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Why Consider eCommerce Business Consulting Services

April 22, 2023
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With the rapidly-evolving era of technology, businesses are experiencing a rapid transition in their digital makeup and IT infrastructure as organizations around the globe – specifically those linked with eCommerce – must acknowledge, embrace and effectively deploy modern digital technology across their entire infrastructure to improve functional efficiency, productivity, and customer experience.

This is where top-notch eCommerce business Consulting Services join the stage to be instrumental in more ways than you can think of. All renowned organizations and enterprises are based on a proven system that is constant, consistent, efficient, and productive without any deadlocks and irrelevant distractions or hurdles! This applies to any successful, viable, and effective small to mid-sized business – be it on a local or global scale.

How to Evaluate the Need eCommerce Business Consulting Services

The question is, how can you effectively utilize the E-commerce Consulting Services for proven outcomes, customer satisfaction, goal-oriented business operations, and initiatives that take your business to the new summits.

This blog post will cover all the relevant aspects and reasons to hire eCommerce consultancy services. Let's discuss this in detail.

When does your business need an e-commerce consultant?

  • During the phase of creating and launching an eCommerce store.
  • For your poorly performing eCommerce store that needs an overhaul and evaluation
  • To boost productivity and ROI

In simple words, you need consultancy at every scale or phase so that your eCommerce business becomes viable and provides value at all times.

What are the main problems that consultancies detect?

Lack of transparency, poorly structured framework, lacks in optimization, services & products that do not address the contemporary market needs, supply-demand gaps, lack of differentiation or specialization.

To simplify the concept, let's break down the whole scenario into 1 simple question: What can a consultant do for your eCommerce business.

eCommerce consultants tend to add a solid, sustainable, and differential value to your business and make it capable enough to show rapid improvements and growth. To achieve this goal, consultancy experts try to:

  • Gain a competitive edge over rivals.
  • Defend against competitors.
  • Attract the convertible and long-term customer base
  • Evaluate a price policy that is profitable as well as aggressive
  • Maintain profitability levels that have been initially projected.
  • Monitor and handle the growth of ongoing projects
  • Cut unnecessary costs and burdens
  • Evaluate and study market and niche to gain opportunities for expansion.

How does a consulting company work?

  1. Collects information to conduct an audit
  2. Evaluate the different areas and departments of business
  3. Investigates the targeted market in order to offer them what they actually want
  4. Introduce the 4 key areas related to the customer-facing sales process that are:
  5. Discovery
  6. Consideration
  7. Conversion
  8. Loyalty.
  9. Study competitors, their patterns and strategies deeply
  10. Suggest proposals from an impartial perspective
  11. Suggest ideas and innovative methodologies or alternatives
  12. Identify hidden opportunities and potential
  13. Outline key stakeholders in the business and solid suppliers
  14. Suggest strategies and solutions
  15. Provides guidance and assist in the process of the application and implementation of the action plans and strategies

How does a consulting company accomplish this?

What tools do they use?

What actions do they take?

Here we have some examples.

  • Usability and in-depth analysis of the digital architecture.
  • Analysis of the product catalog and campaigns
  • Evaluation of metrics and implementation of the sales target control.
  • Analysis of the traffic and the patterns, interest, attention time, and preferences of the website visitors
  • Search engine optimization
  • Generating lead funnels
  • Optimization of the payment gateways, shipping and refund policies, etc.
  • Reviewing the legal and tax framework of all digital activities and the services or products
  • Crosscheck and evaluate price structures and compare them with that of competitors
  • Suggesting online and offline marketing strategies

Benefits of Choosing eCommerce Business Consulting Services

1 – Lowering Business Costs

The revenue your business makes is needed to be increased. On the other hand, your business's budget needs to be downsized. This dual impact causes your Return on Investment (RoI) to boom and helps your eCommerce to thrive at a rapid pace.

Undoubtedly, an eCommerce Consultancy is a great way to cut operating costs and keep your business running. The reason is operating costs contribute to the fact that small business owners always worry about. As compared to a regular or full-time employee, an eCommerce Consultant charges cast less burden on your budget. Suppose you compare the cost of outsourcing an eCommerce Consultant against a full-time employee. In that case, you'll be amazed to see the expenditure gap, as well as other benefits like You, will not have to give paid leaves or any other retirement benefit to your eCommerce Consultant. You can also free yourself from acquiring an in-house HR department to deal with employee-related liabilities and management. You just have to pay at the time you hire an E-commerce Consultant, and no work means no money.

2 – Higher Productivity

As a small or mid-sized business owner or entrepreneur, you are expected to keep yourself engaged in carrying out challenging and core business tasks rather than non-essential and mundane tasks, such as making bookings for travel, managing meeting schedules, etc.

Outsourcing a dedicated resource to handle these tasks is highly recommended as a good eCommerce Consultant can draw a line between core and non-essential(but urgent) and energy and time-consuming tasks. By outsourcing a dedicated role for administrative and non-core business processes, small businesses free up their time and commitments to maximize productive tasks like decision-making, strategy building, etc.Successful SMB owners fully acknowledge the perks of having an eCommerce Consultant, and it allows them to spend their time only on growth-centric and productive activities.

3 – Turn Weaknesses into Strengths

All businesses used to face a set of challenges pushed by a particular area of weakness (both digital and structural)In this situation, virtual assistants can help you fill the void in the skill domain of any SMB. eCommerce Consultants are no longer remain remote workers. Instead, they are skilled experts and can perform various duties with utmost efficiency.

For instance, if you want any resource that can well manage your social media or someone who can carry out product research for Amazon, Shopify, or eBay, you can easily rely upon a virtual assistant for the said purposes.

