2017 as a brand need to establish a

2017 in e-commerce has been a mixed bag a contradiction of
extreme lows and highs. We have seen many establishes brands filing bankruptcy,
big ticket store closings and even internal strife’s and lawsuits pull down
companies.

On the brighter side according to a study by Mastecard
holiday season sales has seen an exponential jump to 4.9%. This is the best
figures since year 2011 benchmarking. All thanks to e-commerce companies
investing in new technologies. Apart from the market though leader Amazon,
traditional retailers like Walmart and Target are starting to step on the gas
too.

With more emphasis on AI enables e-commerce, advanced
algorithms analyzing shopper’s behavior, providing personalized experience
through integrated e-commerce. Year 2018 is only bound to get more exciting and
there are some particular trends which e-commerce managers and CEO,s should
watch out for.

Cannot resist to say but we are entering a brave new world
indeed.

1.       Brand vs Marketplace quandary

 

As
stated above year 2017 has been a bountiful reaping as far as sales are
concerned and it is only bound to grow in 2018. Now with this comes the quintessential
question should your brand device a marketplace centric strategy or start
developing a robust online presence yourself?

 

What
we personally see initially is most of the e-commerce managers tend to place
their own webstore for basic e-commerce functionality. They prefer selling
their fast moving products on established marketplaces, reason being more
visibility.

 

Our suggestion

 

We
always suggested a balanced approach for our clients and it worked just great.
The objective is simple why stick to a single channel when you can have the
best of both worlds.  You as a brand need
to establish a strong online presence and have your own distribution in place
down the line. We develop a robust Magento 2 based e-commerce platform which
handles a vast product line, SEO optimized and advanced API,s with the ability
to integrate with ERP and CRM,s.

 

Then
we integrate their third party marketplace accounts such as Amazon, eBay and
Walmart with their Magento 2 e-commerce store. This helps them achieve a uniform
inventory view on all their channels, channel centric promotions based on their
internal strategy and a complete distribution network suiting their
requirements and orders.

 

2.       Reducing operational costs 

 

Reducing
operational costs is another important point which e-commerce managers and
CEO,s agree upon in unison. This should definitely be their agenda for the year
2018. We have seen numerous retail houses fall to bad management strategies
which lead to spiraling operational costs.

 

This
can be attributed to improper time management of resources to unchecked
logistics and distributions cost. E-commerce operations ought to draw a draft
plan which will place criteria’s for areas which are eating into their
revenues.

 

Our Suggestion

 

I95Dev
believes in getting the basics right and we have helped numerous clients set
their house in order. They had great products, resources and managements the
only cog missing for them was getting all these on a single platform.

 

We
developed solutions where their Magento 2 e-commerce platform was developed and
integrated to their backend ERP and other fulfillment systems. Even during a
surge in orders all the details were able to sync between their e-commerce and
ERP systems without any mismatch of information. Customer information, product
SKU,s available, product description, financial details were made available
without their resource going the extra mile irrespective of the increased order
bandwidth.

 

This
greatly reduced their operational costs and freed time for their resources
which increased their efficiency and reduced burnout. Our suggestion for year
2018 would be to develop a scalable e-commerce platform like Magento 2 and then
build the integrated ecosystem on top of it.

 

3.       Convergence of offline and online presence

 

There
have been numerous examples of retail operations both e-commerce and physical
going bust. The reason being laying too much emphasis on their physical or
e-commerce channel. Some of the companies were not even able walk the thin line
between online and offline presence leading to excess spending and decreased
margins.

 

Some
of the prime examples who we observed and extensively reported on this syndrome
were Gander Mountain, Sports Chalet, Sporting Authority etc. The interesting
part is traditionally conservative industries like vineyards are even actively
joining the e-commerce bandwagon and year 2018 is set to see more such welcome
moves.

 

Our suggestion

 

I95Dev
always knew that statements like “Physical retail will die” or “Brick and
Mortar presence will decline” were too outrageous. We stand by our thought even
now. You should be striving to achieve a perfect balance between your online
and offline presence and let your brand grow.

 

We
have helped our clients evolve their customer experience both offline and
online. By integrating e-commerce platform with various channels including your
physical stores your customer representatives on and off the floor can make
informed decisions. It can help you to add advanced options like buy online or
pick up in store near you. In short we helped our clients emulate the coveted
‘Burberry experience in their CEO,s words “Walking through the doors is just
like walking into a website”.

 

We
deliver this experience by integrating Magento 2 e-commerce platform with
various backend systems such as ERP, CRM, Mobile POS, Physical stores and PIM.

 

4.       Rethink your omni-channel strategy

 

In year 2017 retail giant Walmart has posted impressive
returns all thanks to its diversified Omni channel strategy. E-commerce
managers and CEO,s should add additional channels to their marketing mix and
let their shoppers decide which channel to buy from.

 

Omni channel strategy is an exercise which even requires a
huge internal rehaul to achieve. All departments such as product, marketing,
sales, customer support should be on board for omni channel success.

 

Our Suggestion

 

We suggest the inclusion of third party marketplaces,
physical retail outlets, POS, CRM, ERP, mobile commerce, social media and PIM
to achieve the perfect Omni channel strategy mix.  Designing this strategy requires a completely
responsive e-commerce platform such as Magento 2. This provides the same
customer experience irrespective of the place where your shoppers shops your
products from.

 

Integrating your e-commerce platform to the backend systems
such as ERP, CRM and POS is equally important. This is where again we place our
bets on Magento 2 e-commerce platform which can easily integrate with the
backend.

 

The main objective of providing personalization, increase
sales and improve branding. If you are interested in implementing a perfect
omni channel strategy for your brand and want an in depth insight click
here for a more detailed read. 

 

5.       Next level personalization

 

Personalization
will set stage to the next grand plan of e-commerce. Many e-commerce retailers
have started investing heavily on personalization. The like of Amazon and Warby
Parker have even gone the extra mile by inculcating Artificial Intelligence
factors into their personalization strategy.

 

Voice
enabled shopping commands, personalized shopping recommendations, see now buy
now trends and personalized gift coupons are some of the steps that you should
be thinking about for year 2018.

 

Our suggestion

 

I95Dev
always strong emphasis to include personalization in our client’s strategy.
Personalization not only increases your brands standing but also the chances of
repeat purchase and customer loyalty. Let your customers know that you do not
treat all of them the same.

 

By
throwing Magento 2 into the mix of integrated e-commerce we increase the chance
of offering personalized gift coupons to your customers. Magento 2 ability to
sync with point of sale systems helps business to integrate gift card system to
the online business. This is one of a major step to achieve personalization and
earn a loyal customer.

 

Apart
from Magento 2 ability to integrate with CRM systems helps businesses to give
customized product recommendations and personalized customer service. This is
based on the availability to view the customers buying pattern and behavior
across your various channels and platforms to make an informed sale. 

 

Conclusion

 

The
functionality that Magento offered in terms of scalability, personalization and
ease of doing business is just amazing. We have been closely associated by
working with Magento since the inception of our business.

 

I95Dev
deployed various e-commerce integration solutions with Magento at the heart of
it and helped them achieve seamless operational finesse. If you are looking for
a tailor made custom solution to take on challenges for 2018 contact us at [email protected]