Headless Commerce: Part 3— Optimizing E-Commerce Infrastructure

Nogin and Coresight Research’s three-part report series, Headless Commerce, explores the emerging commerce-as-a-service (CaaS) space in the US and the key trends in the market. We leverage findings from an October 2021 Coresight Research survey of e-commerce leaders in the US to identify the key challenges and benefits in building and using e-commerce infrastructure and tools.

In part three this report, our analysis and insights focus on mid-size companies, covering the following topics:

• Challenges in current e-commerce operating models
• The value of external support
• The right combination of internal and external resources
• Desirable features in e-commerce infrastructure

In case you missed it, you can also download the first report in the series, Headless Commerce: Part 1—The Evolving State of E-Commerce Infrastructure.

Do You Feel Like You’re Constantly Competing with Amazon?

Do You Feel Like You’re Constantly Competing with Amazon?

It goes without saying, Amazon has changed the way customers make purchases online. From fast shipping to free returns, Amazon has influenced expectations of online shoppers across the globe.

Many brands with retail websites feel like they have to compete with Amazon by:

  1. Offering free shipping
  2. Offering free returns
  3. Selling their products through Amazon

While these are definitely great ideas to keep your shoppers happy and your product in the faces (or screens) of potential shoppers, we’d like to offer some alternatives by looking at what some other brands have done to successfully grow their online stores.

To start, let’s eliminate the thought that if you’re not Amazon then you’re competing with Amazon. While Amazon does appeal to a wide audience, you have something great and wonderful to offer consumers.

Invest in Technology 

If you’re not already, it’s time to invest in technology, a variety of technologies that is. We have no doubt you have thousands of visitors coming to your retail website each month, it’s time to start using that readily available data to improve your shoppers’ experience and increase sales.

Predictive analytics is a great technology to incorporate into your site. For some shoppers, offering free shipping may be the perfect way to get them to hit that “Submit Order” button. However, you may have other shoppers who have exhibited behaviors that indicate they would still purchase even if they did have to pay shipping. 

Competing with Amazon

Let’s say you offer clothing for men and women on your retail website, do you know which of your customers are buying just women’s clothing, just men’s clothing or both? With this information you could create a more personalized shopping experience based on which audience they fall into. What products you should suggest or what promotional offers would be most effective to get them to purchase.

Where else can you implement new technologies? Your warehouse. Metapack’s 2018 State of Ecommerce Delivery found 70% of those surveyed prioritized purchasing goods from one ecommerce site over another because it provided more delivery options. So what’s going to make your options standout from the competition?

We won’t go into all the details here (we’ve got so much more to discuss below!), but stop to think about what the impact would be on your delivery service and available options if you implemented real-time inventory tracking? And then, continuing down through the delivery process, having your warehouse technology paired with a last-mile delivery solution. Just a couple of things to think about if you’re focusing on improving the delivery options and experience for your buyers.

Focus on SEO

“SEO” has become quite the buzzword (or term) over the last decade, and rightfully so. If done correctly, SEO (Search Engine Optimization for those of you who haven’t heard the buzz yet) can be a powerful and cost effective strategy to bring shoppers to your website. 

Your store is online and your potential shoppers are searching online for exactly what you offer. So how are they going to find you? Yes, digital advertising and marketing is one way, and a great way. But it’s not the only way. Let’s be honest, you probably can’t afford to pay Google, Facebook or Instagram to show ads for every item you offer on your website whenever someone from your target audience is searching for it. But you still want people searching for all of those items to find you.

Elephant in the room

This is where SEO tools can be your hero. With careful planning and a strong SEO strategy, you can build out product descriptions, keyword searches and category descriptions that will help place your product on Google’s page one of search results. We know, you’re probably like us and have been taught being number one isn’t everything. But when it comes to Google search results, being number one is critical.

