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Virtual Storefronts with Cloud Integration Are Booming
April 05, 2018 | By Brent Whitfield @ DCG Technical Solutions (https://www.dcgla.com/)
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We are pleased to share with you all an interesting article contributed by Brent Whitfield who is the CEO of DCG Technical Solutions Inc. 

 
 

Brent Whitfield

CEO at DCG Technical Solutions 

www.dcgla.com

 

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More and more consumers buy goods online, making e-commerce the norm. Virtual storefronts flourish, and every transaction that takes place generates a flow of data from orders, shipments, billing, invoices, and customer accounts that must be made safely, securely and effortlessly accessible through integrated e-commerce systems. Through cloud integration, you can painlessly manage various applications to work efficiently with a multitude of systems. The ecommerce platform is the heart of the business but it needs to work seamlessly with a multitude of specialized software solutions like ERP, delivery services, accounting software, data analysis, marketing software, shopping carts, and payment services. 
 
Cloud Integration Is Essential
 
 
The advantages of cloud integration are well understood: users can access personal data in real-time on any device; control messages can be quickly shared with other application programs; data integrity is maintained and data conflicts are avoided; and it also offers scalability. But looking at a few takeaways from e-tail West 2016; this systems integration is absolutely vital to delight the customers. 
  • Today’s e-tail consumers are always connected, always on, multi-channel, and have high expectations for their online experiences. They want digital retailers to know them, serve them, respond immediately, and they are looking for an integrated one-stop shopping experience.
  • Consumers are moving fast, e-tailers need to move as fast and adopt an agile business approach to keep up with their customers. From sourcing, merchandising, payment, shipping and post-transaction support, e-tailers need to put customers before technology and provide a unique shopping experience. 
  • Currently, mobile is the leading catalyst for change - but IoT (Internet of Things) and wearable technology are not far behind – and many e-tailers are seeing smartphone revenue overtaking desktop revenue. To be successful in today’s super-competitive digital retail environment, e-tailers must provide a seamless shopping experience across desktop, mobile, social, email, brick-and-mortar stores. 
  • Today’s digital retail consumers own the shopping experience and configure it, by manipulating different devices across multiple channels. With the competition just one click away, e-tailers must provide customers with the shopping experience they want. 
  • Driven by big data and analytics, e-tailers are now able to deliver a meaningful personalized shopping experience, and can optimize the customer journey in real-time.
Providing an integrated, personalized, one-stop, cross channel shopping experience can only be done with cloud integration.
 
Data-centric marketing is central to meet today’s customers’ demand
 
To meet the fickle, and demanding, needs of customers, marketing continuously moves towards more personalization and also gets more real-time. Data-centric marketing allows a marketer to take a personalized, meaningful, timely action on the customer data. And over the past few years, the trend has been to move customer data from separate databases to a single centralized database -- creating a single view of the customers across all touchpoints and products; and using multi-channel real-time decision technology.
 
A recent study by Blue Nile research and Blue-core shows that two thirds of the marketers are planning to make data-centric marketing investments in 2016; and nearly a third of marketers stating that they are fully submerged in personalization. So when you are interested in sending a personalized email after a customer abandons a shopping cart; or sending a personal email with suggestions based on customer’s behavioral data; or sending an email to an instant customer segment based on recent spending patterns: you are participating in data-centric marketing and personalized marketing.  
 
Another takeaway from e-tail west is the Rise of the Apps
 
We have seen the advent of mobile commerce, but until recently, the focus was on mobile web optimization. At e-tail West, several companies mentioned a shift towards a retail app. So why apps? 
  • Better conversion due to better payment functionality. 
  • Gaining Customer Insights: an app gives the retailer the ability to track their shopper’s journey and collect data; it is a customer data capturing machine. 
  • Personalized Loyalty programs: retailers are able to personalize the experience based on the shopper’s purchasing habits.
  • Testing New Features: apps have become a test lab for features.
With apps providing this wealth of customer data, integrating the customer data from the app in the single customer database and making sure that the customer view includes the app data is vital because of the wealth of data that an app can provide. Cloud-based integration provides the flexibility that is vital to deal with the rapidly changing app and solutions landscape. 
 
E-Commerce Integration is challenging
 
The importance and benefits of cloud integration are obvious. But it’s no secret that integration can be complicated and expensive. Many ecommerce SaaS (Software as a Service) providers resort to custom integration. Custom integration, however tends to be difficult, often requiring specialized software developers to maintain it. Furthermore, custom integration is fragile. Find out reliable cloud integration team for an assessment. 
 
     
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