2017 as a brand need to establish a

2017 in e-commerce has been a mixed bag a contradiction ofextreme lows and highs.

We have seen many establishes brands filing bankruptcy,big ticket store closings and even internal strife’s and lawsuits pull downcompanies. On the brighter side according to a study by Mastecardholiday season sales has seen an exponential jump to 4.9%.

This is the bestfigures since year 2011 benchmarking. All thanks to e-commerce companiesinvesting in new technologies. Apart from the market though leader Amazon,traditional retailers like Walmart and Target are starting to step on the gastoo. With more emphasis on AI enables e-commerce, advancedalgorithms analyzing shopper’s behavior, providing personalized experiencethrough integrated e-commerce. Year 2018 is only bound to get more exciting andthere are some particular trends which e-commerce managers and CEO,s shouldwatch out for. Cannot resist to say but we are entering a brave new worldindeed. 1.

       Brand vs Marketplace quandary  Asstated above year 2017 has been a bountiful reaping as far as sales areconcerned and it is only bound to grow in 2018. Now with this comes the quintessentialquestion should your brand device a marketplace centric strategy or startdeveloping a robust online presence yourself?  Whatwe personally see initially is most of the e-commerce managers tend to placetheir own webstore for basic e-commerce functionality. They prefer sellingtheir fast moving products on established marketplaces, reason being morevisibility.

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 Our suggestion  Wealways 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 thebest of both worlds.  You as a brand needto establish a strong online presence and have your own distribution in placedown the line.

We develop a robust Magento 2 based e-commerce platform whichhandles a vast product line, SEO optimized and advanced API,s with the abilityto integrate with ERP and CRM,s.  Thenwe integrate their third party marketplace accounts such as Amazon, eBay andWalmart with their Magento 2 e-commerce store. This helps them achieve a uniforminventory view on all their channels, channel centric promotions based on theirinternal strategy and a complete distribution network suiting theirrequirements and orders.  2.       Reducing operational costs   Reducingoperational costs is another important point which e-commerce managers andCEO,s agree upon in unison.

This should definitely be their agenda for the year2018. We have seen numerous retail houses fall to bad management strategieswhich lead to spiraling operational costs.  Thiscan be attributed to improper time management of resources to uncheckedlogistics and distributions cost. E-commerce operations ought to draw a draftplan which will place criteria’s for areas which are eating into theirrevenues.

 Our Suggestion  I95Devbelieves in getting the basics right and we have helped numerous clients settheir house in order. They had great products, resources and managements theonly cog missing for them was getting all these on a single platform.  Wedeveloped solutions where their Magento 2 e-commerce platform was developed andintegrated to their backend ERP and other fulfillment systems. Even during asurge in orders all the details were able to sync between their e-commerce andERP systems without any mismatch of information. Customer information, productSKU,s available, product description, financial details were made availablewithout their resource going the extra mile irrespective of the increased orderbandwidth.

 Thisgreatly reduced their operational costs and freed time for their resourceswhich increased their efficiency and reduced burnout. Our suggestion for year2018 would be to develop a scalable e-commerce platform like Magento 2 and thenbuild the integrated ecosystem on top of it.  3.       Convergence of offline and online presence Therehave been numerous examples of retail operations both e-commerce and physicalgoing bust. The reason being laying too much emphasis on their physical ore-commerce channel. Some of the companies were not even able walk the thin linebetween online and offline presence leading to excess spending and decreasedmargins.  Someof the prime examples who we observed and extensively reported on this syndromewere Gander Mountain, Sports Chalet, Sporting Authority etc.

The interestingpart is traditionally conservative industries like vineyards are even activelyjoining the e-commerce bandwagon and year 2018 is set to see more such welcomemoves.  Our suggestion  I95Devalways knew that statements like “Physical retail will die” or “Brick andMortar presence will decline” were too outrageous. We stand by our thought evennow.

You should be striving to achieve a perfect balance between your onlineand offline presence and let your brand grow.  Wehave helped our clients evolve their customer experience both offline andonline. By integrating e-commerce platform with various channels including yourphysical stores your customer representatives on and off the floor can makeinformed decisions. It can help you to add advanced options like buy online orpick 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 justlike walking into a website”.  Wedeliver this experience by integrating Magento 2 e-commerce platform withvarious 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 impressivereturns all thanks to its diversified Omni channel strategy.

E-commercemanagers and CEO,s should add additional channels to their marketing mix andlet their shoppers decide which channel to buy from.  Omni channel strategy is an exercise which even requires ahuge 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 PIMto achieve the perfect Omni channel strategy mix.  Designing this strategy requires a completelyresponsive e-commerce platform such as Magento 2. This provides the samecustomer experience irrespective of the place where your shoppers shops yourproducts from.  Integrating your e-commerce platform to the backend systemssuch as ERP, CRM and POS is equally important.

This is where again we place ourbets on Magento 2 e-commerce platform which can easily integrate with thebackend.  The main objective of providing personalization, increasesales and improve branding. If you are interested in implementing a perfectomni channel strategy for your brand and want an in depth insight clickhere for a more detailed read.

   5.       Next level personalization  Personalizationwill set stage to the next grand plan of e-commerce. Many e-commerce retailershave started investing heavily on personalization. The like of Amazon and WarbyParker have even gone the extra mile by inculcating Artificial Intelligencefactors into their personalization strategy.  Voiceenabled shopping commands, personalized shopping recommendations, see now buynow trends and personalized gift coupons are some of the steps that you shouldbe thinking about for year 2018.  Our suggestion I95Devalways strong emphasis to include personalization in our client’s strategy.

Personalization not only increases your brands standing but also the chances ofrepeat purchase and customer loyalty. Let your customers know that you do nottreat all of them the same.  Bythrowing Magento 2 into the mix of integrated e-commerce we increase the chanceof offering personalized gift coupons to your customers. Magento 2 ability tosync with point of sale systems helps business to integrate gift card system tothe online business.

This is one of a major step to achieve personalization andearn a loyal customer.  Apartfrom Magento 2 ability to integrate with CRM systems helps businesses to givecustomized product recommendations and personalized customer service. This isbased on the availability to view the customers buying pattern and behavioracross your various channels and platforms to make an informed sale.   Conclusion Thefunctionality that Magento offered in terms of scalability, personalization andease of doing business is just amazing. We have been closely associated byworking with Magento since the inception of our business.

 I95Devdeployed various e-commerce integration solutions with Magento at the heart ofit and helped them achieve seamless operational finesse. If you are looking fora tailor made custom solution to take on challenges for 2018 contact us at [email protected]