E-commerce: No room for error
There is no such thing as “brand loyalty” in the online retail space. If applications and websites perform on a subpar level or offer a poor customer experience, consumers will “drop the shopping basket” and opt for a different store or brand, according to Riverbed Technology. It is therefore necessary for an enterprise to simplify operations and ensure its applications run optimally. Riverbed, which was founded in the US in 2002, has built a successful business helping retailers, financial services groups and governments to improve their web services to clients. “Riverbed now has a 50% international market share in the optimisation space,” says Karl Campbell, regional vice-president of Riverbed, UK and South Africa.
Riverbed evaluates the retailer’s existing applications to detect any problems that customers may experience. “These could be related to slow speed and limited data availability, which may contribute to a poor customer experience,” explains Campbell. Most retailers underestimate the importance of customer experience. According to Campbell, one of Riverbed’s clients in Europe loses as much as €30m (R428m) daily if applications run slowly. “When websites fall over because of increased traffic or demand, which often happens with online ticket sales, people become frustrated.” Physically, retailers can control the traffic through a door, but they need to make sure their e-commerce sites can scale up to perform, irrespective of the volume of business.
Campbell suggests that retailers should also ensure they have a good returns policy to drive growth. “If consumers can return goods they are unhappy with within seven days, it drives a tremendous amount of traffic to the website.”
More consumers are choosing online shopping because of the convenience of delivery. “But [retailers] need to have the whole supply chain to deliver [goods] quickly and be prepared to take it back if the client is not happy, for online to work.”