But then the inevitable glitches occur. Conversion rates are less than optimal. Bottlenecks in order processing crop up. Customers complain about difficulty in navigation. Even worse: the system grows sluggish and balky as interest swells and consumers flock to the site.
“That last one is a particularly grim scenario,” says David Murack, vice president of technical services at Astound Commerce. “It takes a great deal of work and more than a little finesse to get customers to your site, but they can become alienated without any effort whatsoever. All that requires is one poor ecommerce experience. If they have difficulty finding products that interest them or in concluding a purchase, they’ll go elsewhere. And they won’t come back.”
With brick-and-mortar, says Murack, “your staff can make all the difference. Do they engage, accommodate, and bond with the consumer, ensuring loyalty and future sales? In ecommerce, the site has to do all that. And a poorly functioning site is the equivalent of a surly or incompetent sales associate.”
The bottom line: simply launching an elegant ecommerce site isn’t enough. It has to be monitored, maintained, and updated regularly, with added emphasis on successful emergency troubleshooting. That requires a solution support team that is up to the job: highly trained, technically proficient engineers and architects who understand the minutiae of ecommerce technology and can remedy any difficulty with speed and efficiency.
“Often, companies contract with ecommerce service providers who devote their top people to the development and implementation phases, and then relegate their second-string team to solution support,” says Andrew Leibowitz, Astound’s vice president and client partner. “Unhappily, that’s a strategy failure of potentially disastrous proportions. Solution support should be a fundamental aspect of any ecommerce business, and here at Astound it's at the core of what we do."
Problems with ecommerce platforms sometimes take several months to manifest, observes Murack. Sometimes the issues are inherent in site architecture and emerge only when the technology is put to the stress test of the live market. In other circumstances, they may develop with changing conditions and consumer needs. In either case, there’s only one appropriate response: an immediate and effective remedy.
“Companies can get so involved with site development and launch that they don’t devote much time to solution support until they’re hit with a crisis,” says Murack. “The COVID-19 pandemic is a case in point. It drove online shopping up so fast that many platforms were overwhelmed. At that point, the companies realized their solution support teams were inadequate to the challenge.”
Companies should be aware of several flags for poor—and potentially catastrophic—solution support, Murack says, including:
- Lag times in reporting and fixing defects
- Violation of SLA terms
- Poor direction to clients in making the most from their technology investment
- Business results falling out of line with goals
- Inadequate or inept application of analytics to review business performance and CX optimization, and drive long-term strategies
Astound creates bespoke solutions for each client’s unique problems, says Leibowitz, taking into account both current and future ecommerce needs.
“We provide a full range of solution support services, from 24/7 site monitoring to defect-fixing and ongoing development planning,” says Leibowitz. “Our work is predicated on meticulous audits that pinpoint all existing or potential UC, CX, and tech performance problems. We examine and optimize all customer touchpoints, maximizing opportunities for sales acquisition and audience building.”
Moreover, says Murack, Astound’s solution support services never focus on one-and-done tactical strikes.
“Because the need for solution support is evergreen, our auditing is ongoing,” Murack says. “We identify and remedy potential problems when they’re still in the embryonic state, well before they blow up and cause real damage. We’ve stepped in and taken the reins for several companies during the pandemic, providing support that got sales and revenues up to speed quickly and painlessly.”
Astound currently provides solution support for a wide range of companies that “vary widely in their products or services, but all have one thing in common,” says Leibowitz. “They understand that solution support isn’t simply a stopgap means of leaving the lights on through a crisis. It’s foundational to a successful ecommerce business.”
To discuss your solution support needs and the ways that Astound Commerce can help, get in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org.