4 - Growing Your Business

What's an obvious priority and long-term goal for any business – online or offline, small or big? All businesses want to grow, flourish, bolster, and scale to new summits like never before. A company that doesn't scale is like a plant that stops growing and only consumes resources.

It is easy to scale up by collaborating with virtual assistants that manage your business's concerned aspects well. And if you outsource an eCommerce consultant from a different demographic background, you can enjoy the perks of having a flexible schedule and 24/7 functionality. As consultants are skilled professionals, you don't have to invest time in spoon-feeding and training them for each and everything. They will start working as soon as they join you, and it allows you to scale up easily without dealing with any irrelevant hurdles and roadblocks.

5 - Pay as You Go

eCommerce business consulting frees your company from managing any Legal contracts or Human Resources compliances like you do when hiring an in-house employee.

For instance, you cannot instantly cut ties with an in-house employee when he fails to meet KPIs with significant margins. However, on the contrary, you can end the agreement with your eCommerce Consultants whenever you want without any legal limitations. Simply, you can hire a consultant on a pay-as-you-go basis, allowing yourself to have more flexibility and authority.

End Words

An expert, professional, and experienced eCommerce Consultant under your authority is practically a secret sauce that any eCommerce or online business owner requires to boost RoI & productivity and experience instant growth and sustainability. So regardless of the size of your business, you can never overlook the importance of getting an extra set of hands to take the burden off you! Get in touch with us to discuss the future opportunities and expansion plan of your e-commerce business.

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Ecommerce
9/20/2023
Mach Architecture: The Future of E-commerce Infrastructure
5 min read

The e-commerce world has evolved significantly over the past decade with the introduction of digital solutions such as speed-enhancing tools and infrastructures. MACH architecture is among the most buzzworthy terms in e-commerce, as it has transformed the digital landscape for the better. Endorsed by IT experts and e-commerce gurus alike, Mach architecture is everything a digital commerce platform needs.

As seen in a recent survey, 4 out of 5 (from 500 tech leaders surveyed) consider Mach as the solution to market volatility, citing its scalability and flexibility to be beneficial for adapting to evolving market conditions. 

So, what is mach architecture? And why is it considered the best thing for e-commerce? This blog covers everything you need to know about MACH software architecture, including its benefits and examples.

What is Mach Architecture?

Let’s start with the terminology. MACH is short for Microservices-based, API-first, Cloud-native, and Headless. These are four technology principles used in modern software architecture to enable interoperability, flexibility, and scalable design. These principles collectively form modern, best-in-breed platforms for e-commerce. 

Today’s customers are getting more and more used to digitally advanced shopping experiences and lightning-fast transitions between channels. To meet these expectations, companies must be digitally fluent and continuously evolve.

Here’s how Mach architecture allows brands to embrace digital transformation:

Microservices

The first letter of the acronym that makes up MACH architecture refers to stand-alone components or services that are developed, deployed, and managed independently. Each microservice is designed for a specific functionality, such as product search, checkout, items added to the cart, and more.

These loosely coupled services collectively form integrated applications capable of providing faster responses. Using well-defined APIs to link the backend with the front end, microservices are reliable and frequently deployed to offer a better customer experience.

API-first

Speaking of APIs, most modern digital applications have adopted the use of APIs to integrate the best components and build custom applications. Apart from fulfilling their unique business requirements, these APIs facilitate easy communication and data transfers between different applications within the system. This allows the independent components to operate simultaneously, providing a seamless experience to end users.

Cloud-Native

If you run an ecommerce business, you already understand the importance of cloud-based infrastructure. This is why MACH architecture revolves around using cloud-based services to reduce the costs of on-premises hosting, infrastructure, and security.

E-commerce brands can also leverage the pay-as-you-go model offered by cloud providers, minimizing the cost of hosting and provisions. As a result, businesses of all sizes can offer flexibility to their customers and expand to new locations while reducing unnecessary costs.

Headless

Have you ever thought of building your own user interface to suit your e-commerce brand?

That's exactly what headless commerce addresses. It allows you to create captivating shopping experiences by choosing a front end of your choice. MACH architecture makes this possible by decoupling the front end from the backend engine. You can choose whether your front end should be a social media platform, a webshop, or a mobile app.

The independent backend handles the systems, tools, and processes to manage commerce operations. These include managing product information, updating details, tracking inventory, processing checkouts, and more.

The Role of MACH Architecture in E-commerce

Now that we've established that MACH architecture employs a best-of-breed approach to develop e-commerce platforms, let's explore its impact compared to legacy infrastructure. Before MACH gained prominence, e-commerce businesses relied on monolithic infrastructure.

Given the rising customer expectations and the increasing need to future-proof e-commerce businesses, the world sought a more flexible approach. The ideal software architecture in this case would enable companies to grow and scale their e-commerce ecosystem by adapting to market trends.

Sources: Infosys, Mach Alliance, and Zippia’s Cloud Statistics 2023

Why You Should Move On from Monolithic Platforms

Although you might find monolithic platforms suitable for your e-commerce business right now, this won't be the case for long. When compared to MACH architecture, these legacy platforms have significant drawbacks. For starters, you need to consider the costly maintenance and upgrades of monolithic platforms. Additionally, there's the issue of downtime and slower speed to market.

If you've been running an e-commerce platform for a while, you understand how detrimental downtime can be. When a customer has to wait for your system to respond before making a purchase, they're more likely to abandon your brand entirely and seek an alternative. Not only are monolithic systems more susceptible to downtime, but they're also vulnerable to hacking, potentially resulting in financial and data losses.

Lack of Flexibility

Given the evolving e-commerce landscape, constant system upgrades are necessary to stay ahead of the competition. However, this isn't straightforward with legacy systems. These systems aren't designed for flexibility, requiring significant IT resources for upgrades and maintenance. Additionally, creating new platforms from scratch becomes problematic when adding new functionalities.

