Archive

Archive for the ‘CTO’ Category

Enabling Commerce and Order Entry Integrated with Dynamics CRM 2011 for your Sales and Customer Service teams

July 9th, 2012 Pankaj Kumar No comments

If you are using or planning to use Microsoft Dynamics CRM for Sales Force Automation, you are making a great first step for your organization because:

  • Microsoft Dynamics CRM enables your sales and customer service team to have an intelligent dialog whenever they interact with your customers. Sales or Customer Service Representatives have visibility to activity history so they know what the last few contacts with the customers were & what occurred at those touch points.
  • Sales, marketing & customer service teams begin to see the business as it should be seen – from the eyes of the customer.
  • You can connect with customers like never before via Social Capabilities of Microsoft Dynamics CRM and understand their likes, dislikes & get deeper insight into their behaviour.

Ignify’s flagship Product – eCommerce for Dynamics has been offering eCommerce Solution integrated with Dynamics ERP for a number of years. Enabling commerce for Sales Force & Customer Service Organizations using Microsoft Dynamics CRM is a natural extension of eCommerce for Dynamics. In early 2011 we released the Order Entry and Ignify ecommerce solutions integrated with Microsoft Dynamics CRM. Since then we’ve made two releases of the software and have multiple customers now using Ignify ecommerce and Order Entry integrated with Microsoft Dynamics CRM to gain significant productivity benefits.

Microsoft Dynamics CRM can greatly benefit with enhancements that Ignify ecommerce brings for complex commerce scenarios. I’ve listed some examples below

  1. As a Quote or Order Entry system:
    • Ignify Order Entry can significantly reduce the number of clicks on for entering a Quote or Order thus improving user adoption within your team.
    • Providing key commerce-related web services such as address validation, sales tax/ GST, shipping calculation and online payments services
    • Provide a sophisticated pricing engine with the integration with Dynamics ERP
  2. Provide a self-service web interface for your customers so that they can view and approve Sales Quotes or directly placing Orders.
  3. Provide product configurator functionality: If you have a complex product or service that customer would rather configure & send to you before discussing their need with you. This improves customer satisfaction and can reduce the sales close cycle time.

We took the concept of Commerce enablement for Microsoft Dynamics CRM one step further to ensure that we enable it in as seamless manner as possible. This is done via two key concepts – an integrated user interface & a Single Sign On facility for Microsoft Dynamics CRM users.

Single User Interface for your Sales Force & Customer Service Teams – “Read” Zero additional learning or Training

Microsoft Dynamics CRM has an awesome user interface that packs a lot of functionality in a Microsoft Office like manner ensuring a high level of user adoption & productivity. Ignify eCommerce plugs into that functionality seamlessly requiring zero learning or training. Given below is the screenshot of the Ribbon on the Customers Form in Microsoft Dynamics CRM as an example. The buttons highlighted in green launch Ignify Order Entry forms and are fully integrated within Microsoft Dynamics CRM.

Dynamics CRM Accounts Grid with eCommerce Enabled

Figure 1 – Dynamics CRM Accounts Grid with eCommerce Enabled

These additional ribbon options on the Customer form allow you to:

  1. Enter a New Quote or New Order for a Customer (Account) right from the ribbon.
  2. Create a Quick Order List –a list of Item Code & Quantity – that you can use for repeat orders. These are usually targeted bundles that are offered during campaigns.
  3. Configure the Customer Loyalty / Reward Program, Pricing & various other Customer account related services such as Address Validation Service.

The same design continues when a sales rep is working on a Customer. The customer account screen shot below again shows the Ignify Order Entry buttons integrated on the account form.

Dynamics CRM Account Entity Ribbon with eCommerce Enabled

Figure 2 – Dynamics CRM Account Entity Ribbon with eCommerce Enabled

This concept is used across the board in various Microsoft Dynamics CRM Ribbons & Sitemaps. This makes eCommerce features added to Microsoft Dynamics CRM, feel like a natural extension of native MS Dynamics CRM capabilities.

