“5 Steps to Get Your Website in Shape for a Competitive Q4” by Jason Rosenbaum via Total Retail

“5 Steps to Get Your Website in Shape for a Competitive Q4” by Jason Rosenbaum via Total Retail

Photo Credit: Getty Images

With the holidays right around the corner, retail brands will be looking for ways to stand out in a crowded marketplace. They’ll have to look hard, because they’ll be facing unprecedented competition. Over the past year, many B-to-B-to-C businesses battered by the pandemic shifted their infrastructure to eliminate the middleman, creating the most saturated direct-to-consumer (D-to-C) market ever.

The following strategies can help businesses succeed in such a highly competitive environment.

1. Prioritize customer experience through integrations and infrastructure.

A great front-end experience is a must-have for any web retailer. Speed, performance, and stability are essential to keep visitors engaged, but that’s just for starters. Consumers expect a personalized, easy-to-use site and a seamless user experience (UX) that’s dynamic and relevant.

The right digital partner can give even the newest of businesses a competitive advantage over bigger competitors that have been doing it for years. Focusing on customer experience and overall functionality of the website can not only help your company now, but set it up for success in the future. Ensure that the customer experience is as simple and intuitive as possible.

2. Strive for scalability and flexibility.

Scalability and flexibility sound great, but it takes a solid technical platform and a lot of behind-the-scenes work to manage, monitor, and continually update everything that’s happening across a multitude of systems. For many companies the internal staff doesn’t have the time or advanced technical skills to do it on their own, especially as the business grows. It’s also a challenge to respond quickly to fast-paced, ever-evolving markets and customer demand.

Scalability and flexibility must be baked into a successful website. If you can’t achieve that with your in-house resources, consider working with an experienced digital partner to ensure your site operates smoothly and doesn’t fall behind.

3. Look for integration with legacy systems.

Many companies have a substantial investment in legacy processes and systems that they can’t afford to replace — even if they’re slowing down the operation. Though these legacy apps might not offer the speed and agility they need, they make do because it would be too costly and disruptive to replace them.

These companies don’t have to settle. An Open Source solution can serve as connective tissue to integrate the old and the new. Custom code can enhance your existing infrastructure and upgrade performance in a cost-effective way.

4. Make the most of real-time analytics.

Online retail yields a wealth of information about sales data and customer behavior, such as the cost of customer acquisition, lifetime value, CRM functionality, and countless other data points. But to use that data, you have to organize and analyze it. An Open Source Digital Experience Platform (DXP) can integrate information gleaned from across an entire organization, giving employees high-level analytical data that can help shape strategies and decisions.

5. Create a centralized system for product inventory management.

Maintaining up-to-date, accurate inventory information is difficult and time-consuming, especially when you have to compile data from numerous databases, websites, and physical locations. What’s needed is a single source of truth for all product information.

Custom API integration with all  databases can automatically sync all information into a centralized website experience. That allows for easy updates and new product additions, allowing for scalability, as well as improving accuracy and speed.

By making sure your site covers all the bases, you can position your business for a successful Q4 — and a great 2022 — no matter how stiff the competition becomes.

Jason Rosenbaum is the chief operating officer of Crowd Favorite, a world-class technology agency that specializes in enterprise-grade digital strategy and developing in Open Source.

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