Time to Market

Another downside of legacy infrastructure is slow time-to-market. A fast and responsive system is essential for success in today's e-commerce landscape. Your online platform must load quickly, support rapid releases of marketing campaigns, and deliver exceptional customer experiences. Unfortunately, legacy systems lack these capabilities. They're usually slow and prevent e-commerce brands from customizing or updating their online stores to meet their needs.

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How MACH Architecture is Transforming the E-commerce Industry

Finding suitable business tools today is challenging, as technologies quickly become outdated with the introduction of newer versions. In this context, MACH architecture benefits your e-commerce business with its modular design, enabling you to scale up and stay aligned with emerging market trends.

According to a study, 79% of IT leaders intend to incorporate MACH elements into their systems in the future, with 27% of them planning to adopt MACH within the next 12 months. The study also found that transitioning to MACH architecture improves customer experiences by 60%.

With MACH, you can quickly and easily build and deploy new applications without having to worry about the backend infrastructure. When you consider switching from your legacy infrastructure to a MACH setup, re-platforming should be the least of your worries. 

Once you have your system running on MACH architecture, you can mold it to address changing market scenarios and also leverage the best tools to improve your ecosystem. Such flexibility in e-commerce means that you can unlock streamlined growth towards success.

Reduced Downtime and Enhanced Customer Experience

Since MACH has independent microservices working simultaneously, you can make changes to a part of your system without affecting the rest of your operations. In e-commerce, this means that your system’s downtime is practically reduced to zero. Additionally, MACH also makes your ecosystem more secure as you can work on independent modules. 

With reduced downtime, customers get to browse and shop faster and never face any delays. The best part of MACH architecture is its headless component, which makes the shopping experience equally great on any device. As a result, brands can target the channels frequented by their customers and design their e-commerce stores for those channels to enhance the shopping experience.

Best-in-breed Tools and Unmatched Scalability

If you make the switch to MACH, your e-commerce platform will no longer have to use the same set of tools for an extended period of time. With support for best-in-breed functionality, MACH provides your business the ability to select the best tools from each category. Whether you want to optimize your payment processing, product search, or inventory management, everything can be top-notch.

With that said, any tool would be useless in the coming years if it wasn’t scalable. The same is the case with software architecture. Regardless of the changing market trends and traffic on your e-commerce site, MACH architecture allows you to scale accordingly and provides the flexibility to adjust with each scenario.

By far the most useful aspect of MACH in e-commerce is the ability to upgrade. Unlike legacy systems that render useless whenever a new feature is to be released, MACH-based systems simply allow you to integrate new features and remove older ones that you don’t need. This means that developers can get their work done in less time as they do not need to add features from the beginning. The use of APIs in MACH architecture allows you to add integrations and form connections with new digital channels, hence allowing you to achieve faster time to market.

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Benefits of MACH Technology   

Bringing together the technologies used to make up MACH architecture is bound to be beneficial wherever it is implemented. Whether you consider the agility, flexibility, or sheer ability to create and deploy any application whenever you want, MACH only brings good news.

Agility

Frontend developers can work their charm without having to involve anyone from the backend team. This means that running test apps and tweaking the frontend design for a better customer experience is now easier than ever. Since e-commerce revenue is directly influenced by customer experiences, the ease of designing new frontends is definitely a benefit. 

Improved Customer Experience

When it comes to e-commerce, time is literally money. So you can never accept poor web performance as an answer. Here, MACH technologies help you ensure high-speed transitions between multiple online shopping channels and different pages of an online store. 

Response to Failure

As if that wasn’t enough, MACH also provides you with better tolerance against unexpected issues. You can overcome downtime by quickly developing and deploying independent applications. Another advantage of using cloud-native infrastructure is the built-in mechanism to counter internal redundancy and failure.

Faster Time to Market

As you are able to build features and microservices as blocks, you can enhance the speed of testing and deployment of resources. Using modular and independent microservices also enables quicker development cycles and the availability of cloud provisions is the cherry on top.

How MACH Principles Work    

In the simplest terms, MACH architecture breaks down an application into various smaller microservices that are designed to work best individually. To create a feature-rich application for online shopping, you need a lot of these microservices such as analytical tools, payment options, CRM, product search, and more. 

Unlike traditional e-commerce platforms, the microservices in MACH platforms are self-contained and have their own database. In essence, you get to create different individual applications for product management, analytics, and payments. 

Source: XStak

Microservices in MACH architecture are designed to balance their load and perform different functions simultaneously, such as showing users the items in their cart and capturing their preferences for the service’s own database. 

In terms of architecture, MACH systems are made up of:

  • Containers to ensure consistency throughout development and testing processes.
  • Service mesh with separate IP addresses
  • Service discovery for a unique, decentralized architecture 
  • API gateways to connect services with customer touchpoints
  • Content delivery networks (CDNs)

In order to look for a suitable communication route between components, microservices make use of service discovery. Then, APIs are used to establish communication between each microservice. Upon communicating with each other, microservices send out static content through CDNs to cloud-based services. With all of this, microservices allow the system to be individually scalable as per the business requirements.

When you create new apps within your e-commerce ecosystem, you want them to be consistent across all channels and touchpoints. This is where the cloud-native principle of MACH architecture comes into play. Every time you build and deploy an application, it becomes a part of your entire system. 

Finally, the headless API principle of MACH allows you to extract and send data to any application, device, or network. Headless commerce is especially useful in streamlining communications between different components like inventory, payments, and CRM to keep all data consistent and updated.

Examples of MACH Architecture

Shopify

Yes, the popular cloud-based e-commerce platform Shopify is a successful enough example of MACH architecture. It utilizes the headless, API-first approach to allow developers to build custom e-commerce stores and create memorable shopping journeys. Developers can integrate with third-party services and systems conveniently using the API-first principle of MACH systems.

