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Top 5 Challenges E-commerce Stores Will Face This Holiday Season and How to Address Them

Top 5 Challenges E-commerce Stores Will Face This Holiday Season and How to Address Them

Top 5 Ecommerce Challenges

With every new store display that goes up both in the physical and online stores, we are reminded the holidays are here. Online retailers put in a lot of effort to prepare their store for the holidays because of the potential increase in purchases (especially last-minute). The increase in customer traffic means there are potential increase in challenges; how you effectively deal with these challenges, can either make or break you to cement your online presence. Here are some of the challenges that you may face and how to address them:

#5: Increased website traffic

This is a great part of the holiday season but could have a negative effect on your store. It’s good because increased traffic can convert to increase in sales, however, unpredictable traffic could mean surges which may make your store go offline, something you obviously do NOT want to happen. To avoid this coordinate with your hosting company and your technology partners to ensure your disc space and bandwidth are increased appropriately. There are cloud hosting options and many other solutions to ensure that your store stays up and running during the holiday rush.

#4. Shipping Demand

The last thing your customers’ need to worry about is whether their items will be delivered on time. Not meeting your delivery schedule results in an unhappy customers who could take theirs and other business elsewhere. Evaluate your shipping options to see where it lacks and ensure it meets all potential customer demands. Any and all logistic issues with shipping products also increases your customer service requirements and taxes your staff causing mistakes and furthers the discontent of your customer base.

This doesn’t only effect small or medium sized ecommerce businesses. Just recently, we heard an internal story of a holiday related snafu with regards to Walmart. Their system shipped out a product incorrectly and it took a Redstage staff member 3 lengthy customer service calls to get it sorted out! This type of customer experience is why sites lose customers and what can stifle growth. Make sure your systems are running smoothly and your staff is trained to avoid these types of problems.

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#3. Bad User Experience

Customer expectation for the look and ease of use of your online store can be very high. It is important to exceed this expectation to ensure that the user experience (UX) for the customer is memorable but most of all easy to use. Your products should be easy to find via navigation or search and contain enough product information to convince the customer to complete their purchase. Mobile optimization for your store is especially important in this day and age since a large percentage of shoppers use their mobile devices to shop online. Work closely with your web team’s designers and developers to optimize your store’s UX.

#2. Payment Fraud

The increase in online purchases during the holiday season also means you and your customers are more at risk to be victim to payment fraud. It is important to your customers to know that your website is secure since their card and bank information can be easily stolen if a merchant does not take the proper security measures. According to the National Retailer’s Federation, the average retailer loses 0.68 percent of revenue to fraud. This does not include the cost to you for fees, time and overhead and the loss of customer trust. Customer trust can cascade exponentially to ruin your brand and lose you much more than the industry average over time. To effectively manage this risk ensures that your store is in Payment Card Industry Security Standard Council (PCI) compliance, monitor customer daily transactions to look for any red flags in customer spending, use the address verification system and the Credit Card Verification Value (CVV).

Also, make sure that your software platform is up to date – We’re looking at you Magento 1.7 users! The security issues that can arise from out of date software need to be fixed immediately to protect you and your customers from hacking and fraud.

 

Top 5 Ecommerce Challenges

#1. Stock Control

It’s important to have sufficient stock to meet customer demand for the holiday season, it is also just as important to ensure you are not left with a large amount of holiday stock going into the new year. Make sure to monitory inventory ensure you have adequate amounts of stock for potential orders and storage is not an issue. Pull a report on your best-selling items in the last few months to ensure you’ve ordered the appropriate stock levels in time for Christmas. If you’re running any flash sales or pushing deeply discounted loss-leader items, you should have the data to support the inventory levels and not run low or end up with massive overstock.

Overall, these challenges aren’t impossible to overcome. If your company is facing any of these holiday difficulties or in general need any help or support with your store, please get in touch with Redstage anytime. You can reach us at 1-888-335-2747 or email us at info@redstage.com.

UPDATE!

Discover the top trends, insights, and strategies from the 2018 holiday season here!

