2019 exemplified a market rapidly growing in both size and complexity, with a myriad of services becoming available to growing retailers. From payment solutions to complaints handling, personalisation, payment and review software, it’s little wonder retailers are left feeling somewhat overwhelmed.

The common themes we heard from prospects in 2019 included:

  • Our platform isn’t able to manage the complexities of the business or isn’t living up to its promises
  • Our platform is coming to the end of its life and we need to transition to a new one
  • We need to integrate our online store with a number of other systems
  • We’re looking to transition from the B2B market into B2C
  • Our webstore doesn’t offer a modern eCommerce experience

The ability to adapt quickly to meet customers’ ever-growing expectations requires the right technologies and the right infrastructure and can be expensive. Retailers understand this. What they need is help to find the right technologies and service providers, allowing them to be more agile and deliver exceptional customer service. 

Three choices in eCommerce platform

Today, businesses have three choices in eCommerce solutions. Your choice of platform has a huge impact on your ability to meet both customers’ and the business’s commercial needs now and in the future.

Off the shelf platforms such as Magento, Shopify and BigCommerce that are mass-produced to be adaptable to a wide variety of businesses and which restrict businesses to fit existing configurations.  

Completely customised platforms that are often complex and costly to support.  

And more flexible platforms, often from more agile providers, delivering an extensive portfolio of core features easily customisable to a business’s exact needs. 

If you’ve been on the same ecommerce platform for a number of years, it’s unlikely to be fit for purpose. Ecommerce and consumer shopping habits are continually evolving. In the last few years alone, we’ve seen the rise of machine learning, artificial intelligence and the Internet of Things, all focused on creating a personalised, convenient experience for the consumer. Choosing a platform with an ongoing development roadmap and regular releases of new features, plus an open API framework means your business will be supported far into the future.

New ecommerce store for the UK’s first Apple Authorised Enterprise Reseller

For more than 25 years, Jigsaw24 has been helping push the latest technology in the creative industries and driving IT in enterprise and education. To create a robust online B2B offering, they needed a scalable eCommerce platform that integrated with their existing in-house ERP software.

9xb migrated the website from the existing platform to its Peracto platform in just a few weeks, building bespoke integrations with Jigsaw24’s in-house ERP software and Pardot, allowing enquiries and sales to be dealt with quickly and efficiently. 

“We needed to migrate our eCommerce platform quickly as our existing platform became no longer supported. Having an agile platform with unlimited integration options and the ability to work closely with the development and marketing teams at 9xb has been crucial to strengthening our b2b offering.”

Considerations beyond choice of platform

Most common eCommerce platforms are open source, allowing the user some element of control. That is all well and good, but some platforms are known for their complexity and steep learning curve. They may tell you functionality is available out of the box but will require skill to programme and knowledge to use effectively. There are a plethora of agencies out there who provide support for that very reason and charge a pretty penny for it on top of hefty revenue share licence fees. 

Other platform providers come with an added service layer, for example, 9xb’s post launch support and management service ensure we’re on hand to quickly respond when clients need us, reducing risk, and protecting ongoing eCommerce store integrity. 

If the words ‘Black Friday’ brings back painful memories, you’re not alone. We speak to many businesses who’ve come to us because they have been let down by their existing platform. If you aren’t sure your eCommerce solution can cope with an increase in online visitors and orders, then it’s time for a change. Cloud-based services are ideal for businesses with growing or fluctuating demands, providing the flexibility to scale capacity up or down. 9xb partners with market-leading Amazon Web Services for fast, secure and reliable cloud hosting. 

Your eCommerce technology stack can seriously impact the experience you provide your customers. As well as a fast, reliable site, User Experience (UX) is important in fulfilling the user’s needs efficiently. By getting UX right, customer journeys on your website are engineered to drive higher conversions and generate online revenue.

Increase in survey requests and conversions for leading kitchen retailer

Benchmarx Kitchens is part of the Travis Perkins Group which includes some of the leading brands in the UK construction industry. With a reputation for supplying predominantly trade, but an understanding of consumer influence on trade purchase and ambitions to capitalise on the growing multi-billion pound consumer kitchen market, Benchmarx turned to 9xb to improve the user journey and online experience for customers.

Personalisation tool, Monetate, was integrated with the company’s CMS, providing the access needed to remodel the homepage and improve navigation on the Hybris site, something which had been a stumbling block to growth. Following in-depth user research, the site was redesigned to make it more appealing to the largely female audience, with increased functionality to engage visitors early in their kitchen buying process.

Other changes to UX included a clear user journey, highlighted by a “Getting Started” call to action in the sidebar and within the page, and a “How we work” section helpfully explaining the purchase process. Survey and design appointment requests were consolidated with a single form, generating a 28% increase in leads.

Since the changes were made to the site, Benchmarx has seen a 28% increase in enquiries, 33% increase in trade accounts and 23% increase in conversions.

9xb is an award-winning eCommerce agency, providing solutions to real-world retailer and merchant challenges. We specialise in eCommerce website development, user experience (UX), hosting, monitoring and support. For further information on our market-leading eCommerce platform or eCommerce support services, come and speak to us at IRX, stand G48. To book a time slot, call us on 01423 814555.