Optimize your website for future ecommerce
Written by Lauren Hill
Sales companies based online have had an interesting and tumultuous history. Most of the largest online companies have only existed a little over a decade. The majority of people who are interested in finance have heard of the dot-com boom, or dot-com bubble. When the internet was first becoming a viable means of communication, connection speeds were switching from dial-up to cable or DSL, and a huge number of online retailers opened up for business on the stock market.
The dot-coms, as these businesses were known, ranged widely in product and one thing they all shared in common was that their customers could order goods through the internet. The speculation boom that investors facilitated with these companies was enormous, but the problem was these online companies were not backed by solid business plans. Investors bought up their shares thinking it was the dawning of a new age. Those investors were right after a fashion. Around the year 2000, the bubble burst and nearly every single one of the dot-coms’ share values collapsed on the market.
One of the reasons so many of these companies failed is that they tried to do too much too quickly. The public had not embraced online shopping yet, and trying to turn what is in effect a small business into a publicly traded company overnight did not make the business strategy of those companies any better.
Lessons learned from successful ecommerce
After reading that, you may wonder how any online retailer was successful let alone become a household name. The jumping off point for success is making sure your business can handle the addition of online ordering. The dot-coms sought to expand their consumer base more quickly than they could actually handle it. The result was large expenses and no foreseeable profit. Some of the most successful small online retailers have chosen to focus on providing good service for their current customers before they think about expanding excessively.
It is also important to make sure your website can handle the demands of online shopping. This means you need to have a system in place that people can navigate easily. One of the most successful features of ecommerce is the invention of the online “shopping cart.” As most internet shoppers are aware, the shopping cart allows first time visitors to a website to start compiling a shopping list right away. Whether or not you choose to have some sort of registration before the actual purchase, the shopping cart makes browsers into buyers.
If your business is looking to expand its online services, ecommerce is a logical next step if you sell some sort of good or service. Since the fall of the dot-coms at the turn of the millennium, customers are very familiar with online shopping, and many embrace all of the new shopping opportunities.
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How to design your website for ecommerce
Programming an easy-to-use and reliable online store takes knowhow of coding processes. You can attempt to learn as you go, but it is often much easier to hire an outside website developer to install a program onto your website, with very little inconvenience to you. For people who have gone through the process of learning how to create the kind of website consumers expect, they will have undoubtedly run into coding errors, site crashes, and unhappy customers. To avoid the majority of those issues, hiring an expert in web development is a good option.
One of the benefits of hiring a professional ecommerce developer is you can tap into their experience in customizing countless other successful buying interfaces. Online marketing and development is not a one size fits all industry and the professionals know this. Using creativity and in-depth knowledge of coding, they can design a user interface that is perfect for your needs. You can have as much or as little ecommerce on your website as you desire.
If you want a quick and easy click-and-buy option, they can make a system that is hassle free for your users. If you would like a subscription based system, with paid membership opening up other areas of your website, the developers can make it happen. Some of the most popular requests are the ability to save certain items in a wish list, so that they can be purchased at a later date. That makes it much easier for your customers to remember what items that they wanted, especially if your website has a large selection of goods.
Since so many people are familiar with the ease and convenience of ordering online, it is expected that businesses that sell goods should have a well developed online store that is as well appointed as their physical locations. It is endlessly frustrating to have to deal with an online checkout that is confusing, too long, and in the end does not work anyway. When you are asking people to put their major credit card information on the web you need to be able to assure your customers that the buying process will work, and that their information is secure.
The odds are in your favor that if you have a good clientele, the transition to online marketing and ecommerce will be a smooth one—as long as you take the appropriate steps to make sure the online ordering system works. Going with the pros is a way that your business can make sure your new online store has the best chance of success.
Other benefits of hiring a developer
Depending on how much traffic your website sees, you may want to hire a developer to maintain your website in addition to creating your online retail section. Making sure each aspect of a website functions correctly is a full time job for business with large and complex websites. The job is no less important for small businesses, but can be done in less time. If you think that you may not have the expertise and technical knowledge to keep your website working in tip-top shape, you can try hiring the same developer who built your ecommerce section to maintain your site. Some web developers also offer safeguarding services, database management, and graphic design. You can have your website retooled, or just have your current website maintained.
Intelliwave SiteSense boosts APTIM material tracking
“We’ve been engaged with the APTIM team since early 2019 providing SiteSense, our mobile construction SaaS solution, for their maintenance and construction projects, allowing them to track materials and equipment, and manage inventory.
We have been working with the APTIM team to standardize material tracking processes and procedures, ultimately with the goal of reducing the amount of time spent looking for materials. Industry studies show that better management of materials can lead to a 16% increase in craft labour productivity.
Everyone knows construction is one of the oldest industries but it’s one of the least tech driven comparatively. About 95% of Engineering and Construction data captured goes unused, 13% of working hours are spent looking for data and around 30% of companies have applications that don’t integrate.
With APTIM, we’re looking at early risk detection, through predictive analysis and forecasting of material constraints, integrating with the ecosystem of software platforms and reporting on real-time data with a ‘field-first’ focus – through initiatives like the Digital Foreman. The APTIM team has seen great wins in the field, utilising bar-code technology, to check in thousands of material items quickly compared to manual methods.
There are three key areas when it comes to successful Materials Management in the software sector – culture, technology, and vendor engagement.
Given the state of world affairs, access to data needs to be off site via the cloud to support remote working conditions, providing a ‘single source of truth’ accessed by many parties; the tech sector is always growing, so companies need faster and more reliable access to this cloud data; digital supply chain initiatives engage vendors a lot earlier in the process to drive collaboration and to engage with their clients, which gives more assurance as there is more emphasis on automating data capture.
It’s been a challenging period with the pandemic, particularly for the supply chain. Look what happened in the Suez Canal – things can suddenly impact material costs and availability, and you really have to be more efficient to survive and succeed. Virtual system access can solve some issues and you need to look at data access in a wider net.
Solving problems comes down to better visibility, and proactively solving issues with vendors and enabling construction teams to execute their work. The biggest cause of delays is not being able to provide teams with what they need.
On average 2% of materials are lost or re-ordered, which only factors in the material cost, what is not captured is the duplicated effort of procurement, vendor and shipping costs, all of which have an environmental impact.
As things start to stabilise, APTIM continues to utilize SiteSense to boost efficiencies and solve productivity issues proactively. Integrating with 3D/4D modelling is just the precipice of what we can do. Access to data can help you firm up bids to win work, to make better cost estimates, and AI and ML are the next phase, providing an eco-system of tools.
A key focus for Intelliwave and APTIM is to increase the availability of data, whether it’s creating a data warehouse for visualisations or increasing integrations to provide additional value. We want to move to a more of an enterprise usage phase – up to now it’s been project based – so more people can access data in real time.