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    15.03.2024 — 13 min read

    Does your eCommerce need some boost?

    Many might not know this because we don't shout about it much in public: here at Solteq, we undoubtedly have one of the broadest Nordic customer bases in retail and restaurant industries. Our clientele comprises both small, medium, and large customers. Every customer is important to us, and we want to treat each one with quality. Since the 80s, we have been continuously renewing ourselves and staying up-to-date with close cooperation with various commerce and restaurant industry clients. Many of our clients have been working with us for decades, and a close relationship has been built between us.


    In this post, I want to highlight one recurring issue that arises in our discussions with our customers – malfunctioning online stores. Through the points discussed in this post, I aim to facilitate and assist in the selection of an e-commerce platform and provider.


    Without further ado, here are some highlights of why switching e-commerce platforms and providers is worthwhile.


    How to choose the right eCommerce platform and provider?


    There is a vast number of different e-commerce platforms and their providers in the market. E-commerce platforms can be roughly categorized into three categories:

    1. E-commerce platforms that are made by the providers themselves and often also exclusively provided by them.
    2. E-commerce platforms developed by a single large global player with several local resellers.
    3. Open-source e-commerce platforms backed by a large community.

    The choice between these is not always easy and obvious for the customer.


    As important as it is to choose the right e-commerce platform suitable for oneself, it is also crucial to choose a good provider. It is worthwhile to ensure that the provider has a few basic things in order:

    A sufficiently large competent organization, i.e., staff and, consequently, the ability to perform their tasks, bring ideas, and support the customer in operating the online store.

      • Smooth and competent customer service.
      • Commercial and marketing approach and experience in both B2C and B2B systems.
      • Strict consideration for data security, with functioning tools for monitoring, continuous surveillance, and competent staff.
      • A good environment for smooth and fast operation of the online store.
      • Capability to assist in other aspects related to e-commerce, such as search engine optimization.



    Tips for choosing an eCommerce platform


    There are some good tips for choosing an e-commerce platform, focusing on which can simplify the selection process. These tips ensure the scalability of the online store in the future if needs grow.


    1. Developing and maintaining the online store should be effortless and not unreasonably expensive.
        • Changes in appearance and adding new functionalities should be not only possible but also easy for the customer themselves.
    1. Think ahead, think 10-15 years ahead.
        • It is an indisputable fact that the importance of e-commerce is growing. E-commerce should not always be seen merely as a digital store but also as a marketing channel. In simple terms, if you are not online, you do not exist.
        • Do not delay the switch to e-commerce. Switching e-commerce platforms does not get easier over time; often quite the opposite. If you are still at the beginning stages of your online store, switching is easier than when the store has been customized for decades according to customer-specific requirements.
    1. Open-source platform
        • These are widely used globally, developed by many entrepreneurs and individuals – and their purchase price or monthly fee is not staggering. A large community of developers ensures that the e-commerce platform remains up to date even 10-15 years from now, as updates, features, and extensions are constantly released for them. Examples of such platforms include WooCommerce.
    1. Support for multiple countries and languages
        • While many are satisfied with B2C support for their online store, support for B2B commerce is also good to ensure. Make sure that consumers can use the online store in several different languages.
    1. Unified reporting for the online store and physical store
        • In a modern online store, there are modern and versatile reporting options, such as:
        • Sales reports easily accessible and visualized, sales, margin, and other reports by cost center and product category.
        • Marketing reports, such as search results and "hot spots."
        • Determining sales information, for example, which product category brings the most margin.


    How to operate an online store and what to consider in the overall appearance of it?


