E-Commerce and the Holidays

There are a myriad of ways to describe 2020.  While many of the adjectives used to summarize the year certainly would not be positive, there are a few descriptive terms that speak to some of the positive attributes brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic.  Words like, agility, flexibility and resourcefulness come to mind as ways of describing how we, as individuals, business-owners and employees, have responded to the crisis.  As a culture, Americans are known for being inventive and bold in our pursuit of solving problems and addressing needs.  These are two more adjectives that shine a positive light on how we have, and continue to, weather the storm.

Undoubtably, small and mid-size business owners have experienced some of the most significant financial impacts of the virus as they work to transform their businesses and adapt to their customers’ demands.  As the rules and regulations for what is or is not permissible continue to evolve, business owners have had to pivot to provide goods and services in new ways.  Businesses, of all kinds, have worked tirelessly to establish, revamp or expand their e-commerce strategies.  Regardless of the maturity of a company’s e-commerce strategy, now is the time to revisit your approach to ensure that you are laying a solid foundation to engage with your customers regardless of the circumstances.

Picking the Perfect Partner

Whether in-person or online, the customer experience is of paramount importance.  Providing your customers with a seamless and hassle-free experience is vital to a business’s success as it directly translates into return visits, positive word of mouth and the establishment of a trusted customer relationship.  Whether you are moving your business online for the first time or if you are looking to manage the increased volume of e-commerce purchases, it is imperative that your customer’s online experience is easy, fast and trouble-free.  Therefore, picking the right technology partner is essential.  Look for a company that can not only provide state-of-the-art IT solutions but also demonstrates an unwavering commitment to customer service and satisfaction.  As a business owner, you understand better than anyone the importance of the proprietor/customer relationship.  Look for a partner that carries your same standard of excellence and treats you like you treat your customers. 

I Feel the Need – The Need for Speed

Not all internet services are created equal.  And, we can all agree that when it comes to internet service, speed is a top priority.  There nothing more frustrating than a Web page that refuses to load, a purchase confirmation that never comes through or a “timed-out” session that nullifies the entire shopping experience.  These frustrations, among others, are why speed matters.  But what can you do to ensure you are leveraging the fastest speeds available?  First and foremost, ask your service provider for fiber.  Fiber optic cable has more bandwidth than copper coaxial cable and fiber does not get mired down with the same congestion issues that can often plague networks dependent on coaxial cable.  This translates into a seamless and reliable high-speed experience that will delight your customers and ensure your business runs on-point all of the time. 

Cyber Criminals are the New Porch Pirates

Top-of-mind for all consumers and business owners is the need to provide a secure e-commerce experience.  No longer must customers only be mindful of quickly collecting their packages from the doorstep, they now need to be sure that their data and personal information is protected from the beginning of the online purchasing process.  As a business owner, you will want to give your customers the assurance that your company employs best-in-class security protocols to keep private contact, credit card or banking information, well, private!  Engage with your IT partner and learn more about the security solutions they offer and seek their counsel to ensure you are implementing the right security solutions to meet your business and customer needs.  With this knowledge and proper utilization, you can be confident that your security protocols are air-tight and represent the latest and greatest in cyber security.  This critical, foundational step will allow you to sleep soundly at night knowing your business and your customer’s data is protected. 

So many things have been reinvented and reimagined in 2020.  Once we are through the pandemic, it is unlikely that our behaviors will entirely revert to how they were pre-pandemic.  Our global and societal dependence on e-commerce is one behavior that is here to stay.  It is not too late for businesses of all sizes to step up their e-commerce game. On behalf of the entire team at NorthState, we wish you and yours a very happy and healthy holiday season, and we look forward to great things in 2021!