Jerry and Derek are two highly qualified individuals with several years in the web industry. Jerry, who has worked at Americaneagle.com for 17 years, has worked on projects for clients such as Portillos, Rust Oleum, and CTA. Derek, who has been with Americaneagle.com for 8 years, has worked on projects for Beretta, Stuart Weitzman, MARS and more.
During Jerry and Derek’s Forum session, they touched on 4 key questions that businesses can consider and ask themselves when considering an ecommerce platform:
- What is the current landscape of ecommerce?
- What are the top technology trends you should be following?
- How do you take your business to the next level of maturity?
- How do you select a platform and what is the strategy behind it?
What is the current landscape of ecommerce?
Jerry and Derek explained that, according to data released from the US Commerce Department, ecommerce grew 14.6% in 2015; online sales accounted for more than a third of total retail sales growth for that year.
This is the sixth year in a row that U.S. ecommerce sales have grown near or above 15%, and this growth exceeded what Forrester projected in 2011 ($327B by 2016).
The above image is a Lumascape, a diagram depicting all of the various technology categories related to ecommerce and the vendors that offer those services/products.
The number of options in each one of these categories keeps growing and growing. It’s the Americaneagle.com Partnership Team’s job to vet out these offerings and see how they fit into our strategy and service offerings to our customers.
It can be overwhelming with all of these choices, but it is most important to be aware of the following categories in particular as the landscape continues to grow:
- Marketplaces/Flash Sale Sites/Exchanges
- Price Comparisons
The e-retail market is clearly growing, and will continue to do so. Mobile shopping is also sky-rocketing. How we buy is changing; faster, free shipping and a variety of payment options are desired, and personalization, predictive readiness and an omni-channel shopping experience is becoming more and more sought after. If you are an e-retailer who cannot compete on price, one option is to add value through your customer experience and customer service.
What are the top technology trends you should be following?
Design and DevelopmentAmericaneagle.com has many integrations partners. We establish relationships with the experts on these back office systems and allow for data to move between systems in an easy fashion. The design and development trends you should be aware of include:
- Mobile First Development
- Agile Development
- Responsive Design
- 360 View
- Integrated Systems
- Search and Guided Navigation
- Movement to the Cloud
If you’d like any more information on any of the above, the Americaneagle.com team would be very happy to discuss your business needs and make suggestions as to what would work best for you.
Marketing TrendsDeciding how to utilize your marketing budget can be a challenge. Here are a few marketing trends you might consider investing in:
- Personalized shopping experience – including context marketing and the development of personas
- Data driven decisions – including A/B testing, heat maps and exit surveys
- Real time, actionable analytics - Google Analytics, for example
- Loyalty programs
- Marketing Automation
Operational TrendsIf you’re looking to improve your site, you might also ask yourself - what operational technologies would my company benefit from? Along with our partners, we can help you with the following:
- Streamling the checkout process
- Payment methods that work for you and your customers
- Fast and free shipping
- Fraud / security and move to tokenization
- Multi-lingual, multi-site, globalization and multi-currency sites
- Staffing for your online presence
How do you progress your business to the next level of maturity?
Jerry and Derek went on to explain the above image, which shows the steps you can take to reach the next level of maturity, increasing from left to right. Businesses can take this phased approach and plug in what’s relevant for their business.
Step 1. Most everyone these days is at least at this step. You have a website, you are sending emails, and you’re looking at your analytics. We see this as a phase that everyone should be doing at some level.
Step 2. You are always optimizing your content and you’re posting that content to various channels, including social networks.
Step 3. You know your audience and the different types of buyers visiting your site.
Step 4. You are using personas to change experiences and optimize experiences. You are utilizing A/B Testing to constantly improve your site.
Step 5. You have some automation in place to constantly check in with customers. This can be through email at a basic level, but also using other techniques on the site with banner messaging, actions, search results, etc.
Step 6. This step is considered more advanced and complex because of the integration of your omni-channel experiences. This includes offering the same customer experience across all channels whether that be in store, through your call center, your catalogs, resellers, etc.
Step 7. Have your customers become advocates for your products. You start predicting and responding in real time. You might also start using loyalty programs to encourage a repeated customer experience.
How do you select a platform and what is the strategy behind it?When choosing the right platform for your website, there are many factors to consider. These include:
- Different types of licensing platforms: On-Prem, Saas, Open Source
- Features vs. customization
- Design flexibility
- Cost of updates and upgrades
- 3rd party integrations
- Reporting and analytics
Once you have considered all these factors and the needs of your business, Americaneagle.com will happily assist you with figuring out which platform is best for you. We work with many ecommerce platforms, including:
- ROC Commerce
- Sitecore Commerce