Amazon

Speaking of online retail platforms, no one does it better than Amazon. The giant has been using microservices as part of the MACH architecture since 2006. Amazon’s system consists of thousands of microservices working behind the scenes of hundreds of user interfaces. The company leverages the MACH principle of decoupling the frontend and backend services to deploy code every 11.7 seconds without any downtime or interruptions.

Puma

MACH architecture examples are not limited to e-commerce platforms. Puma, the well-known multinational retail brand uses MACH’s microservices to speed up and extend the functions of their apps. Customers can now enjoy the shopping experience with quickly deploying customized US and headless APIs. As a result of the MACH implementation, Puma now supports up to 300% to 400% more users than monolithic systems.

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Key Takeaways

In conclusion, it is safe to say that e-commerce businesses greatly benefit from transitioning to MACH architecture and ditching legacy infrastructure. Not only do they get more chances to enhance their omnichannel capabilities but also create memorable customer experiences. 

This is the ultimate objective for higher revenue and the ability to scale your business to new markets.

Ecommerce
9/20/2023
What is a Full Service eCommerce Agency? Solutions that you need in 2023
5 min read

There was a time when businesses used to go online only to establish their presence as a brand. But now the tide has, today, businesses are starting their journey online right away. Now, the eCommerce industry is a powerhouse of global commerce, holding more than 20% share of the global economy. 

However,  running a successful business is not everyone’s cup of it as with profits, eCommerce brings challenges. And of course, such challenges require specific solutions and sets of skills.

One cannot make sales by simply setting up their website and listing products. The opportunities are vast, but so are the hurdles, making it essential to take well-informed decisions. So, you’ll have to work on full-service eCommerce solutions to run a large online shop or manage a retail store.

From choosing the right platform and setting up a product database to building a user-centric website, there’s a lot that goes into an eCommerce business. Not to mention the multiple integrations such as payment processes, order and inventory management, and 3PL logistics.

In full-service eCommerce, you have to manage and optimize various aspects of operations efficiently. Every facet demands expertise but it’s hard for online stores to have specialists in all the fields. Online store owners need an expert eye to navigate the intricacies of the digital landscape successfully.

They need professionals who can manage affairs such as web development, marketing strategies, order fulfillment, and customer support.

This is where a Full-Service eCommerce agency steps in as a valuable strategic partner.

What is a Full Service eCommerce Agency?

A full-service eCommerce agency is a one-stop solution provider for all eCommerce needs. It comprises a team of experts specializing in various fields such as website development, digital marketing, analytics, logistics, customer service, and much more. These agencies help businesses build, manage, and grow their online store by providing an end-to-end eCommerce solution.

From bringing your business online and enlisting products to ensure sales and shipping, they offer full-service eCommerce solutions.

However, you should not hire an agency until you are well aware of your needs. Even if you are thinking to expand the operations, pay attention to the benefits and demerits of such a decision. 

Benefits of Choosing a Full-Service eCommerce Agency over DIY Solutions

When it comes to online shopping, businesses are often torn between doing it themselves (DIY) or partnering with a full-service eCommerce agency. The DIY route may seem attractive but it often fails to deliver long-term results. On the other hand, choosing a full-service eCommerce agency offers significant benefits that contribute to overall success.

Comprehensive Expertise

A full-service eCommerce agency houses professionals who specialize in various e-commerce aspects. You will have experts working on web design and development digital marketing, SEO, data analytics, and more. Such deep knowledge and varied skill sets are hard to achieve in the DIY approach.

When you hire an agency, it ensures that your e-commerce operations are handled holistically. The team works on all the crucial elements at the same time which lead to success.

Time and Effort Savings

Let’s be honest, running an e-commerce business is no small feat. You have to manage multiple tasks, such as inventory, order management, marketing, customer service, and much more. This requires effort and often eats up significant time, which could be better spent on core business activities.

By choosing a full-service eCommerce agency, you delegate these tasks to experienced professionals. This strategy will free up your time and allows you to focus on strategy, growth, and innovation.

Scalability

The demands of managing your eCommerce operations will increase as your business grows. You’ll constantly be needing experts’ opinions and scalable solutions to ensure consistent growth. You cannot work simultaneously on expanding your product range and targeting new markets while focusing on seasonal demand fluctuations. But an agency can swiftly scale up their services to meet your requirements.

Consistent Branding

Professional branding across all touchpoints is key to building trust with your customers. But you will need consistency in approach to be the brand you want across multiple sales channels.

Your branding efforts must portray a seamless picture be it your website design, social media posts, or email marketing campaigns. A unified approach to branding boosts your brand's credibility and recognition. But for this, you may require a large marketing time, which means extra costs on labor and infrastructure. This is where a full-service eCommerce agency shares your burden and helps you grow upward.

Ongoing Support and Maintenance

In the DIY approach, you have to figure out things on your own. But when you go for full-service eCommerce solutions, you’ll get ongoing support and maintenance. That’s because agencies are always updated with the latest eCommerce trends and technologies. They know how to implement necessary changes to keep your online store at its best performance.

Moreover, if any issue arises, their team is just a call away to resolve it promptly. You won’t have to allocate resources and change your focus from marketing to fixing an internal issue.

Improved ROI

The ultimate goal of any business is to generate revenue while maximizing its ROI. When you choose full-service eCommerce solutions, you get data-driven strategies to optimize your eCommerce operations. The hired agency will always be working to improve your site's user experience and effective marketing campaigns. You can expect increased conversions and customer retention as well as a higher ROI.

