E-commerce allows customers to overcome geographical barriers and allows them to purchase products anytime and from anywhere. Online and traditional markets have different strategies for conducting business. Traditional retailers offer fewer assortment of products because of shelf space where, online retailers often hold no inventory but send customer orders directly to the manufacture. The pricing strategies are also different for traditional and online retailers. Traditional retailers base their prices on store traffic and the cost to keep inventory. Online retailers base prices on the speed of delivery.
There are two ways for marketers to conduct business through e-commerce: fully online or online along with a brick and mortar store. Online marketers can offer lower prices, greater product selection, and high efficiency rates. Many customers prefer online markets if the products can be delivered quickly at relatively low price. However, online retailers cannot offer the physical experience that traditional retailers can. It can be difficult to judge the quality of a product without the physical experience, which may cause customers to experience product or seller uncertainty. Another issue regarding the online market is concerns about the security of online transactions. Many customers remain loyal to well-known retailers because of this issue.
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Electronic transactions have been around for quite some time in the form of Electronic Data Interchange or EDI. EDI requires each supplier and customer to set up a dedicated data link (between them), where ecommerce provides a cost-effective method for companies to set up multiple, ad-hoc links. Electronic commerce has also led to the development of electronic marketplaces where suppliers and potential customers are brought together to conduct mutually beneficial trade.
With more choices of products, the information of products for customers to select and meet their needs become crucial. In order to address the mass customization principle to the company, the use of recommender system is suggested. This system helps recommend the proper products to the customers and helps customers make the decision during the purchasing process. The recommender system could be operated through the top sellers on the website, the demographics of customers or the consumers' buying behavior. However, there are 3 main ways of recommendations: recommending products to customers directly, providing detailed products' information and showing other buyers' opinions or critiques. It is benefit for consumer experience without physical shopping. In general, recommender system is used to contact customers online and assist finding the right products they want effectively and directly.
CUSTOMER SERVICE – Additionally, with a commercial solution you benefit from the support structure. Open source solutions such as WordPress are often community driven and you are therefore dependent on that community to provide support. While that can also work very well – if you are in desperate need of help at 3 am on a Sunday, it’s nice to have a guarantee it will be there.
One thing that all of the platforms have in common is the fact that their dashboards are all very easy to navigate. Furthermore, most of the platforms offer some sort of a setup wizard that will guide you through the creation of your first store. Inventory management, design functionality and the setup process all tie into how the overall ease of use is classified in this comparison.
Your first step should be to learn about what WooCommerce is and what it can do for your ecommerce site. Then, you can begin to make sense of the platform’s main features, how they work, and the steps you’ll need to take to turn your fledgling store into a successful one. This may sound like a lot of ground to cover, but if you have the patience for some upfront work, you’ll reap the rewards over the long term.
Conducting business online. Selling goods, in the traditional sense, is possible to do electronically because of certain software programs that run the main functions of an e-commerce Web site, including product display, online ordering, and inventory management. The software resides on a commerce server and works in conjunction with online payment systems to process payments. Since these servers and data lines make up the backbone of the Internet, in a broad sense, e-commerce means doing business over interconnected networks.
When you look at all the ecommerce platforms and tally up all the features like we did, the end result is a mind-boggling list of 41 core features. After you make sure that your platform can handle your business model (i.e. recurring orders or customized products), you need to make sure that your online platform delivers on the features we’ve identified as crucial for ecommerce entrepreneurs – we weighted these 5x more than ‘nice haves’ in our assessment of best ecommerce software.
WooCommerce is the most popular WordPress-specific ecommerce plugin. Perhaps its most attractive feature is that it is completely free and open-source. The platform is easily customizable and the WordPress community offers endless support. The plugin is also very regularly updated and very secure. Perhaps the biggest downfall is that WooCommerce requires a knowledge of WordPress because the two are tied together. However, WordPress’ ease of use enables even beginners to start and operate an ecommerce store without advanced technical knowledge.
WooCommerce is completely free to use and is powered by a community of developers dedicated to making WooCommerce as flexible and versatile as the industry needs. As the internet and online stores continue to evolve, WooCommerce evolves with it. Bluehost makes building a WooCommerce website easy for beginners while still providing all the tools necessary for pros. WooCommerce allows anyone to setup and run a professional online store in minutes. The best part is that it's all powered by WordPress so your data is all 100% owned by you.
One of the oldest, open-source ecommerce solutions on the market, Volusion offers a very standard and comprehensive experience. For a business just getting off the ground, their Mini plan allows for 100 products, includes 1GB of bandwidth and only costs $15 per month. For those who have graduated and are generating more revenue, there are the Plus and Pro plans for 1000-10,000 products and 3-10GB of bandwidth. These plans are $35 and $75 per month respectively. If you are looking for a simple and clean online store with few products, Volusion could be good for you.
There are also online advertising laws that protect consumer privacy and ensure truthful marketing practices online. As an e-commerce business, online advertising is a major part of your strategy. Over the past decade, federal and state governments have passed new online advertising laws. As you expand into online marketing, it is important to be familiar with these. The CAN-SPAM Act, for instance, sets the rules for advertising through email, the most important rule being that consumers must be able to opt out of messages from businesses.
The only downside in all this is that you somehow need to get your hands on a WordPress site in the first place. And okay, I know this is not particularly a problem for you maybe, but we have to remember that WordPress can be quite confusing to a beginner, and the need to first set up a WordPress site and only then a WooCommerce store is far from intuitive.
We’ve rated the top ecommerce platforms at least four stars out of five in our ecommerce comparison chart. You don’t need any coding knowledge to build a stylish online store. This is not true of more complex self-hosted ecommerce software like WordPress and Magento (if you want to find out more about these advanced tools, visit our guide on best ecommerce software).
A fully customizable frontend to showcase your style is just the start. Create online look books, true-to-life videos, and even interactive content through AR and VR technology. Then, bring it to life. Shopify’s universal POS powers pop-up shops, product drops, and live events. Sync products, inventory, and customer data automatically across all your channels and expressions.