Running a busy online store with tens of thousands of orders is not easy. You have many challenges that are unique to large-scale operations, and are very different from those of small online stores. Or it could be that you’re a small business now, but you can grow to be huge in the future. Whatever the case, you need to be very careful in choosing the right platform to help you run your business.
This is why eCommerce technologies are important. The issue is: most people think that all eCommerce platforms are the same, but that’s not true. For example, there are hundreds of businesses that started with WooCommerce and now feel stuck with it. And while WooCommerce is a great option for small online stores handling a few orders per day, it is not a scalable solution for enterprises.
Opting for the wrong technology may save you some money initially, but it will end up costing a lot more down the track. The best way to go about it is to choose an eCommerce platform that is perfect for your needs today and scalable for your tomorrow. In this blog, we’ll go through some of the challenges of enterprise eCommerce and how different platforms can help you prepare for and solve those problems.
Branding for an enterprise is more than just colours and logos; it embodies your business' entire personality. According to market data, 66% of consumers think consistency is important to branding, and 46% of them are willing to pay more for brands that they feel are trustworthy. Similarly, great branding and design can contribute 33% more sales to a business.
Let's look at a real-life example. When logistics provider ShipBob decided to rebrand, they did so by going beyond just changing the colour schemes on their website. Instead, they adopted a holistic revamping of the impression that they leave on customers, and focused on creating emotional connections with potential clients -- which is something that wasn't typical in their niche.
So when they launched their new website, it featured a new logo and new colour schemes, but also better UI design and more intentional content. They invested in highlighting employees to enable people to put faces to their brand, and shared video testimonials and case studies on their homepage. The result? 27% reduced bounce rate one month after the launch of their new website and nearly 270M in funding.
Your chosen eCommerce solution should have the ability to allow you to customise not only your website aesthetics, but also its functionality, content, usability, and efficiency.
Enterprises also need to contend with the cost and speed of maintaining their development platform. Ideally, you should choose an open commerce type platform such as Flowrix or BigCommerce. It will allow you to:
Running an enterprise eCommerce business also requires deciding between self-hosting or using Software-as-a-Service or SaaS. Some platforms need you to secure your own server or hosting account, while others are hosted by vendors.
Between the two, SaaS is safer, more cost effective, and better for your operational efficiency and stability. Managing your own server or hosting account requires a lot of technical skills, while SaaS vendors have the right teams that are capable of handling everything that pertains to website hosting.
SaaS also offers a scalable setup to help you address not only current needs, but also future ones. And many vendors provide great service-level agreements and commitments, so your investment is protected today and tomorrow.
eCommerce is frequently targeted by bad actors. In 2021, for instance, 68% of merchants had to contend with browser scripts that stole sensitive information, while 52% saw their sites infected with malicious codes. The more business grows, the bigger of a target you also become.
For these reasons, your eCommerce platform should be equipped to provide comprehensive protection against security threats -- especially at enterprise level. It’s also why your hosting is best managed by an expert, as opposed to managing it yourself.
Good enterprise eCommerce security should feature the following:
Licensing costs are integral to calculating the true cost of ownership of your eCommerce platform. These vary from vendor to vendor. For example, one vendor may charge a one-time fee for the use of the software itself, and then bill you for subscription license fees thereafter.
Similarly, there are different types of licenses. For many vendors, licensing works by user and you'll need to "buy seats" for every user of the software. Some do consumption-based licensing, where you'll pay according to what you consume, which can include generated revenue.
Finally, different vendors offer different terms. Make sure that your chosen platform comes with stipulations that you think are fair for you, and will allow your company to grow in the future.
Enterprise eCommerce also comes with complex product inventory requirements. As such, your chosen platform must be designed to help you manage large product inventories, while also:
Comprehensive stock management isn’t just about making sure you have enough products in your stores. It also accommodates opportunities for scaling, especially in the future. As your business grows, for example, you may need location-based stock management. Meaning, you would know when a product enters and leaves your store.