Key Factors to Consider When Selecting the Right Agency for Your Business

Selecting the right full-service eCommerce agency is like choosing a growth partner. This is a decision that can make or break your online business in a matter of months. Consider the below factors when you are selecting the right agency for your business:

  • Expertise and Experience
  • Full Understanding of Your Business
  • Technological Proficiency
  • Comprehensive Services
  • Scalability Options
  • 24/7 Client Support
  • Cost and Value for Money
  • Transparency in Reporting
  • Effective Communication
  • Culture Fit

In addition to expertise, pay attention to their previous track record and understanding of your business model. Always ask for references and case studies to ensure they can deliver on their promises.

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Technology Selection for Different Business Models

The technology you select to power your eCommerce operations should align with your business model. There is no one-size-fits-all solution as each business has different needs and requires different solutions.

B2C Ecommerce Solutions

For B2C eCommerce businesses, technologies that prioritize user experience, flexibility, and scalability are top considerations. Shopify and BigCommerce are ideal platforms which offer easy setup, seamless integrations, and extensive support, which are excellent choices.

B2B Ecommerce Solutions

Online stores that serve businesses require robust and flexible solutions to handle complex operations, large catalogs, and varying customer roles. Platforms like Magento and Salesforce Commerce Cloud are suitable options for B2B businesses. These technologies are known for their scalability, customization capabilities, and built-in B2B functionalities.

B2B2C Ecommerce Solutions

Large enterprises often require both B2B and B2C solutions for their eCommerce businesses. This is where you can utilize platforms like Fabric, known for its robust solutions and supply chain integrations. The best part is that it has a user-friendly, customer-focused interface. Such platforms allow businesses to manage multiple channels, partners, and customer segments from a single place.

Remember, your eCommerce technology should empower your business model, not limit it!

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Full-Service Ecommerce Agency Offerings for Leading Platforms

When we talk about full-service eCommerce solutions, we mean a comprehensive business solution. This includes front-end creation, design implementations, multiple channel integrations, migrations, and marketing automation.

Shopify and Shopify Plus

Shopify is the best eCommerce solution for any new business right now. For larger businesses, Shopify Plus offers advanced features that an agency can leverage for your benefit. Full-service eCommerce agencies can help with customizing Shopify themes, app integrations, and setting up automated marketing campaigns. 

BigCommerce

It’s an ideal solution for businesses that want to run online and mobile eCommerce stores. You can easily handle payments in multiple currencies and can exchange them. Agencies can optimize your BigCommerce store for SEO and implement custom functionalities. Furthermore, they can integrate it with essential third-party apps for superior customer experience and business operations.

Magento

This is a versatile eCommerce platform that is ideal for almost all types of audiences. However, Magento's highly customizable platform requires proficient development skills. And a full-service eCommerce agency can help you make the most of it, from development and integration to optimization and support.

WooCommerce

This is not a platform but a WordPress plugin that is suitable for small businesses. You can easily install it but WooCommerce requires professional assistance for optimal performance. You can hire freelancers or an agency for services like custom theme development, plugin integration, and site optimization.

Fabric

Fabric is an end-to-end headless commerce platform. It’s highly suitable for large enterprises and eCommerce businesses that target both B2B and B2C marketing. Fabric is based on Omnichannel architecture so it can help you scale your operations on multiple channels while providing easy payment solutions. A skilled eCommerce agency can help you leverage Fabric to build a flexible, scalable, and efficient eCommerce operation.

Salesforce Commerce Cloud (SFCC)

Salesforce Commerce Cloud is a comprehensive digital commerce solution that comes with an AI-based recommendation engine. In addition to predictive AI, you’ll get optimized localization, marketing strategies, and effortless auto upgrading. However, implementing such a complex eCommerce technology requires expert guidance for customization and ongoing support.

Optimizing Operations for Efficiency and Customer Satisfaction

The success of an eCommerce business is directly associated with user experience. For online stores, it’s compulsory to streamline operations and offer a seamless shopping experience. Below are some key strategies that can help you optimize operations, increase efficiency, and delight your customers.

Managing and Tracking Purchases

For large enterprises, an efficient order management system (OMS) is the backbone of their operations. It is a software that enables eCommerce businesses to process and track orders seamlessly. Such a  tool not only curtails shipping delays but also reduces the risk of errors.

With a reliable OMS, businesses can automate order processing, manage inventory effectively, and provide real-time updates to customers. Such transparency in the order fulfillment process enhances customer trust in the brand. It adds a sense of satisfaction, leading to higher retention rates and positive reviews.

Fulfillment Operations Optimization

Full-service eCommerce is incomplete without streamlined warehouse management and shipping. This is the part of your online business that’s responsible for timely and accurate order delivery. By optimizing warehouse management and improving shipping processes, businesses can ensure products reach customers promptly. This also helps in reducing shipping costs.

For this, you can leverage technologies such as automation, barcode scanning, and optimized picking and packing strategies. Furthermore, you can synchronize your shipping integrations with trusted carriers. This way you can utilize multiple delivery options and track orders in real-time.

Omnichannel Enablement

The modern market is a multichannel selling landscape where offering a seamless experience across all channels is imperative for any business. Customers expect a seamless yet cohesive experience whether they are buying in-store, through social media, or on a mobile or website. As a result, retailers are following the Omnichannel approach that integrates all sales channels.

Source: XStak

Omnichannel eCommerce allows customers to switch between different sales channels effortlessly. Whereas businesses can leverage data synchronization and unified customer profiles to personalize interactions. They can recommend relevant products, and maintain a continuous shopping journey regardless of the channel used.

Leveraging Headless Commerce Technology

Headless commerce decouples the front-end and back-end of an eCommerce platform. The separation allows online retailers to maintain the core eCommerce functionalities while adopting modern front-end technologies and frameworks.

