Looking Into An eCommerce Future

29th October 2012

In 1900, France greeted the new century by hosting the World Exposition.  Thousands marvelled in the dynamo hall filled with electric generators sparking the industrial revolution into a frenzy.

Fast forward 100 years and the Internet revolution kicked into gear.  Opening the gates to hobbyists in the mid 90s, the world wide web sparked a wave of excitement.  Being painfully slow back then and more of a novelty than a work horse, enthusiasts started experimenting with websites.  Hitting fever pitch in the late 90s, the press became encapsulated by the spell.  Executives, investors, entrepreneurs, peddlers and village idiots swarmed in a frenzy sparking the .com bubble.  

In 2000, the hype reached fever pitch and the internet was a sure bet to millionaire row. I remember this time vividly.  Everyone was getting into the game.  Unless you were an Internet Service Provider, the hype was premature.   eCommerce was touted the next revolution and everyone basked in the Amazonian splendour to come.  I could see the possibilities were endless but everyone was overlooking something crucial.  The user market was small and the Internet was simply too slow.  The reality hit in 2001 just as I incorporated our company and the .com bubble burst.  Tangible revenues were years away and the crash created space and freedom for us to start pioneering in eCommerce.

In the early 2000s, our integrated eCommerce platform gained traction with several clients growing their online revenues to $millions/month.  We predicted the real spark to hit in Australia during 2008/2009.  That didn’t happen.  Instead, the GFC got its grip and combined with the memory of burnt fingers, the boom was yet again delayed.

Here, in 2012, the eCommerce boom has arrived.  The wake-up call wasn't the executives, nor the marketeers who are still learning the space.  It was the users themselves.  The market had arrived, savvy and plugged in via high speed 3G smart phones and wifi connected desktops coupled with high speed internet access from work and home.  Whether it’s wholesale or retail, demand for eCommerce is here and new challenges and opportunities abound as more players hit the field.

Now that there is a considerable market of users, businesses are taking eCommerce seriously and our attention remains fixed on the future that lies ahead.  As a technology developer, we are constantly researching and innovating for tomorrows online needs. So what will differentiate a compelling ecommerce website in the coming years?

After a recent discussion with an executive at Puma, it was clear we both had similar views on what will make an eCommerce website thrive:

  • Behavioural Content - Provide a rich and personal customer experience
  • Mobile Browsing - Ensure the site is accessible from mobile and PCs
  • Intuitive Workflows - Make the process simple and fast 
  • Integration and Logistics - Fulfil the order as promised
  • eMarketing - Follow up with personalized offers and promotions 


I have summarised each area below.

Behavioural eCommerce

This area is going to attract much more attention over the next 3 years because, now, its personal!  End users are starting to become burdened by information overwhelm and issues with locality.  They are looking for a better experience and will choose swiftly with a 'click' or a 'tap'.  In short, they will respond favourably to content tailored specifically to their needs and workflows matching their intention.  This creates stickyness and fuels repeat business.

The xsquizzit eCommerce platform has been designed to dynamically alter content according to the users’ role to offer a personalised experience.  Content areas are living breathing components embedded into each web page.  Put simply, they display the content you see.  Whilst often appearing lifeless to the end user, content areas are indeed very smart.  Firstly, they talk to each other on the page.  When you add a product to cart, the product area notifies the cart summary area and the cart details are updated.  Secondly, they can respond to user behaviour and inform the server for advanced monitoring and analysis.  Thirdly, they can vary the content displayed based on the users account privileges, their browsing patterns, ordering trends and profile information.

In 2012, we released the multi locale and multi-currency features as our first set of behavioural content features.  When users visit the site, the content displayed can be altered according to their Locale and default currency.  Locales can be regional or national.  eNewsletters can dynamically form a recipient list based on user attibutes or past actions.  Additional behavioural capabilities are planned for 2013 as part of the eCampaigns and eVouchers modules.   

Mobile browsing

I have included a separate article that covers this topic in depth.  It's a huge growth area and if you take the leap, the rewards will come fast.

Easy and intuitive workflows

Having travelled Europe for 4 months, I have used several websites that deliver an exceptional experience.  In general, the shopping cart experience is fairly well defined however increasing navigation and minimizing steps to checkout, and fast page loads are becoming important differentiators.  The challenge has always been user security.  We are responding in this space by increasing password protection on the back of developing a highly efficient express checkout process.  The discussion about workflows is a daily conversation and we will continue our pursuit to simplify workflows to empower end users with guest/express checkout features released in the coming months.

Integration and Logistics

The major burden of an eCommere website lies beyond what the user sees. An eCommerce platform integrated Live with internal accounting/inventory software yields significant advantages for businesses intending to process more online.  This has been a major strength for our technology and we are very excited to announce the release of our new Live accounting Connector framework this November. The Connector is installed on the client’s server and links Live to their XSQUIZZIT eCommerce Platform.  The module allows us to expand our range of integrations whilst uniquely incorporating each Accounting System structure into a universal eCommerce framework.  The robust Live and hybrid sync is geared to underpin advanced features such as Inventory Management, Account Enquiry, Integrated Freight, eMarketing, eDeals and eVouchers.  An article outlining the detail of the Connector will be released in an upcoming Mini-Click.

EMarketing

Since launching the eMarketing module in August 2011, many of our clients have started distributing eNewsletter on the platform.  Most are experiencing outstanding results and often achieve twice the traffic and sales over the days following.  Most have developed a user communications schedule where traffic and interest grows over time.  The Accounting integration makes management of user recipient lists a breeze and eliminates double management which takes time to collate.  Furthermore, eNewsletters increase traffic to pages that, in turn gets noticed by Google.  Getting started with integrated eMarketing packages start from $450 with a standard eNewsletter Template up to $1,500 for a professionally designed custom solution.

In conclusion, the 'Plugged In' revolution is happening and opportunities abound. The retail and wholesale landscape is evolving quickly and demand for eCommerce services is on the rise.  Can you afford NOT to be marketing your website properly? These Modules will drive your platform further!

Contact Eric McKibbin on 03 9645 2900 for further information about our innovative eCommerce solutions which can capitalise on the hard work you have already undertaken. 

 

Go back to Spring 2012 News