I wanted to share some learnings that could be useful when launching your digital commerce. Or, more precisely, what not to do.
Here are the pitfalls to avoid:
1. Isolating your physical stores from online
It’s no secret that customers use multiple channels for shopping. Being able to support omnichannel is, however, different to having a system that provides an easy way of managing a cohesive customer journey.
In other words, you should look for a platform that can share data amongst channels, not just make them work independently. If your system doesn’t do it, your team will have to. And, with the ever-increasing number of channels becoming available to customers, this is likely to become an impossible task for your team to handle. Your customers may have the omnichannel experience, but your team and systems may be on the verge of collapsing.
Look at the online-offline scenario: a customer browses your site and then goes to the shop. They may have even placed some items in the shopping cart already. Can your shop assistant view the customer’s cart and help them from where they left off? Can the customer try before they buy? Can the shop assistant save the sale & complete the checkout with the customer securely? And can the sales assistant offer the customer unique promotions? All from the same system?
2. Launching without a mobile-first strategy
In the haste of launching your new e-commerce site, it is easy to believe you will add a mobile version in time. Yet, there are decisions that need to be made early on. Yes, fast time-to-market is important, but mobile concepts are as important and must be included, otherwise, your fast launch will lead to an equally long if not longer mobile development project.
Mobile-first generally can be mistaken for Mobile-web and responsive design, which is part of the equation, but time and again the tick boxes that are missed are complete PWA, Native Mobile Apps, and interactive real-time interfaces. All of these leverage mobile design principles and have very different implications for even the most complex web experience.
So while you are selecting your preferred approach, you should look at how your platform allows you to design, launch and integrate a complete mobile strategy including apps. Do you have the tools to drive design to launch on mobile app stores? Are the concerns of Android vs IOS daunting? Can your developers easily build fully-functional features for mobile apps? How quickly and easily can these be validated and pushed to your selected app stores?
3. Thinking of your business as stand-alone
Customers tend to browse and purchase different products and brands. Marketplaces can allow you to offer a broader range and flexibility. However, there is an increasing number of Marketplace models and without understanding the flavour you need to maximize the impact for your audience, launching or joining a Marketplace could damage your brand and even reduce sales.
Having the flexibility to build and grow your business leveraging technology as an enabler is critical so you can grow without interruptions. Marketplaces are one piece of the Unified Network. And this Unified Network may not actually exist by design with some providers. Before jumping into a Marketplace, check if there is one, which you can expand without limiting your trading strategy.
Here are some more questions for you to consider:
- Do you have a strategic partner you want to cross-sell through?
- Are you ready for the Metaverse?
- Are you looking to operate a marketplace?
- Would you need to leverage a Delivery Marketplace like GETIR?
- Or simply have the flexibility for your brands to grow independently but trade together?
- Interested in how the Akinon Unified Network unlocks your limitless trading potential uninhibited by technology?
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4. Underestimating the complexity of your distribution
Providing a frictionless and trusted delivery experience to your customers is a must and too often we think that simply getting control of inventory addresses this. In order to do so, understanding all the complexities that impact your distribution is key. Assured delivery means you must have complete control over your supply to meet demand, with seamless fulfillment.
Customers don’t use a single channel nor a single shop. So rapidly defining any and every location (shop or even third-party warehouse) as a distribution centre, that meets your customers demands through configuration, empowers your business without IT, reducing your TCO and positively impacting customer satisfaction.
5. Forgetting the flexibility of composability
Composable is one of the newest buzzwords. It simply means you can add, remove and assemble a mix of components from and around your digital commerce platform at any point depending on what you need.
For instance, you may need to add new functionality such as click & collect, or you may wish to change your search function vendor on your site. A composable platform allows you to do this without any disruption. A truly composable platform should even allow you to select a cloud service provider of your choice and support your custom package business capabilities.
Composability, however, does not mean doing it all at once, and understanding our readiness for a composable journey is critical. How composable do you need to be? How do you feel composability can help you?
6. Not requesting a demo from Akinon
After reading this article you may have realised a few things about your business. Good! The sooner you discover what you need to avoid beforehand and find a solution to possible challenges, the better. Which is why I highly recommend you request a free consultation with an Akinon expert. Know more before you try.