The Must-Haves to Look for in an eCommerce Solutions Provider
Choosing the right eCommerce platform and the right eCommerce solutions provider is as important as having a solid business plan and great products. More than 20 million eCommerce sites are now doing business worldwide, so new Direct to Consumer (DTC) eCommerce businesses need to be locked and loaded even before they go live.
In 2016, L’Oréal CEO Jean Paul Agon said, “eCommerce isn’t the cherry on the cake, it is the new cake.” A few years later, his words have proven to be prophetic. In 2020, $861.02 billion was spent online by U.S. customers alone, a massive jump from the $394.9 billion in eCommerce sales in 2016. eCommerce now accounts for 21.3% of all retail sales.
But with so many eCommerce solutions providers available, how does a business find one that will not only deliver full-service, end-to-end solutions but also help them scale and grow?
An eCommerce solutions provider should be able to offer an aggressive launch plan aligned with your creative and marketing scope,” says Dan Wallace-Brewster, SVP of Marketing at Scalefast. “[There must be] a commitment to moving forward with rapid iterations to keep you ahead of the curve. This is a very competitive marketplace and your partner should be ahead of the curve in keeping you ahead of the curve in keeping you ahead of the competition.” Here are some of the must-haves to look for in your next eCommerce solutions provider. Let’s start with three of the most important.
Dependable Experience and Expertise
The right eCommerce solutions provider should have the technical skill required to meet the complexities of modern business requirements and have experience working within a brand’s specific industry and marketplace. Most importantly, they must have a deep understanding of what each business wants to achieve, where they want to go and how to get there.
“Look for a solutions provider who has deep expertise in digital commerce throughout the commerce technology lifecycle.” Scalefast’s Wallace-Brewster advises. “That’s not just when you go live. It’s the entire lifecycle of your business and every single touchpoint your have with your customer. A full-service solutions provider should be on the lookout for the landmines that are on the horizon both domestically and abroad. ”
Here is where research is important. Looking deeper into a provider’s capabilities, case studies, customer reviews, and past performance is time well spent. It is also important to choose a service provider that can advise and educate when it comes to investing in the solutions software and its implementation. In short, DTC eCommerce brands need both a provider and a partner.
The scalability of an eCommerce platform can significantly impact future growth. A good provider must deliver a platform that can easily support any and all business changes, both now and in the future. They should be able to design a platform that continually expands and evolves to allow for new features, functionalities, and pre-integrated payment capabilities that support the many ways of doing business. Look at the individual pricing, features, and tools that go with each platform.
Before choosing an eCommerce platform, an organization needs to consider where it want to be in five years. The last thing a business needs is to be limited by a provider that cannot keep up with business growth.
Few things will negatively erode a brand’s reputation and customer trust than a history of security breaches. Customers simply will not do business with a company that puts their data and privacy at risk. To that end, an eCommerce solutions provider must have proven experience in delivering and maintaining heightened security protocols, including data backup and disaster recovery. Plus, in an online marketplace where financial payments are a constant, an eCommerce platform must be payment card industry (PCI) compliant. With online “bad actors” currently inflicting $6 trillion worth of damage globally, partnering with a provider that delivers enhances fraud protection and cybercrime security and is the best investment an eCommerce business can make.
Other Essential Must-Haves
While there is no such thing as a “one size fits all” solution, there are many things an eCommerce business cannot do without. While considerations like design and aesthetics, UX branding, and content are indeed important, the focus should be more on business operations, lead generation, and customer engagement. The best providers will offer full feature-laden services that will adapt and grow with the business.
A provider must also be able to deliver an end-to-end experience across marketing, sales, service, and eCommerce. They should also have experience in designing a platform that is SEO and mobile-friendly that will easily integrate with other online marketplaces— including social media channels—and offer easy access to important customer engagement data and metrics. A proven history of successfully designing and implementing API-based infrastructures and headless eCommerce platforms are also crucial in today’s online marketplaces.
Other “must-have” checklist items to consider include:
So much depends on choosing the proper eCommerce provider, namely business growth and success. Due diligence, research, and patience are key. But, when done right, partnering with an experienced provider solidifies a DTC business’ place in the online market. The results of this type of fruitful partnership will be steady growth, higher sales, and profits and a robust conversion rate.
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