Single Sign On – Simple yet Powerful experience

In the unified CRM user interface explained above – clicking on a New Order button on the Account Grid or Entity Ribbon launches the window shown below which is just one click away from creating a Sales Order. The system would be able to identify the logged in Sales Rep & automatically login to Ignify eCommerce Manager Panel using Dynamics CRM credentials via Single Sign On.

Single Sign on with Dynamics CRM makes using eCommerce Facilities a Breeze

Figure 3 – Single Sign on with Dynamics CRM makes using eCommerce Facilities a Breeze

Commerce Transactions on your Microsoft Dynamics CRM Solution

Ignify eCommerce as an offering has a fully integrated product catalog into Microsoft Dynamics CRM as well as various web services required to enable commerce.

Pricing Services

Ignify eCommerce has always been able to offer the same pricing that is configured in your Dynamics ERP. This allows for complex pricing rules that are setup in one place to be extended to Sales & Service organization using Dynamics CRM without the need to use another system. Ignify eCommerce also has inbuilt pricing rules that can be used in case you are not maintaining prices in your Dynamics ERP or not using Dynamics ERP. System calculated prices can be overridden by the Sales Rep using the system with appropriate security permissions. Microsoft Dynamics CRM Approval workflows can be used for Quote Approvals to ensure that while your Sales Force has the visibility to organization wide pricing information, you still retain the control on what level of discounting can be done by different levels within your organization.

eCommerce Pricing Services on eCommerce enabled Dynamics CRM

Figure 4 – eCommerce Pricing Services on eCommerce enabled Dynamics CRM. Prices can be overridden.

Tax Services

You can import your taxes from Microsoft Dynamics ERP (if you are using Dynamics ERP) or use third party tax engines such as Avalara. Both are pre-integrated with Ignify eCommerce. These taxes are automatically calculated during Quote or Sales Order entry ensuring that your tax compliance is fully automated & does not burden your sales force.

Tax Services on eCommerce enabled Dynamics CRM

Figure 5 – Tax Services on eCommerce enabled Dynamics CRM

Shipping Services

Ignify eCommerce integrates with small parcel carriers like UPS, FedEx & USPS. It also integrates with LTL carriers such as Yellow, Conway & Estes. All shipping methods offered by these carriers are available with real time quotes during Quote & Order entry to give an accurate quote to the Sales Rep. Sales Rep can obviously override these rates by offering additional discounts or by simply overriding the rate. Ignify eCommerce Shipping Quote engine has in built restrictions and other rules that can be exposed to sales and customer service representatives for ease of Quote/Order Entry.

Shipping Quotation Services on eCommerce Enabled Dynamics CRM

Figure 6 – Shipping Quotation Services on eCommerce Enabled Dynamics CRM

Online Payment Services

Integration with more than 15 payment providers offers rich choices for choosing your online payment provider. All transactions including Authorization, Capture, Direct Charge & Refund are available to offer your Sales Organization facility to take instant decisions & execute transactions when they are on field in front of the customer.

Online Payment Services on eCommerce Enabled Dynamics CRM

Figure 7 – Online Payment Services on eCommerce Enabled Dynamics CRM

Minimal Click Experience for Quote or Order Entry for higher User Adoption

I had earlier blogged about how many clicks does it take to enter a Quote or Order Transaction. This can also take as little as two clicks, if you are working from a pre-configured list of items or if you are ordering from Customer’s purchase history. An excel like grid for entering lines does make entering a large quote or order much easier saving your Sales Force critical time.

Excel line Quote/Order Line Entry with Auto Fill

Figure 8 – Excel line Quote/Order Line Entry with Auto Fill

A self-service 24 x 7 eCommerce Store Front for your Customers

Ignify eCommerce offers a robust & scalable eCommerce storefront for your customers to self-service themselves. Given below is an example of a grouped offering that can be used by your customers to directly place orders on your eCommerce Store Front. These orders would show up in Dynamics CRM against the Customer Account giving your sales rep visibility around eCommerce Transactions executed by the Customer and help Customer Service respond more effectively to any customer call.