According to Search Engine Journal, 25% of people will click on the first organic (not ad) search result. They go on to report the 10th search result (the last on page one search results) gets just a 2.5% click through rate. We don’t even want to think about what happens to all those poor results showing up anywhere other than page one.

I’m sure you’re thinking “SEO sounds great! I’m going to start implementing my own SEO strategy today so I can start getting more customers to my site tomorrow!” And we’re going to kindly caution you to sloooooow down. SEO IS great and it IS powerful. However, it takes some time and definitely takes some expertise. It may require investing in a person (or two or three) or hiring an outside partner to help execute an effective strategy that gets results.

Show Your Customer You Know Them

Yes, Amazon can make suggestions of what a shopper should look at based on their previous search history or simply based on what is their “Deal of the Day”. But that’s not a tailored experience, that doesn’t make a shopper feel like Amazon knows them. Let’s be honest, shoppers may wish brands wouldn’t do this when the suggestions start becoming too frequent and/or completely off base from their interests.

So how can you create a better experience for your shoppers? Well, first we’re going to have to circle back to one of our previous points, data. You can’t show your customers you know them if, well, you don’t. 

What has a shopper purchased in the past? What complimentary items do you offer? If you’re a CPG retailer, when was the last time a product was purchased? Is it possibly time to refill/replace their last purchase? Maybe offer a discount for that product when they visit your site, whether they’re on that product page or not. You know they purchased that item, and you know what the average timeframe is to purchase again (because you have the data, right?), so serve them up the right message with the right offer at the right time.

Now, maybe you’re an apparel retailer. Let’s not assume your clothing only lasts a certain period of time or that your buyers maybe don’t fit in their clothes quite the same way they used to. Instead, let’s look at creating an audience based on their purchases. You can find similarities (again, using technology) within these audiences. Shared interests, hobbies, other retail websites they visit, and build an experience for them.

An example of an online retailer who has done this well is Lululemon. They’ve created a community (quite literally, they call it #thesweatlife online community) where anyone can access workouts as well as meditation sessions. Really, if you’re buying workout clothing you just might be interested in workout classes, right? 

Lululemon took the time to research and recognize what interests their customers have and evaluated the needs Lululemon could fill. This was especially powerful during the pandemic when people were turning to the internet for workouts in a way they never had before. They even started a Facebook group people could join to connect with others.

Now that you can clear your mind of thoughts of competing with Amazon, it’s time to focus on  what you can do to get more retail shoppers to your site and create the best buying experience possible to keep them coming back.

The Dreaded Customer Returns Strategies That Can Help Reduce Returns

Reducing return rates

The Dreaded Customer Returns Strategies That Can Help Reduce Returns

Online retailers know there’s no way to completely avoid returns, they are a part of the online shopping experience. How you choose to manage (or battle as some would say) them can have a drastic impact on the success of your business.

But before we go too far down the road of how you can handle the dilemma of returns, let’s take a quick glance at the numbers provided by the National Retail Federation

  • An estimated $428 billion of merchandise was returned in 2020
  • $102 billion of merchandise returned in 2020 was originally purchased through online retailers
  • 12.2% of merchandise returned in 2020 was apparel 

While it may be difficult to embrace the situation, online retailers don’t have much of a choice. So let’s see if we can find some potential ways to at least ease the effect.

Customer Personas

In every business you have personas, right? Let’s look at some of the different personas that exist for your shoppers who make returns. We can place similar shoppers into buckets or audiences to help us designate which persona that most align with.

  • Unhappy with the product received. We hope this is a small audience for you. Ideally you want every customer to love everything they buy on your site, but sometimes that’s not the case. However, you can keep this audience small by producing high quality products and ensuring the images and descriptions provided on your retail website are accurate.
  • Not sure about sizing. You can provide all the sizing charts in the world and shoppers will still be unsure which size is going to fit them best. Maybe they’re in between sizes or more comfortable in a smaller/larger size depending on the style of clothing they’re purchasing. You know you have customers who will buy multiple sizes of the same item, fully intending to return at least one of them.
  • Items received were damaged. We know sometimes this is out of your control. If the service delivering the items isn’t careful or leaves the package sitting in a puddle and it ruins the contents, you can’t control that. However, if the item is damaged at the warehouse during fulfillment, you may have a situation you need to address.

