The performance and resilience of your ecommerce website is everything when it comes to running an online business. Today, more than ever, that platform needs to be optimised for customer’s to stick around!
As quoted by the Centre for Retail Research, “e-commerce is one of the fastest growing markets in Europe.” Businesses in every sector are tapping into new demographics that are increasingly looking to shop online, and these markets are open to local, regional, national and international fan bases.
As stated in the research, the ecommerce market for online sales in the UK for 2011 was £50.34 billion. This equated to only 12% of UK retail trade. It is a figure that is predicted to reach 33% by the end of the decade as more and more businesses take their branding, services, products and lead generation marketing to an increasingly online shopping audience.
Furthermore, the UK market only paints one picture. When we look at international figures for Europe, the total market for online sales in 2011 stood at £169,888 million, with 71% of these sales coming from companies in the UK, Germany and France. Which leads us to believe there are multinational opportunities to carve out new online niches for your business.
As competitors in every industry are virtually jumping over one another to exploit these markets across rapidly advancing European, Asian and South American markets, the opportunities are incredibly lucrative. However, failing to provide the right ecommerce platform, hosting and support network for your staff and customers, will have a catastrophic effect on the reputation of your business.
Leading the way with ecommerce in your industry will require the right online infrastructure. As people become more Internet savvy, B2B and B2C ecommerce needs to seamlessly handle masses of potential customers looking to navigate your site and buy online. While this is a tremendous opportunity for a business to capture new and exciting customers, it is also a huge challenge to maintain as potentially huge volumes of people visit your site. Security and control of your ecommerce platform must therefore deliver optimum levels of service for customers, and operational efficiency of staff. In short, the integrity of your ecommerce platform hinges on quality hosting.
People will not buy your products if the site is complicated to navigate or anything less than real-time responsive when loading pages/processing requests. Dedicated hosting ensures a clean user experience no matter how much traffic is coming to the site. Your entire web presence from site layout and navigation to product categorisation and transaction processing, must be quick and agile to any type of request, thus maintaining end-user confidence so that they stay and buy from you and not your competitors. Any loss of service, issues with checkouts or lack of confidence in product processing, and you will likely lose customers to somebody else.
As online sales rise, more and more people are not only looking to buy online, but also research, shop around for the best deals and review comparison web sites through the Internet. This gives them greater peace of mind that they have made an informed choice. It is therefore essential that your site remains online as a 24/7 presence and has high visibility within search engines and social media to be seen and heard above others as a trusted and reliable ecommerce business.
Where previously the most successful ecommerce businesses were multi-national enterprises with huge budgets to throw at an online shopfront, now the playing field has been levelled by ecommerce solutions and hosting that enhances any size of business. Where companies like Nike, Interflora and OfficeMax have amplified global success around ecommerce infrastructure, so too have thousands of smaller companies where an impressive online shopfront gives their customers better price, choice and flexibility to purchase from devices convenient to them and their location. They are able to deliver total security and seamless navigation through every stage of the online shopping experience.
Running a hosted ecommerce platform removes the significant barriers to entry that traditional retailers fear – cost, resource expertise, cultural differences and governance policies. With the right hosting provider you can service growing online customer demographics with a compelling online experience that is continuously performance optimised, secure and compliant. Eliminating barriers to entry with the right hosting platform means smaller companies can compete in highly competitive, yet richly rewarding, online markets.