The benefits of headless commerce include:

· Best-of-breed integrations

· Agility and speed-to-market

· Rich personalization

· Scalability and performance

· Omnichannel experience.

· Flexibility

· Unique customer experiences

With headless commerce, eCommerce stores can experiment with various front-end designs and interfaces without impacting the backend. This ability empowers them to stay ahead in the ever-evolving eCommerce market.

Enhancing Customer Experience and Support

Now let’s consider how full-service eCommerce can help businesses provide exclusive and exceptional customer experiences.

Order Tracking and Management

We know order tracking and management stand as critical elements when it comes to offering exceptional customer experience. Full-service eCommerce solutions provide comprehensive tools that allow customers to monitor their orders' progress in real-time. Timely information about purchase status, from order placement to delivery, boosts a buyer’s confidence.

Source: XStak

Furthermore, order tracking offers transparency that in turn contributes to a trustworthy relationship.

Logistics/3PL Integrations

Shipping and delivery are key touchpoints in the customer journey of an eCommerce buyer. A full-service eCommerce solution provider can help you leverage integrations with logistics and Third-Party Logistics (3PL) providers. Such integrations streamline critical processes, improve inventory management, and result in prompt delivery.

Additionally, a well-integrated logistics system enables efficient handling of returns and refunds. This reduces the workload for stores and makes the process less frustrating for customers.

Elevating Customer Service

Customer service is about exceeding customer expectations to generate a positive impression of the brand. When you hire a full-service eCommerce solution provider, they build a supportive and responsive customer service team. The goal is to equip them with the right tools and training and enable them to provide immediate assistance.

An ideal customer service team should resolve complaints effectively, and offer personalized solutions. You can also use AI-powered chatbots and CRM systems to manage customer interactions efficiently.

Harnessing the Power of Digital Marketing and Social Commerce

To be successful in eCommerce, retailers must conjure robust marketing strategies. This includes targeting their focused audience wherever they are present online.

Digital Marketing Strategies

Digital marketing encompasses everything from Search Engine Optimization (SEO) to Paid Advertising. But these two strategies provide brands with a wealth of opportunities to expand their reach and grow their customer base.

SEO strategies ensure the brand's website ranks high in search engine results. This is a consistent, long-term process that increases visibility and organic traffic. Whereas paid advertising campaigns like PPC (Pay-Per-Click) help you generate immediate results. Below are the key differences as well as benefits of these two strategies.

Social Shopping Sites and Marketplaces

The advent of social commerce has truly transformed the way people do buying online. Modern platforms like Facebook or TikTok are blurring the lines between social networking and shopping. They offer a more interactive and personalized shopping experience that aligns with consumers' preferences and lifestyles.

Online sellers can leverage these platforms to showcase their products within a social context. This strategy can help them foster better customer engagement and increase sales. In case you are new to social media marketing, below are some popular platforms where you can advertise and sell your products.

Enabling Growth through Automation and Analytics

Efficiency and personalization are two crucial aspects of modern eCommerce. A full-service eCommerce agency can help you grow multiply by introducing automation and analytics tools.

Marketing Automation

By implementing marketing automation tools, businesses can streamline repetitive tasks. For example, you can automate email marketing, customer segmentation, and ad campaigns using distinctive tools. This way your online business can free up valuable resources while offering personalized customer interactions. You can make decisions and run campaigns based on their behavior and preferences.

Customer Loyalty Programs

The key to a successful eCommerce business is forging lasting relationships with customers. One effective strategy that full-service eCommerce agencies recommend is the implementation of a customer loyalty program.

Loyalty programs reward customers for their continued patronage, encouraging repeat purchases. They prompt brand loyalty and motivate customers to spend more while fostering a sense of belonging and appreciation.

Tracking and Analytics

A full-service eCommerce agency recognizes the importance of harnessing data to uncover invaluable insights. And so, you get to look into customer behavior, market trends, and campaign effectiveness. That’s why data-driven decision-making is considered the backbone of successful eCommerce operations.

Businesses can monitor key performance indicators (KPIs) effectively using data. By using sophisticated tracking and analytics tools, they can identify areas of improvement, and optimize their operations.

Audits, Insights, and Recommendations

Regular audits, insights, and data-backed recommendations help eCommerce businesses maintain a competitive edge.

Conducting eCommerce Audits

The eCommerce audits involve a comprehensive evaluation of different aspects of the online store. These may include evaluation of website design, SEO performance, social media engagement, customer experience, and more. Such eCommerce audits help businesses align their strategies with customer needs and market trends.

Furthermore, eCommerce audits offer a fresh perspective on the business, revealing gaps. They indicate inefficiencies that may have been overlooked, ultimately contributing to a more optimized and profitable eCommerce operation.

Actionable Insights

Full-service eCommerce agencies use advanced data analysis tools to interpret complex data sets, turning them into clear, actionable insights. These insights might relate to customer behavior, sales trends, website performance, or other important metrics. Understanding and application of these insights help online stores make strategic decisions.

For example, insights into customer behavior can guide improvements in product offerings. Similarly, analysis of website design and marketing strategies can provide a detailed overview of customer experience. 

Recommendations for Future Growth: Strategies to Stay Competitive in 2023

Competition in the eCommerce industry is fierce and you cannot survive without leveraging market research. So, stay updated about the latest trends and follow the strategies to stay competitive in 2023.

Embrace AI and Machine Learning: Utilize AI-powered tools for personalized marketing, customer service, and predictive analysis, ensuring a tailored and efficient customer experience.

Mobile Commerce: With the continued rise of mobile shopping, optimizing for mobile users is a must. This includes responsive design and mobile-friendly checkouts.

Social Commerce: Make the most of social media platforms that allow direct sales. These offer a seamless transition for customers from discovery to purchase.

