It’s Black Friday every day as ecommerce booms
Although ecommerce has been on the rise for years, the pandemic has created a surge in online shopping. In the U.S., online sales increased 42% year over year in August. And since March, shoppers have spent an extra $107 billion online. As a result, businesses are experiencing Black-Friday-level numbers on their websites every day.
Why every business is now an online business
Brick and mortar challenges — such as decreased foot traffic, rental prices and local economy risks — are making ecommerce and its promise of a global audience with minimal overheads even more attractive to businesses. With an evolving arsenal of website tools, SaaS platforms and managed services, the barriers to entry for trading in the online world have never been lower.
As businesses double down on ecommerce as a revenue stream, what risks should they be aware of? What is the best practice for navigating issues such as unpredictable traffic and vendor lock-in? How do you provide a winning digital experience for your customers?
To answer these questions, we invited three ecommerce experts on to the Cloudspotting podcast. Hosts Alex and Sai are joined by fellow Rackers Wesley Lomax, Larry Hau and Will Parsons, in this ecommerce special.
Tune in to hear about the following:
- Customization vs. lack of flexibility — figuring out your ecommerce strategy
- Differences in B2B and B2C ecommerce
- Dealing with unpredictable demand and sudden regulatory changes brought about by COVID-19
- Enabling scale through automation and programmatic access
- Headless commerce and providing a digital experience
Opening up technology to the masses
On the topic of the new ecosystem of SaaS companies, which are making ecommerce more accessible, Wesley Lomax, Digital Solutions Architect at Rackspace Technology, comments on the success of these companies.
“There's a bunch of WordPress plugins that have gone on to be hundred-million-dollar startups like Stripe. By solving complex problems like payment processing, these platforms have gone on to be huge, huge companies.”
Will Parsons, Portfolio Solutions Architect at Rackspace Technology, explains the unpredictability of the world that we're in right now from an ecommerce perspective. “With Black Friday, at least you know when it’s going to be, and you could scale for it — ideally automatically — and you could at least provision for it. Now, as soon as some government advice changes, suddenly everyone needs to wear face masks. Suddenly, if you sell face masks, it's Black Friday for you.”
Remaining agile from a product perspective
Will continues by stressing the importance of agility. “You don't know what products are suddenly going to become important. And of course, you may need to be able to pivot your business to provide those. Notice that almost all online fashion retailers are also selling designer face masks now. Whereas that wasn't the case even a few months ago.”
Larry Hau, Senior Product Manager at Rackspace Technology, warns of the potential drawbacks of going fully automated and not enabling interactions with customers. “A lot of folks focus on an exclusively, unassisted digital sale. And they don't think about, if the customer still has questions, how do they get answers?”