensive suite of technology and services to our clients that help accelerate sales and boost their profit. Our solutions and services help SMEs and enterprises implement technologies and processes that boost their profitability across the organization. About Orchestrate 1330 Capital Parkway, Carrollton TX 75006 [email protected] Free: 800-232-5130 www.orchestrate.com Solutions for higher performance! Orchestrate © 2015. All rights reserved. https://www.linkedin.com/company/orchestrate-it-services http://www.orchestrate.com/blog/ https://plus.google.com/+Orchestrate-Technologies-LLC/posts
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