So now that we know who is returning their purchases, what next?

How to Solve for Returns

Strategies to Reduce Return Rates

Develop Optimal Return Policies

If you’ve heard us say it once, you’ve heard us say it 100 times. Technology. By collecting the data from your buyers and their activity you can formulate the optimal return policy available for your online shoppers.

Yes, you could create a return policy and just wait to see how it works. But why waste your time and possibly your profits? Whether you purchase the technology directly and have your internal team analyze it or you hire a third-party partner to help, you have the data you need. You just need to get access to it (if you don’t already) to make an informed decision.

Predictive Analytics

All right, that was just one way you can use technology on your retail website to help alleviate the burden of returns. With the use of predictive analytics you can customize the experience a customer receives. 

Identify online shoppers who have returned more items than they’ve kept. Or new shoppers you may want to entice into placing a purchase with the offer of free returns. Or shoppers who have a high rate of returns, but also keep more than they return. 

Some retailers, Zappos for example, have found that customers who return the most also purchase and KEEP the most. According to the authors of “Business Ethics: Ethical Decision Making & Cases” Zappos states their customers with the highest return rates are also their most profitable customers. In Zappos’ case, they’ve opted to keep free returns for all customers based on this data.

You’re not the only one who knows returns are going to happen, so does your shopper. According to the Narvar Consumer Report, Making Returns a Competitive Advantage, 95% of respondents said they would shop at a retailer again after having a positive returns experience. The only thing worse than online shoppers returning purchases is online shoppers returning purchases and then never returning to your retail website to make another purchase because they had a negative experience making a return.

Creating a positive return experience doesn’t have to be painful for you either. Retailers who have built their online retail site on Shopify have a variety of applications to choose from that can help!

Improve Sizing Accuracy

The last idea we want to discuss is reducing the amount of returns based on sizing issues by improving the accuracy of a purchase. We know this won’t completely eliminate the return of items that don’t fit correctly, shoppers return items due to fit even when they’ve had the chance to try them on before they purchase them. But let’s see if we can at least reduce the number of returns.

Try going beyond the typical size chart with a fit quiz. Based on the knowledge you have about your products and how they fit, build out a quiz that asks questions that go deeper than simple measurements to help shoppers better decide which size would be best for them.

This could also be a great solution if you’re a CPG retailer. By incorporating a quiz into your shoppers’ buying experience, you can help guide them to the right product. Again, you know your products best, help your shoppers find the item (or items) that will fill their needs by asking them what their needs are. 

Returns will continue to be a part of the shopping experience, you and I are guilty of it as well. However, implementing one or two new strategies can help alleviate the pain for both you and your shopper.

Increase online sales with personalized experiences

Personalized Experiences

Increase online sales with personalized experiences

There are thousands, if not millions, of technologies available for direct-to-consumer (DTC) ecommerce brands. Just check out Shopify’s App Store for a glimpse into some of the 6,000+ apps they currently have available. 

This article was initially supposed to focus on the top technologies we believe DTC ecommerce retailers should incorporate into their business in order to increase sales. However, that plan quickly shifted once I started outlining the importance of creating a personalized experience for customers through technologies.  

This could no longer be just one part of an entire post. The overwhelming amount of data and information that surfaced while researching the topic made it very clear the topic deserved its own post. And I’m pretty sure that by the time you reach the end of this post (even if you just skim over it as, let’s be honest, we all typically do at least at first), you’ll agree.

While we won’t be going into specific technologies, we will be covering why DTC ecommerce brands need to prioritize creating personalized experiences for their customers, how they can do it and some of the obstacles that exist as well as how brands can overcome the challenges created by those obstacles.

