Website Development for Merchants
Regardless of whether you are an eCommerce sole trader, or you are running an eCommerce store in parallel with a brick and mortar shop, remaining competitive within your chosen marketplace, whilst ensuring customer satisfaction in such a fast-paced environment is often challenging.
To use that analogy, a website with strong user functionality and an attractive aesthetic, act as the bricks and mortar that you build the foundation of your business on in today’s digital-centric society.
Having a strong website at the core of your business will enable you to thrive in a number of ways, including securing more sales, de-livering a more diverse range of offerings, avoiding customers placing orders on out of stock items, as well as improving the overall level of consumer fulfilment.
For the already-more established online merchants, one of the keys to success is the integration of your website with a suitable Enter-prise Resource Planning (ERP) solution. This integration can lead to a number of successful outcomes, as evidenced next.
The Benefits of Integration
Inventory management is about knowing exactly what stock is in your warehouse or storage unit, and where it is located. Optimising inventory manage-ment is now relatively straightforward, with leading companies integrating their chosen inventory soft-ware directly with their back office and accounting systems. This allows the company in question to forecast sales, execute predictability with customers (eg. Product suggestions based on previous activity), minimise labour costs and eradicate human error.
There is also a growing demand amongst customers today for fresher products - but this is in direct oppo-sition to business investors and directors, who prefer as little capital as possible to be tied up in their inven-tory. Therefore, striking the right balance between meeting demand and minimising excess stock is key.
Linking your site up to optimise this inventory pro-cess also minimises and, in some cases, completely eradicates manual activities such as storing, count-ing, and replenishing stock.
Many large merchants are now utilising supply chain partners to gain a higher degree of visibility on their stock levels and shipping infrastructure to ensure their website is updated in real-time.
In order to roll out these processes, the existing system must be integrated with the company’s back office system, but also with any supplier or third-party logistics (3PL) systems.
By gaining this visualisation of your real-time stock levels, it can be ensured that the customer’s product is available on your ecommerce website at the point of export exactly when it is needed.
This is also greatly beneficial from a website point-of-view as soon as a product is out of stock or has come back into stock, the website will be completely up to date, ensuring customer satisfaction.
From WordPress to eCommerce
Your potential customer base will usually fall into one of two categories; direct buyers who know straight away what they want to purchase, and indirect buyers who are not after anything in particular, but just want to explore the site and browse. Therefore, you need the flexibility in your web design to cater for the behaviours of both parties.
Today, many of the world’s biggest online merchants are using a readily available eCommerce platform due to their flexibility in catering to the frivolity of the modern consumer. By creating an eCommerce website using website design software, you gain customisation options dependant on customer activity, market trends or, in the case of a global merchant, the flexibility to manage changes in culture, language, currency, tax and laws. These tools are particularly useful in the early stages of expansion into a new nation – and can really make or break a company.
For instance, the Magento web development software solution uses a common code-base and database for all versions of your eCommerce website, allowing you to quickly configure and roll out in global markets without having to constantly use the developer as a middle man. You essentially become self-sufficient in updating and re-working your site.
Case Study: Charlotte Tilbury
As the world’s number-one makeup artist with a career spanning over 20 years, Charlotte Tilbury was ready to launch her own line of designer cosmetics. She needed a functional, responsive site that truly reflected her aesthetic and offered a fully optimised experience.
Considering these demands, Charlotte chose Magento as her web development software, finding it to fully meet the brand requirements. One of Magento’s mottos is “with the right tools, you can turn heads” and this rings completely true with Charlotte Tilbury’s web makeover. The Charlotte Tilbury branding team partnered with solution partner Space48 to deliver a responsive site. A substantial part of the process was linking the Magento-made site to the company’s ERP solution Brightpearl – a vital requirement as it ensured that all backroom facets of the brand - including inventory, logistics, market trends and financial information - were all integrated. The website did, however, pro-vide another great benefit – with Commerce handling the busiest of sales days through cloud hosting. This means content is delivered lightning-fast, and in real-time, regardless of the customer’s location. So what is the lesson to be learned?
Designing, developing and managing your own website is no easy task - there are lots of initial considerations, with even more coming to the surface as the task progresses. However, as technology continues to advance, even more useful tools are developed that aid you in the empowering of your website – with this progression aligning nicely with the increasingly digitalised landscape of the retail industry. So – there really is no time like the present to build your dream website and integrate with an ERP solution. This integration will streamline your sales funnel, and, in turn, allow you to focus on the things that matter. Such progressive organisations will limit their inefficiencies, streamline their processes and boost their profits, but those who fail to develop their eCommerce platform will find themselves trailing behind the more responsive competition.