Self Service eCommerce Storefront powered by Ignify eCommerce

Figure 9 – Self Service eCommerce Storefront powered by Ignify eCommerce

Creating Complex Product Offerings or Business Rules

Ignify eCommerce provides a rich, search engine optimized catalog with various facilities for offering Complex Products. These Products can be configured & used by your customers via a self-service eCommerce Portal. These can also be used by your Sales Reps using the inbuilt Quote and Order Entry mechanisms.

These complex relationships are reflected in Order Lines. Given below is an example of a California Waste Recycling Fee getting added on Sale of a Lenovo Laptop. A business rule that your Sales Reps do not have to worry about since it would get automatically added.

California ewaste Recycling Fee Business Rule on eCommerce enabled Dynamics CRM

Figure 10 – California ewaste Recycling Fee Business Rule on eCommerce enabled Dynamics CRM

Pankaj Kumar is the Chief Technology Officer of Ignify. Ignify is a technology provider of eCommerce, Order Entry, ERP, and CRM software solutions to businesses and public sector organizations. Ignify eCommerce is the only PCI certified eCommerce solution in the market that integrates with the Microsoft Dynamics CRM and Microsoft Dynamics ERP solutions. Ignify has been included as the fastest growing business in North America for 5 years in a row by Deloitte, Inc Magazine and Entrepreneur Magazine. Ignify is winner in the Red Herring Global 100 in 2010 and 2011 – this list represents the top businesses in North America with disruptive and innovative technology. Ignify is winner of the Microsoft Partner of the Year award in 2012 and 2011.

How many clicks should entering an order take? – Web Based Order Entry for Microsoft Dynamics

February 15th, 2012 Pankaj Kumar No comments

We recently launched Order Entry for Microsoft Dynamics as a web based solution that seamlessly integrates with Microsoft Dynamics CRM & ERP solutions. An obvious question – why another Order Entry solution offering in the Microsoft Dynamics world where a variety of Order Entry options already exist? There are several reasons -

  1. There are no solutions that offer a Microsoft Excel-like web-based user interface for quick Order Entry that is powered with Microsoft Dynamics ERP backend for taxes, discounts and shipping charges.
  2. There are no solutions that work with all the browsers. It becomes an irritant for those odd cases when you happen to be in a meeting or conference working off a shared PC environment and wanted to accept orders. Right from all flavors of IE on Windows to Safari on various Mac flavors – Order Entry for Dynamics works exactly the same way.
  3. There are not many options for entering Orders for Dynamics on tablet devices like Apple iPad or Samsung Galaxy.
  4. Seamless access to data within Dynamics ERP or CRM – Right from address book to customer specific prices, invoices, A/R Balance or historical order lines seamlessly offered to help a salesperson focus on preparing a competitive Quote or Order for the Customer.
  5. Electronic Payments – Credit Card, ACH, Paypal and more – all supported seamlessly with the Order Entry Process.
  6. Integration with Microsoft Dynamics – If you are currently using a Microsoft Dynamics CRM or ERP system, customer and order edits flow through systems to allow different teams to continue using their current system.

So much about the features, let’s talk about clicks. Most sales folks and customer service reps would like to see lesser clicks. How many clicks should an Order really take? We thought through this question and drew less than 10 clicks as the target for entering a simple Order.

Let’s see how this is all done in 10 clicks. Given below is the sequence of entering an Order right from the point you click on a New Order link to submitting the Order for processing. This could be a call center rep accepting orders in a retail call center, or this could be a sales rep on a field visit accepting an order, both stand to gain –

Click 1 – Clicking on the New Order link launches the New Order form and auto launches the Customer Lookup. The lookup offers various search tools for finding the right customer.

Clicking on the New Order link launches the New Order form and auto launches the Customer Lookup. The lookup offers various search tools for finding the right customer

Click 2 – Enter the search criteria and Search.

Click 3 – Select the Customer from the lookup.

Click 4 – Customer with default ship to address + default contact + other defaults get populated.

Customer with default ship to address + default contact + other defaults get populated

Click 5 – Click on OK to generate the Order.

