Different types of eCommerce solutions are suitable for different types of businesses. Some common types include enterprise, hosted and open source solutions. Key features of eCommerce software usually focus on product catalogs, ordering systems, payment options, and customer management. While any eCommerce software lets you create and manage a product catalog, some solutions come with advanced features like the ability to list related products, the ability to customize a product with personal images and the ability to generate coupon codes. You need to decide what features you need. Some key points to consider are scalability, whether the platform can grow with your organization, whether the software seamlessly integrates with other applications, reporting and analysis features or whether the software has adequate features to monitor sales and analyze customer behavior. You may also want to consider security features, responsive design options, user experience, the user interface and the customer support system. Read the full software guide...
eCommerce software are solutions that help companies successfully launch, run and manage their own online store. It simplifies the processes of running an online store by combining features and functions into one solution, including web design, web hosting, payment processing, marketing and inventory management.
eCommerce software can integrate with other solutions such as payment gateways, ERP, CRM, social media and email marketing tools. It also has built-in search engine optimization (SEO) features, simplifying your marketing strategy and allowing for greater reach on search engines.
This software makes it easier for online store owners and managers to efficiently perform tasks such as adding and removing products, managing orders and inventory, processing orders and payments and calculating taxes. As the process is automated, it reduces the need for completing manual tasks.
Different solutions are available for different needs, but if you want to build and run an online store simply, you should consider a fully-functional eCommerce solution. You’ll also find solutions designed specifically to manage multiple online stores from a single place, allowing you to control your network of stores from one software solution. Factors, such as scalability, integration, mobility, ease of use and customization capabilities should also be considered.
When deciding on which eCommerce software to use, you should consider whether you wish for your store to be hosted internally or use a SaaS (Software as a Service) solution. Before eCommerce solutions, businesses and online stores sold their products with the help of an on-premise software solution, which had to be installed or set up in-house.
Ecommerce software as a SaaS solution means that your online store can be set up on a platform that grants access to your store dashboard and interface through a web app on your browser via cloud servers. You can also choose a hosted or a cloud-based software solution.
Nowadays, businesses and online stores can choose the type of solution they want for their eCommerce website based on their requirements. They can now choose between many options for their eCommerce software:
On-premise eCommerce software needs a dedicated, onsite team to provide maintenance and manually monitor and work on updates. The solution is installed on the businesses own servers and hosting is provided on there, with an internal team that handles all troubleshooting and general maintenance on servers.
On-premise solutions provide users with more space for hands-on management and are more suitable for larger businesses with the capabilities and hosting infrastructure to handle an in-house solution. Although on-premise software gives greater control and security over your store, they require more maintenance, infrastructure and aren’t as scalable as other options.
eCommerce software can be used as a SaaS solution, ideally for businesses that do not have their own IT team, small businesses and medium to large enterprises. With a SaaS solution, users pay a monthly fee for access to their store. SaaS solutions allow for low-cost maintenance, integrated security and integration with other platforms that you may use such as Mailchimp or any CRM software.
This type of solution would be more suited for a business that wishes to sell a selection of products online using an integrated theme and service. SaaS solutions are usually designed through themes and locked code, meaning certain features cannot be customized to the desired level. However, they include many features that can allow for greater flexibility and control over the look and design of your store.
Most SaaS software is hosted on cloud-based services, making them highly flexible, convenient and agile. They’re ideal for businesses or stores of all sizes—from small ones to mid-market stores and all the way to large enterprises.
They allow for greater scalability, access to backup capabilities, integrated security and customization tools to change the look and design of your store.
Cloud-based solutions can be expensive as they require regular maintenance from the provider and support if your store ever goes down, meaning you’re paying more for greater reliability on the uptime of servers. This could also mean less control over your store as if their service goes down during peak or busy periods, you could lose potential sales.
When choosing the right eCommerce software for your business, you should consider the level of control and flexibility needed, the features you need and the budget allocated for the solution you require. Most eCommerce solutions offer integral features and functions that should be in your store, including:
Your store should include a section that allows you to control the inventory of your products and easily manage, modify and customize product listings and pricing. There should also be a section that allows you to manage and view orders, view customer profiles and information and get an overall view of your business operations.
Most eCommerce software solutions have a user-friendly interface, meaning any member of the business or store’s sales team can easily monitor and manage the platform with minimal training.
Search engine optimization is essential for all online businesses and stores, as with an efficient SEO strategy, more customers can find your website on search engines and through organic or paid search, leading to increased sales and reach.
Your software should provide a payment gateway, which allows customers to pay via credit cards, bank transfer, debit card and other popular payment gateways like Paypal or Square. The list of choices can be shown on the checkout page.
An eCommerce platform should have features that automatically manage shipping costs, both varied and fixed rates. It takes care of all basic shipping details including the shipping labels, addresses and integration with inbuilt or third-party shipping and delivery providers. In addition, the software should calculate the relevant taxes for your product.
Most eCommerce solutions allow for visibility and maintenance of a customer's cart, which calculates total and shipping costs for the customer, as well as allow them to remove or modify their order from the checkout page. Your software should also allow you to contact those who abandon their cart with promotions through integrations with third-party applications.
Managing a successful online business or store is more than just choosing the right products and listing all of them in your virtual shop. It requires the same commitment, planning, analysis and strategy that you apply when running your business. You should also consider how your online store can help your business grow:
An online store can help grow your business through greater reach and visibility online. You should consider a solution that offers inbuilt SEO functions, marketing integrations and features that will help grow and scale your business online.
