The pandemic has driven a vast and transformative digital transformation in the retail industry. As lockdowns came and went, retailers everywhere realised that eCommerce was a vital lifeline to safeguard their business through disruption. Now, the challenge is to use this transformation to enable long term competition – rather than short term survival.
The surge in online retailers has itself caused a challenge, however. With so much competition in the industry, it’s more difficult than ever to stand out. In an industry dominated by a few eCommerce giants, customers expect a completely seamless user experience. But everyday jewellers, book sellers and more can offer the experience that users expect. But to do that, they need the right technology.
This is where the cloud comes in, and here’s four ways it can help your eCommerce store grow, survive and thrive post-pandemic.
Customers expect the options they see on screen to reflect the products they can actually buy. The last thing anybody wants when shopping online is to choose a product they want, add it to their basket, only to find it’s out of stock.
With the cloud, you can make sure your website reflects the items actually available – all the time – with information about stock and sales instantly updated. When new products arrive, all it takes is the scan of a barcode, or an update to the product page for that item to be available online. And when a customer buys the last item – the product can be removed from the search results across all browsers.
This makes it quicker and easier for retailers to clear stock and lets customers enjoy a smoother ride through to purchase.
According to Google, a user is 32% more likely to click off a page that takes up to 3 seconds to load. When the loading time increases to 10 seconds, that probability is a staggering 123%.
Every second a page takes to load is lost revenue. It’s vital, therefore, to bring lags and latency to an absolute minimum.
In the early days of cloud computing, it was only the big eCommerce giants who could offer customers this type of experience. But now, with more cost-effective cloud options available, even smaller businesses can build a resilient and friction-free eCommerce platform.
In the cloud, you can build a customer facing website that takes much less time to load and refresh, making life easier for your customers, wherever they are, and from whichever device they’re searching your website.
In a highly competitive market, there’s no excuse for a website outage. Every second that your website is offline there’s a customer that’s chosen to go elsewhere. According to Gartner, the average cost of an IT outage is as high as $5,600 a minute.
With an on-premises hosted website, there’s no way to guarantee you’ll stay online – because you’re only ever as resilient as your internet connection. But, the cloud gives you another option, ensuring your information is fully redundant. This means information is duplicated between different locations, so if there’s a power outage in one place, there’s always a backup plan.
Traffic to an eCommerce site varies wildly at different points in the year. Black Friday alone, according to Google, can account for some 30% of annual sales – meaning website traffic increases by up to three times the average amount.
With an on-premises website, you need to make sure your server is large enough to manage this capacity – even if that’s the only day of the year you receive that much traffic.
But by transforming your cloud costs from capital to operational expenditure, you can ensure you only pay for the resources you use each month. That means when a huge spike hits your website, you can scale your usage up and down to meet that demand, paying just for the resources you need during peak days of site traffic.
Being prepared for whatever happens
In the early days of cloud computing and eCommerce, it was the big giants that had the competitive advantage. Today, the market is still dominated by these few companies – but it’s easier than ever for you to compete with them.
The cloud makes it simple and affordable for smaller online retailers to offer a smooth, resilient and professional browsing experience to customers. So why not find out how you can get started today?
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