When it comes to e-commerce, customers expect an interesting, eye-catching e-commerce platform or application, fast delivery and highest quality customer service. To ensure these, an e-commerce company needs the best available e-commerce software solutions. The question is, which software will suit your needs best?
At some point, your organization may have a problem with finding e-commerce software good enough for you to remain competitive. Ready, off-the-shelf products are usually not as flexible as e-commerce solutions should be. Possibly, even if you are satisfied with it at first, after a while you will find out that you would like to make some changes, adjustments, and it is not possible. For those, who need IT solutions tailored to their particular needs, the best way is to invest in custom e-commerce software solutions.
B2C vs. B2B ecommerce software solutions – key differences in approach
There is no IT e-commerce product that is a great business tool for all kinds of companies. You surely know that each company has their own target groups with a specific tastes for products or services, as well as different expectations. Before you buy your e-commerce software, you need to know the differences between B2C and B2B markets and the solutions companies use to serve their chosen groups of customers. In short, B2B refers to transactions between two companies and B2C means transactions between a company and an ordinary consumer.
Decision Making Process
Both, an individual customer and a company benefit from buying products online, but their decision-making processes are different. B2B buyers are keeping things professional and base their decisions on logic and important information like price, demand, quality, time for delivery etc. It is rare for one person to make a business decision alone. Usually, many people participate in the process. Non-business consumers are more likely to trust their feelings – intuition and emotions. The decision is sometimes made fast, in a short time. It looks different in business reality, as companies have their own buying schedules and procedures.
It is less probable that a business client will buy a product presented to him by a recommendation system. An ordinary buyer on the other hand may buy a recommended product, especially if it is combined with no delivery cost or with a discount. Think also about the descriptions of products. A business customer will require a much more detailed listing.
Customer service approach
Time is money – that is why a purchasing expert will always choose a company which offers the best customer service and price. Employees need as much information about products and services as they can get, especially that they often do bulk orders – with large quantities of products ordered, a mistake can hurt a lot. The best e-commerce software solution will include 24/7 customer service via live chats or video chats with actual, human advisors.
As the B2C consumer decision-making process is mostly simpler, such a consumer more often asks questions after the transaction is completed. In this case, a FAQ in an e-commerce application or on an e-commerce platform may be useful, as well as a chatbot that will be capable of handling most basic tasks like cancelling an order or giving instructions about returning an item.
Volume and size of the singular transaction and pricing
An ordinary client usually buys one product – certainly not a hundred pieces or more. Business customers can buy a single product as well if it is needed, but they will certainly try to buy it while making a large, bulk order of other goods to save on delivery. The value of the singular order of a business customer in a B2B model is also much greater than the average B2C order value. In view of that fact, it is not surprising also that pricing systems are different for the B2B and B2C sector – the first is much more complex. The price can decrease when the quantity of products increases, discounts are not so popular (or they are more complicated) or a price may be customized.
Both B2B and B2C e-commerce solutions require powerful analytic solutions for business. Additionally, your B2B e-commerce software should be equipped with an automated pricing calculator. In the B2C e-commerce system, you have to be able to easily manage first-time purchase offers, discount coupons, and seasonal and clearance sales.
Lifetime value of the buyer
It is not necessarily the case that B2C customer transactions are one-time things, but it is more common for the B2B market to have long-lasting cooperation if terms are good for both parties. A recommendation system is an interesting tool that will help you increase the value of a B2C client’s cart, however. For B2B, you should have your e-commerce adjusted to be as intuitive as possible, so the purchasing officer could be able to re-order similar amounts of the products as the previous time or change location for delivery.
The most important e-commerce features
There are multiple features that e-commerce software solutions have in common – so-called “must-haves”. Those are the first to be built by developers when developing a custom e-commerce solutions. After those are created, you can think of other “extra” features you would like to have in your e-commerce system.
Companies usually pay with business debit/credit cards or traditional transfers handled by their accountants. Individual customers on the other hand are happy to have as many options as possible – card payment, transfer, PayU, e-wallets, cash, cryptocurrencies and mobile payments. Absence of the customer’s preferred payment method available often results in cart abandonment.
When you choose the best payment methods for your e-commerce platform, your developers need to make sure that the whole payment process is secure for your company and customers. Online payment methods are prone to hacker attacks – frauds and data leaks are not as rare as you might think. Once they happen you will lose your customers trust and trust is vital for both B2B and B2C companies’ success.
Social media integration
Social media platforms are important marketing channels. Of course, marketing campaigns on Facebook or Instagram are not equally valuable for all industries or types of companies, but they can still be useful tools. Your e-commerce software solution should support social media integration, so your B2C customers could easily log in to your online shopping platform and share content like blog articles or photos of their friends. Social media integration will also enable your marketing specialists to perform marketing-related tasks or to promote your services to other companies, which leverages the power of social media.