Click 6 – Use the SKU Type Ahead or SKU Code Lookup to select the Item. Item Selection would default the Quantity to 1 and lookup prices that apply to the customer in the chosen currency. Workflows take care of applying relevant taxes.

Use the SKU Type Ahead or SKU Code Lookup to select the Item. Item Selection would default the Quantity to 1 and lookup prices that apply to the customer in the chosen currency. Workflows take care of applying relevant taxes

Click 7 – Apply Shipping Charges. Quotes are directly calculated using FedEx, UPS or USPS Services. Markup, Markdown can be done to create a custom shipping quote.

Apply Shipping Charges. Quotes are directly calculated using FedEx, UPS or USPS Services. Markup, Markdown can be done to create a custom shipping quote

Click 8 – Now the order is ready to be submitted for processing. Submission has a configurable workflow that acts as a checkpoint before Orders are processed.

Now the order is ready to be submitted for processing. Submission has a configurable workflow that acts as a checkpoint before Orders are processed

Click 9 – Enter the payment details (credit card, ACH or others), edit Order Confirmation Email that would go to the customer. And you are done!

Enter the payment details (credit card, ACH or others), edit Order Confirmation Email that would go to the customer

There were two guiding principles while designing Order Entry:

  1. Allow Order Entry with minimal clicks on a web-based platform.
  2. Provide Excel like experience when Editing (Order Lines, for example) or Searching (SKUs, for example) on the browser for order entry.

For example, if I have several Order Lines where I need to override the price, I would select the price cell (as shown below), double click or Press F2. Edit the price and press Enter. The price change would trigger the underlying business workflows to alert me if needed.

Order Lines

Given below is how the SKU Lookup works. Facilities similar to Excel filters with a multi-parameter search to find needed SKU quickly.

SKU Lookup

Are 10 clicks the minimum required for Order Entry? – No, there are other options that can help place an Order or a Quote in less than 10 clicks. These options are:

  1. Copy an Existing Order or Quote
  2. Import Quotes or Order.
  3. Use Quote or Order Templates

So you can certainly go less than 10 clicks if required!

Pankaj Kumar is the Chief Technology Officer at Ignify. Ignify eCommerce is the only PCI certified eCommerce solution in the market that integrates with mid-market ERP systems including the Microsoft Dynamics ERP and Sage ERP. Ignify has been included as the fastest growing business in North America for 5 years in a row by Deloitte, Inc Magazine and Entrepreneur Magazine, and ranked as one of 100 most innovative companies in the world in the Red Herring Global 100 in 2011.

Ignify Proud to Receive the Inc. 5000 Award at Prestigious Awards Ceremony

October 7th, 2011 Ashley Harbaugh No comments

The team here at Ignify has been working hard to provide the best ERP, CRM, and eCommerce solutions on the market, along with the best possible customer support and service, and people are taking notice! Ignify proudly announced its position on Inc. magazine’s annual Inc. 5000, a list that ranks the fastest growing companies in the nation. The 2011 Inc. 5000 is ranked according to percentage revenue growth when comparing 2007 to 2010, and to qualify, companies must have been founded and generating revenue by March 31, 2007. Additionally, they had to be U.S.-based, privately held, for profit, and independent—not subsidiaries or divisions of other companies—as of December 31, 2010.

But not only did Ignify get to add this influential magazine’s acknowledgement to our proud list of accomplishments, but our company, represented by Ignify’s President of ERP Division and COO, Eric Shuss, was also recognized at the Inc. 500|Inc. 5000 Conference and Awards Ceremony on September 24, 2011. Held at National Hotel and Convention Center in National Harbor, MD, this event featured many movers and shakers in the business industry, with such guest speakers as Russell Simmons, hip hop business mogul and philanthropist; General Stanley McChrystal, former commander of U.S. and international forces in Afghanistan; Ted Leonsis, founder, chairman, and majority owner of Monumental Sports & Entertainment, vice chairman emeritus of AOL, and founder of SnagFilms (and, if you’re a hockey fan, owner of the Washington Capitals); and many more.

