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eCommerce Best Practice: The key to getting your eCommerce up and running

By Stuart McLaren on Sun 20 May 2012 in Web & eCommerce

So far our eCommerce series has focused on the end product. By this we mean...

  • Deciding on the right web layout to ensure success
  • Choosing which of your products and/or services are suited to online selling
  • How to make sure your existing customers and prospects are visiting your website instead of calling your sales team.

But how do you get to this point – your site up and running, reducing pressure on your sales team, offering customers the same fantastic experience online and overall supporting your offline business?

Simply: Content Management System.

You may now be thinking, that’s fine, the internet is littered with free CMS options, it’s just a case of picking one. So, why would you pay for a CMS?

If you want a website that displays static content (text, images, videos etc), then using an open source CMS is a good option. You will quickly have a smart looking website that is easy to maintain.

However here at ProspectSoft we believe your eCommerce strategy should be made up of two key areas: flexibility and integration.

Without being able to edit dynamic content you will soon see a number of problems. What if you need to bring in content such as:

  1. Product and pricing information
    If your site is a regular eCommerce store (where customers can place orders through your website), it needs to display the latest products, offers, prices and stock levels. If you have hundreds or thousands of products, the only way to manage this is to bring in this data automatically from your back office.If your site is not an eCommerce store but still displays product and pricing information, you still want this information to come from your back office.
  2. Customer special pricing
    If you want to encourage customers to start using your site to order then they must be offered their agreed pricing via the website, otherwise they won’t buy – they’ll simply pick up the phone.
  3. Buying on account
    Clearly, if your customers currently run a credit account with you, they won’t want to suddenly be forced to pay by credit card simply because they are ordering from your web portal. At the same time you don’t want to double everyone’s credit limit by accident – if they are still ordering on the phone sometimes & now via the website as well, we need to share knowledge so that their credit limit is respected.
  4.  Distributor link
    How about being able to list hundreds or even thousands of additional products for sale on your web portal, products that your suppliers have available but perhaps you don’t necessarily want to stock – you can list them in your store, and simply order either back to back or ship directly to your customer from your supplier.
  5. Merchant centre
    Now you have all these products, what about making them available to a mass audience via Google Shopping, Amazon or ebay?
  6.  mCommerce
    Having a mobile version of your web shop is rapidly becoming a necessity rather than a luxury as mobile devices pervade our lives.
  7. eSales/mSales
    How about enabling your field sales staff, allow them to log in with your customers on their behalf and take orders in the field via a web site or mobile device.

ProspectSoft web solutions will allow integration to your back office so a lot of the ‘heavy lifting’ of maintaining the website happens automatically in the background. If you run a new special offer for March, the correct pricing is automatically displayed on a website (including customer specific special pricing).

Finally your eCommerce strategy of flexibility and integration can be met – your website is content specific for individual customers, will update automatically and reduce pressure on your team in the office.

ProspectSoft are offering a selection of fantastic eCommerce promotions this quarter only. These promotions are all about getting you up and running with eCommerce.

  1. FOC integration suite (usually £995 for Exchequer, Pegasus, Sage50 and Access)
  2. Free 4 hours of Web-design work for competitive replacement (Actinic, Red Technology, KC ecommerce, Magento, Brightmatter, Aspidistra )
  3. 12 months FOC mCommerce Trial (limited to first 10 customers using easy eCommerce design). Includes software, setup, monthly fees.

So if this sounds at all like your offline business, you really ought to be talking to us. If ProspectSoft eCommerce is not right for you at the moment, we’ll just say. If it is right for you, you could not only save a lot of money but also make additional revenue by deploying a ProspectSoft eCommerce solution.