Using The Cloud To Extend Your Online Presence With Merchant Services

Using The Cloud To Extend Your Online Presence With Merchant Services

Retailers in today’s global, information driven world are often faced with a paradox. They want to reach as many customers as possible, but do it with the least effort and cost to the business. At the same time, they want to retain customers by providing a great customer experience.

Companies often now do online marketing with tools such as Facebook and Twitter, which help provide a visible profile of the organization beyond just the company’s website, but the value these add to customers is somewhat limited because they aren’t directly integrated with the company’s store and don’t tie in the company’s customer data to provide a better online experience. Such tools do help a company increase their online profile and online reputation though, and provide value through this.

One very simple way to increase a company’s exposure to new customers and thus increase revenue is to join an existing online merchant, such as eBay, Amazon, or Google Merchant. By doing this, a company can increase exposure to a tremendous new audience of potential customers, at relatively little cost. There are a number of considerations that must be planned out before undertaking a project like this though.

As an example, let’s consider a company that wants to implement eBay integration with an existing brick and mortar store. eBay offers an online eBay store to paying customers, at relatively low cost. These stores allow an eBay customer (our company) to define their own store name, customize the store look and feel, configure up to 300 store categories, and, most importantly, when items are listed in the eBay store, they are also listed on the eBay auction site in one or two auction categories. This listing of items on the auction site at the same time as listing them in an eBay store significantly increases visibility of your items to new customers. Think about it! eBay has several million people on its online auction site every day.  Amazon and other similar services can offer the same kind of exposure as well.

So why aren’t all stores jumping on the online merchant bandwagon? There are several reasons. First, inventory management can be tough when you are selling the same item from the same warehouse or store in a brick and mortar store and online.

Also, order fulfillment can be more complicated. A sale online may or may not need to charge taxes, depending on where the buyer and seller are physically located. Reaching a global market also can introduce currency exchange and export issues that may be challenging to overcome. Lastly, shipping costs may be an issue with online selling, whereas in a traditional brick and mortar store shipping is typically a non-issue. A company must also be careful to manage its online reputation, and with a bigger online presence, this becomes a bigger issue.

Generally, there are two ways a company can achieve this integration with the big online merchant sites. The simplest method to start out is to dedicate some inventory just to the online merchant store, and hire or reassign one or more employees to manage it manually. This is quick to get started, but doesn’t scale well if your online presence grows. The better method is to use cloud-based integration that can communicate directly with the online merchant’s systems to post items and adjust inventory, and bring orders from the merchant system to your standard store system for order fulfillment. Not only does using cloud integration make growing pains easier to overcome, it tends to be faster, much more scalable, and future proof. Also, by integrating with your existing online or point of sale systems, you can still take advantage of other integration you are already using, such as exporting data to your accounting system.

By Charles Almond

Charles Almond is a software developer for nChannel, and an Associate Professor of Computer and Information Technology at West Virginia University at Parkersburg.

Follow Us!

CloudTweaks

Established in 2009, CloudTweaks.com is recognized as one of the leading authorities in cloud computing information. Most of the excellent CloudTweaks articles are provided by our own paid writers, with a small percentage provided by guest authors from around the globe, including CEOs, CIOs, Technology bloggers and Cloud enthusiasts. Our goal is to continue to build a growing community offering the best in-depth articles, interviews, event listings, whitepapers, infographics and much more...
Follow Us!

Sorry, comments are closed for this post.

Comics

At CloudTweaks, we're plugged into the cloud, the internet of things and all that the web has to offer. From wearable technology, to mobile computing, cloud computing and big data, CloudTweaks is your source for updates and news on the most innovative technology.

Popular

Top Viral Impact

Cloud Computing Offers Key Benefits For Small, Medium Businesses

Cloud Computing Offers Key Benefits For Small, Medium Businesses

A growing number of small and medium businesses in the United States rely on as a means of deploying mission-critical software products. Prior to the advent of cloud-based products — software solutions delivered over the Internet – companies were often forced to invest in servers and other products to run software and store data. The…

Cloud Infographic – The Power Of Cloud Disaster Recovery

Cloud Infographic – The Power Of Cloud Disaster Recovery

Cloud Infographic – The Power Of Cloud Disaster Recovery Preventing a Cloud Disaster is one thing. Recovering from a disaster is a whole other area of concern. Today’s infographic provided by CloudVelox outlines some best practices and safeguards in order to help your business make more informed decisions. About Latest Posts Follow Us!CloudTweaksEstablished in 2009,…

Cloud Infographic: Cloud Public, Private & Hybrid Differences

Cloud Infographic: Cloud Public, Private & Hybrid Differences

Many people have heard of cloud computing. There is however a tremendous number of people who still cannot differentiate between Public, Private & Hybrid cloud offerings.  Here is an excellent infographic provided by the group at iWeb which goes into greater detail on this subject. Infographic source: iWeb About Latest Posts Follow Us!CloudTweaksEstablished in 2009,…

Cloud Infographic – What Is The Internet of Things?

Cloud Infographic – What Is The Internet of Things?

What Is The Internet of Things? “We’re still in the first minutes of the first day of the Internet revolution.”  – Scott Cook The Internet of Things (IOT) and Smart Systems are based on the notions of Sensors, Connectivity, People and Processes. We are creating a new world to view and measure anything around us through…

Featured Sponsors

Sponsors

Can You Run Your Business Entirely From A Mobile Device?

Can You Run Your Business Entirely From A Mobile Device?

Can You Run Your Business Entirely From A Mobile Device? You know the feeling. It’s 8:00 a.m. Your bus is stuck in traffic, so you pull out your phone and start answering work emails. While you may rely on your mobile device’s apps for everything from an alarm clock to a fitness tracker to a…

Placement Opportunities - Find Out!

Established in 2009, CloudTweaks is recognized as one of the leading influencers in cloud computing, big data and internet of things (IoT) information. Our goal is to continue to build our growing information portal, by providing the best in-depth articles, interviews, event listings, whitepapers, infographics and much more.

You can help continue to support our community by social sharing, sponsoring, partnering or contributing to this great educational resource.

Contact

CloudTweaks Media
Phone: 1 (212) 763-0021

Join Our Newsletter