Guest Column | July 24, 2020

How e-Commerce Businesses Can Use Technology to Get Ahead in the eTail Game

By Hayden McConnell, Market America | SHOP.COM

REx Eugene Wallace, SHOP.COM 07.20

Technology is becoming as essential as the air we breathe. With everyone still adjusting to recent global events and the “new normal,” we’ve had to reprioritize many things, deeming businesses essential or non-essential. While not all retail businesses are considered essential, those that provide indispensable goods and services related to public health and safety, food and agriculture, and other necessary functions and products fall under the realm of essential. At this time, going into stores to buy our much-needed items seems a little too risky when we can get everything we need at the click of a button; no human contact required. With this surge of online shopping, eCommerce businesses need to step up their services and insights. What better way to do that than by leveraging technology?

“How e-commerce businesses think about their products and services and how they deliver them to their customers today is great, but what alternatives can they look at? Can they quickly modify their business and their business model, products, and services to adapt to what people are asking for and need today and into the future,” said Eugene Wallace, Chief Technology Officer at Market America | SHOP.COM. Market America is a global product brokerage and internet marketing company that specializes in one-to-one marketing that was deemed an essential business by the U.S Department of Homeland Security because of its ability to provide products related to public health. In his time at Market America, Wallace has come up with a few ways companies can step up their technological game at a time when it matters most.

Wallace first discusses the importance of thinking forward when it comes to three things: infrastructure, product recommendation services, and marketing analytics. For example, he elaborated on how the company’s goal of moving its technology to the cloud would aid in creating high availability, faster scaling, redundant systems, and more that help with keeping track of things. For example, new trending traffic patterns that help us understand what our customers need now translate into better product recommendations and high-volume sales. This all circles back to customer satisfaction. If a company has faster and better access to its tools, it can serve its customers to the best of its ability. In Market America’s case, it needs the best tools and services to cater to its customers as well as independent distributors, known as UnFranchise Owners. Wallace discussed how the company’s commitment to its UnFranchise Owners was a large motivation in their work to provide the best technological advances. He said “JR Ridinger [Founder, Chairman & CEO] and Marc Ashley [President & COO] said many times, ‘we are not Amazon.’ We have hundreds of thousands of independent UnFranchise Owners who count on our platforms, systems and business tools to service their customers so that they can have extra income for their families or be their sole income as an entrepreneur. That is a huge responsibility that keeps me up at night.”

It doesn’t stop there – on top of infrastructure, recommendation services are more important now than ever. If companies can build infrastructures to learn about what their customers like, they can create recommendation services that are personalized to each individual customer, making that customer feel more at home and valued. Wallace discussed how this has been a part of Market America’s vision for the past year and how they are continuing to work to make their services even more personalized. Wallace continued, “a lot of people might begin to miss the personalized service that comes with shopping in a physical store, such as having someone to provide you with the size and type of clothing you like. This is the level of personalization that e-commerce businesses need to start thinking about as a huge opportunity. At the end of the day, customers will go where they feel most at home and welcomed, and what better way to do that than through personalization?”

Last but not least, Wallace brings to light the often-overlooked value of students and universities. “I honestly believe that more companies should show more interest in universities and students. When looking to expand your technology, why not invite some of the brightest young minds of today to help you out,” asked Wallace. Located in Greensboro, North Carolina, Market America is near a few universities, such as the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, High Point University and Guilford Technical Community College, allowing them to collaborate with these universities or educate the students on the positions available, specifically within the tech department. Wallace expressed how often students and universities are surprised at the amount of tech-related positions the company has, proving the importance of making sure companies are more involved with their local educational institutions.

While taking it day by day is important, the key to success for many businesses during these times is to look forward. That is especially true for the technology side of businesses. It is just as important for companies to continue anticipating changes and trends to be able to adjust their technology accordingly. During times that can feel a bit isolating, it is important to make sure your customers still feel at home. With technology evolving faster than ever, those that don’t keep up with the demand for a personalized shopping experience (both online and within stores) will quickly fall behind. Through Market America’s unique strategy of building stronger infrastructure to support these technological advances, creating more personalized recommendation services and utilizing underrated sources of innovation such as universities and their students, the company continues to prove why it remains at the forefront of the e-commerce race: the race to go above and beyond consumer and market demands.

About The AuthorHayden McConnell

Hayden McConnell is the Public Relations Assistant at Market America | SHOP.COM. She is a senior at Elon University with a major in Professional Writing and Rhetoric. Her passions include writing, digital art, and creating.

About Market America

Market America is a global product brokerage and internet marketing company that specializes in one-to-one marketing and is the creator of The Shopping Annuity.