Mar 27 2020

With Shoppers Home, What Retailers Need to Bolster E-Commerce

Systems must be ready to handle high volume and keep customer data secure.

Today, many consumers are looking to online retail to get the things they need. Whether it’s because they can’t get to the store for their goods or merely for convenience, shoppers have grown accustomed to being able to buy whatever they want with the click of a button.

In 2016, 1.66 billion people worldwide made online purchases. In 2021, that number is expected to reach 2.1 billion, according to Statista. E-commerce accounted for 14 percent of retail sales in 2019, but by 2023, that number will jump to 22 percent. 

While the popularity of online shopping should be enough to get the attention of retailers, it also can serve as a kind of business insurance. If a store is damaged in a natural disaster or has to close temporarily, e-commerce offers another stream of revenue that isn’t directly impacted by outside forces.

Larger retailers mostly have strong online infrastructure, but now it’s crucial for organizations of all sizes to include e-commerce in their business. As online shopping continues to grow year over year, it’s critical for retailers to have the networking, data and security structure in place to ensure customers can make payments in a reliable and secure way. 

What Retailers Should Consider When Adding an Online Presence

Retailers may think that building e-commerce is merely deploying an online payment platform, but it takes more support than that. Accepting payments is important, but it also requires different IT infrastructure to maintain scalable volume and keep customer information protected.

No platform is successful if it can’t handle volume. Particularly as more people are getting their goods online, retailers need to be sure that they have the capabilities to host high-volume traffic in order to get the sales they need. Not only do retailers need to have the proper data storage capabilities, but they also need a disaster recovery plan to keep everything running if the system goes down. Managed services is a hassle-free way that retailers can put these tools in place, utilizing experts to craft individualized data storage and backup solutions.

If customers are going to be inputting sensitive data such as their payment information or address for delivery, it’s especially important that that information be protected. With the implementation of the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation as well as the California Consumer Privacy Act, businesses must make sure they’re compliant. Organizations can use a free risk assessment to uncover any potential vulnerabilities in the system that could lead to down time.

DISCOVER: Read how one apparel retailer locked in infrastructure to support booming online sales. 

Other Benefits Retailers Can Gain from E-Commerce

Once the system is safely in place, retailers have more to gain from e-commerce than merely sales. It also allows retailers to get valuable insights into their customers’ behavior. Customer data can inform marketing strategy, inventory decisions and sales goals, helping organizations become more efficient.

The data is important to have, but what’s more important is that it’s used properly. Customer relationship management software can take the information and allow retailers to access what they need, gleaning insights to drive sales. Ed Durbin, global director of retail end user computing at VMware, told BizTech that those insights are the real value.

“It’s helping people understand new opportunities,” he said, “People can see trends that otherwise might have been hidden, and now you can see that within the analytics.”

Having the proper structure in place is essential for creating a successful e-commerce experience. Allowing customers a way to buy inventory anytime, anywhere can not only maintain a stream of revenue for the organization, but also help retailers expose valuable insights that can be used to drive sales further. With a strong hosting platform, security protections and analytics software, stores can make the most of any situation.

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