Additionally, your eCommerce platform should make it easy for you to integrate with third-party solutions providers for stock management. If it already does that, great; next, consider whether the current system you’re on is listed.
Other factors that your platform should address include:
Shipping is not just about sending items. You need a system that allows you to use multiple shipping providers. And shipping options should work based on zones and areas to optimise delivery cost and make your business compete.
Another aspect of shipping that you need to consider for enterprise eCommerce is pricing. Think about whether you will need fixed price shipping, weight-based shipping, or volume-based shipping. Also, do you need to manage per item shipping or per order shipping cost? These and more should be well accounted for by your chosen platform.
Promotions and loyalty programs are critical to winning your customers’ undying support improve retention rate. What sort of promotions will your business be running? Are you thinking of buy one, get one free promotions, percentage off promotions, or point system loyalty cards? More importantly, will your platform allow any or all of these?
Another trend in enterprise eCommerce is headless eCommerce. Meaning, you don’t just sell on your online store, but you also sell products in popular market places like eBay, Amazon, Facebook Marketplace and others.
If this appeals to you, your platform should be able to support headless eCommerce. Managing various marketplaces separately can be very time-consuming and expensive. So your platform should enable easy syncing of products to marketplaces and automate order management.
Do you have in-store service? If so, what system would you be using to manage in-store sales? Can your online store and in-store POS/inventory work together?
An omni channel solution helps you manage both your online store and your physical store. And your eCommerce platform should be designed to enable this for your business.
Similarly, think about whether you’re going multi-store or not. Not all POS systems are set up for multi-stores, so you want to make sure your omnichannel system supports a multi-store setup.
Marketing is vital to both online and offline business success, and getting it right depends on data insight. Does the platform have any analytics capabilities? Does it help you build audience groups based on their interests? Does it integrate with other marketing systems for email marketing, SMS, and so on? These should be front and centre when you choose your eCommerce solution.
Customer relationship and effective communication is vital for delivering great customer experiences. How does the platform help you with that? Does it come with a Web chat option? What information can you store about customers? Does the software have features to help your sales team or does it integrate with other tools that you need to run a successful enterprise ecommerce operation?
Choosing the right platform that is scalable to meet both your current and future needs is critical. First of all, a good platform increases your chances of success and reduces your running costs. Additionally, it helps you stay on top of thousands of orders, maintain quality operations, and ensure customer satisfaction.
If your business outgrows your platform and you end up struggling to manage your operation, it may affect your market reputation among your customers. What’s more, moving to a whole new platform will be disruptive and very expensive. So as early as now, invest in the right eCommerce solution.
So which enterprise eCommerce solution is best suited to your business? Here are three of best systems we recommend.
An all-in-one enterprise eCommerce platform, Flowrix is built to help your business unlock unlimited growth with its suite of powerful tools. It leverages an open SaaS approach so you can gain complete control over your eCommerce environment, from customisation to multi-channel communication.
Flowrix app integration also extends platform functionality so your site enjoys reduced latency and optimised efficiency. With a powerful REST API, you can build and deploy fast, lightweight, and independent solutions.
Additionally, it comes with comprehensive modules for everything your enterprise needs to perform at its best. These cover marketing and SEO, multi-store POS and automated sales pipelines, a robust service desk, B2B and wholesale optimisation, and more.
With over 314 billion dollars in sales from their clients, Shopify is one of the biggest enterprise eCommerce platforms in the world. Another SaaS solution, it helps deliver localised experiences for global brands, and custom automation with various apps. It also offers powerful extensibility and customisation through its networks of partners.
Shopify Plus helps enterprises to:
BigCommerce leverages a partner ecosystem that makes it one of the most complete enterprise eCommerce solutions in the industry. You can find world-class providers for everything from enterprise resource planning to headless commerce.
It also equips businesses with:
As your trusted technology partner, iVersion can build a scalable, cost-effective, and efficient online store with any of those three enterprise eCommerce solutions. We pride ourselves in coupling our expertise with our dedication to customers, so you can expect top-tier technologies with personalised service.
Talk to us about your needs today.
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