Our increasingly internet-driven society has been borne out of the rise of connected devices, which allow consumers greater access to information than they've ever enjoyed before. For retailers, the trend has led to a greater need to support ecommerce activity, as users are increasingly turning to the internet to purchase and research goods and services.
However, many small- and medium-sized businesses have found it difficult to keep up with such demand. And in their haste to respond, the result has been poorly planned and executed ecommerce sites that are difficult to navigate and fail to serve their purpose.
But not all is lost for SMBs and ecommerce. A recent ZDNet report identified several tips that smaller organizations can follow to enhance the experience for both themselves and customers.
1. Think about business integration
Silos are among a company's worst enemies, no matter where they exist. According to ZDNet contributor Heather Clancy, companies will want to eliminate any silos that exist between an ecommerce site's backend and the core point-of-sale system through business integration solutions.
"How much does it annoy you when the customer service desk within a retailer can’t 'see' sales or inventory information related to the same company’s web site," she wrote. "As the percentage of sales related to your ecommerce site grows, this will become a more acute need."
These initiatives should also be completed before ecommerce reaches mainstream status.
2. Optimize the site for mobile commerce
Modern consumers don't merely rely on desktops and laptops to make purchases online. Increasingly, mobile devices like smartphones and tablets are a consumer's go-to for shopping while on the go. Companies can leverage this trend by optimizing sites to be compatible with the devices, Clancy said.
If an ecommerce site can't be modified in such a way, Clancy said, the organization may want to think about developing an entirely different one for mobile activity. Otherwise, it runs the risk of turning away potential customers who become frustrated when trying to make a purchase.
If this holiday shopping season demonstrated anything, it's that consumers are increasingly turning to the internet first to make purchases of all kinds. Overall, Americans spent more than $35 billion online this season, according to comScore, for an increase of 15 percent compared to the $30.6 billion that was spent in 2010.