Data Privacy: As consumers become more privacy-conscious, ensuring strong data protection measures can boost customer trust.

Omnichannel Marketing: Establish and maintain a consistent brand experience across all channels to reach customers wherever they are. This means ensuring a strong presence on the website, social media, mobile, and even physical stores.

Customization: Offer personalized products or services. The ability to customize can elevate the customer experience and increase brand loyalty.

Sustainability: Adopt eco-friendly practices and transparently communicate them to customers. Sustainability is a growing priority for consumers and can differentiate your brand.

Continuous Learning: Stay informed about the latest eCommerce trends and adapt your strategies accordingly to maintain competitiveness.

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Conclusion

Businesses require customized eCommerce solutions as each has distinctive needs based on their audiences. By partnering with a full-service eCommerce agency, you can capitalize on their comprehensive services to optimize operations, enhance customer experiences, and drive growth. Not to mention the benefits of harnessing their expertise in technical knowledge.

We, at shopdev, provide you with tailored full-service eCommerce solutions and strategies. You’ll enjoy seamless integrations as well as 24/7 support from our tech experts. We will be empowering your businesses to stay competitive and adapt to changing market trends while creating lasting relationships with your customers.

Ecommerce
8/29/2023
Snowflake vs. Amazon S3 vs. Delta Lake: Which One to Choose?
5 min read

In today’s time, the growth of any business is directly linked to its capacity to handle data processing at a large scale. As companies started to grow, they started generating huge amounts of data with variable rates and volumes. So it becomes crucial to set up a robust cloud strategy in place.

The Internet of Things has accelerated the growth of data, both structured and unstructured. It is necessary to extract valuable insights from this data to drive profitable decisions as the ultimate goal. To acquire this processing and decision-making capability, businesses need to generate capacity to gather, store and retrieve data with ease.

Amazon S3

Amazon S3 solves this problem as Amazon Web Services (AWS) provides the most basic and global infrastructure.Amazon S3 allows high scalability, secured, and low-latency data storage from the cloud. With its user-friendly web service interface, one can easily store and access data on Amazon S3 from anywhere on the web. It starts by selecting a region, creating a bucket, and transporting to quickly and easily share data.

Amazon S3

Also, with Amazon S3, we don’t need to predict future data usage. You can store and access as much data (though individual objects can only be up to 5 terabytes in size) you want and whenever you want to.Amazon S3 automatically creates multiple copies of your data to keep it secure and restorable in case of any unfortunate event. 

Furthermore, with almost zero budget and setup cost, lifecycle policies, such as moving your less-used data to Amazon Glacier to reduce costs and secure it from unauthorized access, Amazon S3 allows you to utilize most of the data efficiently without any hurdles.

Key Benefits of Amazon S3

Amazon S3 is a trendsetter in cloud data storage and has numerous advantages, but let’s discuss the five most notable ones:

  • Trustworthy and Secure Infrastructure: When created, Amazon S3 buckets can only be used by the identity that created them (IAM policy grants are an exceptional case). Also, you can manipulate access control for each file and bucket. Thus, IAM (Identity access management) sustains your complete control over how, where, and by whom the data can be accessed. Amid such a set of regulations and authorization policies, you can ensure no unauthorized access to your data.
  • 24/7 Availability: Amazon S3 provides full-time and full-scale service access to the fast and inexpensive data storage facility that Amazon itself uses to carry out the operations of its global network of websites. S3 Standard is set up for 99.99% availability & Standard – IA is set up for 99.9% availability as both enjoy the patronage of the Amazon S3 Service Level Agreement, which Amazon strictly follows.
  • Low-Maintenance: Amazon S3 binds you to only pay for the data you are using, making it a low-maintenance service that costs around $0.022 / GB to approximately $0.0125 / GB for infrequent access. You can also outline policies for automatic data transition to the infrequent access framework of Amazon Glacier, which further lessens the cost as Amazon Glacier is cheaper(approx $0.004 / GB).
  • Ease of Migration: Amazon S3 provides you with various migration options such as the S3 command-line interface and Glacier command-line interface. This migration practice is very budget-friendly, and it is very easy to transfer huge amounts of data to Amazon S3 or out of Amazon S3. Amazon S3 also allows you to import or export data to any external device or on any network.
  • Simple and Easy Management: Amazon S3 possesses a very user-friendly web interface that eliminates the usual headache of technical workload by allowing easy and instant security maintenance, capacity optimization, and data management in the most suitable way possible. You can outline your lifecycle policy, set up replication scenarios, and restructure the Amazon S3 inventory. It also enables you to apply different filters to a better and more managed outlook of your storage.

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Snowflake

Snowflake is a data warehouse built on top of the Amazon Web Services (AWS) or MS Azure cloud framework. It lacks any hardware or software to choose, install, or handle as a low-maintenance solution, making it a perfect choice for organizations that don’t want to allocate resources or spend dollars on setup, maintenance, and support on-site servers. And data can be transported easily into Snowflake via an ETL (Extract, transform and load) framework.

Snowflake

But the attributes of Snowflake that make it unique are its architecture and data sharing capabilities. The Snowflake architecture enhances the storage and computation process by allowing both to work independently, so customers can either use and pay for storage and computation separately or for both. And the sharing option is capable enough to allow organizations to quickly and easily share regulated and secured data in real-time.

Key Benefits of Snowflake

Snowflake is designed specifically for the cloud, and it’s developed to fill all voids in older hardware-based frameworks, such as limited scalability, data transformation problems, and delays or crashes due to numerous query requests. Here are five perks of integrating a Snowflake framework into your business.

