If you’re the CFO of a company expanding its eCommerce footprint, you probably see many requests for investment.
They come from the IT department, marketing, merchandising, operations: They’re all a priority and they are all certain that their request is the most urgent, the most likely to decrease inefficiency and boost revenue.
But unless you’re swimming in money, you can’t approve them all. So how do you know what to choose? Which option is likely to deliver the best return on investment for your company?
Before you choose, it’s worth weighing the factors most likely to deliver benefit and which factors carry the most risk.
Culture or progress?
Most business leaders of major retailers say the same thing about their eCommerce platform: They want the “best user experience possible.”
So to accomplish this, they will agree to spend millions of dollars on a built-from-scratch eCommerce system that caters to the needs of their specific customer base.
But according to GroupBy Inc., a company that specializes in data-driven commerce software solutions, that might not be the best idea.
In fact, one of the biggest obstacles to making the right decisions for your eCommerce platform is the attitudes of the people who work there, according to a GroupBy report about the pitfalls of various methods to improving eCommerce.
“Having spent millions of dollars building their own eCommerce platform, the CEO of a major retailer was shocked to have pointed out to him that on searching for khaki shorts, the site brought back khaki pants, camouflage pants and a bunch of other stuff that didn’t match the search,” according to the GroupBy Inc. report, titled “Building A Business Case for your eCommerce Website.” “It was a simple enough ask, but the multi-million-dollar eCommerce platform failed to deliver on something very basic.”
The report said that problem could have been solved — or even prevented — by using the best available technology from professional eCommerce software providers. CFOs shouldn’t underestimate the negative impacts that a company’s internal politics can have on financial decisions on technology.
“When humans are involved, self-preservation takes over before any conversation about technology, the right architecture or even the users’ experience,” the report said.
Irrelevant search results
There are several critical metrics for how successfully your eCommerce website is reaching and retaining customers, but GroupBy says that improving the search conversion rate is probably the most likely to provide an immediate return on investment.
Let’s say your customer does a search on your site for “bright red shoes.” If your site returns results not only of red shoes but all shoes that are similar in color to give users as much choice as possible within the basic range of what they’re looking for, that is the ideal scenario for the customer experience. With that kind of attention to detail in search results, you will probably see an increase in conversions very quickly.
Few things are as likely to drive away customers forever as receiving irrelevant search results on your eCommerce site. The numbers speak for themselves.
A 2018 survey by Adeptmind showed that 80 percent of shoppers said that accuracy and convenience were the most important parts of shopping online.
In the survey called Shopping Barometer: Habits of the Modern Consumer, another 60 percent of those surveyed said the worst part of online shopping is irrelevant search results and the inability to find the specific item they’re looking for.
If you can address and avoid those frustrations for your customers, you’ll see real ROI, according to GroupBy.
And always remember who you’re competing with: The same survey showed that nearly half of all shoppers lacking a specific purchase begin their search on Amazon.
In the world of eCommerce, competition is fierce. But if you focus on the problems most worth solving, you can still succeed.