Many B2B companies face similar challenges, no matter the industry. It’s one common pain point that affects many teams across a business, from IT and customer service to marketing and sales. It all boils down to e-commerce site maintenance.
Whether you’re a small business owner looking to improve customer satisfaction via your website’s UX or an IT manager at a large company searching for the right solution, or even just looking for some pointers to stay ahead of the competition – this is for you.
E-commerce website maintenance is more relevant than you’d think.
How often does IT need to regularly update software and systems? This takes away from the time that could be spent on more important projects. If maintaining your e-commerce website is not prioritized and not enough time and budget is allocated, support teams end up spending a significant amount of time responding to tickets for issues that have already been resolved or could have been prevented if the functioning properly. In other words, neglecting maintenance can result in unnecessary strain on the support team’s resources and impact the overall efficiency of the organization.
Benefits of maintaining your e-commerce website
You may or may not be in a major decision-making role within your company but surely maintenance impacts you and affects your ability to do your work properly. Even minor inconveniences resulting from a poorly maintained website can accumulate and hinder your ability to work efficiently. On the other hand, regularly maintaining your e-commerce website can yield numerous benefits for your business, like gaining back time, saving money, and minimizing frustration.
Benefits of a well-maintained e-commerce site:
- Save internal teams time on repetitive tasks
- Avoid unexpected downtime and performance issues
- Minimize risk of security breaches
- Improve user experience (UX)
- Improve customer engagement and satisfaction
- Increase sales revenue
Taking responsibility for the maintenance of your e-commerce website can mean good news for your business both internally and externally. By regularly updating your site and with the right security protocols in place, you can avoid unexpected downtime and minimize the risk of security breaches. A smooth-running website with optimal SEO will ensure potential customers have a great experience on your site. This leads to improving the satisfaction of your customers and, of course, boosting your revenue.
How does e-commerce site maintenance (or lack of) impact your business?
IT deals with countless support tickets, system updates, and maintenance services that fall outside of their scope. The marketing team contributes resources to the upkeep of the website instead of focusing on creating compelling marketing campaigns. Salespeople are given the impossible task of selling a product to potential customers with product descriptions that may not be entirely accurate.
E-commerce website maintenance can take up a lot of resources such as time and energy for teams, causing them to neglect their main responsibilities. This, in turn, can have an impact on the experience of the most important stakeholders: the customers.
Marketing and maintenance
For marketing, site maintenance usually consists of content updates, performance monitoring, search engine optimizations (more commonly known as SEO) to improve search results and other services that keep the website running smoothly and ensure a positive customer experience. However, this can often be time-consuming and technical, and it may not even be within the marketing team’s main roles and responsibilities. Time spent on maintenance and repetitive tasks could be better spent on executing creative marketing campaigns or carrying out other initiatives.
IT, security, and e-commerce maintenance
Outside of IT’s usual scope, maintaining your e-commerce website is also a web development and security task. While web developers handle the technical aspect of maintaining a website including its speed and capacity, other aspects such as site security often fall into the IT scope.
What does website security entail?
- Implementing security updates
- Applying security patches
- Performance optimization
- Fixing bugs
To reap the benefits of preventing security breaches, addressing website vulnerabilities, improving site performance, and ensuring the website functions correctly, you must acknowledge that maintenance takes time.
As you’re exporting all your data, it doesn’t shut down your users, but it does slow [them] down. Furthermore, it’s possible some of the information is corrupt so you must have people monitoring that every day or building their own tools to monitor this and pull the information.Jeremy Jensen | Former TCO at Southwest Automated Security
ERP maintenance is equally important
The implementation of an ERP has become critical in every business today and can be very powerful if implemented correctly. However, time and resources must be dedicated to ensuring the ERP functions accordingly. ERP maintenance entails enterprise performance management, and regular upkeep of the software. This helps plan, budget, report and even predict an organization’s financial results. It may not be as easy as it seems, so here’s a compiled list of steps to follow for ERP maintenance.
The impact on your customers
E-commerce site maintenance has an impact on not only internal teams, but also the customers. When a website is kept up-to-date, customers have more seamless and positive experiences. On the other hand, a lack of site maintenance can negatively impact the customer experience through:
- Downtime: if the website is temporarily unavailable, it can be frustrating for customers
- Slow performance: longer loading times or delays in processing orders.
- Payment processing issues: failed transactions, causing inconvenience and frustration.
- Data loss: losing data such as customer account information and order history.
As a business, you should aim to manage and avoid any issues that may have an impact on the overall experience and put your customer’s trust and satisfaction in jeopardy.
Speaking of saving time, learn more about Sana Commerce customer Hobart who saw positive results in time saving and satisfied customers by introducing the Sana online store.
Want to learn how you size up against others when it comes to e-commerce maintenance?
Quiz: How much of an impact does e-commerce maintenance make?
Use this quiz to see how you compare to peers on the issue of B2B e-commerce maintenance.
Ways to improve e-commerce site maintenance for your business
We’ve covered the benefits of maintaining your e-commerce website, how it impacts your internal teams and customers, and you’ve taken the quiz to determine how you compare to peers on the issue of B2B e-commerce maintenance. It is clear e-commerce maintenance is needed in order to save time, cut unnecessary costs, and reduce frustration. Nevertheless, the question prevails: how do you go about it?
Some key elements of e-commerce site maintenance that results in a successful online shop are:
- Efficiency through automation
- Data management
- Customer experience
1. Make processes more efficient with automation
Efficiency is critical to the success of a business. Every resource counts in today’s fast-paced and competitive business world. Whether it’s streamlining internal operations, cutting costs, improving productivity, or saving time – a key element in achieving business goals and providing the best possible experience for customers is finding ways to become more efficient. One of these ways is automation.
