First things first. Let’s first answer one fundamental question: what exactly is e-commerce? Simply put, it refers to commercial transactions conducted online.
August 11, 1994, It was the first time that encryption technology was used to enable an internet purchase. Many consider that moment as the first “true” transaction. According to e-marketer, global transactions sales are expected to top $27 trillion in 2020 — and that’s just statistics for the retail sector.
That’s growth (and money!) accelerated, if you’re interested in doing business online, you need to know the ins and outs of this platform. And that’s exactly what our guide will deliver. In this need to know resource, we take an in-depth look at the industry. How it came about, what types of merchants are out there, and what platforms enable online selling.
Whether you’re someone who wants to start an e-commerce site or you’re already running an online store and just want to learn more about the industry, you’ll find valuable information that will assist you and your choices.
As a digital retailer functioning in today’s modern environment, you have your work cut out for you — more so than ever before. Not only are you dealing with a more competitive market, but your customers have higher expectations. It’s no longer enough to stock up on the right products, you also need to fulfill orders in the fastest, most competitively priced way possible.
Then there’s the fact that shoppers are increasingly using multiple devices throughout their buying journeys. They’re shopping in brick-and-mortar stores, online, and, more importantly, on mobile. If you want to keep up you must be able to provide great shopping experiences across several devices.
It’s a tall order, but you need to be able to deliver if you want to prosper. To succeed in today’s market, you need e-commerce that will allow you to deliver on the expectations of your target markets. You need the tools to sell the right products, provide amazing shopping experiences, and fulfill orders efficiently.
That’s exactly what our guide is for. Our resource guide will walk you through the process of finding and selecting the right platform. Go through the steps below and incorporate them in your search for a new solution.
Step 1 – Determine your e-commerce needs
Iron out your needs before you even start considering e-commerce platforms. Determining your requirements early on will make the process of finding and selecting a solution much easier. Begin your search with a roadmap. Outline where your business is now and where you want it to go. What are the products and services that your site is currently offering? Put them on paper and make sure the solution you select answers the needs of your markets.
Next, think about your future for the business. Are you planning to expand to more stores or markets? Do you intend to introduce more fulfillment options? You want a solution that will allow your business to grow and improve. Another great exercise is to map your customers’ path to purchase. How do they find you? What channels do they use? How do they want their orders to be fulfilled? The answers to these questions will enable you to determine the features and capabilities that you need.
Step 2 – Setting a budget
The next step is to think about how much you’re willing to spend. When setting your budget, be sure to consider the “non-obvious costs” that come with implementing a new solution. Go beyond the on the surface costs like licenses and development, and consider expenses for maintenance, consultation, set up and the like. Here are some of the things you should factor into your budget.
Costs will vary depending on the business’ size, sales volume, and of course, the solution itself. Some solutions (such as Magento) charge yearly licensing fees while others (like Shopify) require monthly subscription fees. In some cases (such as Demandware) the provider takes a cut from the retailer’s sales.
Step 3 – Research industry solutions
Once you have a clear idea of what you need and how much you’re willing to spend, you can start considering different solutions to determine the best fit. To make this step a little easier, in our next step by step guided installment, we will be listing the most common platform solutions, along with looking into different solutions to determine the best fit. To make this step a little easier, we will provide a check list, along with details about their strengths, limitations, and cost.