In this, our next instalment of the E-commerce basics series I thought I would talk about the systems that even small retailers can now bring into their business to help manage and automate their processes and procedures. The ability to integrate your business systems into your e-commerce platform can be critical to success if you want to run an efficient and effective set-up and control each element for maximum return.
If you’ve read any guide to starting your own business or how to improve your business, the theory usually revolves around making every action repeatable, understanding the processes and procedures that work for you and refining them for maximum efficiencies. This works for everything from stock ordering to customer service. Your accountant has probably talked about this and the need to generate reports both financial and non to help you manage the business.
The traditional answer has been to bring in one system for each area of the business, Sage for Accounts, Salesforce for marketing, Epos for sales etc. You then have your website which has another system, possibly with matched technology to other systems but likely whatever the agency you employed suggested. If you’re lucky some of these systems talk to each other but the likelihood is that you get a different report from each department and then try to muddle through what they mean and their relation to each other.
There is another way!
Thanks to some very clever people who have worked in the retail industry there are now a number of choices that will not only streamline the processes but which are all based on the same system and talk to each other. Integrating means you can get hold of the business again and really understand where improvements can come from and implement change.
The areas covered by these systems are as follows;
- Point of Sale
- Multi-channel sales & Marketing
- Email Marketing
- Social Media
- Online sales and marketing (Website)
There are other elements that you can add however to get you started this probably all you need.
“But my retail business is different from other businesses, I don’t want a one size fits all solution.”
Quite right to! You are unique, with unique issues which is why a bespoke solution is the best for you. Like the e-commerce and CMS sites we build, we have chosen from a number of systems the best at providing maximum flexibility in terms of development options and integration.
By understanding your business issues and barriers we can help to provide a solution to not just your online sales and promotions but your complete business.
Embrace the technology and let it lead you towards new highs!
Again in the past this type of system has only been available to the big guys with big budgets, but like all things digital the costs have dramatically reduced and we can now build a system for as little as £45,000* If that seems like a lot then you’re not seeing how much a dedicated system can save you and generate in return for your investment.
Our clients are seeing treble digit growth with returns within 4 months, for them the investment means increased revenues and cost savings across the business. They also save time and effort allowing the team to be free to get on with developing the business rather than wading through reports and uploading multiple images etc.
These solutions are scalable and so as you grow so do they, meaning that future investment is also reduced and so over 3-5 years the savings could be in the £100,000’s.
There is a period of adjustment, however with proper planning systems can be run in parallel for a period of time while everyone gets use to the new systems and the legacy systems slowly switched off in favour of the new.
The combination of a better, more effective e-commerce site and integrated business systems can be incredibly powerful and will help you to see the industry beating growth that every business owner desires.
As always if you have any questions on this or related topics then don’t hesitate to pick up the phone or email me and I will be more than happy to offer our support.
Looking at an e-commerce project and not sure where to start? Our blog on developing a checklist will tell you how.
*Average estimate for the first year, year 2 would be closer to £15K