Why You Need to Prioritize Personalizing Customer Experiences

We know this is not a new concept. We’re not the geniuses who suddenly uncovered a pain point online retailers aren’t aware of, let’s just get that out of the way now. However, knowing it exists is not the same as knowing how to solve it. Nor does it mean brands know how important it can be to growing a brand and increasing sales.

Even though we are all aware of the pain point, we also all still experience it as a consumer on a regular basis. The generic pop up on websites we’ve shopped at before. Receiving the garden-variety emails where it’s clear you were dumped into an audience with a bunch of other people who, at some point in time, made a purchase from a retailer. No personalization whatsoever.

So what are the consequences of that kind of customer experience?

By no means does it mean you’re going to lose all your customers and never make a profit. However, it does mean you may be missing out on potential purchases from 78% of your audience. You could also be missing out on the opportunity to increase your current conversion rate. 

TrustPilot found a brand’s online conversion rate can improve by 8% just by offering personalized experiences on their website. TrustPilot also found 74% of consumers surveyed get frustrated by content that isn’t relevant to their lives (we can also understand what that feels like can’t we?).

There are over 9.1 million online retailers in the world, 2.5 million of which are in the US. Your shoppers have options. If they have a poor experience on your site or receive a generic email that doesn’t reflect them as a person, they have plenty of other places they can visit. So how do you make your brand stand out and show customers how valuable they are?

How You Can Create a Personalized Experience for Your Shoppers

DTC ecommerce brands need to make sure every part of their customer’s journey (whether in-person, on the phone or online) is all about THE CUSTOMER. This is going to take some time and effort. Just like any relationship you have, whether it’s with a significant other, friend, family member, etc, you’ve got to put in the effort to make it work and make it last.

By combining data stored in your customer relationship management (CRM) tool, marketing automation tools and transactional systems, you can get a pretty good idea of who your customers are. Digging into the data can unearth what they like, what they don’t like, how much they tend to spend, where they live, what language they speak, how they prefer to pay and so much more. The possibilities of what you can do with that information are virtually endless. 

Personalized Customer Experiences

Let’s take your buyer’s location as an example. Anyone who’s lived in Southern California knows there is hardly ever, if ever, a need for a true winter coat. While locals might love the way they look and want one because it’s trendy in February, the need is not that high. However, your customer who lives in Michigan, where the wind chill is enough to make anyone want to stay indoors for three months, needs and WANTS a great winter coat. 

So when you have extras of those great winter coats sitting in a warehouse or winter is coming to an end and you’re ready to bring in the spring and summer styles, why not start promoting discounts on your great winter coats to your Michigan customers? Use a catchy subject line about not packing away their winter clothes just yet, they’re missing next year’s most important piece. Tie in your knowledge of them and their experiences to get that sale.

You can also go even deeper into your data to make sure you don’t accidentally create a poor customer experience in an attempt to create a positive one. For example, you know your customer has purchased a certain style of jeans multiple times. Unfortunately, though, that particular style is going to be discontinued. You think it would be great to notify customers who have purchased this style about its future discontinuation so they can purchase some before it’s too late. And that IS a great idea! Unless you only have sizes XS and XXL available and you notify customers who always purchase a M. They get the email, they click on the link, and they find they’re size isn’t even available.

Just think of that experience, it’s cringe worthy! A customer being notified of a product they love being discontinued isn’t great news but they appreciate you telling them. However, you’ve not only told them too late but you just showcased how little you know about them. Even though you have all the data you need! Instead, make sure your team is taking that extra step to create a truly personalized experience. 

Obstacles to Overcome When Creating Personalized Customer Experiences

This post wouldn’t be complete if we didn’t acknowledge that there are, unfortunately, obstacles to obtaining all the right data needed to create spectacular customer experiences. Telling you all these great things you can do with data you don’t have is, well, it’s just plain rude.

