Vendor Selection: Take the Holistic Approach
In today's retail/direct/online environment, it's logical and essential to have a holistic approach to making any investment decisions. Too often people look at only one problem, tool or solution at a time. In today's market, that narrow focus puts integrated retailers at a serious competitive disadvantage.
All aspects of your business should work in concert to drive sales, especially when choosing e-commerce service providers. While searching for the right e-commerce vendor, ponder the following:
- Do vendors ask the right questions about your image and targeted customer?
- Are they willing and eager to work with your entire team to ensure the web store experience correlates with your in-store and catalog experiences?
- Do they ensure your data can seamlessly integrate with your online data and other databases?
- Are their solutions flexible and open? Can they be easily integrated with other systems and solutions?
Your e-commerce provider should be innovative and offer new ways to incorporate your online systems with your stores and catalog.
Take ratings and reviews, for example, which are associated with online. In a given case, a major solutions provider suggests that merchants put hangtags on the merchandise in their stores, showing the products' customer ratings. The vendor also recommends adding ratings and reviews to product descriptions in print catalogs and email campaigns. In addition, the vendor explains how its mobile application may be used by in-store customers to find product information and reviews prior to purchase.
That's the kind of holistic thinking you should demand from a service provider.
Vital Data Crosses Channels
Vendors should know how critical it is to access your data across all channels. Data isn't exciting or flashy — that's why it's often ignored — but as anyone in technology can tell you, garbage in, garbage out.
Good, integrated data allows you to do the following: