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.

The Art of a Deal: Sitewide and Exclusion Sales

sitewide and exclusion sales

It’s a given that consumers love sales, but they’re also a necessary part of doing business online beyond being a key driver for purchases. Whether it’s a sitewide sale or a special promotion where exclusions apply, a lot of thought goes into crafting a deal that benefits both the brand and its customers.

Let’s discuss some of the best strategies for your ecommerce sitewide sales and the best retail markdown and promotional strategies to maximize your profits. 

Why Sales are Important?

Ecommerce storefronts carry costs of keeping products in inventory. Businesses can use markdown strategies and promotional cycles to lower costs while also driving revenue to move products off the shelves. They are especially important for fashion brands, where many of the products have a shorter shelf life—roughly a 2-3 month cycle—due to seasonality and style trends.

Sales are an excellent tool for moving merchandise quickly, but there is more to sales strategy than meets the eye. “When planning a sale, a brand first needs to figure out the end goal,” says Jeff Deisner, Nogin’s Chief Customer Officer. “Is the goal to drive people to the site to purchase a lot, drive top-line revenue numbers, manage a level of profitability on the storefront, or something else completely?”

That goal can help influence the decision on what kind of promotion to offer. Sitewide sales are the simplest to execute, but in many cases, exclusions make sense—perhaps they’re a better fit for the nature of the overall promotion, or perhaps brands want to avoid discounting an item they’ve already discounted.

Running a promotional sale on social media or a Google ads campaign is an excellent way to bring attractive leads through your ecommerce conversion funnel. Entice viewers by highlighting the sale, the minimal quantity, and specify it is a limited-time offer to drive urgency and scarcity. Both elements are essential to any product listing strategy or retail pricing strategy

The Three Best Sales Promotion and Retail Markdown Strategies

There are three key concepts to keep in mind when formulating sales offers:

  1. How are brands promoting the product?
  2. How will brands reach out to customers to let them know about the promotion?
  3. What is the end goal for the product?

To help you answer these questions, use our three best sales promotion strategies to guide your efforts. 

Listen to Your Audience

For pricing, Deisner says brands should study how their customers. For example, do a particular brand’s customers prefer sitewide sales, buy-one-get-one-free deals, gift-with-purchase promotions, or percentage- or dollar-based discounts? To determine what will work best, brands can leverage data on past purchases or examine larger industry trends. This is where it can be helpful for brands to partner with an ecommerce specialist. By integrating advanced ecommerce software, ecommerce businesses can access deeper insights into their customers’ buying habits to optimize their storefront for conversions and improved retention. 

“We recently worked with a brand that traditionally ran percentage-based promotions, 30% or 40% off, and it was clear there was an uptick in consumer demand for those products,” Deisner says. “We’d seen success in other areas where we took a dollar amount off and tied it in with something like free shipping, and we wondered if it would have more of an impact for this brand. We alternated those promotions: one week, it would be a percentage off. The next, it would be a dollar amount. We ended up finding that the percentage off was much more enticing, especially if it was a sitewide sale. We made a sitewide sale with a small number of exclusions, so we didn’t discount already marked down products too significantly, and we messaged it the right way.”

Make Your Promotional Product the Star

In terms of messaging, brands should advertise their sales on their sites and mention any applicable exclusions. “Generally, we find that when a website makes it clear what product is being promoted, it’s a big contributing factor in driving conversion rates higher for the promotion,” Deisner says. “We leverage strikethrough pricing, which is a way to present the original price crossed out, with the sale price beside it. Customers can see the price difference and know it’s a good deal.”

A good sale announcement will spark a lot of interest right away, but brands will want to sustain that momentum. Emails can effectively communicate promotional offers to customers along with social ads and SMS texts. Brands can craft campaigns around them that run throughout the sale period. To reinforce a sense of urgency, brands may put time limits on promotions or advertise a limited stock of items on sale.

Partner With an Ecommerce Expert to Guide You

Sometimes sales get an overwhelming customer reaction with products flying off the shelves; other times, a promotion just may not be taking off. In either case, Nogin gets real-time results that help brands respond quickly, for instance, by ordering more inventory for sale or crafting different messaging to get the word out.

“There is no magic wand for brands to figure out how best to promote and sell their product,” Deisner says. “They will benefit from engaging a partner like us that can drive decisions based on past experience and understanding best practices, for the greatest likelihood of success.”