Managing business costs is a balancing act. With every expense, management is forced to consider what costs are beneficial to the company and which ones need to be eliminated. This encompasses all aspects of the business, not just the materials used to make a product, but also the furniture in an office, the office property itself, the per diems provided to workers and the benefits delivered to workers.
When it comes to the product or service being sold, quality is an important metric — and in some areas, it’s valued far more than quantity or cost-effectiveness. In the world of online commerce, reliability is at a premium, and appeasing customers’ needs — and doing so in the simplest manner possible — is how successful organizations have learned to thrive.
There’s always fat to be trimmed from an organization, but if you’re a business utilizing the cloud to support your online commerce efforts, there’s a big risk in cutting corners. Some costs aren’t worth cutting. Here are a few tech expenses you’re better off skipping the proverbial clearance shelf on.
Downtime is virtually a death knell for online retailers, regardless of size. Any time a customer can’t access your website, that’s not just a lost potential sale — it’s a lost potential customer. And it’s even worse when that customer high-tails it to one of your competitors and does his business there.
Keeping your website up and running at all times is the most important rule of online commerce. If you’re a small business maintaining a Web presence, it’s even more important — far more important than what a big-box retailer might experience. The reasoning is simple: As a small business, you probably only have one shot to convert a visitor into a sale. If your website is down when that customer visits, you’re out of luck — you’ll probably never have another shot with that buyer.
Big companies, on the other hand, have the name recognition, visibility and advertising spending-power to potentially recover some of those customers. That doesn’t mean a big company will like downtime any more than anyone else, but they can survive this failure more than the little guys. Regardless of what size business you run, it’s wise to invest in premium hosting. Look for companies that have 100 percent uptime, like Rackspace. In doing so, you’re investing in the presence of your website and your ability to have your doors open for business 24/7.
Along the same lines as web hosting, cloud support is key for anyone whose operations take place on external servers. If you’re using the cloud in lieu of an in-house IT team, cloud support is needed to replace those IT professionals and help you out when problems interrupt your work. Cloud support can be found through your cloud provider or another third-party organization, and it can provide the protections of an IT team at a fraction of the cost.
Mobile site development
More online commerce is taking place on mobile devices, and businesses need to accommodate these new platforms if they want to keep their doors open. Developing a safe, functional mobile site is no small expense, but it will open up new revenue streams through mobile transactions. As mobile commerce becomes more prevalent, your business will be ahead of others struggling to catch up with the times.
It goes without saying: If your website presents security risks to the consumer during the transaction process, you’re trying to sail a sinking ship full of patrons who will sue you when it goes down. Invest in effective security that protects sensitive data like credit cards and bank accounts. It only takes one security breach to ruin your organization’s good name.
By understanding what expenses are most vital to your company’s long-term expense, your management team can effectively work within a budget without putting your profits at risk. Online commerce is an increasingly competitive field when it comes to support services, and both businesses and consumers are quick to move on when their needs aren’t being met in a timely manner. Don’t let your organization fail to meet your customers’ expectations. The best way to do that is by making sure your tech support services are the best you can afford.