Electronic commerce, or e-commerce, (also written as eCommerce) is a type of business model, or segment of a larger business model, that enables a firm or individual to conduct business over an electronic network, typically the internet. Electronic commerce operates in all four of the major market segments: business to business, business to consumer, consumer to consumer, and consumer to business. It can be thought of as a more advanced form of mail-order purchasing through a catalog. Almost any product or service can be offered via ecommerce, from books and music to financial services and plane tickets.
The ecommerce platforms of today have moved beyond single purpose software that enables people to simply buy products and services online. Today's best cloud-based ecommerce platforms integrate both the front- and back-office systems to provide a unified business environment that is easily scalable, endlessly customizable and provides timesaving automation functionality. Such a platform enables businesses to meet their customers' demands for providing a seamless shopping experience across all channels, and provides the flexibility and adaptability needed to keep up with the pace of business, reduce operational costs, increase efficiencies and eliminate the hassles of managing hardware and software.
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However, e-commerce lacks human interaction for customers, especially who prefer face-to-face connection. Customers are also concerned with the security of online transactions and tend to remain loyal to well-known retailers. In recent years, clothing retailers such as Tommy Hilfiger have started adding Virtual Fit platforms to their e-commerce sites to reduce the risk of customers buying the wrong sized clothes, although these vary greatly in their fit for purpose. When the customer regret the purchase of a product, it involves returning goods and refunding process. This process is inconvenient as customers need to pack and post the goods. If the products are expensive, large or fragile, it refers to safety issues.
Hey Darren; that’s really a fantastic article! I assume you’ve put a lot of effort into that but believe me that’s the best comparison of eCommerce platforms I’ve seen so far 🙂 One question popped up on my mind. Do you believe that an eCommerce platform lacks certain competencies if a merchant using that platform needs external apps to support his/her store? I work for an app developer company – so I may be subjective in that sense – but for me eCommerce apps add a lot of value on top of the standard offering of the platforms. For instance, we provide AI powered personalization for the eCommerce websites. An eCommerce platform’s development team do not need to bother creating these competencies in house – and they may not succeed – as this is not their expertise. I’d love to hear about your thoughts 🙂
Many of these platforms offer different levels of pricing in order to cater to a wider range of ecommerce businesses. Some even have free versions. However, lower cost often means fewer special features and add-ons. Businesses with very specific needs may find that they need to pay a little more to ensure they get all the features they require for their ecommerce business.
Thank you for this report. It has saved me a lot of time and effort. I do however have one question. I am looking at GoCentral which is GoDaddy’s e-commerce platform. Have you heard anything good or bad about this? I am trying to find out if it has drop shipping integration. There is a charge for each transaction but I am looking for security, ease of use, the best customer service….as I don’t want to wait days to get a response back if I have an issue with my store. Time is money and I would like to use a company that will answer the phone and emails asap. I have always had a great experience with GoDaddy but I didn’t know if you had heard about this service. Any help that you can provide would be great. Thank you!!
In contrast, some of Volusion’s best features are its analytics and insight reports. These let you keep track of all your stock in one place. This is super useful, especially if you’re making the most of multi-channel selling over Facebook. This takes a lot of stress off your shoulders – with Volusion, you can sit back, relax, and easily keep your store organized.
Security is a primary problem for e-commerce in developed and developing countries. E-commerce security is protecting business' websites and costumers from unauthorized access, use, alteration, or destruction. The type of threats include: malicious codes, unwanted programs (ad ware, spyware), phishing, hacking, and cyber vandalism. E-commerce websites use different tools to avert security threats. These tools include firewalls, encryption software, digital certificates, and passwords.
Shopify has been in the business for a very long time. It is one of the most successful platforms out there and gets good reviews from users. It offers light and reduced cost plans for small businesses that aren’t too expensive. And Shopify’s themes allow for a large amount of customizability. Generally speaking, it is extremely easy to setup and use, so much that you don’t really need to hire a developer. For small businesses, we consider it to be the best ecommerce platform out there.
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For those who wish to start a multi-vendor store such as one on Amazon may find BigCommerce lacking some of the available support other ecommerce platforms provide with more integrated marketplace models. Another concern with BigCommerce may be the lack of free themes. With only 7 free themes, BigCommerce lags behind other ecommerce platforms, given the fact that most of them offer more than 20 free themes. But that doesn't change the fact that you get a multitude of premium themes and plenty of customization options to give your store a unique identity.
The gap between B2B buyers and sellers has been growing. More than 70 percent of B2B buyers preferred to wait to engage a seller until the latter demonstrated a clear understanding of its needs, a CSO Insights survey found. Nearly 58 percent of buyers saw little difference among sellers, and more than 10 percent saw no difference at all among sellers. [More...]
