In this day and age, an online store must have certain key features and functionality in order to meet consumer expectations.
We can all relate to frustrating experiences with an unintuitive search tool that doesn’t account for misspellings, or review features that are painful to use, or product recommendations that are not relevant or helpful.
To a large extent, today’s consumers want their online shopping experience to be as seamless and intuitive as possible; borrowing some of the conveniences of in store experience like being able to ask someone any question you’d like, while giving them the privacy needed for comfortable shopping experience. Letting you shop at your own pace.
Retailers rely on their agencies (Service Integrators) who can have teams of product managers, project managers, designers, integrators, infrastructure teams and other talented individuals who can build such experiences. However, it’s important to keep in mind the critical role that technology partners play as well.
What is a Technology Partner?
Technology partners are product companies that provide niche solutions to commonly required features and functionality. These companies are critical players in the commerce eco-system, providing a value that is directly comparable to the value that apps bring to iOS or Android.
These companies focus on niche features and continue to iterate on their products, improving value over time. Features and services provided by these companies include enriched product reviews, configurable search, email service, recommendations, personalization, marketing automation, fraud protection, and much much more. There are also many companies per category.
How Do You Select a Partner?
Well, that much depends on the platform your site is built on and the need you have for such a tool.
This is where a commerce agency’s partner team can play a vital part in identifying the best technology partners based on the unique requirements of your business.
One way we determine your online business needs is to view your entire ecosystem where each component needs to co-exist in order to sustain and cultivate a healthy environment.
Beyond the regular inhabitants like Hosting, Shopping Cart, Merchant Account, Payment Gateway and Processor, etc. other business solutions need to be taken into consideration in order for your online business to grow and evolve.
For example: you may have plans to boost your social media activity. Here you may benefit from a tool, like Yotpo, that allows you to acquire, convert, retain, and understand customers through user-generated content.
Or another example you may wish to create more automated email campaigns to alert your customers of any promotions or specials. This then would be where an Email Service Provider platform, like Bronto + Oracle, would provide great value to your email marketing strategy.
You might question the functionality of these tools in checking all the requirement boxes and side towards a custom built solution. Sure, we are capable of building a solution from ground up, but you need to take into consideration the time, resources and costs that are involved in building a custom solution. Not to mention that fact that only continual iteration on that solution is going to ensure that this customized solution is evolving alongside your business.
Before you even decide to utilize a solution or build one, you need to understand what it is you are looking for and what these solutions stand to provide you with.
Here’s the tricky part – How or do you even know if it is really something you need?
This is where planning and roadmapping plays an integral role in discerning what you need in order to achieve that goal.
Following this, we will be sharing tips on identifying the value and need of technology partners in each component of the ecommerce ecosystem in order to optimize your online business.