At the Awards Ceremony, Eric received Ignify’s award on stage, surrounded by business luminaries and celebrities alike. "I was honored to accept this award on behalf of Ignify," said Eric. "But I wish our whole team could have attended too. It’s great to work with such a talented, dedicated group of people, and this award is really a reflection of everyone’s efforts."

Congratulations to all the Ignify people who helped make this award possible!

Ashley Harbaugh is a Technical Writer for Ignify. Ignify is a technology provider of CRM, eCommerce and ERP, software solutions to businesses and public sector organizations. Ignify has been included as the fastest growing business in North America for 5 years in a row by Deloitte, Inc Magazine and Entrepreneur Magazine and ranked as one of 100 most innovative companies in the world in the Red Herring Global 100 in 2011.

Categories: CTO Tags: , ,

Secure e-commerce and PCI Certification for web stores

June 13th, 2011 Pankaj Kumar No comments

In late 2009, I had forecasted that security breaches in 2010 and 2011 would increase significantly in spite of more advanced security technology. The recent spate of hack attacks underscores the importance of security for ecommerce merchants and retailers that have online stores. The latest organization to fall victim is the IMF where hackers obtained sensitive documents including e-mail and other documents during the intrusion. However, other high profile organizations that have been hacked in the recent weeks have included security expert RSA, defense contractor Lockheed Martin, Citi where the personal details of about 210,000 Citi Group cardholders were stolen after a security breach via Citi's web portal, Sony, Epsilon, the world's largest permission-based e-mail marketer. Certainly all of these large organizations had well-defined security policies and several safeguards in place and yet the fell to hackers. How then do smaller companies that are running e-commerce stores with smaller IT budgets and fewer people manage the security of the store?

A good first step is to ensure your ecommerce vendor has PCI Certified software or rather meet the PA-DSS standard. For many the definition of PCI-DSS, PA-DSS and PABP can be confusing. The excerpt below from the Ignify ecommerce PCI Implementation guide should help explain the difference between the three

  • What is PABP? – Payment Application Best Practices (PABP) was developed by Visa to provide software vendors guidance in developing payment applications that help merchants mitigate compromises, prevent storage of sensitive cardholder data and support overall compliance with PCI Data Security Standard. In October 2008, the PCI Security Standards Council adopted Visa’s PABP and released the standard as the Payment Application Data Security Standard (PA-DSS).

  • What is PA-DSS? – Payment Application Data Security Standard (PA-DSS) is derived from PCI DSS. Traditionally PCI DSS compliance may not apply to software vendors since most software vendors do not store, process or transmit cardholder data. In such cases, PA-DSS applies to software vendors and consultants who develop payment applications that store, process, or transmit cardholder data as part of authorization & settlement.

Many organizations make the mistake of assuming that PCI Certified and PCI compliant software mean the same thing. There is a very significant difference between the two! PCI certification involves not just self-audit but also involves rigorous auditing by a Qualified Security Assessor (QSA) that is certified by the PCI Standards Council and then a final validation is done by the PCI Standards Council. Additionally PCI Certified Vendors have to publish guides on how the product deploys in a way that is PCI Compliant. Finally PCI Certified Vendors will typically build in security and its impact in every release. The combination of these things makes for a very significant different and can increase your level of security by choosing the right platform.

PA-DSS Certification by the PCI Standards Council for Ignify has been a four year journey. We started our preparation and self-assessments in 2007, contracted with our QSA in 2008 and completed our security audit and PCI Certification in 2009. In 2010 we went through a PCI update of the latest version that was released then Version 4.11. In 2011 we are now going through the PCI update of Version 5.0 which we are just in the process of finalizing. The difference between PCI Compliance and PCI certification for us was 2 years. In 2007 we were PCI Compliant but it took till 2009 to become PCI certified. And there was a lot of learning, improvements in the software that we bundled in between those 2 years.

If you wish to find the PCI Certified vendors, please visit the PCI Standards Council Website that lists all of the PCI Certified applications.

Here are some basics that are important for PCI Certification

  1. Separation of Database Servers and web servers: This is very basic and almost something that everyone knows.. You need separate servers and your database server should be behind the firewall and the web server should be in the DMZ. It’s the obvious flossing rule of security – but just like flossing we find many sites where it is not done – so if you’re not doing it, start with this one.

