In the coming year, 87% of retailers will look to spend more on technology to attract new customers, boost mobile sales and increase sales to repeat customers, according to an Internet Retailer survey.
E-commerce can be a paradox for small and midsized retailers. On the one hand, they understand they need an e-commerce platform that has the breadth of robust features that can help them create the shopping experiences consumers expect and that can scale as sales grow.
On the other hand, platform management is not most small and midsized retailers’ strongest suit, and getting bogged down in the technology can drain valuable resources better invested elsewhere. What small and midsized retailers need is a way to effectively manage their platform while being untethered from day-to-day management of it so they can focus on marketing and brand building, says Kirsten Knipp, vice president of product marketing and brand for e-commerce platform provider Bigcommerce.
“E-retailers need a platform with the agility to create experiences that make shoppers want to come back. Today’s software-as-a service-based platforms make it easy and affordable for e-retailers of all sizes to build a beautiful, feature-rich online store,” Knipp says.
In the coming year, 87% of retailers will look to spend more on technology to attract new customers, boost mobile sales and increase sales to repeat customers, according to an Internet Retailer survey. Knipp recommends retailers seriously consider installing a web-hosted SaaS-based platform.
“Investing in technology without realizing any near-term revenue gain diverts cash away from marketing and developing a better customer experience,” Knipp says. “Both of these are critical to the health of an e-retailer’s business. The cost of running a SaaS-based platform is about one-tenth the cost to build and manage a platform. Those savings can be put into innovation.”
US Patriot Tactical, a retailer of boots, apparel and gear for military personnel, for example, applied the money it saved by switching to Bigcommerce to creating more search engine-friendly content to boost its organic search rankings. Since then, the retailer has increased conversion rates, unique purchases and average order size, putting it on track to generate $16 million in sales in 2014, a 47% increase from 2013.
“With resources freed up by switching to a SaaS platform, US Patriot was able to significantly boost sales by improving other areas of the shopping experience and investing in marketing,” Knipp says.
Bigcommerce’s SaaS-based platform scales to keep pace with an e-retailer’s growth and is supported by a team of e-commerce professionals that manage the platform behind the scenes so e-retailers don’t have to. A retailer’s information technology staff can use its newfound freedom to innovate. One retailer used Bigcommerce’s application programming interfaces to create a bicycle configurator. Shoppers could use the tool to select the features and colors they wanted, and then view the bike they designed before hitting the Buy button.
“We provide access to our APIs so that retailers can customize their web store and identify new opportunities to optimize platform performance,” Knipp says. “We also offer hundreds of third-party applications for e-mail, marketing, shipping and more that can help boost sales and speed order processing,” she says. Because Bigcommerce’s platform runs in the cloud and features auto-scaling, retailers don’t need to predict usage patterns or install hardware to keep pace with the growth of their business.
“When retailers fully consider the advantages of a SaaS-based platform the business case in favor of it can’t be beat,” Knipp says. “Our platform frees retailers from I.T. hassles so they can focus their core strengths on products and marketing that make their shoppers want to buy.”