Building customer relationships without 'breaking the bank'
When retailers consider starting a significant new commerce project, they usually are immediately confronted with the choice of a complex and expensive deployment processes or doing nothing. The commonality is that traditional ecommerce platforms are challenging to implement and often require specialized training. Every business has unique needs and the frameworks and requirements of commerce legacy platforms often lead to bloated budgets and complex project deployments.
Past assumptions lead to false conclusions and the creation of inaccurate myths and conventional wisdom. Retailers accept the high-costs of licensing and implementation even though they are significantly more expensive and time-consuming than they need to be. It's time to dispel the most common myths:
Commerce development must be difficult and complex - That myth is stuck in the tools of the 90s. Technology has advanced significantly since then. There is a new type of ecommerce platform called Commerce as a Service that helps to simplify the effort involved for both the technology team and the business team and still allows companies to take advantage of scalable commerce functionality.
It requires a significant budget - With modern Commerce as a Service platforms, there is less money up front because there are zero licensing fees and retailers pay for only what is used, not for bloated implementations they won’t use. Most of these platforms enable users to use any or all of the commerce functionality and move forward on a pay-per-usage basis, which significantly reduces overall cost.
A lot of extra time is required to implement changes - Instead of legacy approaches, retailers can use an on-demand and API approach that gives instant access to shared innovation. What that means is that in modern platforms, enhancements and upgrades are made available sometimes on a daily basis. The customers rarely or never have to change their solution to adapt to these enhancements yet can quickly take advantage of them. When legacy platforms release a new version, it is often weeks or a month of effort to upgrade the system even if the clients don’t take advantage of any of the new functionality. Commerce as a Service does away with costly upgrades and lengthy implementation even for incremental enhancements.
Optimization trumps everything - The truth that no one talks about with the implementation of legacy commerce platforms is that while the business is focused on leveraging all of the cool features, the implementations become so expensive and complex that the features are often never available. Commerce as a Service allows companies to reduce the technology and implementation complexity so that they can concentrate on building a great user experience that represents their brand across every channel.
Omnichannel is nice to have but not required - Today’s consumers expect a seamless brand experience no matter what channel they are accessing products through. It takes many great experiences to build customer loyalty but only one bad one to drive that customer away. Modern Commerce as a Service platforms, because they do not incorporate any front end development technology, allow companies to build native apps and solutions across every channel and still access the same core commerce platform through a single API. This vastly reduces the complexity of deploying a seamless brand solution across every channel while still providing a single customer centric view to the business.
There is little wonder that these commerce myths remain in supermarkets' minds today because they are invariably true in the world of legacy ecommerce platforms. They are only able to be dispelled because there are new affordable cloud-based enterprise ecommerce platforms that allow for unlimited creativity on the front end while at the same time support the most complex integrations on the back end with a simple API.
It's truly a giant step forward in providing supermarkets with the tools they need to focus on brand experience, user experience and building lasting relationships with customers across every channel without breaking the bank or needing to become technology experts to accomplish their business goals.
By Arthur Lawida, commercetools U.S