SEO optimization tools
Building an online shopping platform is one thing, and making it visible to potential customers is yet quite another. B2B and B2C clients often search for products and services on the Internet. When they google some phrases, they receive two types of results:
- organic – websites closely related to the specific phrase found after performing a relevant search,
- non-organic – websites promoted in paid campaigns.
Both those types should be important both for B2B and B2C companies. To reduce the cost of advertising, you need to invest in SEO code and content optimization. It will make your e-commerce platform more visible. Some e-commerce software solutions have built-in SEO optimization tools and if you want to develop your own e-commerce system, IT experts can advise you on the more advanced solutions.
Taking care of SEO optimization of the platform without a blog? Today, most of the organizations invest in blogs. Some of them hire external companies or freelancers to handle content strategy and content creation, and others have their own specialists working on the blog posts.
Blog has many functions. It improves communication with the customers, helps to solve their problems, serves as an entertainment and allows you to place your e-commerce platform high in the Google ranking. You need a functional and intuitive content management system (CMS) to create engaging blog articles.
How to build a high-quality e-commerce software solution – what can you customize?
There are some additional solutions that you may consider for your e-commerce platform to attract more customers. User experience is very important these days as online shopping has become a sort of entertainment. Many people simply enjoy “window shopping” in the mobile version. They scroll the e-commerce app, add nice things to their wish lists, and search for discounts while waiting for a bus or waiting in line for a doctor or service.
Statistics show that in the second quarter of 2020 31% of all digital e-commerce dollars in the US were spent via mobile devices. Mobile devices are becoming more and more important for the online shopping process. 57% of mobile device owners in the US claimed that they had used mobile retail applications to search for products and services, and 51% had bought something using a mobile device.
First thing you need to take care of is a responsive e-commerce platform that will be intuitive and well-designed. On responsive websites, content adapts automatically to ensure the most user-friendly experience no matter what kind of device is used. You have two options. You may invest in making your e-commerce web platform responsive or develop a native, e-commerce mobile application for those users who prefer to go shopping on mobile devices.
Advanced analytical solutions may be applied in your custom e-commerce software to create a powerful recommendation system. How does it work? Have you ever seen a phrase like “you might like this” while shopping online? Such a system can present a list of “related items” to each client based on the history of other clients who have bought a product they are just buying. Recommendations can also be created after analyzing a particular client activity on your platform to recommend a product they were interested in earlier.
Recommendation system will help you increase the average minimal value of the user cart and may even improve UX and client satisfaction as it makes shopping easier – some products are presented automatically to those who can be actually interested in them.
“Favorite” product lists
This one is a simple thing to do, but it will certainly increase your sales. So-called “wish lists” or “favorites lists”, are a placed in mobile applications or web e-commerce platform, where links to the products can be saved, so the user could easily find them later, when they are ready to buy them.
People who shop online do read reviews and are most likely to buy a product, if they see a real, natural photo of the product, placed in a comment by a satisfied (or dissatisfied) buyer. Users who see no comments under the product description are less likely to buy the product. Do not fear having a comment section on your e-commerce platform.
Augmented reality technology offers a view of the physical, real-life environment with computer-generated images virtually placed within this environment. To keep it simple, imagine: you want to buy furniture for your living room, but you are not really a master of design, and you have problems picking the right items. You can scan your living room with a mobile device – the application will draw the room and some furniture from an online shop you are interested in, so you can place them in the virtual room and check how they look. It is similar to designing games, but in this case, you can work on your actual interiors. This technology can be used in many industries.
Advanced search techniques
Have you ever heard about visual search? Sometimes you see something, and you really like the model or the color, but you do not know the name of the company that produces the product. Visual search is already used by some e-commerce companies. All you need to use it is a photo of the product you like. A search tool will analyze the photo and show you similar products available on the shopping platform.
Detailed Shipping Information
It is important for the user to know what is happening with their order. A section with detailed information about the completed transaction will improve the user experience. You can inform your customer when:
- the payment has been recorded,
- a product is packed and ready to go,
- order is shipped and where it is at any given moment.
Having such information reduces the need for contacting customer service representatives.
Benefits of investing in customized e-commerce solutions
By creating a new, custom e-commerce software, you can solve the actual business problems of your own organization. You know best what can be improved in your company. We only mentioned a few technologies and solutions here that can be considered as e-commerce modern trends. With a custom e-commerce software, you will:
- improve UX,
- increase cart value and overall profits of the company,
- create a unique, modern presence on the e-commerce market,
- reduce expense on customer service.
Tell us about the business problem you need to solve. In the development process, our consultants and developers always run a series of workshops to better understand your company’s needs and suggest the best possible approach along with some alternatives.