  • Speed and Reliability: The highly scalable model of the cloud means if you want faster data transfer or make multiple queries at a time, you can escalate your virtual warehouse to enjoy the perks of extra computational power and capacity. Once you are done, you can scale back to the previous capacity without paying continuously for abandoned resources.
  • Capacity and Support for Structured and Semistructured Data: You are not required to transform, convert or pre-process any data before analysis. Instead, once the data is available, you can directly combine both structured and semi-structured data for analysis and load it into your cloud database as a snowflake is capable enough to optimize how the data is stored and processed.
  • Concurrency and Accessibility: With conventional data warehouse frameworks, a large number of users, and queries being made, you could encounter concurrency issues (such as delays or crashes) as more users and queries tend to occupy more resources.Snowflake eliminates the concurrency issues with its state-of-the-art multicluster framework by allowing queries from one virtual warehouse to refrain from impacting the queries. Furthermore, each virtual warehouse can be either scaled up or down as per requirements. As a result, data analysts and data scientists can achieve what they are struggling for, whenever required, without delays due to slow loading or preoccupied resources.
  • Effortless Data Sharing: Snowflake’s architecture allows data sharing among Snowflake users and helps organizations share data with any data consumers (whether they are snowflake customers or not) without any effort. In addition, this functionality allows the service provider to develop and configure a Snowflake account for multiple consumers.
  • Availability and Security: Snowflake is designed to operate with consistent and continuous availability. It can bear component and network failures with minimal impact on customers. It possesses SOC 2 Type II certification and additional layers of security, including support for PHI data for HIPAA customers and encryption across all network protocols.

Delta Lake

To understand the role of Delta Lake, it is necessary to understand what Data lakes are. Data Lakes are very puzzled and messy pools of data as everything gets dumped there. Sometimes, there is no need or reason to dump data in data lakes, but we may be thinking we’ll need it for later usage. Much of this mess and lack of organization happens due to the many small files and many data types. Because multiple small files are not in a suitable format, reading them in any shape or form is difficult, if not impossible. In addition, data lakes often possess poor data or corrupted files, so it becomes impossible to analyze such files. All you can do to handle such files is to roll back and start over again.

delta lake

This is where Delta Lake emerges as a guiding light. It provides an open-source storage layer that offers ACID transactions: Atomicity, Consistency, Isolation, Durability, to Apache Spark big data framework. So, instead of the mess discussed above, you get an extra layer of your data lake from Delta Lake. Delta Lake enhances ACID transactions by utilizing a log linked with each Delta table created in your data lake. This log possesses the listing of everything that was ever performed on that data table or data set, which provides high levels of reliability and stability.

Key Benefits of Delta Lake

  • ACID Transactions: With Delta, you don’t need to bother writing any code – the transactions written to the log are automated. This transaction log is the key, and it portrays a single source of data as truth.
  • Scalable Metadata: Delta Lake can handle terabytes or even petabytes of data without any problem. Metadata is stored just like mainstream data, and you can view it using an option called Describe Detail which will elaborate the detail of all the metadata linked with the table.
  • Single Platform enriching Batch & Streaming: Delta Lake no longer requires a separate framework for reading a data stream alongside a batch of data, eliminating streaming and batch flux limitations. Instead, you can do parallel streaming or write a batch to your table, and it all gets logged automatically, making your clicks and decisions reserved.
  • Schema Enforcement: This is what makes Delta Lake unique as it enforces your schemas. If you write a schema on a Delta table and push data to that table that is not consistent with the schema, it will pop up an error and restrict you from writing that, holding you back from making wrong inputs. The enforcement mechanism reads the schema as a metadata segment by analyzing every column, data type, etc. It checks whether or not your input to the Delta table is the same as what the schema represents for that Delta table. Thus, it frees your mind from the tension of writing wrong data to the wrong table.
  • History Preservation: You can retrieve an older version of your data using queries to make rollback or audit data decisions.
  • Merge, Insert and Delete: Delta enables you to carry out operations like upsert easily or merge. Merges works like simple SQL merges into your Delta table. You can perform merges over data from another data frame into your Delta table and perform update operations like insertion and deletion. You can also perform a regular insertion or deletion of data using a predicate on a table. This regular update option is something that is not offered by any platform except Delta.
  • Compatibility with Apache Spark: Apache Spark is the top-of-the-line processing framework for big data. Delta Lake adds value to Spark by ensuring reliability. Doing so enables analytics and machine learning initiatives to gain ready access to high-quality and reliable data.

Comparison Between Snowflake vs. Amazon S3 vs. Delta Lake

Criteria Amazon S3 Snowflake Delta Lake
Platform Type Cloud-based storage Cloud-based data warehouse Open-source storage layer for data lakes
Scalability Highly scalable for data storage Highly scalable for storage and computation Scalable for data storage
Ease of Use User-friendly web service interface User-friendly interface, low maintenance Enriches Apache Spark with ACID transactions
Data Sharing Limited sharing options Real-time secured data sharing capabilities Data sharing among users and consumers
Cost Efficiency Low cost, pay for actual data usage Cost-effective with pay-as-you-go model Cost-effective storage with ACID transactions
Architecture Basic storage infrastructure with data redundancy Separate storage and computation layers Adds ACID transactions to Apache Spark
Concurrency Basic concurrency support Supports high concurrency with virtual No explicit mention of concurrency support
Schema Enforcement Limited schema enforcement options Enforces schema, prevents inconsistent data Enforces schema, prevents incorrect inputs
History Preservation Limited versioning and history preservation Versioning and history preservation Versioning and history preservation

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Conclusion

This blog post must have helped you choose between Snowflake vs. Amazon S3 vs. Delta Lake frameworks as per your feasibility. Delta Lake and Snowflake are much better choices for handling data that lacks organization and structure. Moreover, all these solutions are highly scalable, allowing you to enjoy the perks of these services without spending too much on unnecessary space and processing.

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