4 ways IT can make or break your e-commerce shop

E-commerce is booming around the world and with it, consumers are expecting easy ordering and fast delivery. Merchants need to have the right IT solutions to offer seamless shipping, but with literally hundreds to choose from, how do they select the right one?

By Charles Brewer, CEO DHL eCommerce.

To run a successful online shop, you have to get loads of things right. As well as good products and a great user experience, continually optimized SEO and up-to-date security, you also have to ensure your back-end IT is fast, intuitive and optimized to offer customers a seamless experience.

Why? Because technology connects the dots from click to delivery. Over 60% of customers abandon their shopping cart if delivery options aren’t satisfactory. Offering greater choice and better visibility in delivery helps greatly improve the entire customer experience and can also encourage a click on the buy button rather than the back button at check-out.

Offering greater choice and better visibility in delivery helps greatly improve the entire customer experience

But what’s the right solution? Can you leverage your IT to make the most of the consumer data you’re collecting? And can IT play a role in matching fulfilment solutions and delivery options to customer expectations?

Here are four simple IT solutions you can consider that will simplify your processes, make customers love shopping at your store and keep them coming back for more:

Tap into big data

For sellers, big data represents an opportunity to extract the goldmine of information customers leave behind as they journey through an online store. The big players, like Amazon, have been using a “customers who bought this also bought this” algorithm for years. But while smaller businesses may not have access to this kind of complex tech, you can start small by simply sending an email and asking customers if they’re looking for something similar to what they recently purchased. Sellers can also use social media to promote special offers to specifically targeted consumers. Personalizing is a key trend in 2018 and big data is one way to unlock its potential.

Install an API

APIs – or Application Programming Interfaces – help transform data into practical, useable business intelligence. It’s essentially a messenger that takes your request, finds the answer and sends it back. For instance, when using a flight booking service, you input your data, such as date, time and destination, the flight booking API connects with various different airline databases, finds the relevant flight information and sends it back. Ultimately, APIs give customers a better shopping experience, which leads to sales. They can also be used for shipping. You can choose a specific delivery service to team up with and by installing an API – offer customers added value such as tracking, convenient delivery options and a variety of pricing levels. We use API solutions for the plugins we offer our customers, click here for more information.

Add a plug-in

Integrating different online systems can be complex, especially if you’re managing multiple sales channels. If you are hosting your e-commerce store on sites such as WordPress or Shopify, explore their powerful features and plugins (many available for free!). These plugin extensions allow you to easily boost your store and simplify processes such as payment and shipping.

We offer shipping solutions for WooCommerce, Shopify and now Magento, allowing sellers to easily ship domestically and internationally from a single platform of their choice – virtually automating the shipping process. Once the preferred shipping service level has been selected, sellers can print the associated labels and automatically generate tracking codes to provide customers with shipment visibility.

Use third-party solutions

If you’re still not sure which IT to choose for your website’s payment and shipping functions, you can also consider outsourcing it entirely to a third-party vendor. There are many e-commerce platforms out there – powered by IT – that will take care of a number of different aspects of e-commerce:

  • High volume order processing
  • Multiple payment options — PayPal, BitCoin, different currencies and languages
  • Mobile checkout interface
  • Built-in email marketing and newsletters
  • Gift card and coupon integration

Third party vendors are designed to help you save time and are great for online businesses starting out.

With the right IT, online merchants can manage multiple sales channels more effectively.

With the right IT, online merchants can manage multiple sales channels more effectively, offer better customer experiences and ultimately increase sales. It’s a wonderful e-commerce enabler and a crucial prerequisite for anyone who wants to get ahead in this business.

With the dynamic nature of e-commerce, we will continue to build and grow our integration channels to make shipping as simple and seamless as possible and of course, deliver the smile in the last mile.

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