Companies looking to capture a portion of the extraordinary growth in online retail sales will be pleasantly surprised to find that e-commerce can be both easy and affordable. That’s according to e-commerce solution provider, Vaimo.
The company, which recently opened offices in South Africa, is the country’s first and only gold certified Magento solution provider. Magento, owned by eBay, is an e-commerce platform which allows any company to deploy a complete commercial Web site in a matter of days or weeks, while providing full self-management capabilities to add items, create special offers, manage stock and more.
According to Brendan Peo, chief operations officer of Vaimo, many medium-sized companies in southern Africa can benefit from the addition of a Web shop to their sales force.
“Whether selling direct to the consumers (B2C) or to businesses (B2B), an online Web store brings substantial benefits,” he says.
For senior management the promise of improved market reach and the provision of self-service for customers to find, order and pay for the goods they want, has been overshadowed by the threat that the considerable investment required by proprietary solutions could result in substantial complexity, unexpected overheads and underwhelming returns.
“These are realistic concerns; particularly given the economic environment today’s business manager is trying to navigate. Companies simply cannot afford to take the financial and operational risks that they were able to during boom times.
“The good news is that Viamo has broken down these barriers with the use of the Magento e-commerce platform. Magento is designed for easy deployment and easy management, giving your business the ability to sell online without the need for major management or administration,” says Peo.
As for those companies who have held off from opening a Web shop because of the difficulty of gauging whether sufficient sales will be achieved to justify the expense and work required to maintain such a presence, Peo says Viamo’s Magento-based solution introduces a level of affordability that advances the business case substantially.
“The power of the Open Source technology leveraged by the Magento solution addresses many of the aspects that fuels the risks found in proprietary solutions. And you don’t need to be a technology expert to identify how it does so.
“Quite simply, it comes down to business fundamentals: a solution that costs less; is fully-functional, but still easy to use; and quick to deploy will not require a lengthy and costly development period, expensive specialists for maintenance and delayed deployment of enhancements due to system complexity as time goes by.
“Complexity drives up costs and reduces likelihood of reaching desired outcomes. Reducing complexity achieves the opposite result.”
E-commerce is a growth industry, says Kevin Clarke, MD of Vaimo SA.
“Those of us who have shopped online know why this is; the convenience and time savings offered by e-commerce extend to almost any goods. If you’ve shopped online once, you will do it again.”
In seeking an appropriate solution for companies across southern Africa, Clarke says Magento stood out for several reasons.
“Primarily, it is easily deployed and offers self-management – very important for most clients – and with a large developer community, a wide range of add-ons are readily available. The second factor is that it is experiencing substantial growth internationally as many companies recognise the value proposition it offers.”
In terms of features, he says there are many, but the design for search engine optimisation stands out. “Having a Web shop is one thing; having one which your customers can easily locate is quite another,” Clarke observes.
What’s more, Vaimo’s expertise has produced a solution that is complementary to many mid-market ERP solutions; a major advantage for companies that require their systems to work effectively with each other.
“When it comes to e-commerce, midmarket ERP platforms simply can’t compete with specialised e-commerce platforms such as Magento. The extensive feature set out of the box with Magento makes it a no brainer for clients serious about e-commerce. Instead of reinventing the wheel it is better to integrate existing ERP solutions with best of breed e-commerce platforms such as Magento,” says Peo.
With its background in ERP solutions and implementations, Vaimo has become known for its ability to seamlessly integrate Magento solutions with leading ERP solutions.