Your solution should include features that help keep the customers interested, engaged and become regular customers. With an efficiently designed store, you can create high levels of customer satisfaction, greater experience and a better profile online for your store.
You should consider your budget when choosing the appropriate software for your business. Some hosted and cloud-based solutions can be expensive but offer better features and functionality, whereas SaaS solutions can offer less control but with similar features and less cost. The size of your business and desired scalability should also be considered.
Each software solution is different but all are dedicated to making online store management a seamless, efficient and automated process. Choosing a solution that will help your business reach objectives and goals is the easiest and most efficient way can prove to be effective for your business.
Using an eCommerce solution can bring many benefits to your online business, including:
All eCommerce solutions help you with the initial setup and design of your online store through themes and designs, plus guides on how to set up product listings, set up checkout pages and optimize your page for SEO purposes. This can save you time, money and resources, as setting up a standalone online store can take longer and involve technical knowledge that may not be available.
As your store is being hosted on a server or SaaS solution, it means your store can be available 24/7 and have access to a worldwide audience. Also, most solutions guarantee 99.9% uptime, meaning you have peace of mind and trust that your business can operate on a daily basis without interruption.
Since products and services are sold online, the business and the store can operate in a global market. As such, there is no market limit—anyone from anywhere can purchase from your shop.
Additionally, you can sell as many products as you want because you do not have to consider the physical area or space. You only have to categorize your products properly so they can be easily accessed by customers.
Managing and running an online store is more cost-efficient than operating a brick-and-mortar store, as you do not have to rent a space for the shop, pay monthly utility fees and hire staff to operate the shop. Even with a monthly fee, an eCommerce platform is still more financially practical.
eCommerce solutions provide customers with many different options to pay for their purchases, as well as integrations with other popular payment methods and features that automatically convert and calculate exchange rates so the customer pays the right amount.
Customers have the option to choose shipping and delivery details to deliver worldwide. Also, eCommerce solutions can integrate international shipping if necessary and use features to direct a customer to the correct page based on their location.
With inbuilt marketing tools and integrations available, online businesses will find it easier to attract and engage customers. Marketing tools and strategies like SEO, keyword analysis, reporting and analysis of data can be used to generate and deliver marketing campaigns for specific audiences and provide discounts for customers.
eCommerce software makes the shopping experience for the customer more impactful and engaging, leading to better customer satisfaction and service for your audience. Everything is made easy and efficient for customers, also further increasing sales potential and total spend on your website.
Overall, using eCommerce software is essential for any business looking to set up and successfully operate an online store.
|2-Factor Authentication||Adds an additional layer of security by requiring an extra step in the login process. Usually external devices are required for this or a text message with a verification code is sent to the user when trying to login.|
|A/B Testing||Run split tests for websites, emails, ads and more by serving different versions of the content to different users.|
|API||Application Programming Interfaces (APIs) are programmatic intersections with external products or platforms that allow for custom integrations with your own solutions or other solutions you are using.|
|BitCoin||BitCoin support - a digital currency operating independently of a central bank.|
|Budgeting||Planning and tracking capabilities for financial budgets and plans often used to manage funds across different departments or for investor / shareholder oversight.|
|Calendar Management||Manage and update calendars for scheduling or consolidation of events across teams, departments or business functions.|
|Conversion Tracking||Track signups, purchases or user actions to measure the effectiveness of marketing or advertising campaigns. This is often used to optimize inbound or outbound marketing efforts and improve sales conversions through a range of online channels.|
|Dashboard||Dashboards are digital interfaces commonly used to visualise data or give quick access to important features and functions of online platforms. They often serve as an overview gateway in software applications.|
|Data Export||Exporting functionality can be used to streamline the migration of data sets and information across systems, platforms or applications.|
|Data Import||Importing functionality allows you to use data sets from other systems or platforms to cut down on data entry requirements or to more easily migrate records from similar applications you have used in the past.|
|Data Visualization||Data visualization features render a visual interpretation of data sets through the use of charts, infographics and other visual cues generally in form of a reporting dashboard.|
|External Integrations||Integrations with other software products or platforms to improve efficiency and compatibility across systems.|
|Forecasting||Forecast upcoming expenses, sales, revenue, user levels, etc. through the use of predictive methods and past data.|
|Keyword Tracking||Track keywords for Search Engine Optimization (SEO), Search Engine Marketing (SEM) or item tagging purposes.|
|Marketing Automation||Automate marketing processes, such as outreach emails, customer engagement, chat replies through the use of chatbots and others.|
|Multi-User||Supports more than just one user account and generally allows for collaboration with colleagues.|
|Notifications||Includes notification support and sends you alerts with information on important events and other time sensitive instances. For example through push notifications on mobile phones or email notifications.|
|Order management||Manage the fulfilment of sales and orders for goods and services.|
|PayPal||PayPal support allowing for the transfer funds electronically or online payments.|
|Product Catalog||Allows for the digital catalogization of large amounts of products.|
|SAP Integration||Integrates with common SAP services.|
|Scheduling||Schedule tasks, resources, appointments, payments, communications, etc.|
|Stripe||Stripe support as a payment gateway allowing you to accept payments online and via mobile apps.|
|Third-Party Plugins/Add-Ons||Offers additional features or integrations built by third-party developers in form of plugins or add-ons.|
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