I’ve noticed a concerning trend among our retailers here in New Zealand. Many are choosing to take the easy route and opt for popular, “convenient” technology platforms, primarily American ones like WooCommerce, Wix, and Shopify. And while these platforms might be big names in the tech world, they do not necessarily allow businesses to express their unique customer experience fully.
As the managing director of Convergence, an Auckland eCommerce integration company, we often work with various technology stacks. But I noticed that so many retailers are more concerned about price and convenience than finding platforms that help them deliver their unique brand promise.
I’ve always told my clients, “Build your tech stack around your promise.” Often, these one-size-fits-all solutions might not integrate as seamlessly as you’d like, or they might not have that specific feature your business needs.
We’re at this pivotal moment in the eCommerce world, where there’s a shift from these all-in-one platforms to more specialised solutions that excel at what they do. The real trick is integrating these best-of-breed solutions effectively.
Don’t get me wrong; there’s absolutely nothing wrong with platforms like Shopify. Many are indeed top-notch solutions. But choosing solely based on price or convenience might only sometimes be the best fit for some retailers. We must always ask ourselves: “Is this the best solution for my customers?”
Beauty of Tailored Solutions
There are retailers who grasp the potential of tailored solutions. These platforms allow a laser focus on areas like user experience, back-office operations, and efficient fulfilment. This modular approach enables businesses to pick and mix the best components, ensuring they work harmoniously.
Platforms like Shopify might be accessible on the pocket and a breeze to set up. But sometimes, their all-in-one perspective might need to match the intricacies of importing products.
The key is understanding what you want to deliver to your customers. In today’s fast-paced market, they crave accurate delivery times, smooth fulfilment processes, and top-notch user experiences. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg.
Why a Modular Approach Rocks
I can’t stress enough the benefits of a modular, best-in-breed approach. Such platforms, whether they cater to B2C shopping, B2B trading, inventory management, or fulfilment software, can offer an unparalleled competitive advantage.
Yet, I’ve observed many of our local retailers defaulting to these popular platforms out of sheer convenience, even when they’ve outgrown them.
Time for a Change
The shift towards an eCommerce-dominated world means it’s high time for retailers to rethink their strategies. Ironically, while many are bringing physical stores into their online mix, there’s an evident need for a more structured tech approach.
Three Golden Tips for Retailers:
1. Evaluate Your Needs – Understand your unique promise to your customers. Whether it’s exceptional product quality, top-tier customer service, or hassle-free returns, choose tech stacks that allow you to excel in delivering on those promises.
2. Embrace the Modular Approach – Always evaluate based on the MOFO headline: Modular (best in breed), Ownership (cost-effective), Fast to implement, and Open (extendable and integrated with APIs). This ensures your business remains agile and scalable.
3. Stay Agile and Informed – The tech world is forever evolving. Stay updated with the latest shifts and be prepared to adapt. Ensure your tech stack stays in line with your growing business needs and the ever-evolving customer expectations. If a part of your tech no longer serves you, replace it. It’s crucial to weigh the cost of inaction against the price change.
By embracing these principles, New Zealand retailers can look beyond the familiar and leverage technology to keep their unique promises. This gives us a competitive edge in a dynamic market and ensures our businesses remain future-ready. Let’s innovate together and set the standard for retail globally!