7 Tips for E-Commerce Sanity
Managing a fully functional e-commerce site as part of your retail operation is a bit like owning a house — you're constantly concerned with what might break next and how to go about fixing it. Much like proper maintenance on your home goes a long way to keeping the handyman at bay, there are several common sense steps you can take to make sure that your omnichannel strategy stays fresh and your online presence relevant. For most retailers, the web is an extremely important — often the most important — channel for profitability.
1. Integrate site and store. Seamless integration between e-commerce and brick-and-mortar isn't just a nice feature to save time here and there; it's absolutely vital to keep both channels operating smoothly and without causing massive headaches for you. Full integration allows simple sharing of inventory between physical and virtual sales as well as real-time transactions on any integrated channel. Once merchandise is entered into a point-of-sale or e-commerce system on an integrated platform, it can be transferred across channels with a few simple clicks and listed right away, allowing multichannel sales in seconds.
2. Keep search engine optimization best practices in mind during development. Nobody loves constantly considering the SEO implications of every decision, but the fact of the matter is that creating SEO-friendly URLs and custom product URLs increase organic keyword rankings and reduce the amount that must be spent on paid search campaigns. Also, be sure that your site is PCI and SOX compliant so that you're protected from theft and security breaches. These steps may seem cumbersome, but it's much easier to keep everything compliant as you go than to go back and engage in a massive overhaul later.
3. Take advantage of social media. You already know that you have to be where your customers are. It can be said, almost without exception, that they're on social media, so that's where you have to be too. Marketing to consumers in the social space can be a dicey situation, but it's always safe to launch content that's controlled by users themselves. For example, allow users to post registries and featured items from your site onto Facebook. You may choose to use Twitter to promote specials and coupons, or LinkedIn to promote new job listings. Consumers will remain more engaged with your brand when they can interact with it on the social media sites where they spend the most time.