Let’s talk about tools needed to collect, store and utilize data. According to Forrester, 53% of digital experience delivery professionals they polled stated they lacked the right technology to personalize experiences. While technology is an investment, the ROI on investing in the right technology could be exponential (notice how we specific the RIGHT technology). 

Make sure your team is taking the time to do their research and test out as many technologies as possible to ensure you’re investing in the right one for your needs and desired results. What kind of integrations do they offer? Can one tool fulfill multiple needs? Can multiple teams benefit from it? Identify your goals before setting out on any attempt to purchase tools for your team, otherwise you’ll end up right where you started. Just with less of a budget available.

Now to the biggest hurdle, actually GETTING the data you need without violating privacy laws. As more and more avenues pop up protecting consumer data, the more brands need to discover new ways to collect data. But don’t despair, there are plenty of ways you can collect the data you need (and sometimes they offer even better value than the old ways)!

Try incorporating a loyalty program. By offering discounts or birthday specials, you give shoppers a reason to want to hand over their information. If they get value from it they’ll be willing to provide things like gender, date of birth, location, etc. 

Another option is to experiment with offering a newsletter subscription. Choose a cadence you can commit to (monthly, quarterly, etc.) and make sure you deliver quality content that is relevant to the audience receiving it. If you offer household goods, give spring cleaning tips when April rolls around. If you’re selling women’s clothing, highlight upcoming trends (that you just happen to offer, of course). Consumers are willing to provide their information in return for something they find valuable. 

An added benefit of a newsletter subscription is that it offers the potential of a broader audience. Consumers who aren’t sure they’ll buy from a brand are less likely to sign up for a loyalty program. However, if they’ve made it to your site they more than likely have some interest in what you offer and, therefore, have an increased likelihood of finding a newsletter with related content of interest. You may even, at some point, be able to offer various newsletters on different topics. You can allow subscribers options of which topics they’d like to receive newsletters about, creating, yet another, personalized experience.

It’s time to get personal on your website. Everyone wants to feel seen and valued, even when they’re sitting at a computer shopping online. And stay tuned for the next in our ecommerce technologies series to learn even more about ways you can improve your DTC ecommerce website.

Headless Commerce: Part 2 – Addressing Profitability Issues for Mid-Size E-Commerce Players

Nogin & Coresight Research Headless Commerce Report - Part 2

Nogin and Coresight Research’s three-part report series, Headless Commerce, explores the emerging commerce-as-a-service (CaaS) space in the US and the key trends in the market. We leverage findings from an October 2021 Coresight Research survey of e-commerce leaders in the US to identify the key challenges and benefits in building and using e-commerce infrastructure and tools.

In this report, our analysis and insights focus on mid-size companies, covering the following topics:

• The levers of profitability in e-commerce
• Why brands and retailers should capitalize on artificial intelligence, machine learning and predictive analytics
• How CaaS can help improve profitability


This free report is sponsored by Nogin, a CaaS full-stack e-commerce platform that includes R&D (research and development), sales optimization, and ML- and AI-driven marketing and fulfillment.

You can download the entire report for free here.

In case you missed it, you can also download the first report in the series, Headless Commerce: Part 1—The Evolving State of E-Commerce Infrastructure.

Headless Commerce: The Evolution of E-Commerce and Path to Profitability

Nogin Coresight Webinar

Register for this Webinar here.

E-commerce has evolved into a cornerstone of the global economy, causing particular disruption in the retail sector over the past few years. The rise of e-commerce has heightened the importance of effective e-commerce infrastructure and the need to address profitability challenges. Just as retailers have adapted to the changing environment and ever-evolving competition, so have the e-commerce infrastructure and tools adapted to support these retailers.

