By definition, eCommerce is based upon and led by technology (and smart entrepreneurs). Whether a company has started as an online only business or has progressed to ecommerce from a bricks-and-mortar operation, we have identified 5 plus 1 technologies that have become ‘best practice’ in the digital and physical business world.
- eCommerce Suites
eCommerce suites form the foundation of any eCommerce business IT infrastructure. Most known eCommerce suites come with Web Content Management (WCM), Product Information Management (PIM) and Order Management (OMS) modules. These are needed to enable functionalities like the display of product images and information, the categorisation and pagination of all the available products, and the capturing of purchase orders and payments.
- Enterprise Management Systems
Enterprise Management Systems are intended to assist with accounting and finance, warehousing and procurement, operations and customer relationship management and analytics. There are three key enterprise systems that eCommerce businesses should consider – Customer Relationship Management (CRM), Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) and Supply Chain Management (SCM). These systems are needed to track inventory at hand, orders made, orders delivered, operational costs, customer purchase behavior etc.
- Online Visual Merchandising Solutions
For fast growing eCommerce websites, augmenting the search and display capabilities can easily set them apart from their competitors. Integrated merchandising platforms pull all the information related to a search and display it to the user/customer. This enables customers to virtually look and feel the merchandise on the website before making a decision to purchase. Moreover, the more advanced platforms will allow you to execute landing pages, schedule promotional campaigns and collaborate with marketing, merchandising and other departments to provide a more targeted and rich customer experience.
- Social Interaction and Review Tools
Especially for B2C eCommerce businesses, digital channels like blogs, industry portals and social media are of utmost importance in order to build brand awareness, connect to different audiences, but also monitor market sentiment and competition. With vast amounts of user-generated content including ratings, reviews and social sharing, it is critical to be able to monitor, review and manage those interactions as well as adjust messaging and campaigns accordingly.
- Customer Analytics
Getting visibility into the online customers’ behaviour can be the springboard to strengthen existing revenue streams and create new ones. Two areas that can provide immediate actionable insight are customer journey mapping and transactional analysis. Mapping the visitors’ journey to understand the process they go through as they engage with the website, uncovers pain points and opportunities for improvement. Similarly, being able to examine the purchase frequency, amount, and the type of products purchased together, will provide substantiated patterns and predictions to guide better marketing and product development.
5+1. The role of Systems Integration
These third party systems are today considered a must for eCommerce companies that want to quickly upscale their business. However, most companies end up running these systems in silos for various reasons – company structure and legacy or proprietary systems and applications being just the tip of the iceberg. Whatever the reason, when access to data is compromised, accessing and processing these data becomes a complex, laborious and error-prone exercise. This is where Systems Integration is brought into the picture to connect these third party systems. Using high performance, API-led connectivity to dynamically link the various live and legacy systems and applications, it provides a single point of access and a unified view of a company’s data
Project snapshot: How WHISHWORKS helped White Stuff create a truly integrated ecommerce ecosystem
White Stuff, a well known British fashion and lifestyle brand, has been using a number of third party systems to manage and track day to day business operations. At the heart of its online business operation was its eCommerce suite, however extracting information on visitors to their website was difficult. They needed to integrate their eCommerce suite with other 3rd party systems they were using, including Microsoft Navision (ERP), Attraqt (visual merchandising), BazaarVoice (web chat & review), Criteo (predictive search) and Google Shop.
WHISHWORKS helped them to seamlessly integrate all the existing systems to their eCommerce suite, with no hardware to maintain and continuous software updates. For the main implementation we used MuleSoft’s CloudHub, a fully-managed, multi-tenanted, globally available and secure cloud platform for API integration.
If you would like to find out more about how Systems Integration could help you make the most out of your current infrastructure while enabling you to open your digital horizons, do give us a call at +44 (0)203 475 7980 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Other useful links: