Online retail via the web and mobile platforms have grown exponentially in recent years. It is expected to reach 1.7 trillion USD in 2015. Many marketplaces have chalked up more than 1 billion USD in sales in a day during the holiday seasons. Merchants – big and small alike – have launched online retail as it is more scalable and cost effective than traditional brick-and-mortar setups.
Many open source and proprietary eCommerce softwares have become available which has made it extremely easy to launch your eStore literally in matter of minutes. Improved logistics and last-mile-fulfilment by service providers have made it easier and cheaper to fulfil your orders and warehouse your products.
Gaps in the Offering
The development of eCommerce tools have been fragmented. For example, a vendor who provides eStore software often doesn’t have all the online payment options that you might want to offer. It might not have the necessary discounts and promotion modules or include a loyalty program that you want to set up for your customers. Most of them will not have an integration with your local delivery service provider. Furthermore, most out-of-the-box solutions do not come with a robust Content management module which ensures that your content is always SEO friendly and has automated publishing capability to Social Media.
Considerations before setting up an eStore
When deciding on an eStore setup, it is important that you consider all aspects of it before you invest in a solution. The following is a quick checklist of items you want to run through:
- Stock and Inventory: The eStore software you choose should not only be easy to set up but should be easy to update and extend as well. Before purchasing or licensing an eStore software, you must ensure that it is easy to manage your inventory and stock on the software. It must be easy to update product and service information.
- Payment Options: Most eCommerce softwares come with standard payment gateway options such as PayPal, WorldPay, Braintree and others. If the payment options you want to offer are covered by the standard offering, then you are good to go. On the other hand if you wish to work directly with banks or offer other non-standard payments options, then it is important to ensure that it is possible to build new Payment Option integrations for the eStore.
- Discounts, Loyalty Programs and Promotions: While most shopping carts that ship with coupon based discounts, but most lack the full array of discount and promotion options. Bulk discounts, loyalty program discounts, sharing discounts, free delivery options, etc. are usually custom options that needs to be custom built based on what you are looking to offer. The eStore software that you use should have options available to build custom discounts and promotions.
- Integration Options and APIs: The eStore that you use will not most likely not include an out-of-the-box delivery and shipping method that you will want to use. If you are looking to use a local delivery and logistic service provider you will need to integrate your eStore with the service provider’s backend. It is important to ensure that your eStore as well as your service provider has the necessary APIs to integrate the two systems.
- Theming and Design: Even if you get an off-the-shelf or open source eStore solution, you will want to give your shop front an unique look – something that tells your brand story and something your customers will relate to. It is important that you choose a solution that is easy to customise and as your shop grows it is easier to extend the UI/UX.
- Responsive and Mobile App: One key consideration is what sort of devices your customers are likely to use to browse your storefront. In today’s day and age, having a responsive storefront that renders well on all devices is a minimal requirement. If you want to engage with your customers more, building a bespoke mobile app is an option. If you are considering building a mobile app for your storefront or your back office, the eStore solution that you deploy will need to have the necessary APIs to do so.
- Content Management and SEO: Content is extremely important for today’s online stores and marketplaces. It enables discovery, builds customer retention and loyalty. The content you create must engage your customers and should be correspond to what your target audience is searching for. Good SEO strategies will ensure that your articles and products rank higher on search engines when your potential customers are searching for products and services.
- Others: Most out-of-box solutions lack some critical features that needs to be custom built. Some such features are multiple-currency handling, customer support, multi-language translations, customer reviews, integration with Point of Sales system, etc. If you require any of the above, you need to ensure that it can be easily built and integrated.
TechChronos eCommerce Services
We provide a wide array of eCommerce services to our clients. Some of the commonly offered services are:
- Bespoke eCommerce solution which includes Custom payment options, shipping and delivery integrations, content publishing, SEO, Discounts, Loyalty programs, mobile apps, multiple-currency handling, translations and other custom requirements.
- Integration of out-of-the-box software with custom payment gateways
- Integration of out-of-the-box software with delivery and shipping service providers
- Integration of out-of-the-box software with supplier back office, inventory and stock management
- Custom discount modules, promotions and loyalty programs
- Responsive Shopfront design and Shopfront mobile app
- Content management, publishing, SEO and SMM
- Content creation and catalogue translation services
- Data entry services
- Internationalisation with multi-currency handling and translations
- Point of Sales Integration
- Crowdsourced delivery platforms
- Multi-merchant marketplaces such as Qoo10, Amazon, AliBaba