With e-commerce solutions like Shopify, Magento, and Bigcommerce continuing to grow in popularity, solution providers are rolling out new products to help clients streamline their online shopping initiatives…and with good reason.

In 2014, e-commerce sales worldwide reached a record $1.3 trillion, and they are expected to grow 6.4% this year. In the U.S., online shopping has become more of a pastime than a convenience, much to the chagrin of office managers. As online shopping continues its trend upward, retailers are looking to improve their customers’ experience and to make it easier from search, to click, to the final checkout.

While new solutions are making things easier for the customer, what about the retailer? How can a business adopt an e-commerce platform that doesn’t slow down bookkeeping, tracks inventory, and doesn’t get in the way of day-to-day business?

The answer is in the cloud.

We recently completed an e-commerce solution for a client that linked their online storefront to their current financial management system through the cloud. Like other cloud-based solutions, this setup will grant them automatic software updates, ensuring they are always using the latest financial management software…but that’s just the tip of the iceberg.

Real-time Inventory Control

Sales and fees are recorded and tracked easily and instantly, letting the client know precisely what is sold, what’s still in stock, and what needs ordered. By automatically sending product information to accounting software when a sale is recorded, the client has better control over inventory and can determine which items are the most profitable.

Better Customer Records

Some platforms allow clients to actually create their own profiles that are saved in your e-commerce system. After logging in, clients can order what they need, and the platform automatically places that order in your queue, sending it down to shipping. Because each transaction is recorded and stored in the cloud, retailers can catalog this information and generate reports on their most valuable customers. This information helps them develop loyalty programs and marketing campaigns.

Reliability and Safety

When your e-commerce solution is reliable and safe, customers view you as reliable and safe. With cloud-based solutions, you get the added benefit of automatic software updates, ensuring that you have the latest version of any security software is one of the golden rules of keeping your site, and your customers, safe from identity thieves.

Responsive Site Design

While not exclusive to e-commerce, having a responsive website design is critical for online shopping. Last year, Shopify reported that of the 100,000+ e-commerce stores that use its platform, more than half of the traffic was coming from mobile devices. Breaking it down further, most of the mobile traffic was from phones rather than tablets. With that many customers shopping via phone, it is absolutely critical that websites are designed with mobile screens in mind, not only for screen size, but also for functionality. Those that are not optimized will inevitably be passed over for those that are.

And with Google factoring in site responsiveness when it prioritizes its SEO rankings, optimizing your site’s responsiveness goes a long way in making sure your website gets seen to begin with.

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