If you’re like most ecommerce providers, your answer will be “sort of.”
Your platform probably works fine, but we’re willing to bet that there are one or two issues you’ve been compromising on for a while now.
Maybe your method for putting in orders is too time-consuming and error-prone. Maybe your marketing teams are spending too much time corralling IT instead of focusing on their core duties. Or maybe you’re just having trouble tracking the eCommerce activity that other companies seem to manage so effortlessly.
Best case scenario, you’re dealing with only one or two of these issues. But in our experience, we’ve seen that most companies are compromising on their platforms more than they’re willing to admit.
And unfortunately, while these compromises save money in the short-term, they contribute to long-term issues that will inevitably impact your business efficiency, revenue generation, and the customer experience.
One Platform Isn’t Enough—So You Get More
Most eCommerce platforms out there have their limitations, such as a lack of flexibility and customizations that companies need to make the solution their own.
These solutions often have strict front-end requirements and functional limitations that prevent companies from making full use of the platform; for example, when customer data isn’t available via API. It’s a fractured way of looking at the platform that makes integration nearly impossible. Add in the unfortunate fact that many of these platforms live in disconnected silos, and it’s clear why eCommerce providers struggle to create unified customer experience across platforms.
The problem gets compounded when you consider just how many platforms the average business needs to deal with on a daily basis:
- Customer relationship management (CRM) system
- Order management software
- Supply chain software
- Email marketing software
- Payment gateways and portals
There’s a world of data in these systems, but for most companies, they’re disconnected. If a marketing rep needs to look up information on an order placed in the previous month, he/she will need to dig through multiple systems before finding the data. Talk about time-consuming. And every minute the rep takes is a minute the client will wait.
This is a problem—for your staff and for your clients.
These types of system inefficiencies are detrimental to your company’s service, and when you consider research showing that 86 percent of buyers are willing to pay more for a better customer experience, it’s clear that companies need to find new ways to manage their platforms.
Are Your Systems Integrated?
When it comes to multi-system platform management, your goal is integration. You want to bring your disjointed systems out of silos and unite them under a single platform that’s easy to monitor and easy to manage. Utilizing a hosted eCommerce platform, to reduce the amount of time spent managing and administering that platform, and instead investing in integration. By leveraging tools that make integration seamless, the opportunities can greatly expand.
Outsourcing the eCommerce side of things gives your company a valuable tool: a completely unified commerce experience, no matter how many systems you have.
It doesn’t matter if you’re referencing data in your inventory management system, marketing software, or supply chain system—all eCommerce data is available via your hosted service provider.
And this unification is just the tip of the iceberg. When you work with hosted ecommerce providers who offer full customization through an open source platform, you can build out your core platform in some interesting ways by combining data and functionality from multiple services together for a better customer experience.
- Real and up-to-the minute customer information and purchase history to run marketing automation campaigns through your email service provider
- Custom product configuration, bundle, and kit building
- Product gifting and subscription options
- Loyalty and reward programs
These integrations let you build your eCommerce solution any way you want. You aren’t restricted by the limitations of a basic eCommerce solution, nor are you restricted by siloed customer information. Your eCommerce data is managed through an open and accessible framework and can be deployed exactly as your business demands.
Hosted Ecommerce + Flexible Architecture = Winning!
The above integration options offer clear advantages from a brand customization standpoint, but they aren’t the only benefits of a hosted eCommerce solution.
Your back-office team will have many of their own challenges and requirements where having the ability to easily integrate is key. In fact, those challenges may require rework and iteration just as frequently as the customer-facing aspect of the business. The combination of a flexible platform architecture coupled with the efficiencies of a hosted platform environment mean you gain the advantage of integrating with any disjointed systems while limiting other technical challenges:
- Reduced costs on the infrastructure you need for self-hosted solutions
- Complete front-end customization with as many integrations as your company needs
- Better scalability as your company grows
- Quick deployment that eliminates the delays and costs of replatforming
- Ongoing support from experienced teams of IT personnel
These features support one of the biggest benefits of hosted eCommerce: You’ll spend less time managing your website infrastructure and more time focusing on your revenue-generating workflows: Marketing, sales, and customer relationship management.
If you’re struggling with the limitation of your current eCommerce platform, it’s time to look into new solutions. Hosted eCommerce software can provide the missing link your company needs to accelerate its growth. With all of your silos combined into one and complete customization of your front-end interface, you can build an eCommerce experience that’s simple, effective, and perfectly aligned with your brand.
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