On Wednesday, February 2, 2022, at 11am ET, Deborah Weinswig, CEO and Founder of Coresight Research, will be joined by Jan-Christopher Nugent,  CEO at Nogin, to discuss how online retail players can increase their profitability by adopting e-commerce infrastructures that prioritizes flexibility, scale and innovation. Coresight Research will present analysis of proprietary survey data to understand the perspectives and action plans of US retailers as they relate to e-commerce infrastructure.

During the discussion, we will answer the following key questions:

  • How has e-commerce infrastructure evolved over time to satisfy changing consumer and retailer needs?
  • What profitability challenges do retailers face?
  • How do headless e-commerce solutions compare with legacy software systems?
  • How can headless commerce impact e-commerce profitability?

6 Post Holiday Online Shopping Tactics to Boost Ecommerce Sales

Post Holiday

The holiday shopping season is one of the most profitable times of the year for ecommerce businesses. Most online retailers exceedingly meet their main ecommerce KPIs, and smaller brands can generate profitable sums against their big box store competitors.  

The 2021 holiday shopping season was a gift to ecommerce retailers. According to Adobe’s Digital Economy Index, from November 1 to Cyber Monday on November 29, US consumers spent $109.8 billion online, up 11.9% from 2020. Adobe also found 22 days in November 2021 exceeded $3 billion in online spending compared to only 9 days hitting that number the same month in 2020. 

Those figures are even more notable considering the supply chain issues retailers everywhere are facing and the fact many shoppers started their gift shopping in October.

But now that the wrapping paper has been cleaned up and holiday decorations put away, how do ecommerce retailers keep the momentum going in January and beyond?

“On average, January revenue is usually predicted to be 20% to 65% lower versus December,” says Anh Vu-Lieberman,Vice President for ecommerce at Nogin. However, savvy brands can plan for this traditionally softer sales period (which can last until the third or fourth week of January) and use this time to do a brand reset while refocusing for the coming year.

Vu-Lieberman discusses some of the strategies ecommerce retailers can use to boost their bottom lines.

1. Get Dialed in to Mobile

“As smartphones keep evolving and improving, all ecommerce retailers have to be mobile-first,” Vu-Lieberman says. In fact, research shows smartphones accounted for 44% of all online sales on Black Friday in 2021, up 10.6% from 2020 Black Friday shopping. Delivering positive customer experiences starts with delivering consistent omni-channel tactics. Mobile is increasingly becoming a more and more popular shopping medium for customers. It’s crucial businesses focus on mobile responsive web design to convert mobile shoppers through their ecommerce marketing funnel.

2. Extend End-of-Year Sales

The calendar may have already flipped to 2022, but ecommerce retailers who want to drive customers and conversions are extending into their traditional year closeout sales in January. Sale-on-sale promotions can be a great strategy to move out inventory and make way for new collections that launch in mid-January.

Check out our top three strategies to increase conversions and the best pricing tactics to utilize on your site:

3. Choose Words Carefully

Certain words are triggers for ecommerce shoppers, such as “favorite” or “best seller.” “If you don’t know a brand and it’s your first time going to the site, the word ‘best seller’ evokes an emotion,” Vu-Lieberman says. “If you didn’t have that, you wouldn’t know what the brand is about. It also helps with building out purchase affirmation.”

Another recommended strategy to utilize in marketing campaigns to message your Best Sellers is to feature highly-rated products or most-loved products, whether on your website or social. Make sure to set up your marketing analytics and perform A/B tests to see which product listing phrases result in the most sales.

4. Add Installment Plan Options

Retailers offering installment payment plans such as Afterpay and Klarna target online shoppers looking for a discount and customers who don’t mind paying for expensive items out of their normal price range. Surprisingly, it’s not just millennials on limited budgets who find installment plans attractive; Vu-Lieberman says one of the brands she works with discovered the average age of its Afterpay customers was 44. “Even though the item is full price, it will be more attractive advertising it on Facebook or paid search as ‘Take this home for $39.’ People focus on that installment number rather than the full number.”

