How to Improve the eCommerce Customer Experience
The metrics are in and the verdict is that pandemic-catalyzed shifts to online shopping are not temporary. Instead, the portion of customers shopping online will continue to rise. Online shopping via smartphones has more than doubled since 2018. Reasons for shopping digitally include convenience, easier comparison of alternatives, broader product availability, and quick and affordable delivery. Hand-in-hand with the rise of online shopping is a decrease in customer loyalty, as we see customers switching brands much quicker than previous decades.
While the increase in traffic to your eCommerce site can mean greater sales, it also means a much easier environment for customers to compare price, ratings, quality, and shipping across your site and your top competitors. What does this mean for retail businesses? Today, just having an eCommerce platform isn’t enough; you need to optimize your eCommerce customer experience so that you stand out from the competition.
Acumatica Retail-Commerce ERP is a holistic solution with functionalities that truly enhance your customer’s online shopping experience. Consider the following five ways an advanced ERP helps you optimize the customer experience.
1. Cloud Benefits
In an environment where your customers are demanding immediate service, your team also needs on-demand availability. A cloud ERP like Acumatica gives you real-time data that is accessible from anywhere and at any time. This keeps everyone on the same page, and allows managers to make smart decisions on the fly, such as in regards to merchandising and marketing. Cloud-based systems generally prove to be faster and very rarely require robust IT support, as it mostly functions as a self-serve platform. The user-friendly platform is easily accessible by all third-party companies, warehouses, and vendors, helping speed along the fulfillment process. Contrary to some misconceptions, cloud-based platforms actually offer the highest data security, and should your company face any ransomware attacks, you can rest assured that a backup of the most up-to-date data will always be available to you and your customers.
2. Open Platform and API
Limiting your workflow because of an inflexible ERP and eCommerce platform hinders your productivity, as well as the customer experience. Instead, with Acumatica’s open platform, developers can easily code in modifications, modified modules, custom fields, or custom attributes, so that it collects the customer and sales data you need, and then organizes it into the way your stakeholders need to see it.
The customizable Acumatica also provides an open API infrastructure, allowing for easy third-party integrations, including systems for payment processing, distribution management, and CRM. Acumatica also has native integrations with Shopify and BigCommerce, meaning you don’t have to make additional software purchases. You can also utilize specialized tools that match the type of products you’re selling or assist with credit checks and credit lending. As your business evolves, rest assured that it is very easy to disconnect systems you no longer need and integrate new systems as you see fit. All integrations require little to no additional developer work.
3. Advanced Inventory Management
In a time when warehousing space is becoming more and more costly in Canada due to the rise of eCommerce, accurate inventory forecasting is more important than ever. Forecasting the right amount of inventory can help you avoid holding too much capital in warehouses, or ordering in new batches of products that aren’t performing well. Acumatica’s advanced inventory management system gives real-time visibility into inventory in production and transit, so you can better match supply with demand. Moreover, automations can be set in Acumatica to send notifications to vendors, warehouses, and managers, when inventory drops below a certain threshold. Always keeping a sufficient inventory on hand all your warehouses, without overstocking, is an integral piece for eCommerce customer experience.
4. eCommerce Merchandising Dashboards and Reports
Tracking patterns in customer behaviour and customer satisfaction in relation to product lines, sales, or demographics, is the best way that you can make data-driven decisions to better sculpt the customer experience. Acumatica ERP is a hub that collects and presents data on inventory levels, sales numbers, customers, and more. Dashboards and reports can be personalized to display only the information relevant to certain team members or stakeholders. You can also monitor progress on orders and customer relations, tracking the customer journey, on a summary view, filtered by a dimension, or individual customer level. This helps you make adjustments to your business as a whole, by customer type, or by individual customers.
5. Omnichannel Retail
As a multi-channel retail business, it’s important to optimize the customer experience across all channels, but above all, it’s important to have consistency in product availability and customer service. To do so, you need an ERP that centralizes everything from warehousing to shipping to order processing, to ensure a seamlessness in all eCommerce customer experiences. When systems are connected, there will be consistency when doing an in-store pickup, or sending in a return or exchange. Bringing convenience and consistency to your customers across all channels is the key to brand loyalty.