Few people would disagree that COVID has wreaked havoc for thousands of businesses across the country. Perhaps nowhere was the carnage more apparent than in the retail space. Brick-and-mortar establishments that have built reliable revenue streams based on foot traffic were left scrambling to find alternative business models that would keep staff and customers safe, while also re-igniting sales activities.
For many of these establishments, the best option for survival was to transition into an ecommerce setting, where many core business functions, like sales, payment acceptance, fulfillment, inventory management, and marketing, can all be conducted through a safe and secure cloud-based infrastructure. Now that merchants have sampled the ecommerce world for the past several months, many have come to the conclusion that going forward—pandemic or not—cloud-based digital merchant services offer businesses a number of profound efficiencies and benefits that are suitable for any business situation, including work-from-home and social distancing environments.
Fast and Efficient
Developers would be well advised to offer these capabilities to the legions of merchants who can immediately leverage these features to not only ensure their own viability, but also expand market reach and tap into new revenue streams. The business opportunities afforded through ecommerce are compelling. Every merchant needs basic services to operate. These include accepting and fulfilling orders, processing payments, managing inventory, and marketing. Cloud technology removes the need for personnel to perform these tasks on site. A manager or administrator can perform these tasks through the cloud from any location. All that is required is a laptop, tablet, or mobile phone.
Choose Your Vendors Carefully
But ISVs should be aware that not all digital merchant services solutions are created equal. Features and capabilities vary wildly among solutions providers. Perhaps the greatest discrepancy between ecommerce vendors lies in security and data privacy. Not every provider can comply with the exacting security protocols and processes that financial institutions and regulators demand. The penalties and ramifications for those solutions out of scope can be severe. The best way to mitigate any data breaches or security lapses is to choose a vendor that has already been certified for having technology that adheres to the most current industry mandates.
Another important factor is scalability and flexibility. As new features and capabilities are introduced into the market, the appetite for these services among merchants will no doubt increase. Merchants that initially use the cloud for payment acceptance often want to add digital marketing services into the mix. Others that rely on ecommerce for order processing and fulfillment will likely look at online payment processing. ISVs should recognize that the digital commerce space is constantly evolving, and that there is a host of existing and emerging solutions that will add significant value for their clients. The key is to ensure that merchants can easily onboard the services when they want, without disrupting their operations. A flexible and scalable infrastructure makes this simple and cost-efficient.
The Time Is Now
Ecommerce gives ISVs a unique opportunity to capitalize on a trend that was born out of the pandemic. As merchants continue to re-invent themselves to operate in stay-at-home and social distancing environments, these services have become essential tools for re-establishing revenue streams and building back customer loyalties. ISVs can immediately use these solutions to strengthen relationships with merchants, and pursue new markets and opportunities. By working with ecommerce service providers who have the features, security protocols, and architecture, developers can quickly tap into a lucrative and expanding marketplace.