5. Don’t Overlook the Present for the Future

While fashion retailers prep for new collection launches in January, it may be easy to forget that ecommerce trends more towards a buy now, wear now attitude. Especially with the cold weather in most parts of the country, customers may not have as much interest in summery resort wear that will sit in their closet for a few months, compared to a pair of boots they will use immediately. 

Vu-Lieberman says brands will often take a new year, new you approach. For example, promotions geared towards New Year’s resolutions can focus on athletic wear, or retailers can craft campaigns for new looks for the office. Luxury ecommerce brands can also try to leverage celebrity collaborations to help support their brand image.

6. Build a Strong Customer Base

Brands need to strike that fine balance between catering to loyal VIPs and bringing in new customers. That can take time and money—Vu-Lieberman says brands can spend up to 25% of projected revenue on advertising—but it’s a substantial investment in the long run. To make it pay off, ensure your shoppers are receiving a positive user experience when visiting your site all the way through order fulfillment. 

So how are you going to keep the momentum going throughout the year?

Top 5 Benefits of an End-to-End Ecommerce Solution

Ecommerce Solution

No matter if you’re a large retail organization that has experienced significant growth but have recently “hit a wall” or you’re a smaller brand that has great potential but don’t currently possess the headcount and/or talent needed to grow to the next level, a direct-to-consumer (DTC) ecommerce solution could be the solution you’re looking for.

But what exactly is a direct-to-consumer ecommerce solution? And how does it compare to a more traditional outsourced agency solution?  Below we’ll cover the difference between more traditional, old-school agencies and actual ecommerce solutions as well as outline what we believe are the top five benefits brands should look for in an ecommerce solution.

By doing so we’ll uncover which solution should be the right fit for your ecommerce business.

The Difference Between an Agency and a Solution 

Let’s first start with what sets an ecommerce solution apart from agency outsourcing since, at a cursory glance, the two can seem very similar. The main differentiator is that, when it comes to outsourcing to agencies, each agency works within a silo. Whichever agency is working to get people to your website is not always in communication with the agency managing your website and tracking online conversions. However the lines of communication are set-up, the results can often end up being a tangled mess. 

However, when utilizing an end-to-end direct-to-consumer ecommerce solution, you gain an entire team of ecommerce experts who are united in their goals, to help you grow your brand and increase your online sales. Additionally, they are in constant communication with one another to help accomplish these goals. Think of them as an integrated solution.

Top 5 Benefits Of an Ecommerce Solution

1. Best-in-Class Ecommerce Technology

There are plenty of website development agencies out there that can build you a beautiful website, but that’s basically where their expertise ends. The competition for online retailers is fierce, you need the benefits of technologies built specifically for direct-to-consumer ecommerce brands to help increase online sales. These include:

  • Insights to understand and optimize customer journeys
  • The ability to diagnose problems and implement solutions in real-time
  • Optimizing internal workflows and processes
  • Self-learning predictive analytics

2. Digital Marketing and Advertising

Saying a direct-to-consumer brand selling online needs to focus on their digital marketing and advertising may invoke a “Thank you Captain Obvious” response. And rightfully so. However, the fact that it’s obvious does not mean every agency out there promising to increase website visitors and sales actually knows what they’re doing.

Are they industry experts? How well do they understand the buying behaviors of your target audience? Do they have a full understanding of how ecommerce works along the entire journey? 

Just imagine a marketing agency putting more money into an ad group for a specific product because it’s performing well only for the website visitor who clicked on that ad to find that product is actually out of stock. Not only have you wasted your marketing spend but you may have just lost a potential customer forever.

When partnering with an ecommerce solution you get a cohesive team of experts who work together, no matter their department, to ensure your brands’ success.

Not only that, but more importantly, the ecommerce solutions provider’s profits might be tied directly to how well your brand succeeds. Incentive to perform is a great thing.

3. Brand Strategy

Your brand. That’s really what it’s all about, right? Consumers trust brands, they’re loyal to brands. Consumers buy FROM brands, not a store. Your brand strategy is, without a doubt, one of your most important initiatives. 