One of the biggest advantages of listing your products on Amazon is that you can use its Fulfillment by Amazon (FBA) program, which handles shipping for you. WP-Lister Lite for Amazon supports that feature, but keep in mind that if you use it, you’ll need to direct any purchases made on your WooCommerce store to your Amazon listings. To get started, you’ll want to check out an online guide to configuring both platforms to work together.
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Two of the most important factors behind poor performance are server distance and load. If your servers are overloaded or too far away from your visitors’ locations, your site can load slowly. A Content Delivery Network (CDN) tackles this issue by distributing cached copies of your site to nearby locations from data centers around the world, thereby lightening the load on your main servers.
Wix is also very affordable. The baseline plan is only $5/month. Even their most expensive plan is only $25/month. Of course, with this low price and high ease of use comes a cost. Wix isn’t going to have the bells and whistles that fancier platforms boast, but it should be able to satisfy the needs of most small businesses looking for an ecommerce platform.
WooCommerce is an interesting option for small business. It connects right into WordPress. Small business owners who already use WordPress for their website will find a lot to love with WooCommerce and there is a lot of flexibility when the requirements of the business grow. Thanks to strong third-party development support and easily-available Woo developers, it’s definitely one of the best ecommerce platforms out there.
Changing buyer behavior is forcing companies and e-commerce vendors to adapt to new ways of shopping. For instance, millennials and members of Gen Z tend to combine multiple ways to find, compare, choose, and buy products. For each step in their decision process, they may use online or offline channels (like stores, events, or public advertising). E-commerce software providers and their customers will need to find ways to engage and influence buyers both online and offline.
A SWOT analysis can help you assess the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats of your company's current environment. What does the market look like? Where does your business excel, and where does it falter? Review your entire business, not just segments of it. Evaluate external opportunities, because this is the often the primary place to invest time and money. Be honest with yourself when analyzing weaknesses and threats, or else the analysis will not be helpful.
If you have an enterprise level business that already uses WordPress, WooCommerce might be perfect for you. However, it is very simple and not intended for a hugely complicated ecommerce experience. If you have a lot of products, you’ll need to import a bulk product extension which runs at around $200. This solution is simple and straightforward but if you are an enterprise level company you might consider opting for a digital experience platform so your site can scale.
Shopify Plus is making enterprise ecommerce simple by providing high growth and high volume merchants multi-channel commerce software without the headaches. We empower merchants to sell online and off, across social channels like Facebook and Instagram and through marketplaces like Amazon and eBay. Engineered for scalability and reliability, Shopify Plus is driving massive disruption in the traditional enterprise landscape by giving customers the power and capabilities they need to grow and succeed without the headaches, costs, lengthy timelines and BS of the traditional enterprise options. Shopify Plus works with the largest, most innovative companies in the world like Proctor & Gamble, General Electric, Budweiser, Red Bull and many more.
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.
If budget is not an issue and you are solely looking for a place to sell products with little to no technical involvement, the fully hosted SaaS Shopify Plus is worth checking out. For enterprise businesses, this means a lot of removal of opportunity costs; if you’d rather spend money on marketing and product development and not on testing servers.
eComchain is Cloud-based eCommerce platform hosted on AWS. Its unique offering is its B2B2C model, first of its kind for Manufacturers, Distributors / Dealers and end Consumers for various verticals of the business. With eComchain, a manufacturer can reach out to a network of dealers and distributors on the eComchain's B2B eCommece platform. These network of dealers and distributors can in turn reach out to their end consumers through their branded specialized sites on the same eComchain platform hosted by the manufacturer.
Catalog management — displays products by category in a way that’s easier to navigate than scrolling or searching through lists of hundreds or thousands of products. Most basic e-commerce tools do not provide this type of functionality because it is not critical for small companies. Medium and large businesses that sell a high number of products and services can significantly benefit from using catalog management software by creating custom catalogs for various consumer segments, and sometimes even for individual B2B customers.
Sitting firmly at the “all inclusive” end of the market, Volusion is a feature-rich e-commerce platform with everything you could possibly need to run an effective e-commerce store. Like Shopify and Bigcommerce, the model is similar – you are effectively renting your store on a monthly basis, and in the process gaining access to the power and customization potential of the Volusion platform.
Bigcommerce also has a nice library of themes for you, divided into multiple categories, and all of them responsive and fully customizable. They were developed to establish a more modern, fluid user experience, utilizing cool new merchandising features for categorization and differently sized catalogs. There are both free and paid options available, and I have to say that those free ones really are attractive-looking.