IRCE Session: Get Smart: A Roadmap for Sound Technology Investments

Welcome to my first live blog of IRCE. Today is a workshop day, and I'll be covering some of the eCommerce technology workshop and the video workshop. This session is the first session of the technology workshop track: Get Smart: A Roadmap for Sound Technology Investments, presented by Charles Hunsinger, SVP, Chief Information Officer - Harry & David; Michael Arking, President - Frenchtoast.com; Bernardine Wu, Chief Executive Officer - FitForCommerce.

52% of eCommerce businesses are looking into invest in their e-commerce platform. 40% are now looking to invest in responsive design (I'm hoping the other 60% are already responsive!).

Customers don't think about 'mobile' vs 'ecommerce', etc. Look from the customer's view - they look at:

  • Do I like this? Do I want it?
  • How do I find it?
  • How do I decide to buy?
  • Was this a good experience?
  • Would I do it again?

You need to make sure your technology plans meet those goals. Do this by investing in the following areas:

  • Have the right products & assortment
  • Discovery - make it easy to find you and your products
  • Decision - make it easy to make the decision to buy
  • Customer Experience - have a memorable customer experience
  • Moment of truths - customer service, delivery, proactive notifications, delight

Map out a three year plan on where you want to go with your eCommerce investments - break it down to ecommerce platform, order management systems, mobile & apps, 3rd party solutions with the customer in the center - focus on the customer experience.

When selecting a platform, before making your final decision - look at your relationship with the platform, and make sure you know they will back you up and work well as a team.

After selecting a platform, focus on user experience & customizations. Major retailers are spending about 1% of sales/year on new customizations after launch.

eCommerce merchants are getting fatigued by all the calls and emails by 3rd party providers, and can't keep up with all the sales pitches.

By 2015, 60.6% of traffic to top eCommerce sites will come from smartphones. Make sure your eCommerce partners understand the small screen and your customer experience.

Keep mobile and UX front and center - that will drive the most growth in sales in the next few years.

Competition is driving evolution - you have to run faster and faster just to stay in the same place.

Transformative change can't always be implemented incrementally - get the focus of the organization behind large changes and make them happen.

When selecting outside help, it isn't one size fits all - look for someone with lots of experience doing what you need, a boutique firm experienced with your specific needs and goals.

Design is critical - employees want good design in the backend systems as well.