Why automation is necessary for your business
Automation is necessary for your business because it can help streamline repetitive and time-consuming tasks, reduce costs and errors, and free up valuable time and resources that can be redirected towards more strategic initiatives and growth opportunities. To put it simply: automating processes makes business easier.
Automating business processes (BPA) is vital for B2B organizations because it can provide companies with a powerful competitive advantage and helps:
- Catch up with buyer expectations
- Optimize employee time
- Streamline organizational processes
BPA is designed to help streamline and optimize these business processes, identify bottlenecks, and automate tasks. In turn, improving speed and accuracy of operations. This is especially important if you’re an IT leader exploring digital process automation, looking to save time or identifying pain points in your business’ process.
2. Focus on and improve your data management
Why is data management especially important in B2B e-commerce? In B2B, there’s often large amounts of data that must be taken into consideration, including product descriptions, measurements, and inventory. Data management is important among internal teams, resulting in an improved experience for external customers.
Product Data Management (PDM) system
A product data management (PDM) system organizes and regulates, making product data uniform and easily accessible. A PDM system can provide marketers with the wording they need to attract potential customers just as much as sales and customer service with accurate, quick information on a product. Managing your data efficiently can help you:
- Reduce mistakes
- Make products and information searchable
- Improve customer experience
- Get your products to market as soon as possible
The data is structured so that even customers find what they need in a user-friendly way on your website.
A clear and detailed e-commerce catalog will also help you be seen as a leader in your industry and build trust between you and your web store visitors. You can also skip ahead and find out why online catalog management is so important in e-commerce.
In the meantime, here are some best practices on catalog management so you can ensure that your products are found and accessible online and stay competitive.
PIM in e-commerce
A Product Information Management system (PIM) creates a central place for all product information and specifications that is shared with online stores, catalogs, social media, marketplaces and a company’s ERP system.
What does this mean in terms of data management?
A PIM system increases efficiency through reducing the amount of data entry and the time it takes your sales, e-commerce, and IT teams to fix order errors. The bottom line is that your customers are given a seamless, omnichannel experience while your internal teams are aligned and can work more efficiently.
3. Improve B2B customer experience
Not only does visible product information ensure that your business generates happy customers, but also every feature you can provide to ensure a seamless customer experience.
In this B2B E-Commerce Integrated podcast episode, Arno Ham speaks with head of IT, Marco Stecher of hollu about how instant pricing adjustments improved customer satisfaction and the right e-commerce solution helped save time.
Read more about Sana Commerce’s customer: hollu. After partnering with Sana, hollu can now use their workforce more effectively. Their focus is now to create more time for high-quality expert consultations with the customers, providing unbeatable, personalized experiences.
Having been given information about tools and systems your business needs to succeed with e-commerce maintenance, it’s important to ask yourself the following questions.
Does your current e-commerce solution:
- Create even more support tickets than before you had an e-commerce site?
- Hinder your profit growth due to order errors or the inability to scale?
- Divert resources to cover routine intake like process orders or answer customer questions?
If you’ve said “yes” to any of the above, it’s time for you to consider replatforming your e-commerce solution.
Best e-commerce platform for easier site maintenance
A well-maintained site can lead to higher conversion rates, increased sales, and improved customer retention. However, it’s not enough to simply rely on mainstream solutions as they often don’t address the most critical issues specific to your business. To truly optimize your e-commerce operations, it’s important to consider an integrated solution that works seamlessly with your ERP. This can provide a centralized system for managing your business, allowing you to streamline your operations and improve your bottom line.
This ERP e-commerce integration blog breaks down the basics of an ERP-integrated e-commerce solution and has all the answers you need to the question:
What is ERP e-commerce integration and why does it matter?
Take a Sana customer, Montego Pet Nutrition, for example. With the support of an ERP-integrated web store, changes that once required three teams and multiple days now take a single person and a few minutes. Montego Pet Nutrition have identified a solution that streamlined workflow processes, reduced the total cost of ownership (TCO), and provided a better experience for their customers.
Here are some statistics to better understand why an integrated e-commerce solution is the answer to your problems.
Organizations that implement ERP-integrated e-commerce experience on average:
- 21% increase in conversion rates
- 11% increase in returning customers
- 16% drop in order errors
- 67% increase in revenue
Additionally, there are many more benefits of ERP-integrated e-commerce that you as a business can achieve.
Read how a similar company improved their e-commerce site maintenance
Here’s what tech professional and former CTO of Southwest Automated Security had to say about the frustrations of maintaining their e-commerce site before choosing an integrated solution:
“If you make [those changes] on the ERP and don’t make them on the website or vice versa, your customers are going to be confused and your internal staff is going to be confused. It was such a burdensome task to try and keep every area up to date in the same methodology that essentially you were hiring a whole other group of people to do what should be done by – really – one person.”Jeremy Jensen | Former CTO Southwest Automated Systems
While at Southwest Automated Security, Jeremy and his team experienced a lot of challenges that many other B2B companies also face. They discuss how other mainstream solutions don’t always pan out for B2B companies looking to sell online. Southwest Automated Security uses a Microsoft Dynamics Business Central ERP and has been using this ERP through numerous updates or “cycles.” When looking for an e-commerce solution, they didn’t want a solution that would require them to duplicate all the information they had collected, stored and maintained in their ERP system since 2008.
After looking into other mainstream e-commerce solutions, they realized that a truly integrated e-commerce solution was going to benefit them the most in that it would prevent the team from having to duplicate data across two systems (their ERP and their web store).
A solution like Sana Commerce Cloud’s native ERP integration can enable you to:
- Process all your information in one place
- Show your data in real-time, all the time
- Manage products easily and efficiently
Find out how you can lead your business into a
Check out our complete guide on e-commerce maintenance.