There is hardly a single web development project today that doesn’t involve some kind of 3rd party vendor integration, be it for adding the latest must-have consumer features, ensuring you have the appropriate site analytics and marketing metrics, or integrating your business process applications into your website. The ecosystem of ecommerce and business applications has evolved: highly specialized vendors now offer every kind of specialty tool, plug-in feature and business operations application imaginable and still new applications are appearing every day.
SAN Informatics can help you wade through the sea of choices in the market. For example, you may want to consider augmenting your core website with applications that help you meet your business goals and can transform your website into a dynamic and sophisticated consumer experience. . Based on our extensive experience and in depth knowledge of the market we will select and integrate third party tools and applications into your existing website. The end result will be an engaging, seamless, and unified experience for the consumer and your internal staff.
Types of Applications
There are many types of applications that require integration. Below is a sampling, grouped by broad business function.
1. Consumer Experience Applications
These are applications that enhance the consumer’s experience on your website by offering additional features, tools or services. Examples include:
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Various solutions enable consumers to pay for ecommerce transactions via debit cards, ATM cards, phone cards, in foreign currencies, or through Amazon, PayPal, Google Checkout, etc
- Sophisticated Site Search and Recommendations : Several vendors provide specialty feature-based and dynamic filter search engines, support auto-complete and type-ahead search, and offer product recommendations systems, predictive recommendations, customizable product finders or step-by-step diagnostic “wizards”, as well as various options to enable the dynamic reordering of product listings in your catalog to help increase conversion, the number of sales and the value of each sale.
- Online Merchandising & Product Catalog Tools : Specialty catalog viewers can show your traditional product catalog in engaging ways. Online merchandising tools will optimize which products are featured at what price and in what order and ensure the listings are always fresh and compelling. Product customization tools and step-by-step wizards can guide the consumer through customizing their own specialty products
- Imaging & 3D Visualization Tools : Possibilities range from 3D rendering, animation, dynamic customized views of your products, immersive virtual product environments, 360-degree product views and pans, customizable virtual mannequins, photo albums and much more.
- Other Consumer Features : The list of possibilities is almost endless, ranging from traditional and live video, mobile ecommerce, teleconferencing, “Live Person” customer service, consumer games, corporate or consumer blogs, social networking widgets and more.
2. Marketing, Analytics and Performance Measurement Applications
These components are like a “Big Brother” that, behind the scenes, tracks and monitors consumer transactions and your site’s performance. Consider these options:
- Innovative Point Of Sale (POS) solutions : which enable you to track sales and inventory over multiple stores and locations and integrate offline sales with your Internet sales for an aggregate analysis of all your business transactions.
- Email Marketing Solutions : which allow you to reach out to your established customer base through integrated email campaigns that direct them to customized website landing pages, product offers with special pricing and more.
- Website Performance Management : which tracks your website performance in terms of uptime, page load speeds, and “load balancing” across regions and servers; checks your data security; detects demographics by geographic region; unearths missing code components in the page that can slow performance to a crawl or crash the user’s browser, and much more.
- Business Intelligence & Website Analytics : help you to determine what your customers are doing online so you can optimize site performance and sales. Answers key questions like, what offers drive consumer response, how consumers navigate your site, how many actions or clicks it took for the user to make a transaction, how much time consumers are spending on your site, how frequently they visit, how much they spend per transaction, where they enter and exit your site, when they drop off in your ecommerce “funnel”, and more.
3. Business Operations Management Applications
These are “back-office” applications that require integration with your ecommerce website for the most smooth-running, efficient business operations and supply chain management.
- Customer Relationship Management (CRM): These applications help you to track, group, target, and monitor your customer relations, be it for sales, service or support. On-site support is often the first avenue for customer complaints—make sure your customer experience is a positive one!
- Supply Chain Management : If you have a complex global supply chain that ends with an ecommerce order, you need to tightly integrate all components to ensure you are listing the right products in quantities that are actually available. Few things irk consumers more in ecommerce than learning after their order has been placed that their product is no longer available, or that it will take 8-12 weeks to ship! Ensure your website listings are accurate and timely as of the time of the transaction.
- Inventory Management, Warehousing & Fulfillment : Just as you need to manage your supply-side supply chain efficiently, you may have a complex fulfillment chain that is initiated by an ecommerce transaction, or costly overhead for warehousing product, or a need for sophisticated, just-in-time inventory management and delivery systems. The ecommerce transaction sets off a highly coordinated and often global chain of events that is critical to your business; so you must ensure that the integration of your online orders is seamless!
- Administrative/Reporting Tools : How well is your website supporting your business goals? Do you have a comprehensive “dashboard” or scorecard of business performance that senior management can use to monitor and improve sales? If not, consider investing in some basic reporting tools to help make such key web metrics more transparent to business decision-makers.
- Accounting Applications : For the most efficient business operations, you need your ecommerce transactions to interoperate seamlessly with your business accounting software. Otherwise, you are effectively keeping two sets of books, with costly, time-consuming and error-prone human intervention in–between that will also require ongoing monitoring and reconciliation. Let us show you how to integrate your sales with your favorite accounting application.