However, one of the biggest struggles brands experience is how to evolve and grow in a way that allows them to maintain their uniqueness all while avoiding becoming “stale”. No one wants to become the next Von Dutch, experiencing an explosion of global popularity before becoming a brand people have forgotten about.

Many brands have successfully maneuvered through changes in trends, economic ups and downs, even pandemics, and have managed to maintain their foothold in the market. How? With a partner who is as invested in their brand strategy as they are. A partner with R&D resources not available to most brands without a more hefty price tag. 

A true end-to-end ecommerce solution understands your success lies not just what buyers see when they open a website browser, but will also provide the resources to help you manage your brand strategy for growth. They will have access to resources, such as R&D related to their product/service, an individual brand typically would not.

4. Website Optimization

Those loyal customers we mentioned above, what will they see when they get to your ecommerce website? Are they going to have a positive experience with fast page loads? Will they be greeted with a navigation menu that makes it easy for them to find what they’re looking for? Is there a prominent “Add to Cart” button to help push them to a sale faster?

By partnering with a team of ecommerce experts who understand the value of your website and have a deep understanding of your buyer’s journey, you get a team that is continually working to optimize your website so it’s at peak performance at all times. 

To ensure website optimization, they will conduct A/B tests on various website elements to make sure the font colors, button placement, promotional banners and product descriptions are displayed in a way that maximizes conversion rates. By conducting regular site audits and testing on both desktop and mobile (never forgetting the power of a mobile device) you know your online shoppers are receiving the best user experience.

5. Warehouse Fulfillment

This benefit, while last on our list, isn’t last due to its lack of importance. In fact, we feel warehouse fulfillment is an often overlooked and critical benefit. While warehouse fulfillment is “behind the scenes” and not something a buyer probably ever even thinks about, it can have a massive impact (for better or worse) on the overall shopping experience.

This is another element that some retail brands may outsource. However, some of the headaches that may arise with outsourcing can be avoided when working with an end-to-end ecommerce solution (this being the second “end” in “end-to-end”, but we’re sure you knew that already). 

An ecommerce solution can offer a seamless connection between endless sub catalogs, end points, warehouses and stores. By providing direct communication between all the systems involved in the buying process, brands enjoy a streamlined process with no “hand off” until the packages are placed on a delivery truck. 

Whether inventory is low, out of stock or shipping may be delayed, teams and systems are communicating with each other so steps can be taken to ensure buyer expectations are met and they have a positive buying experience that encourages them to return.

And there you have our top five benefits of partnering with a direct-to-consumer ecommerce solution! There are many more benefits that brands can gain by this type of partnership, but we chose to focus on the ones we know, from experience, are the most valuable to brands of all industries and sizes. Utilizing a unified solution that scales with your brand can deepen your customer’s experiences and grow your online sales.

Headless Commerce: Part 1—The Evolving State of E-Commerce

Nogin & Coresight

Nogin and Coresight Research have partnered on a three-part report series, Headless Commerce, to explore the emerging commerce-as-a-service (CaaS) space in the US and the key trends in the market.

This report leverages findings from an October 2021 Coresight Research survey of e-commerce leaders in the US to identify the key challenges and benefits in building and using e-commerce infrastructure and tools.

In this report, Coresight’s analysis and insights cover the following topics:

  • The impact of, and retailers’ response to, the Covid-19 pandemic
  • The evolution of commerce and the e-commerce infrastructure landscape
  • The move to headless commerce—including survey respondents’ satisfaction with their existing platforms, the obstacles to adopting CaaS solutions and retailer readiness for CaaS across different business areas

This free report is sponsored by Nogin, CaaS full-stack e-commerce platform that includes R&D (research and development), sales optimization, machine learning, and AI (artificial intelligence)-driven marketing and fulfillment.

You can download the report for free here.