The Web and eCommerce
It is easy to draw a causative link between the explosion of the internet into our daily lives and the 3 broad stages of eCommerce. As businesses discovered revenue opportunities the investment into Internet technologies increased and this created a positive feedback loop generating more and more investment. eCommerce and the internet today drive many businesses, but it is the businesses that have driven the growth of the internet.
It wasn’t always this way, back in the 80’s when I got my first internet account, businesses had no idea what the internet was and saw it as perhaps a curiosity. Fast forward through the first wave of eCommerce 1.0 where the likes of Amazon and eBay blazed a trail and made the idea of buying things online a mainstream idea; then into eCommerce 2.0 where any small business could create their own online store; the internet and the ability to buy online, has become part of our lives.
How COVID perpetuated the rise of e-commerce 3.0
I think businesses realized that eCommerce 2.0 got them a long way, but has run into scaling issues as those companies grow. Before COVID, a lot of companies might have “done some eCommerce” as part of their operation, and inefficient systems and interconnected APIs worked well enough to get them to buy. For example, perhaps occasionally the inventory system stopped talking to the marketing system, but the volumes were low enough that only a few customers were affected and the office manager could fix it before lunch. But with the arrival of COVID and the massive shift to online retail, suddenly these jerry-rigged systems are no longer coping under the strain and companies are looking to find an eCommerce 3.0 solution that integrates their website, CRM, Service, Marketing, and online engagement into one platform to get rid of these interconnected systems.
More and more companies I talk to now are telling me that their old systems “work” but are just not able to scale fast enough to meet the growing demands of their customers who are spoilt by the incredibly powerful systems of the big players in the industry. This is where eCommerce 3.0 steps in and brings this integration to the Davids of the industry.
How consolidation of customer data is crucial for businesses today?
Know Thy Self is a powerful tenet to live by, but in business, it’s almost as important to Know Thy Customer. If you don’t understand what is selling well and why you will spend money on the wrong thing and market the wrong products and just waste money that could have been spent elsewhere.
Traditionally with eCommerce 2.0, this data was spread across your Marketing system, Google, Facebook, your store, your CRM and someone’s Excel spreadsheet masterpiece. eCommerce 3.0 brings this data into the business and makes it instantly available via customizable reports and programmable actions. Want to send a thank you email to every customer that spent more than $1,000 in your store over the past 3 months on a rolling basis and have this set up so it always just happens every morning? You can do this, trivially, with an eCommerce 3.0 system.
Two major components of e-commerce 3.0
The two big ideas behind eCommerce 3.0 are that firstly all the key systems you need to run the sales of your products and services are integrated into a single management platform and secondly that you own and control the data that is generated from your online and offline activities.
If you can achieve these two things, you gain a huge advantage over your competition.
For an exceptional example of this, I had one customer that came to us with 73 separate eCommerce stores in 4 countries transacting in 4 currencies. These stores were operating via a plethora of eCommerce systems, they had multiple installations and versions of all the big eCommerce 2.0 players. We are now in the process of replacing all of this with a single eCommerce 3.0 system using Salesforce and StoreConnect to run all 73 stores out of one platform.
Salesforce, widely regarded as the world’s largest and most successful Customer Relationship Management (CRM) platform is best suited to enterprise businesses and incorporates a complex web of tools for online sales: payments, email marketing, appointment and booking management, website management, point of sale, sales lead management, inventory management, and fulfillment.
Benefits of a fully integrated eCommerce platform
In business, Time is Money. So, what is wasted time? Businesses can’t afford to be paying staff to have their customer on hold while they hunt and peck through 3 different platforms trying to piece together where their last order is up to. Customers want and demand, instant support and assistance with their transactions and factually, anything that puts the customer on wait is an enemy to the business’s ability to operate.
Having a truly integrated system, an eCommerce 3.0 platform, provides the business with a single source of truth to help their customers buy the goods and services they need to achieve their goals in the most efficient way possible. Spending that time well, not wasting time, and so increasing profits.
Mikel Lindsaar, CEO & Founder of StoreConnect
Raised in the Hills of Adelaide, South Australia, Mikel Lindsaar was extremely fortunate to be given a computer and had access to the internet within two years of its arrival in the area in the early 80s. He set goals from an early age and is passionate about solving software and business problems intelligently – if a solution doesn’t exist, he will create one. His experience extends throughout the entire IT stack; from network infrastructure design, VOIP and telephony through to web hosting, operations and custom web and mobile application development.
Mikel Lindsaar, CEO and Founder of StoreConnect, is an experienced technology entrepreneur who wants to infuse small and medium sized businesses with the power to be successful in eCommerce and grow to the Nth degree. Small businesses can’t waste time setting up their business on a platform only to repeat the process by changing platforms when they want to scale, nor do they want to waste time figuring out how to integrate multiple platforms. StoreConnect (built on the World’s Number 1 CRM, Salesforce), gives clients a complete, powerful, configurable eCommerce and CRM solution where they can manage their website, online and in-store sales, provide amazing customer service, run all their digital marketing campaigns and have up-to-date detailed metrics, reporting and full understanding of their customer. They were awarded Salesforce’s 2021 International Partner Innovation Award of the year for the Retail sector and are changing the ease with which small businesses are run ─ with a manageable price tag. StoreConnect is Time. Well Spent. Visit https://getstoreconnect.com/
By Mikel Lindsaar