The Fast Ecommerce Advantage: Why A Speedy Site Helps You Compete
By Tom Wintaugh
We explore the greatest benefits of a strong ecommerce site during times of uncertainty.
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With economic uncertainty, labor shortages, and continuing supply chain disruptions coloring the current commercial landscape, businesses of all sizes are challenged with deciding where to invest to "weather the storm" of economic turbulence.
These businesses may be reluctant to invest significantly in their ecommerce websites, deciding that a “good enough” online store is sufficient during times of uncertainty. But, in the event of a serious recession, investment in a robust, flexible, and automated online presence will enable your business to operate more efficiently and with lean, agile teams. This serves to both protect your business during an economic downturn and set it up to come out healthier on the other side.
In this article, we discuss why now is the time for you to prioritize your ecommerce site and how to invest in ecommerce to achieve business transformation.
The benefits of investing in your ecommerce website go beyond helping you stay relevant, agile, and competitive in a disrupted landscape. A robust and sophisticated ecommerce site includes technologies and features that can help your business operate efficiently at all times. Here are a few ways an improved website can support your business:
To mitigate labor and supply chain disruption, businesses need the ability to expand their resources and boost productivity. As you handle shifting traffic, demand, and sales, your ecommerce platform should be working to streamline your process and operations through automation.
In ecommerce, automation is essentially about creating processes to cut down on manual work and effectively increase your business’ capabilities through automation technology. By investing in ecommerce automation, you can alleviate the problem of finding and retaining staff during a labor shortage.
A well-executed, automated ecommerce system will work to support, not replace, your team. Automating processes that machines can perform better than humans returns critical time to your team that they can use to focus on more rewarding and complex tasks.
Repeat customers are key to sustaining your business—they buy more, spend more, and are more loyal to your brand. This means that losing a customer due to a clunky online shopping experience isn’t just a one-time loss, but a missed opportunity for consistent revenue.
A high-performing ecommerce website makes it easier not only to attract new customers, but to retain the ones you already have. If you can impress and delight your customers with a great online shopping experience, they’ll be more likely to return in the future and to share your business with others.
One effective method for increasing customer lifetime value is to offer a subscription service. Subscription models are wildly popular in ecommerce and have the potential to turn one-time buyers into long-term customers. You can also implement a loyalty rewards program for your existing customer base, offering them personalized discounts to encourage them to purchase from your store often.
Overall, investing in your ecommerce website and providing your shoppers with a great experience increases the likelihood that they’ll become repeat customers and even ambassadors for your brand.
The lasting impact of “doing nothing” with your ecommerce website, especially during times of economic uncertainty, is that your business loses site traffic momentum. If you’re not actively seeking to improve your online experience, your competitors can easily unseat your business’ organic position and direct customer traffic away from you...something which can be difficult to overcome even in a post-recession climate.
On the other hand, investing in a robust SEO strategy for your ecommerce website can drive traffic to your business, making it more likely that your target audience will see and remember your brand. Optimizing your site speed, security, product and category pages, and more can all contribute to higher search engine rankings.
A sophisticated ecommerce website also offers further technologies for increasing your brand visibility. You can sync your site with social media to display user-generated content featuring your products, building visibility and community around your brand.
The world of ecommerce moves lightning-fast and waits for no seller. A strong website on a flexible platform gives your business the tools it needs to stay agile, competitive, and relevant. As you continue to navigate the frequent changes and unpredictable events that impact online businesses, your website will serve as a profitable tool that can evolve alongside you and position you for future success.
While overall the shift to ecommerce has proven that a strong website is key to keeping your business relevant and profitable through times of disruption, a few common myths about selling online continue sabotaging sellers everywhere. If you’re still not convinced that investing in your ecommerce site will benefit your business during times of uncertainty and disruption, read on to start unpacking some of those myths and moving toward success.
The reality: It’s true that building an agile and high-performing ecommerce website takes time and energy. But consider the time it will take to deal with the fallout of the inevitable downtime, breakages, and hacks that can threaten a poorly maintained ecommerce site. The time you invest now in optimizing your website will ultimately mean less stress—and greater efficiency—in the future.
The reality: In a landscape where nearly all businesses have some sort of online presence, it’s no longer enough to do the bare minimum. Ecommerce changes quickly, and failure to innovate can turn even the most successful, popular products into relics of a bygone era. On the other hand, if you equip your business and your website with the tools to anticipate and adapt to consumer trends, you’ll be much more likely to weather future storms and enjoy continued success.
The reality: Improving your website is indeed an investment—but it’s one that’s necessary and well worth the cost. Think of it as an investment into the success, growth, and future of your business that will yield a spectacular ROI. Additionally, you don’t necessarily have to pay top dollar for custom features. A modern website should be equipped to drive sales, automate critical processes, increase average order value, and engage your customers—and there are plenty of available options that can accomplish those goals for businesses of all sizes and budgets.
The reality: While certain product categories require more forward thinking and specialized solutions than others, modern ecommerce technology makes it possible to successfully sell nearly anything online. A flexible platform can support merchants in building thriving online businesses around even the most challenging products, from frozen foods and pharmaceuticals to alcohol and diamond rings.
As uncertain as the future may seem, businesses that use this time as an opportunity to build a sustainable ecommerce presence that empowers their teams and automates critical processes are the ones most likely to come out stronger and more successful.
Wondering how resilient and effective your website is? take our 3-minute website evaluation to see how well your site is currently performing.
This blog was originally published on September 11, 2020, and updated on August 4, 2022.
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Miva offers a flexible and adaptable ecommerce platform that evolves with businesses and allows them to drive sales, maximize average order value, cut overhead costs, and increase revenue. Miva has been helping businesses realize their ecommerce potential for over 20 years and empowering retail, wholesale, and direct-to-consumer sellers across all industries to transform their business through ecommerce.
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