Ask for advice about retail ecommerce and you are likely to get a plethora of responses, most of which are acronyms that may perplex you. People will tell you that you need ERP, CRM, BI, POS and more just to get your online business going. By the time you launch, you could have already spent thousands of dollars on software. So, what do you really need to get your retail ecommerce started?
If you are starting small, software may be the least of your concerns. Long before you reach the point of needing some major business management solution, you will need to decide how to manage your business. No amount of IT magic will make a business succeed without good business practices and careful planning.
Aside from the common business sense required, you will also need some more important technological features before you even think about software. Some of them include:
- A reliable web host – Most providers will talk about 99% uptime, but you really need to look at the numbers, talk to people who have used these hosts, and read honest reviews.
- Security – Want more acronyms? Try PCI DSS (Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard) and SSL (Secure Socket Layer). Both are critical security features you should look for in good ecommerce hosting to keep your customer data and payment information private and safe.
- Multichannel marketing and sales – No longer does ecommerce simply mean the customer will sit down at a desktop computer and click a link to buy. Your customers may use phones, tablets, or even gaming console to make purchases. You must provide a variety of channel interfaces to meet their needs.
Ecommerce is changing rapidly and you need to be prepared. Your focus should be on reliability and security rather than some fancy software that promises to save your business.