You do not need to be an engineer to be a technologist – understand how your customers connect to you
There are plenty of examples of big, successful retailers that floundered in their bid to expand their reach beyond domestic borders Mark Lewis told his audience at eCommerce Expo 2015.
Presenting in the Cross-Border Theatre on day two of the show, Lewis said the opportunities for overseas growth were nevertheless huge, despite the pitfalls.
A major barrier is the widespread – and often accurate – perception that buying from overseas is appreciably more complicated than buying domestically. Research has revealed that three in five people (60%) would shop overseas more if it were easier, said Lewis.
Borderless ecommerce success factors
Lewis said there were three pillars to achieving ecommerce success in a given country:
- Availability – in which regions are your products available?
- Reachability – how hard is it to get your products to the customer?
- Performance – what is the service like when you get there?
Digital supply chain
Over the course of the last decade many companies have been digitising their supply chain to give them more control over overseas operations. Lewis urged delegates to understand this model, which can include CDM, servers, cloud servers, Salesforce and plugins, in order to provide customers with a positive experience on a par with domestic shopping.
A personal – as opposed to impersonal – experience throughout the supply chain is key, he said. He recommended having a dedicated role within your business, whether it’s an FD, MD or whoever, for championing the digital supply chain from end-to-end. It’s no longer excusable to leave this task to the techies, said Lewis.
Successful ecommerce operations are not just about the online shop, he continued; it’s also about the physical supply of goods. It’s no longer good enough to say “this is someone else’s problem as it influences customer experience in a massive way” – it has a direct impact on revenue.
Many of Dyn’s clients use cloud storage. This helps them to consume “products as aggressively as they can on a global scale as it’s the fastest way to do it”.
Tools that give them control of the services they use are invaluable. It’s about taking back control and not just “picking the off-the-shelf tools”.
Monitor, control, optimise
Lewis urged the audience to “make data-driven technology decisions. Use the right tech at the right time and in the right location” for cross-border ecommerce success.
Dyn, said Lewis, could offer suite solutions that show performance and service delivery and how to change infrastructure to serve people in a more effective way.
Too often there’s a disconnect between a company’s approach and how customers actually experience the site. Citing someone in Cape Town whose broadband speed might be sluggish, he pointed out that some factors were simply beyond the retailer’s control.
“Internet traffic doesn’t take the short path,” said Lewis as he moved to another slide:
- Sites should be highly optimised – for the customer, not for you
- Performance driven by longest paths and weakest links
- Unless you’re vigilant your traffic will take the slow path to save someone else money
Lewis, who said Dyn had their own global DNS platform, said that the slightest increments in performance could have a profound impact. A one second delay in web page speed could trigger a 7% reduction in sales, for instance. Amazon loses £6.79m in sales for every millisecond of latency.
Think about using a global DNS provider, advised the speaker, who said the trend meant “power was coming back into the hands of IT teams. It’s a key differentiator between those paying attention and those leaving things to chance.”
Lewis summed up the themes of his presentation:
- Monitor control and optimise
- Innovate, make data-driven decisions, demand answers, demand performance
- No excuses!
- You do not need to be an engineer to be a technologist! Understand how your customers connect to you