How to turn your e-commerce platform into a competitive advantage

To meet the expectations of its customers, an e-commerce platform must first and foremost meet the needs of the company. Deciphering the five main factors.

Does your organization see its technology stack as a competitive advantage? It should be – and this is even more true for e-commerce. According to a recent study by Harris Interactive, “89% of consumers turn to a competitor because of a poor customer experience.” In other words, if your customers experience friction on your site, they will look elsewhere.

According to a Salesforce report, “online personalization generates 24% more orders, and generates 26% of e-commerce revenue.” Investing in technology to better reach its consumers can lead to additional sales, and potentially have a significant impact on your bottom line.

Here are five ways your e-commerce technology can be a real competitive advantage:

1) Measurement

Before anything else, ask yourself if the platform you are investing in can accommodate the growth of your business. This includes taking into account the number of transactions or references to the product catalog, but also taking into account security and reliability, including logistics, products and the complexity of orders.

Conversely, platforms stuck in fixed-cost data centers tend to be inefficient, quietly eroding your business’s margins. As the HUB Institute points out, cloud-based e-commerce platforms with a MACH-type architecture (microservices, API first, cloud and headless) can easily meet the needs of demanding customers, while aggressively competing with lowering prices and delivering higher value.

2) Optimize search

Without a platform that can provide real-time insights into customer behavior, your e-commerce business is running in the dark. Instead of guessing, take advantage of the data your customers give you, especially through the queries they make in your search bar.

Often, this data is stored and ignored. In France, only 23% of companies use data to better understand their consumers and improve the customer experience, and 20% to better understand consumer habits. To grow your business, you need real-time dashboards that make your customer information readable and actionable.

3) Customize the search

Studies show that conversion rates for customers who use a search box through the site are nearly double those who don’t, and 30% of customers use a search box when it is available. So it makes sense to consider whether you can refine search relevance, using machine learning (ML) and artificial intelligence (AI) or through your backend.

Optimization can be summed up as: “If a customer is looking for product x, also show them product y.” Based on research, this is one of the ways that companies increase the value of shopping carts and maximize the value of each customer. Plus, it’s a way to show clients that there’s logic behind the results.

4) Thinking about the customer relationship

It’s all about convincing customers that your business knows their needs and can meet them. Personalizing the customer relationship is an incredibly effective way to get your customers to notice your business and influence them when shopping online – 48% of consumers spend more when they receive a personalized experience, which gets up to 40 % additional income.

Like a store manager, a good personalization strategy requires your staff to get to know repeat customers, learn their tastes and preferences, and make them feel welcome and valued. Following the purchase, the customer should be invited to stay if he wishes, as one does not expel a customer from the store after completing his transaction. Platform customization is similar, but on a larger scale.

5) Cart conversion rate

Time to close the sale. An e-commerce platform must offer seamless and transparent transactions that allow your customers to have peace of mind and to conduct an online transaction in complete security. In fact, 74% of consumers are concerned about the security of their information when paying online, and half hope for more fluidity in this area.

With the rise of digital wallets, storage of billing and shipping information, split payments, and efforts to make the internet a better environment for commerce and transactions, you need to avoid cart abandonment before completion the transaction.

In conclusion, a good online shopping experience turns visitors into repeat customers, increasing their value and the impact of your marketing spend. Regular customers will become loyal customers, and loyal customers will become allies. It all starts with your technology stack’s ability to support and deliver these five key factors, in order to properly treat your customers – your company’s most valuable asset.

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