  2. Encryption and Key Management: Card holder information needs to be encrypted (PA DSS requirement 2.5, 2.6 and PCI DSS requirement 3.5, 3.6). Ideally this means customer name, credit card information etc. You also need encryption during transmission and you need it for storage and while having web servers connect to the database server to protect credentials. So there are at least 3 points that you want to ensure you have encryption.

    For Transmission, you would typically use an HTTPS SLL Certificate. HTTPS encryption keys are managed by public SSL certificate providers. Since HTTPS, uses Asymmetric Cryptography, private key is available on the web server while public key is distributed in the form of HTTPS certificate to browsers. For storage encryption (or database encryption) you would need to use your ecommerce systems native encryption mechanism or if it doesn’t provide one then a 3rd party solution. Ignify ecommerce uses AES 128 encryption for database encryption. In addition, you need to have a key management process so you can update your encryption keys on a regular basis. You should regenerate your keys at least once a year and ideally every quarter. These keys should be stored in a safe place and not anywhere where a hacker can get to them from the server hosting the information being encrypted. Ideally you’d put this on paper (even though that is old-fashioned) and put it in some sort of safe that is accessible by a limited set of custodians.

  3. User Login and Session timeouts: To be compliant with the PCI DSS requirement 8.5.15 the duration of session time out should be no more than 15 minutes. Both the Ignify eCommerce Store Front and Manager Panel Applications permit configurable session time out duration – this setting requires the user to login again using his credentials in case the user’s system is idle for specified time duration. To be compliant, By default this setting is 15 minutes with an out of box installation of Ignify eCommerce.

  4. Disabling unnecessary services and Daemons on the server: Minimum services / daemons required to support technologies mentioned against each server should be kept running on each server. All other services are recommended to be disabled to meet PCI DSS requirement 2.2

  5. Audit Trail and Application log: PCI DSS (requirement 10.1 to 10.3) and PA DSS (requirement 4) require that the application maintain an audit trail. This is required in multiple places. For example, Ignify ecommerce maintains the following

    1. a security audit trail with logs of who logged in when, for how long and what they did. Ignify ecommerce comes with the audit trail enabled by default.
    2. Application log: listing any uncommon events in the application
    3. Order Log: A log of all changes done on the order including price updates, ship method updates, address updates. This ensures that if any customer service representative engages in fraud then the system essentially captures every action they did.

Audit Trail on an Order in Ignify eCommerce showing every change made on the order by a sales person or a CSR

Figure 1. Audit Trail on an Order in Ignify eCommerce showing every change made on the order by a sales person or a CSR

Though this article covers the highlights, there are several other requirements required for PCI compliance. If you are in the market for a PCI certified ecommerce solution, web store or order entry solution please email us at ecommerce@ignify.com so we can have a great discussion on security.

Pankaj Kumar is the Chief Technology Officer at Ignify. Ignify eCommerce is the only PCI certified eCommerce solution in the market that integrates with mid-market ERP systems including the Microsoft Dynamics ERP and Sage ERP. Ignify has been included as the fastest growing business in North America for four years in a row by Deloitte, Inc Magazine and Entrepreneur Magazine. Ignify was ranked in the Red Herring Global 100 in 2011 – this list represents the top businesses world-wide with disruptive and innovative technology.

World-Wide eCommerce Trends: Asia Pacific Ranks Fastest Growing Region

February 28th, 2011 Pankaj Kumar No comments

While the ecommerce market in the U.S. is now considered to be a mature segment of the retail industry, In Asia Pacific the expansion of this space remains in its early stages. eCommerce in USA still continues to outpace traditional brick and mortar retail. However in Asia Pacific the growth in eCommerce is staggering. However, unlike traditional beliefs that Asian consumers are averse to shopping online a report released in 2010 on Global Trends in Online Shopping revealed that only 13% of Internet users in Asia Pacific had never shopped online which was lower than the global average where 16% of users had never shopped online. This forecasts the ecommerce in Asia Pacific will continue to grow fast and only may become one of the largest markets world-wide. The report surveyed over 27,000 internet users in the world.

