E-commerce, short for “electronic commerce”, describes any form of business transaction conducted online concerning the exchange of currency for products and services and reaches far beyond the front of online shopping. E-commerce has changed the way of doing business globally. Depending on the type of end consumers, the main categories of e-commerce are:
- B2B (Business-to-Business) trading, involving two businesses who conduct transactions online
- B2С (Business-to-Consumer) online trading, where companies directly deal with their end consumers
- B2G (Business-to-Government) trading, involving companies that sell physical or digital products and services to public institutions
- C2C (Consumer-to-Consumer) is a relatively new e-commerce model where consumers resell goods to other consumers through marketplaces like eBay, Gumtree, etc
E-commerce is the fastest-growing retail market that offers low barriers to entry, a lower startup cost, unlimited audience reach, scalability, and other opportunities.
On the other hand, it is highly competitive. Established vertically integrated businesses may find it harder to retain their market share among more flexible, ambitious and innovative competitors. The old guard enterprises have to readapt their business models to new environments and are often outsmarted by e-commerce startups who manage to increase their revenues even with the minimal or no physical infrastructure.
Companies who want to scale up their online presence, re-platform their business or give it a fresh start, can do it only with the right technology stack.
E-commerce development services are usually tailored to all customer segments ranging from startups to large scale enterprises and concentrate on:
- E-commerce website development – online store design, setup and redesign for better user experience. Mobile optimization is a must
- UX research and design – is necessary for building a solid foundation for a high-converting website. User research, persona development, prototyping, and usability testing are techniques used for studying your target audience
- Adding functionality or extending the capability of an existing online store
- Web store/data migration – a secure transfer of your business data during the implementation of new software or upgrading
- Mobile e-commerce apps development – consumers increasingly use mobile devices for shopping, and apps often provide more unique marketing and sales advantages than traditional shopping carts
- Shopping cart development, software configuration, and installation
- Integrations with CRM and CMS systems, accounting software, marketing automation tools, inventory management systems, and ERP-systems using APIs
- B2B and B2C e-commerce solutions and many more
There are two possible ways to set up your e-commerce store:
1. Using an off-the-shelf e-commerce solution. E-commerce platforms like Shopify or Magento make building an online store a quick and easy process. It will mean less customization, however, since you will need to choose from an existing set of themes and features provided by the platform.
2. Building an online store from scratch. You can either do it yourself or hire a developer/agency for this purpose who provides e-commerce development services that have a 100% customized result.
E-commerce solutions are full-scale platforms that include all core business functions integrated into a single solution. The e-commerce platforms combine both front – and back-office systems creating a unified operational environment that is customizable and provides the necessary flexibility and agility to keep up with the pace of business and deliver excellent customer experience.
There are two types of e-commerce solutions (on-premise and cloud-based) that differ significantly in terms of initial cost, scalability and time to value. Key functions of e-commerce platforms are:
- Order and inventory management
- Content management
- Reporting and analytics
- Customer support
- Marketing tools
- Pricing and promotions
Depending on the type of business, companies may extend their e-commerce software capabilities using:
- Chatbots – designed to complete customers’ purchases, offer product recommendations and/or provide customer support
- Shipping tools – custom or third-party integrations with popular shipping solutions
- Shopping carts – custom or integrated
- CRM – for managing customer interactions and building relationships with existing and potential customers
- Payment gateway integrations and social payments
- Artificial intelligence (AI), augmented reality (AR), voice-assisted shopping, headless e-commerce approach, Internet-of-Things, and other trends
Each business is unique, so you need to take your time considering how different options will affect your processes. And here’s where custom e-commerce development comes on stage.
Why Do Businesses Go for Custom E-Commerce Systems?
Obviously, selling 50 products vs. selling 5000 is not the same. When it comes to choosing an optimal e-commerce solution, you should consider your market presence, the type of products you want to sell and the segmented audience you want to reach. Simple e-commerce platforms are good for startups who operate within limited budgets or just want to test the waters. What if you are a true pacesetter in e-commerce? You may require specific features from your e-commerce platform based on your unique situation and don’t want to settle up with the standard set.
Of course, custom development will take longer and cost you more, but it will guarantee you full personalization. Custom e-commerce websites, responsive design, integrated payment and delivery mechanisms, smart order management or innovative AI-based elements help you get the edge on your competition and enable your customers to easily buy from you. You will be provided with a solution tailored to meet your objectives and based on cutting-edge technology.
According to Statista, the worldwide share of e-retail is expected to reach 22% in 2023. In 2021, over 2.14 billion people are expected to buy goods and services online across the globe. Like it or not, you must be ready to keep up. As your business grows, a platform is required that can handle higher sales volumes and overall expansion.
To wrap it up
The Internet and globalization open new markets for businesses to reach out. E-commerce has demonstrated explosive growth in the past couple of years and is here to stay. The superpower of custom e-commerce development is that it helps companies to catch up with the ever-changing trends and stand out from the crowd.
Ulyana is a technology writer and creative thinker. She is passionate about technology & innovation that help visionaries get the most value from their undertakings. She is currently associated with Evergreen IT Development, Support & Service.