By Derek Broman, CEO of Discount Enterprises LLC.
Speed and scalability are two key factors to consider when choosing an e-commerce platform, and for good reason. Online shoppers are impatient and accustomed to quick experiences. If you deliver this, it's possible that your business will grow. And you need to be able to maintain the experience that made you successful in the first place.
You may consider it obvious that slow e-commerce operations will hurt your customer satisfaction and online reputation. As a matter of fact, every metric for your business tends to suffer once this one starts to go downhill. This includes bounce rates, page views, customer churn and even revenue. After all, the average customer has infinite options in the digital world. One error message from an overloaded server and they will find what they are looking for elsewhere.
Research shows that bounce rate (people leaving your site) increases the longer it takes to load, even by each second. Devices can help improve network to a point, but with proper data hygiene and optimization, you can make sure you're getting the most out of the hardware tools you already have. For example, an act as simple as taking time to optimize your pages in terms of alt-text, copy and layout can help search engines process your information more quickly.
This will increase your web traffic, so you need to be ready to scale up quickly. Some of the world's major e-commerce platforms make scalability a design priority. Attach key third-party features, like payment gateways, database applications and shipping and shipment tracking systems for optimization. They should also support mobile commerce.
Ask Your Partners If They Are Ready for Rapid Upscaling
Many of these tools also offer partnership deals that can help you get the most out of their features. Aside from choosing the right server, you want to guarantee you are picking the right partner. Working with a certified hosting partner is a great way to weed out bad deals and be more confident you are dealing with the cream of the crop. These certified teams tend to have more expertise and years behind them when it comes to optimizing a site in terms of scalability, speed and other key performance factors. I like to ask my partners if they have dealt with rapid upscaling in the past, and what snags they hit.
Key Points to Remember When It Comes to E-commerce Scalability
Generally speaking, a successful e-commerce store will grow year-over-year. You need to be ready to handle a large volume of sales with the same efficiency that helped make you successful when you were smaller. This means thinking about scalability before it happens. You also want to be ready with solutions for fulfillment, accounting and warehouse management or CRM and ERP systems that can be scaled upward.
The Sky's the Limit if You're Prepared
Set yourself up for success by planning for e-commerce growth before it happens. The internet is a funny place. Offer the right product at the right time, and you could blow up and make a killing. You don't want to miss an opportunity of this kind when it comes your way due to inadequate digital infrastructure.
Derek Broman is CEO of Discount Enterprises LLC.