The worldwide e-commerce industry is witnessing an ‘explosive’ growth spurt, with predictions estimating an average growth of 6% YoY, and the industry topping $27 Trillion by 2020. There is no time like now to be in the e-commerce business and internet retailers are aiming for big growth in 2017.
An e-commerce business allows you to reach new customers, across the globe, with relative ease. While ambitions and plans are ripe, the questions that e-commerce business owners must ask themselves is, ‘Is the product or service relevant to a wider audience’, “Is there a demand for it?’ and ‘Is your infrastructure ready for the growth and expansion?’
For businesses ready to expand globally as well as locally, here are 5 key tips to make sure your infrastructure is growth-ready:
1) Design a scalable e-commerce infrastructure:
When building your infrastructure and defining back-end processes keep expansion in mind. Ensure that the infrastructure is cloud-based and offers flexible growth packages. Prefer providers who ensure secure off-site technology resources and flexible automation.
2) Make the most of ‘Data Analytics’:
In addition to maintaining a 20% redundancy, create predictive IT models based on data analysis to link to business goals. Predictive models will help you identify the present status and determine the required IT infrastructure for the coming year.
Additionally, implement a converged infrastructure for user data and online trading information. Drawing insights from the vast amount of data available increases your capacity to predict oncoming traffic and their patterns so your infrastructure is ready 24×7. The icing on the cake is that it will also help you personalise the experience for your customers. Customers have been exposed to personalised experiences from the likes of Amazon and Netflix, and have come to expect the same level of personalisation from online retailers, where product offerings are highly targeted and not simply ‘one size fits all’.
3) Be Mobile-ready:
Mobile commerce has come a long way over the past few years. The mobile commerce sales are expected to account for over 25% of a successful e-business, and it’s not an avenue to overlook. Customer expectations have evolved too, driven by larger screens, smoother buying experiences, better mobile search and context-driven discovery. Customers no longer expect simple optimisation or the website to just ‘work’ on their mobile phones. Designing a unique experience that works in synergy with a phone’s size and functionality is critical and not seeing a phone screen as the newest ‘shop-window’ is an e-commerce pitfall.
4) Price it right:
Pricing is the key to competitive advantage and in the world of ever-changing dynamics in e-commerce, it is best to embed an automatic price intelligence solution. An automatic price intelligence solution can record, store and analyse price related information from other sites in real time. Use this information to automate the adjustment of the price of your products within acceptable margins, and stay competitive while improving your overall gross margin.
5) Fulfilling the commitment:
The most critical step in an e-commerce business is of course fulfilment. Invest time in building a detailed operations-plan to deliver robust logistics and support capabilities. The plan should include supply-chain and transportation plans based on information from local teams, and should also allow for real-time inputs from the on-ground team covering the entire process from order receipt to delivery.