The eCommerce sector is, by far, among the biggest industries worldwide. According to a recent report by Shopify, the market’s worldwide sales are expected to hit $4.9 trillion by 2021 with 2.1 billion online shoppers. The figure represents a whopping 276.9% growth from the only $1.3T in 2014. From household items to electronic products, consumers are willfully moving towards online shopping with convenience as the main reason.
With such a big market, online stores that can create and execute effective operational and promotional strategies have the potential to become extremely profitable. They also need to differentiate themselves clearly from thousands of other sites competing for the same market. eCommerce software can help online stores achieve this by assisting them in building a compelling, intuitive, and attractive web presence.
What is eCommerce software?
There are several processes involved in an eCommerce system, from managing the storefront to performance reports, product specifications, discount codes, product reviews, inventory, customer accounts, and payment gateways. With this vast range of activities to process a single order, it can be challenging to achieve high business productivity. Hence, adopting e-commerce software applications can be a great idea instead of having to deal with multiple processes individually that may cause inconvenience.
eCommerce software has back-end applications like enterprise resource planning (ERP) and customer relationship management (CRM) systems integrated with an online shopping platform. Valuable data sets and all management processes are integrated to offer a one-stop solution to the merchant.
This technology can dramatically increase productivity by automating various essential functions as follows:
1. Easy website setup
A decent online shop builder can help you through all the steps and everything in between in the creation and configuration of your online store, from website design to content description and secure checkout.
It can also help you to perform data migration with minimal technical effort when you need to upgrade or move your store to a better place. The functions of eCommerce software can actually help you in setting up an online business in no time through its advanced shopping cart features, built-in third-party apps, technical support, web community-based help, add-ons, and intuitive design interface.
2. Integrated eMarketing features
Most eCommerce store software is packed with powerful marketing features and direct access to web-based marketing tools that make it a ‘Have-it-All’ solution for online businesses. Aside from helping you rank high in search engine results, it enables you to attract a vast range of customers with minimal effort.
There are also small business marketing software solutions that are equipped with the essential features to start improving marketing management. Its marketing statistical and analytical features that make use of real-time data, meanwhile, can help you make better decisions.
Merchants can likewise boost positive reviews, offer vouchers and coupon codes, as well as create pricing options with great ease. With powerful marketing features, you can quickly execute everything, from providing gift certificates and daily deals to managing affiliate programs, newsletter subscriptions, and email marketing, as well as creating loyalty programs
3. Centralized customer management system
Customer satisfaction is at the core of any seller’s objectives. Every transaction can impact your profits. Thus, managing orders must be done conveniently and efficiently for customers.
eCommerce solutions can help you create a seamless shopping experience for your customers, from selecting a product to payment and check out. Through its centralized customer management system, you can easily retain existing customers, keep transaction orders, check orders and order status, and manage customer information and account creation of new customers. With eCommerce software, users can enjoy hassle-free customer service desk implementation and management.
4. Quick payment and shipping services
Powerful payment features of an eCommerce system enable you to select from globally recognized safe and secure payment channels and accept direct payments via e-checks, debit cards, and credit cards. In order for your installed shopping cart to start making money, all that it takes you is a simple installation of a payment module of your choice and configuring payment settings.
eCommerce platforms usually come with ready-to-use shipping services where all you have to do is choose a carrier and country-specific supply zone. They are typically connected with order fulfillment service providers or 3PL that can provide your customers with their preferred shipping and delivery options.
With a reliable eCommerce software, you can also handle payment processing, create billing and invoicing, perform accurate sales tax calculations based on customer location, print shipping labels, discounts, and get logistics details straight from your back office. You can also send your customers automatic notification emails.
5. Product and inventory management
The eCommerce sector is very dynamic. There are no limits on the product variations that are sold via online shops. Yet, if prices do not match the pricing of a competitor or the products do not reflect current consumption trends, it can create a problem. For you to be able to make pricing and product decisions, you need real-time data on sales and inventories.
Most eCommerce solutions provide you with product variations such as quantity, color, and size as well as product specifications from stock keeping units to enable you to catalog and organize every item. It also notifies you in case of low stocks or whenever a replenishment is needed. In addition, you get a glimpse of what products are fast-moving and those that are not.
The absence of real-time data can significantly impact on the productivity of decisions. Keeping track of the stock count is essential in deciding when to stop or continue selling a particular product.
According to the UPS Pulse of the Online Shopper, 42% of online shoppers surveyed would abandon a shopping cart when the item they are looking to buy is out of stock.
Furthermore, with eCommerce software in place, introducing sale promos and modifying product prices can be done from anywhere and anytime and thus help you serve your customers better.
6. Reporting and analytics
The best eCommerce software is one that matches your specific needs. This includes being able to determine which of your products are selling the most and which marketing strategies are attracting the most customers. You can then use this real-time information to leverage your system’s strengths and determine areas that need improvement.
There are three kinds of a database:
They are entirely independent of one another, but from the management’s perspective, it is crucial to analyze them all together prior to making any business decision. Data stored on different systems can make it challenging to take advantage of the real-time information available to you. Hence, eCommerce solutions help you in making the most out of your data resources and enable you to deliver better productivity.
Should you invest in eCommerce software?
eCommerce solutions are a critical investment as it can become a crucial resource enabling you to run your online business seamlessly. It provides online merchants with a maximum return at minimal investment and effort.
Many of its features can streamline daily operational tasks and help you divert your concentration from administrative jobs to money-making functions for your online shop. Of course, this entails looking for the eCommerce software features that will help you automate your online store efficiently. You have to put careful consideration into picking the appropriate vendor for the job.
Constantly switching or adding vendors is undoubtedly the last thing you’d like to happen. As such, you need to ensure that you choose one that can support your business for future growth and on to new platforms.
Choosing a system that allows seamless shopping cart data migration, for example, will be of great advantage. Moreover, to make the changes in your eCommerce system simple yet effective, you need not only powerful software features but also the support from your vendor.