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Managing the Pitfalls of E-Commerce Growth

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Few things are more satisfying to an e-commerce retailer than experiencing rapid growth in site usage and sales. But with that growth can come challenges, which if not seen and addressed, can undermine the anticipated success and profitability.

Many e-tailers begin with an off-the-shelf ecommerce platform, such as Magento, Netsuite or IBM Websphere Commerce, which allows them to quickly and easily build and deploy their ecommerce site, and manage operations. These platforms generally provide a shopping cart and content management system, as well as features to assist with product catalog management, order management and customer relationship management. In addition, most platforms provide basic search and navigation features. These generally allow for keyword search based on a finite number of fields from the product catalog and provide site and product navigation.

For many smaller companies, or those in the start-up phase, these basic services are often enough. But growth and product expansion can change all that. The growth trajectory often incudes increasing complexity in:

  • The number of products offered on the site
  • The number of product attributes and SKUs
  • The ways in which products need to be described and categorized (prices, sizes, colors, etc.)
  • The desire to merchandise products in a more agile, sophisticated manner (rapidly changing promotions, cross-sells, etc.)

If the product catalog becomes unwieldy and products become difficult to find and merchandise on the site, the retailer has a problem that needs to be addressed sooner rather than later. Once a customer has a frustrating experience on a site, the chances of return visits and sales are greatly reduced.

A third party partner such as EasyAsk can address these problems, give customers an enhanced shopping experience and provide a sound foundation for continued growth. Using natural language site search, navigation and merchandising solutions that integrate seamlessly with the ecommerce platform, EasyAsk has allowed many retailers to double and triple their conversion rates.

The benefits brought by upgrading to EasyAsk include:

  • Improved Search – EasyAsk’s rich linguistic processing “understands” the relationship between words and how they apply to the product catalog, delivering accurate results and eliminating the “no results” page.  EasyAsk understands both the intent of the search and the content of the catalog.
  • Flexible Navigation – EasyAsk’s natural language rules can derive attributes from any field in your product catalog. Navigation is easily extended using dynamic attributes which merchandisers can adjust on the fly for visitors.
  • Dynamic Merchandising: EasyAsk offers a rich suite of merchandising tools in an easy-to-use interface that eliminates the need for IT involvement. The natural language rules and virtually unlimited number of attributes deliver the ultimate combination of flexibility, agility and simplicity.
  • Simplified, Low-Cost Management – A complete set of out-of-the-box analytics and actionable reports track visitor behavior and allows management to clearly see the complete picture and easily make adjustments to fine-tune the shopping experience.

Knowing when to augment your platform with an integrated, third party solution can go a long way towards meeting the challenges associated with managing rapid growth and maintaining a positive trajectory. As you evaluate your needs and available options it is important to remember that not all third party solutions are truly integrated. EasyAsk offers both on-premise and SaaS versions, both of which provide full integration with your e-commerce platform to maintain high degrees of SEO and easy product data integration.

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