By Simon Armstrong
Cloud computing (also called Software as a Service (SaaS)) provides etailers access to a service through a web browser like Internet Explorer, Chrome, Firefox or Safari rather than installing and accessing software locally on a machine. You can run your store anywhere that has wifi access or from your smartphone or tablet when you are on the move.
Lower costs. Cloud services are typically charged on a monthly basis which lowers the initial costs traditionally associated with software purchases. Contracts often do not tie the customer to one provider, so you are only committing to the monthly fee and it is easy to switch, therefore reducing the overall risk.
As a cloud-based ecommerce application runs the same computer code and shares the same server resources it is easier and more cost effective for the vendor to provide support and that saving can be passed onto customers.
Scalability. As hardware and software maintenance and bandwidth are the responsibility of the cloud service provider, SMEs can start small and grow as their business needs change. So you don’t need to plan and invest in the hardware infrastructure which can handle your growth and scale. You only use what you need and only pay for what you use.
Security in a cloud environment your ecommerce site is held within a data centre, monitored round the clock by specialists and protected by the highest levels of security to ensure maximum up-time. You share the resources, but your customer information remains your property. You can easily export or import data, as required.
Updates are instantly available without a service interruption. There is no need to upgrade manually to the latest software release, as it’s all done for you. This saves time and costs associated with purchasing upgrades and potentially requiring a third-party to get involved in the upgrade process. Also, when desktop software has been significantly customised new updated software releases can make those modifications incompatible without additional development, time and cost.
Performance of an ecommerce site needs to be fast and responsive even at peak times. If visitors experience a slow response time they will the leave and visit a competitor’s site. Research has highlighted that half a second’s delay in loading a web page can reduce traffic by 20% and that improving speed reduces shopping cart abandonment rates by up to 41%. Google takes the speed of a website into consideration when ranking a site.
In the ever changing ecommerce market, website owners must keep up with the latest market trends to remain competitive. Cloud based ecommerce allow rapid development of the platform to keep up with changing demands in the market so customers can focus on successfully running their ecommerce business.
About the author and Actinic
Simon Armstrong is marketing manager for ecommerce solution provider Actinic and is a member of the Chartered Institute of Marketing. His interest in ecommerce was sparked after helping to design and implement an online shop for a butchers’ supplier back in 2004.
Previously he has worked for software and data companies including Microsoft, Collins Bartholomew, Richmond Systems and MapInfo promoting technical products and services within the corporate, SME and local government sectors.
Actinic has provided ecommerce solutions to the UK SME market since 1996. Previously known for its traditional desktop software, Actinic now only supplies cloud-based ecommerce solutions due to the many advantages this method of service delivery offers customers.