Cloud Architecture: A Close Up of Magento Enterprise Cloud Edition

Cloud Architecture: A Close Up of Magento Enterprise Cloud Edition

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In April of this year, Magento launched its Enterprise Cloud Edition. A Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) environment designed specifically for Magento 2.0 and runs on Amazon Web Services (AWS). Sounds fancy right? Pretty much! But as an e-commerce merchant I’m sure you’re wondering how you will benefit from this new software and why it’s different from anything you may have currently.

Let’s zoom in a little to look at Magneto’s new baby and its benefits. So what exactly is Magento Enterprise Cloud Edition? Magento themselves describes it as a platform-as-a-service offering that enables rapid deployment of fully customizable, secure, and scalable web storefronts, combined with a leading hosting and managed services infrastructure. Designed to support Magento Enterprise digital commerce software, Magento Enterprise Cloud Edition takes advantage of the architecture and functionality enhancements provided by versions 2.0.5 onward. In simpler terms, the new Cloud Edition enhances Magneto’s Community and Enterprise offerings. Magento enterprise Cloud Edition is hosted; setting up and managing a Magento store is a lot easier for merchants now.

Magento Enterprise Cloud Edition is fully customizable; merchants can now offer customers’ differentiated experiences while they benefit from simplified integration and the ability to respond to changing technology.

The new Cloud Edition also runs on the Amazon Web Services (AWS), to the merchants this means that they will always be ready for high volume in demands for their products, Black Friday and Cyber Monday, will no longer be a nightmare and merchants can spend more time optimizing their stores for customers’. The new platform running on AWS ensures that merchants have the capability to respond to a rapidly changing environment, continuously deploy innovations, and not worry about the day-to-day management of infrastructure.

Breaking barriers as the first of its kind in a post software as a service (SaaS) era. It offers customers the benefits of cloud computing usually associated with SaaS solutions but with a highly performaing and scalable PaaS platform.
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Magento’s Chief Product Officer, describes the new Cloud Edition as a “game changer.” At the core of Magento Enterprise Cloud Edition are an innovative PaaS that enables merchants and their system integration partners to adopt continuous delivery practices by providing best-in-class DevOps, release management and cloud management tools that make deploying, testing, promoting and operating multiple environments rapid, easy and manageable.

For more information about Magento’s Enterprise Cloud Edition visit their website here.

RMA Webinar Hosted by Third Wave Business Systems – June 11 2-3PM EDT

Over the past few months we have seen many companies struggling with returns process flows and supporting technologies.  We’re happy to be able to feature an upcoming webinar by Third Wave Business Systems, our partner and SAP Business One specialist, on this very challenge!

Effectively Manage Return Materials Authorization by Third Wave Business Systems

In an ever changing technological world, it is becoming more and more crucial that you have a strong Return Materials Authorization (RMA) process in place at your organization. If you are unfamiliar with the term, RMA provides the capability to issue authorizations, track status, and process materials returned from customers. For example, let’s say a salesperson at your organization took an order for 200 items, the shipment was sent out to your customer, and upon receiving the goods, realized they were shipped the right item but in the wrong color. With RMA, you can easily obtain authorization to return/exchange the product and receive immediate payback and return on investment. Some key features of Return Materials Authorization include:

  • Create new RMA documents for item, batch, or serialized returns and expected disposition defaults, providing instant visibility into inbound material returns
  • Easily convert RMAs into Customer Returns to create an Incoming Inspection queue to initiate the retuned materials workflow
  • Automate inventory transactions through the Inspection disposition process
  • Quarantine materials through transfers into separate warehouses
  • Automatically create Service Calls for those items requiring service work
  • Generate the data required to analyze returns trends by business partner, item, or batch
  • Turn data into a proactive tool in addressing product quality, sourcing, or business partner relationship problems

As you can see, RMA helps minimize the costs involved with unauthorized returns and ensure that what is returned is accurately processed and dispositioned. The authorization and tracking processes are independent of standard ERP software functions to provide information about returns without impacting on-hand inventory and financials. At the same time, RMA is integrated with standard business process functions such as Sales Returns, Inventory Transfers, and Service Calls to provide a seamless process flow.

Gain tighter control of your RMA processes, control costs, and turn dissatisfied customers into repeat business. This integration does it all! Click here to register for a complimentary webinar demoing Third Wave’s RMA solution on June 11th from 2-3pm EDT. We hope to see you there!