    An online store is a store just like a physical one. It requires attention and care; in some online stores, it is just easier than in others, and some providers handle it better than others. However, there are a few important points to consider, which in turn ensure sales, thus improving the conversion rate:

    1. Ensure the purchase process is as easy and smooth as possible for the customer and have a clear website structure. 
    1. Product reviews and buyer community
        • Encourage and reward buyers for giving reviews. Ask them to provide their own pictures of product use. Online stores with reviews and buyer ratings attract other buyers. Merchants and trading are perceived as honest from the consumer's point of view. 
    1. Ensure feedback from Google and social media to the online store. 
    1. Make sure that your online store is mobile-friendly
        • The majority of consumers nowadays make purchases from their phones. Online stores are browsed in bed, on the train, on the sidelines of a football field. If your online store looks bad on the phone or, worse, doesn't work at all, switch immediately. An online store that doesn't work on the phone is equivalent to losing 1to1 sales. 
    1. Clearly present the products
        • Publish several pictures of the product.
        • Write a good description: General description, purpose or benefit, origin, size or weight.
        • Indicate different sizes and colors and indicate their balances or availability.
        • Include instructions.
        • Publish other related products or what others have bought. 
    1. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, as they say, but create the overall appearance of the online store to be in line with the overall image of your company. Do not create an impersonal online store.


    Online store and POS system


    It goes without saying that this should be taken into account immediately, as even if you initially only do business online, there may soon be a need to expand to a physical location.


    If the online store and POS system do not communicate at all or communicate inadequately, this should be corrected promptly, because/if:

      • Exporting and maintaining data in two systems takes a lot of work hours, is prone to errors, and the time could be spent more usefully.
      • There is no real-time overview of sales and reporting is difficult and incomplete.
      • Stocks by store are not available
      • Stocks are not up to date, and online store sales may be lost or sold over stocks
      • If multi-channel gift cards, i.e., using gift cards both in the online store and in the physical store, are not supported, it reduces their willingness to buy.
      • There is no Pay & Collect or Pick & Collect support.


    Online store and security


    An online store is not an isolated island in the open world of the internet, but is open to everyone. This is precisely the fact that many forget, and this is what makes constant consideration of security so extremely important. Every provider must understand this. Things may seem to be going well from the outside, and the online store is running normally, but when the moment comes when illegal parties on the internet lay their eyes on your online store, its customer data, and purchase history, it is certain that the few euros saved in the past in choosing the provider no longer matter. A reliable and careful provider:


      • Regularly trains its staff in terms of security.
      • Not only considers security in the system but also in all its activities. Passwords are securely stored, and access to necessary information is only given to those who need it.
      • Can share its company's security policy and guidelines.
      • Takes into account current laws and regulations and informs its customers about them.
      • Constantly measures the security of the systems it maintains extensively.


    Increasing sales with the online store


    This area, of course, is immensely vast, and digital marketing alone deserves its own article. But a few basic things will get you far here too, and it's good to ensure them:

    1. Support a variety of payment methods; different card and bank payment methods are essential.
    1. Ensure that the online store supports versatile search functions, such as categories/filters (search simultaneously by, for example, product purpose and color).  
    1. Marketing newsletters and other automation
        • Make sure you have easy and good tools in your online store to contact your customers, such as notifications via text message and email. 
    1. Know and activate your customers
        • Ask for and reward product reviews.
        • Remember your customers' birthdays and congratulate and reward them with a discount. Personalized purchase codes.
        • Take advantage of well-known shopping days, such as Black Friday, and actively campaign during them. 
    1. Social media
        • Be active on social media 😊 Master at least one of these: IG, TikTok, Youtube. 
    1. Search engines
        • Ensure connections to Google and other possible search engines.
        • Google goes through online stores and makes decisions about their goodness or badness based on factors such as the platform of online stores, their structure, content, functionality on different browsers and devices, etc. If you have an old, poorly built, and maintained online store, it is certain that it will never rise in Google search results. According to Google, it is simply bad.
        • Google's significance is enormous. Search engine optimization is worth investing in, and an expert should be consulted for it. 
    1. And additional tips
        • Use rotating banners.
        • Create package products.


    And finally

    Don't worry if something or all of the above doesn't work.  Of course, if the aforementioned things are not in order, sales are lost. But that is precisely the reason Solteq exists - we are here to help you! Please get in touch with us whenever you need help, and we will be pleased to assist you.


    pos, eCommerce