E-com­merce: No room for er­ror

Finweek English Edition - - IN BRIEF - BY LAMEEZ OMARJEE

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.”

ed­i­to­rial@fin­week.co.za

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