  • The China Internet Network Information Center said the number of internet users in the world’s most populous country jumped 28.9% in 2009 to 384 million, which is more than the entire population of the U.S.
  • According to this article on CNBC , “Sales done online nationwide in China have doubled to almost $80 billion in 2010, according to iResearch data, compared to total retail sales, which have grown nearly 20 percent per year in the last five years.”

While this spending burst could be a result of many things, experts say shoppers in Asia Pacific are fast-becoming comfortable with the ease of mobile e-commerce, compared to their Western counterparts. In addition to their web savvy ways, their economy is experiencing a consumption boom which should last for many years. Users in Asia Pacific are more likely to do a purchase using the mobile phone than users in North America.

Here are some key trends we’ve discovered by reviewing all the surveys including the Nielsen one referred to above and others from ComScore and Forrester Research:

  • What they are buying: Outside of travel, Items that Asia Pacific shoppers like to buy online are books, clothing/accessories/shoes, cosmetics, videos/DVDs/games, and groceries in that order.
  • Where within Asia Pacific are they buying: Total online spending as a percentage of total monthly spending varies by country with Chinese and Korean online consumers allocating the most via the web than any other in the region. Online consumers in New Zealand, Australia, Malaysia and Hong Kong allocate the least.
  • Who is buying: The developed countries in Asia Pacific such as Hong Kong, Singapore, Taiwan, South Korea, and Japan follow the same online gender profiling as North America where women dominate men in the traffic to online stores. Less developed countries like India, Vietnam and Philippines have men more dominant in visits to online retail stores.

World-Wide eCommerce Trends: Asia Pacific Ranks Fastest Growing Region

So with this information, how can you begin marketing to the Asia Pacific part of the world through your ecommerce site ? How can you get their attention and keep it? Here are some tips on what you can do to build out your Asia Pacific ecommerce store.

  1. Offer diversity in your online product catalog: The #1 reason shoppers in Asia Pacific go online is when they cannot find products in the store or for diversity. This is very different than the North America buyer where price is often a very significant reason to shop online. So you don’t need to be the cheapest price in town if your store can bring significant diversity. The more products you can offer the higher your chances of success will be in this market. Those testing the market with a very narrow catalog may find that they are setting themselves for failure.
  2. Stay simple: While a broad catalog is desired, the store should be simple, easy to navigate and not overly complex. Most online retailers in Asia Pacific make the mistake of throwing a lot of flash and a dizzying array of colors. A busy look and feel is the most common and the least successful. Go for the clean and simple look and feel with a powerful offering.
  3. Reviews: Online product reviews are more important than in North America. The strong social connection in Asia pacific means that consumers will like to read and research a lot more before they buy. Reviews (both negative and positive) will help increase the conversion on your store. Don’t sanitize your reviews
  4. Promotions: The least used and yet most successful promotion in Asia Pacific is Free shipping. While it is hard to make shipping cost-effective in the region – if you can make that your strength. How do you make shipping pay for itself – tie the free shopping offer to a minimum order size e.g. the equivalent of $50. That will drive up your order size and the difference will pay for the shipping. The free shipping in itself will increase conversion significantly. Shoppers in Asia Pacific are very sensitive to shipping cost.
  5. Mobile: The web should be your #1 priority. However the mobile experience should be a close second. Users in Asia are much more comfortable with the cell phone than consumers in North America. Take advantage of this and put in place a mobile offering much sooner than when you’d do it in North America.

Email us at ecommerce@ignify.com for more tips.

Pankaj Kumar is the Chief Technology Officer at Ignify. Ignify eCommerce is the only PCI certified eCommerce solution in the market that is available in the Asia Pacific region. Ignify has been included as the fastest growing business in North America for four years in a row by Deloitte, Inc Magazine and Entrepreneur Magazine. Ignify was ranked in the Red Herring Global 100 in 2011 – this list represents the top businesses world-wide with disruptive and innovative technology.

Categories: CTO, eCommerce Tags: