With a steady rise of online purchases over the last 20 years, it is anticipated that 17% of all retail sales in the United States will be from eCommerce by the year 2022. As a full-service Magento ecommerce agency, IronPlane can assist with starting or expanding a current business to include an eCommerce component.
What is eCommerce?
The most basic definition of eCommerce is when consumers or businesses buy and sell services and products over the Internet. Also referred to as online shopping, catalogs on eCommerce websites are used to search for products. Once found, selections are moved to a shopping cart until the user is ready to check out using encrypted payment options. The rise in eCommerce sales grants customers with many advantages, including:
- Less invasive shopping experiences.
- Time saved by having products shipped to them.
- Accessibility any time of the day, any day of the year.
- Accessibility to products regardless to where they are located geographically.
Benefits of eCommerce
Image via Flickr by reynermedia
There are many advantages eCommerce offers your clients. However, there are significant benefits for you as a company as well. These include:
- Decreased Costs: Low start-up costs with software such as Magento eCommerce make this option very feasible for new small business owners. Established companies looking to add an eCommerce option find less overhead is required for this branch of their business than their brick and mortar counterparts.
- Increased Hours of Availability: Having your products available 24/7 means you won’t miss out on potential clients due to being physically closed.
- Expand Internationally: eCommerce offers you the ability to target and sell to clients overseas without having to have an actual, tangible presence.
Business to Consumer
Business to consumer (B2C) refers to when a business sells directly to a consumer. The consumer will then use the product for their personal use. This form of eCommerce allows you to connect directly with your customer. There are several ways businesses of all sizes have successfully performed B2C operations, including:
- Host a Contest: This is something both small and large companies can do. Whether a simple “Like & Share” Facebook contest for a free product, or a “Name Our Next Flavor” contest that encourages users to get creative and let you know what they are interested in, online contests are a fun and creative way to increase interactions with your clients.
- Retargeting: Several Magento eCommerce partners offer ways to track what visitors are searching for, using products remaining in online shopping carts and emphasizing the information via retargeting ads, texts, and emails to encourage them to come back and make the purchase.
- Social Media: An effective social media strategy keeps current and potential customers just a click away from their next purchase. By employing content that includes a mixture of informative, engaging, and sales-focused posts, your social media pages can make your clients feel like part of the company family and eager to come back soon. Social media ads can additionally help you identify the clientele you want your posts to reach for a targeted approach.
Business to Business
Business to business (B2B) is the exchange of goods and services from one business to another. eCommerce platforms make starting a B2B easier than ever with features such as:
- Account Support for Corporate Clients: Make the process easier for corporate clients by supporting multiple buyers, different permission settings, and simple payment methods.
- Hassle-Free Ordering: Streamlined workflows, in-hand tablets, and exceptional customer service can effectively improve the overall ordering experience.
- Positive Shopping Experience: Responsive websites, personalized catalogs, and engaging content and media assist in making the shopping experience a positive one.
- Multi-Channel Selling: Creating and managing multiple brands, accounts, and divisions from one platform can simplify the process while increasing online presence.
- Optimized Inventory and Order Processing: Allow buyers to see real-time inventory while managing sales from various channels.
In addition, companies such as Magento eCommerce have one platform for both B2C and B2B sites.
You will want to select a payment gateway option that best meets your business needs. There are several options available including:
- 2Checkout: This offers the ability to choose one of 15 languages and one of 26 currency types. 2Checkout definitely focuses on international sales.
- Amazon Payments: With the Amazon name recognition, you may find customers feeling more secure in completing their purchase. However, you may also find your brand recognition suffers slightly, being dwarfed by this larger entity during the checkout process.
- Authorize.net: While not the least expensive option, Authorize.net provides your clients with several payment options. These include eCheck, debit or credit card, PayPal funds, and Apple Pay.
- Masterpass: While there are no fees associated with using Masterpass, you must accept Mastercard in order to use it.
- PayPal: Many visitors will already have a PayPal account or be familiar with the website, making the checkout process easy even for first-time customers. There is a redirect to the PayPal site to complete the process.
Software for eCommerce
Magento eCommerce software, along with others like it, allow business owners with little to no technical experience manage the backend of an eCommerce store without needed assistance from professional developers. Your eCommerce software will allow you to:
- Simplify Marketing: Built-in SEO features pave the way for increased organic searches.
- Automate Tax and Shipping Costs: Determine sales tax based on client location. Print shipping labels, and send automated notification emails to clients regarding their purchase.
- Manage Inventory: Obtain a general overview or specific product information easily and quickly.
- Manage Customers and Online Orders: Maintain customer information, check the status of an order, or make a needed change.
- Improve User Experience Overall: Allow customers to find what they need, check out, and return for additional purchases without difficulty.
The eCommerce industry continues to rise with no anticipation of slowing down. IronPlane can help you achieve your eCommerce goals. Reach out to us today so we can help you expand your reach.