It’s Time to Reevaluate Your e-Commerce Presence…Again

by Ville Houttu

Early 2020 brought an onslaught of many adjustments for obvious reasons. Many companies and small businesses made a mad dash to establish or enhance their e-commerce presence to stay afloat amidst the pandemic and the data certainly reflected the rapid shift to online shopping.

According to Forbes, during May 2020 total online spending was up $82.5 billion, up 77% from the year prior. But for those who made the initial investment to shift to e-commerce and away from brick-and-mortar based sales, but stopped there, I would say that now is the time revisit your e-commerce presence…again.

Although in-person shopping has rebounded, there is no denying that a permanent shift to consumers purchasing goods, services and more from their preferred device is here to stay. The expansion of online sales is not slowing down, in fact, e-commerce sales are expected to exceed $740 billion by 2023. With the market continuing to trend up, why wait to expand your digital footprint?

Having an online presence means you are not only able to reach more people, but you are also simultaneously increasing your customer service response time and reaching potential customers outside of traditional business hours and location.

Recently, Vincit has helped clients such as Yamaha, Kellogg’s and KCRW increase their digital footprint. We offer clients various packages that include easy-to-use Shopify and other robust CMS systems for managing their business, all connected to a custom codebase using modern technology and best practice designs.

The next critical step after setting up your business online, is to implement the right UX (user experience) strategy. An effective UX strategy brings the organization’s vision for the customer experience to life, all within the framework of the long-term strategy for the brand, making this a crucial step in the process. UX strategy also involves four vital components: Business strategy, value innovation, user and competitive research, and UX design.

Business Strategy:

While UX focuses on the user, business strategy all circles back to the brand. Business strategy formulates and implements the major goals, initiatives, and objectives each company has.

While formulating the UX strategy, it is important to use specific business goals and objectives as guidelines and success metrics. Otherwise, UX teams approach UX design based on best practices and competitive benchmarks, rather than with the intent of supporting business goals. Overall, UX strategy aligns business strategy with the user and the technology to deliver exceptional products.

Value Innovation:

Used to introduce new technologies for features, Value innovation is a process used with the intent of gaining a competitive edge and lowering costs. Ideally, value innovation creates new demand and influences the market enough to keep the organization at the top but can be in the form of sustaining innovation or disruptive innovation.

Sustaining innovation is mostly found in mature organizations that innovate with small improvements to well-established problems among the user base. Conversely, disruptive innovation is about disrupting the existing market’s status quo. Organizations tend to innovate faster than customer needs evolve and end up creating products that are too expensive, sophisticated, or complicated for their target customers. As a result, the most innovative of products sit at the highest tier of the market – with the highest prices.

User and Competitive Research:

Let’s face it, product development is expensive and because UX is all about the user, organizations can waste tons of money on product development that doesn’t offer anything to the ideal user. Validated user research offers insight into product performance among target users to inform design and development decisions, helping set the strategy up for success.

There are quite a few ways user research can be conducted, including tree testing, usability testing, interviews, and card sorting, but it is important to note that it should always happen early and continuously. Prototyping and testing is the easiest way to get insights from target users, find out if the product is viable, and map out the rest of the development process.

In tandem with conducting user research, it is important to conduct competitive research by providing an overview of the market and product landscape. By considering current pricing, market trends, and direct competitors, organizations can understand the opportunities and challenges and how the product stacks against the competition. Overall research provides answers to questions that will impact the organization’s design.

UX Design:

The last stage in the process is UX design, which aligns the organization’s goals with the business goals, value innovation and the extensive user testing conducted. UX design is the last stage in the process, but the most important stage as it is built upon every stage before it.

There are many parts to an effective UX design. The best way to create a successful design is through product innovation, product integration, branding, design principles, functionality, and usability. A Stellar UX design will hit on all these principles.

UX strategy creates clarity and consistency when building the best user experience for your brand while giving team members a reference for how to carve out space on new platforms, create new marketing campaigns and develop new products.

Whether you’re planning to launch your first e-commerce shop or improve your current one, it should be thought of as a long-term investment. When all is said and done, the right team who doesn’t cut corners will give you a digital property that will positively change the nature of your business going forward.

Ville Houttu is CEO of Vincit USA, a leading international software development and design company with operations in Greater Phoenix and Orange County, CA.

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