The entire world seems to have changed overnight. While technology has been gradually transforming our businesses for years, it hasn’t until just recently been the deciding factor in whether many businesses can operate at all. Recent social distancing guidelines and shelter in place declarations haven’t shaken those who embraced digital transformation long ago. They’ve put the necessary solutions and processes in place to have confidence that ‘business as (close to) usual’ can happen online. But companies who lagged in getting their digital transformation initiatives off the ground now find themselves scrambling to deploy the solutions they need to merely survive. How do you set yourself up for business success in a primarily digital world?
One thing is certain, you must be strategic. When this is all behind us, business as we know it will have changed forever. As such, it’s not enough to hastily slap together an e-commerce solution to get you through the current pandemic. You need to think longer term. Whether you’re just launching your first e-commerce website or advancing your strategy to accommodate new business priorities, third-party integrations have never mattered more.
Here are the top eleven capabilities we at Nansen recommend integrating with your new or existing e-commerce platform to optimize your e-commerce website and stay competitive.
In today’s buying landscape, customer experience matters more than ever. To successfully convert customers, you need to do more than just offer product expertise, you need to inspire buyers to purchase. The best way to do this is by combining content and commerce. Valuable content like ‘how-to’ videos, articles providing tips and tricks, etc. go a long way in building credibility and relationships with buyers. Unfortunately, many e-commerce platforms allow you to build category or product pages but limit your ability to inject value-added content into the digital experience.
Our partner Episerver offers the best of both worlds in one fully comprehensive and easy-to-use platform. The Episerver Commerce Cloud has everything you need to manage catalogs, orders, and customer data while also including a fully integrated, best-in-class content management solution.
With more B2B transactions happening online, a punchout catalog can help you deliver on increasing customer e-procurement demands and ensure a seamless digital experience. Punchout enables a direct, secure, and real-time communication channel for order data transfer between your customer’s procurement system and your e-commerce solution, so you can rest assured you are always providing accurate order data. This minimizes manual handling, order errors and customer support requests. It’s also proven to enhance customer satisfaction and buying frequency, which is key in an uncertain economy.
Shopspray, our partner and preferred Punchout provider, offers an Add-on for Episerver Commerce so you can digitally streamline purchase requisitions and purchase orders with your purchasers and answer your customers’ increasing demands for digitally compliant commerce procedures. The Add-on offers support for Visitor Groups and global B2B commerce as well as site customizations, so you can ensure the digital experience is relevant and personalized for each individual buyer.
With most of your team now working from home, a DAM solution provides a single repository to store and search all of your digital assets (videos, images, graphics, logos, etc.). Collaboration features including the ability to track asset changes and usage and bulk edit content help you reduce content creation costs and boost marketing efficiency. Built-in governance workflows assure brand compliance and brand consistency and ensure your confidential information is protected.
Our partner Digizuite offers an Add-on for Episerver Commerce allowing your marketers, sellers, and editors immediate access to digital assets directly within your Episerver environment. You can approve digital assets and make them available to all or a few selected users, publish, update and withdraw digital assets on multiple channels, quickly search and re-purpose assets from old campaigns, and schedule assets to archive in advance - all from your Episerver interface.
If you sell in multiple markets, website localization is a must. It increases exposure to your brand and helps you reach a larger number of prospective customers. Translation and website localization services make it easy to adapt your site for global markets, helping you speed time to market and increase revenue. The best translation services combine human and machine learning as they yield much faster turnaround times than the traditional translation process.
Our partner Translations.com provides an Add-on for Episerver Commerce to enable you to add translation workflows into your existing content approval and publishing routines and initiate them directly within the Episerver interface. This eliminates hand-off delays and reduces translation turnaround times while allowing your content authors to focus on priority projects. Translations are automatically re-imported into Episerver and you’re able to track projects in real-time.
Part of building a standout customer experience is ensuring that experience is consistent in every channel you engage buyers. Having your email marketing or marketing automation platform integrated with your e-commerce solution ensures you can track what products customers are viewing or purchasing and promote similar or complementary items to them via email. This builds trust in your brand and increases the likelihood that the customer will buy from you again.
While you can leverage 3rd party providers like Hubspot for improved cross-channel engagement, you can also look to robust e-commerce solutions like Episerver that combine profile data and predictive analytics to empower you to deliver hyper-relevant, personalized and engaging content across multiple channels.
With people stuck at home, more buyers are shopping online than ever. In order to effectively target those shoppers and successfully replicate your in-store experience, you first need to understand who they are and what they need. Integrating your CRM system with your e-commerce platform allows you to capture contact information for leads, manage customer data, and create targeted promotions, while at the same time reducing manual data entry and improving customer support. Salesforce.com, Hubspot, and Microsoft Dynamics are arguably some of the most popular CRM systems today.
By integrating your ERP and e-commerce systems, you can avoid data duplication and manual data entry of inventory and pricing. The result is greater fulfillment efficiency and an improved digital experience. Your ERP system becomes your master data source, ensuring you always have an accurate and real-time view of product availability and promotions. When your e-commerce store reflects ERP inventory, pricing, and promotions, you can:
In times of economic uncertainty, budgets are often cut and projects put on hold. Integrating your e-commerce website with a payment solution can help you continue to grow your business by offering your customers the ability to pay in installments. Your buyers simply fill their carts like they normally would, select your financing provider at checkout, choose a payment plan, and make easy monthly payments.
Giving your buyers the option to purchase now and pay later decreases the number of abandoned carts and increases average order value by as much as 85%. We’ve worked with many customers to integrate their Episerver Commerce websites with Affirm and find they offer the best customer experience.
For e-commerce businesses, it’s not enough to simply track how people are interacting with your website. You need to understand how these actions affect sales. Integrating your e-commerce platform with an analytics provider like Google Analytics for Ecommerce allows you to analyze purchase activity on your website or app including how much revenue a specific product has generated, where users are dropping off in the checkout process, how new vs. returning visitors behave on your site, and more. Having access to these actionable insights ensures you can better target visitors, optimize content and promotions, and drive more revenue.
Product Information Management has become an essential piece of the online selling experience. According to a Forrester Research report by senior e-business analyst Bruce Eppinger, “Teams that don’t have PIM tools risk palpable competitive disadvantage with content that’s inconsistent, meets only the minimum market requirements, and fails to engage customers. Teams that do use PIM win customers and expand their markets with product content that engages buyers and drives purchase decisions.”
A PIM solution such as inRiver provides a central catalog of product information that plugs in to other critical tools to create a seamless digital commerce experience. Integrating PIM technology with your e-commerce website enables you to simplify complex product catalogs, manage product data, and control how that information displays for customers. By eliminating duplicate product pages and difficult to navigate search results, you help your customers find and purchase your products faster.
Did you know more than 41% of today’s customers expect live chat on your website? That number grows to 50% for customers that visit your site from a mobile device. What’s more, Forrester has found for customers who chat prior to making a purchase, there is a 10% increase in average order value, a 48% increase in revenue per chat hour, and a 40% conversion rate.
Data doesn’t lie, when you give your buyers the opportunity to ask questions during the purchase process and get answers in real-time, you enhance the digital experience and your bottom line.
What third-party technologies have you integrated to enhance your e-commerce website? Contact us for help mapping your digital transformation.