When it comes to software and digital infrastructure, e-commerce businesses have very different needs than service-based businesses or brick-and-mortar stores. For companies that make the majority of their sales online, using e-commerce software makes it much easier to manage sales operations regardless of their industry, what type of products they sell, or what sales volume they experience.
E-commerce software is the backbone of product-based businesses, helping them sell their products, manage inventory, accept and process payment options, and offer an excellent customer experience. Luckily, you don’t have to invest in costly infrastructure and hardware to host and run e-commerce software.
Nowadays, it’s more common to utilize the service of third-party app providers and cloud-based software. Such systems’ flexibility makes it easy to integrate and accommodate various systems like accounting, customer management, and vendor management.
The Primary Functions of E-commerce Software
The right e-commerce software for your business will have a set of primary functions that, when used in tandem, can increase your bottom line, simplify complex processes, and increase productivity. Some functions to look for in e-commerce software include:
● Product Management – This function includes managing and tracking a product’s lifecycle from early planning stages to manufacturing and shelf demand.
● Order Management – Since businesses don’t have to be entirely self-sufficient, ordering resources from third-party suppliers is essential. Your e-commerce software should help you manage, track, and schedule your orders.
● Speedup Checkout and Payment Processing – Checkout and payment processes are a part of every product-based business. You need software that would streamline the entire process, from automation to analytics and feedback.
● SEO Tools – SEO is indispensable for e-commerce businesses. SEO tools help you set goals and measure performance online.
What Features Do Most E-commerce Software Options Offer?
The average e-commerce software often comes with a set of features and perks that automate your business and sales operations. For example:
● Website Resources – Every e-commerce business needs an online storefront. Your e-commerce software should help you manage your different domains, hosting, and the content you post for marketing and brand awareness.
● Third-party Integration – Being bound to a single service or software is never ideal. Your primary e-commerce software needs to support integration with third-party systems, software, and tools as your business grows and needs change.
● Customer Support – Customer support includes tools, such as forums and questionnaires, to collect customer feedback and provide a way to contact unhappy customers to resolve their issues.
● Online Storefront – Like a physical storefront, your online storefront is the first impression your customers have of you and your services. It’s also how they interact with you and complete orders. That means it needs to be well-designed and easy to use.
● Payment Processing – Payment processing procedures are an extension of your storefront. Customers expect fast, intuitive, and secure checkout services, and some consumers only shop from online stores that support third-party payment methods, such as PayPal.
● Mobile Commerce – Providing mobile e-commerce often comes in the form of a mobile-friendly website or an e-commerce app, making it easier for potential customers to access your virtual store.
Common Types of E-commerce Software
Generally, e-commerce software is for businesses looking to digitize and automate their retail cycle and operations. Depending on your pre-existing infrastructure, your business may need a full suite of online shopping tools and services or just simple and straightforward shopping cart software. Regardless of its scope, e-commerce software typically comes in one of two varieties:
● On-Premise – This is the old-school software, where you need to set up your own servers and hardware on-site. On-premise software offers complete control over your hardware and data, allowing you to customize it to your needs. However, while it might be cheaper in the long run, it requires a hefty investment upfront along with regular maintenance efforts.
● SaaS – SaaS stands for software as a service. Rather than owning the software and hardware, you access SaaS e-commerce software via the web through a set monthly or yearly subscription. SaaS is typically the cheapest option and easy to use and deploy. However, it’s not as flexible and allows you less control than its on-premise counterpart.
The Custom Software Option
If you don’t like what the market has to offer in terms of software or your business has unique e-commerce needs, you can always commission your own. Having custom software designed for your business gives you more control and flexibility as it allows you to curate the exact features and capabilities that make sense for your operations. It also eliminates unnecessary features that you would otherwise be forced to pay for even if you have no use for them.
If you’re curious about how custom-made e-commerce software can benefit your business, take a look at the services offered by this software development company in NY. This agency and many other options in the area allow you to outsource the services of a software developer who can create software specific to your business’s needs.
Leveraging Software for Growth
Whether you opt for on-premise, SaaS, or custom-designed e-commerce software, the option that you choose should transform your business. Once you implement your new software and make use of all its features, it should boost sales, increase productivity, and relieve strain on your employees who no longer have to manage processes manually.