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Reworking Your Outsourcing Practices to Find the Right Commerce Solutions
Michael Aldrich invented online shopping in 1979, a technique that later became 'ecommerce'. Surprisingly, Amazon alone dominates 56.7% of the total ecommerce industry alone in the US in 2022, according to PYMNTS’s research data. Thus, this competition in the ecommerce industry is fierce even for big retail giants like Apple, Costco, and Macy's.
This blog provides insights into the consideration you should make when outsourcing your ecommerce solution. Let's dive in.
Parameters for the Best Commerce Solution
Mid-market companies cannot afford to be complacent or stagnant. For such businesses, innovation is the key. From genuine customer experience to operations and your team's efficiency, everything needs to be well planned in your ecommerce journey.
One of the primary initiatives in this process is selecting the ideal ecommerce solution for your business. However, the right fit can be achieved only when an ecommerce solution fulfills the parameters listed below. Read on.
Agility and Reliability
Agility is the ability to move quickly and easily in the ever-evolving business space. It helps businesses stay flexible and adapt when challenges arise. Agility allows companies to understand the commerce solution in smaller segments and modify it accordingly to get optimized results. When your commerce solution is agile, your ecommerce development partner can create the solution while taking iterations or feedback from you. This ensures that you have the scope to adjust wherever you see more harm than good.
Agility saves time, costs, and effort while scaling as well. For your customers, agility means your organization's ability to deliver experiences they can rely on. Secondly, reliability is a necessary trait that every software and technology you use must possess. The best way to ensure this is to develop first-party software for your business. This is secure, personalized, and reliable as it performs all operations per your requirement.
Combining business agility with reliability develops a solid foundation to open new revenue streams and support your brick-and-mortar operations while building your ecommerce brand. Your business can be reliable if your customers trust you with security, software performance, and user experience.
When your ecommerce software can integrate seamlessly with different tools and software, you can scale for future growth. Increased revenue, better ROI, happy customers, and risk-free transactions are a few added assets.
XPO Logistics, for example, needed an end-to-end integrated platform to modularize their business. Icreon saw the opportunity and helped the XPO management team to migrate all existing third-party dependencies to first-party tools. We also developed a 'universal connector' to consolidate data from multiple data sources helping in new customer acquisition. XPO introduced independent integration on its business platform six months ago. Since then, they have experienced an 80% market cap increase with $150M in new contracts sold through XPO last mile. Even their delivery model was sorted out due to the solution, and they were able to fulfill 30k+ daily deliveries of ecommerce goods across the US.
Intelligent Automation and Learning
Mid-markets can make experiences more personalized for their users with intelligent automation and learning. Recommendation engines, for instance, use data and artificial intelligence to analyze and process customized customer recommendations. This allows you to tailor messages and content as per different buyer personas.
Machine learning and artificial intelligence allow ecommerce businesses to manage dynamic pricing and assess KPIs. One of the best uses of AI for ecommerce stores and marketing teams, in general, includes automated A/B testing. Apart from automating testing, machine learning can also help the software stand up against common errors and configure ways to avoid them.
AI and ML are great ways to manage customer service through automated chatbots and assist customers during the shopping experience. These act as your eyes and ears while customers are busy selecting their favorite products. You can predict your customers' shopping behavior and understand preferred customer categories, purchasing highlights, and customer lifetime value, among other helpful metrics. So, AI and ML are assets that make people relate to your ecommerce brand with reduced effort.
Composable commerce has recently gained traction due to changes in customer and market dynamics due to ongoing digital transformation. This technology infrastructure allows organizations to implement into their ecommerce businesses the best-of-breed MACH technologies.
MACH stands for:
- M - Microservice
- A - API
- C - Cloud
- H - Headless
When combined, these four different tech infrastructures form a diverse business with advanced and agile capabilities. Here's a list of features that one can target using composable commerce:
- Personalized experiences based on customer behaviors
- Fast response and processing time, thus lesser time consumption
- Reduced customer retention costs
With the ongoing digital revolution, innovation along with transformation have become mandatory. For a business to thrive in the evolution, it must be quick enough to adapt to the trends and need to stay in the competition. In other words, business agility becomes essential for ecommerce brands to thrive. One can acquire this business agility with the composable commerce architecture.
Is Commerce Solution Affordable for Mid-market Companies?
Cost is one of the essential parameters a mid-market business needs to consider in the initial stages. It is also one of the biggest fears why most mid-market companies choose not to have their commerce solution. However, it should not worry you in the long run as the growth is instant, and costs are reduced over time. Some mid-market companies believe that:
- Building an expensive first-party tool from scratch which is meant for multimillion-dollar companies
- Using plugins or third-party software that might lower the cost but is not what a brand owns
Note that both these cases are invalid as you can get your commerce solution without spending much on it.
While sourcing your next commerce solution, a cost-benefit analysis is required. Ensure to include intangible gains such as time and effort while estimating costs. You can also compare the opportunity costs of different commerce solutions in the market. Costs may be a vital factor in influencing your decision but don't make them the most important criteria for your scenario.
How to Choose the Best Commerce Solution Provider?
Once you get everything sorted and decide to get started with e-commerce, you need a verified commerce solution provider. You already know what software or technology you need to work with. If you don't, a genuine software vendor will help you assess it initially. Talking about the technology the ecommerce development partner will use in your project is one of the most important signs of a good software collaborator. Other vital things you need in a commerce solution provider are:
Relevant Experience and History
Check the track record of the commerce solution provider you're planning to collaborate with. Read case studies and know the technology and processes they used to solve issues in the past. Client portfolio and feedback are the best places to estimate whether the commerce solution provider can be trusted or not.
Compliance with your Current Tech Stack
When choosing a service provider for your business, consider whether the platform supports the integration of systems or not. Take into consideration your whole IT infrastructure and your technology stack. Assure whether the services and operational conditions of the platform you are going to choose to comply with your infrastructure, stack and resources or not. This practice is an excellent way to know how much additional service and maintenance costs you'll have to bear to avail the full functionality of the platform. Then make a wise decision based on the potential of the ecommerce platform and your organization's needs.
Nobody wants to face challenges once the commerce solution is set in motion, but you need a support team that's instantly available in unwanted scenarios. The support team is responsible for helping clients understand the solutions and provide customer feedback and direction to improve the platform. This way, a professional support system enables you to improve the efficiency of your commerce business and suggests different ways to avoid repetitive challenges and mistakes. Here's a list of capabilities and features of a sound support system:
- Provides feedback to improve platform efficiency
- Boosts sales
- Builds strong public image
- Lesser issues and mistakes
- Captures customer trust
- Solves customer issues
- Retains customers after offering compensation for issues shoppers face
A good support system is essential to build customers and maintain a client base. Thus, choose a solution provider that provides exceptional customer service and support.
Ready to Find Your Next Commerce Solution?
Undoubtedly, innovation makes you stand out in the industry, but efficient management makes you successful.This calls for a customized commerce solution that allows you complete control over your business. If you're looking to speed up the conversions while maintaining a good customer experience in your ecommerce business, schedule a meeting with ecommerce experts at Icreon. We are here to bring your ideas to life and help you achieve your desired goals. Explore Icreon's ecommerce services.