What is an E-commerce platform? Analysis of Types and Features

Many jump into the ecommerce arena without any prior planning or due diligence and leave a few years later disappointed. The ecommerce platform is a lot easier to set up if you already have a retail store. But the road gets a lot of bumpy if you have your whole business online. Therefore you need all the help available, and here’s where the ecommerce platform can help you.

Types of E-commerce platform available

On-Premise

It is mainly used where there are on-site developers available to take care of the platform. Things such as manual updates, hardware problems, do general troubleshooting. Generally, most merchants opt for on-premise solutions as they offer more flexibility compared to the self-hosted platforms.

SaaS

Software as a service is paid as you go services. The hosting services are paid on a monthly basis, and the merchant gets to use a specific quota of bandwidth alloted by the vendors. The SaaS platforms only require you to do the additional designing, add security patches, and some more new features.

Also, if you want to change your hosting, then also it is quite easier on this platform. But with some advantages, there are also downsides such as hidden monthly charges to unlock new features. 

PaaS

PaaS stands for the platform as a service. This type of platform allows you to link your ecommerce platform to other B2B clients such as SAP, Punchout2Go. It will enable the client to connect their own purchasing system directly into your B2B ecommerce platform. The PaaS systems offer you the flexibility of interfacing API with other systems. With the help of a developer, you can easily accomplish this step.

Features of an E-commerce platform

Product Management

Products are a crucial part of any ecommerce platform. Using this feature, the merchant is able to set the display images, do order fulfillment, and much more. Product management makes it possible to define a product using a set of standard fields such as the following,

  • Product code
  • Category
  • Subcategory
  • Product name
  • Description
  • Images
  • Price

The product can be searched by using the search feature through the entire search platform. Sophisticated search functions make it easier for shoppers to find the product they are looking for. Also, a properly structured product profile enables the shopper to get to know the product better and establish trust with the shopper.

Registration

Users can view all the products available on the platform without making an account. But in order to make any purchases or add any product to buy later, it is essential to provide the user with a feature to add their account. In order to purchase a product from any ecommerce site, the user needs to register with proper information required to complete the billing and shipping processes.

The data is then stored then into the database of the website and will be available for the user when they again login to the site. This makes it easier for the user to enter the website anytime and buy anything they want quickly. Most websites today offer the feature to save their payment methods also, so they don’t have to enter every time the user wants to buy something.

Payment

Payment systems include transactions between the bank, the store, and the shopper. It facilitates the sale between the parties involved in a trade.

After adding the product to the cart, the shopper needs to add their credit/debit card details, payment gateway then check the details with the bank. The bank then checks the customer’s account to verify whether or not to authorize the payment or not.

If the process is approved, then the bank completes the transaction and transfers the payment to the specified account if the purchase is denied for some reason the user is then notified that there has been some error with the payment and the product can be found again in the cart.

Cart

The cart is a virtual equivalent of a basket that enables you to add your favorite products in one place and finally checking out them at the payment gateway. It allows users the ease to switch products that they do not want to buy.

In an ecommerce platform, a similar cart allows user to add or modify the products that he/she has selected. The user can also move the product to the wishlist, which is stored so that the user likes but wants to save for later purchase. Thus the cart plays a significant role in enhancing the use of experience.

Automation

Automation in processes like checkout, computation of prices, deduction of special discounts, shipping rate, and handling costs is necessary. These all give the user an immediate idea about the prices for products and how much they will be charged for the products.

Integration

Most ecommerce platforms are able to integrate with third-party platforms and mobile apps easily. It allows merchants to use several features like email marketing, accounting, order processing, and payment all from a single platform.

Today there are also mobile wallets available, which can be used t pay at the platform. So if the ecommerce platform has easy integration, then the wallets can be added and used at the checkout.

Conclusion

There has been a lot of ecommerce platforms out there, and many are as big as Amazon and eBay. Due to this, the physical retail stores have been taking a hit, so in order for them to survive the transition to online ecommerce platform is necessary. Many good ecommerce platforms are out there that can help you with this transition and help you grow your business.

Author Bio: I am Greg Wilson, a Content Writer working with GoodFirms, a research and review platform for service and software companies. I am passionate about blogging, creative writing, social media, and content marketing. I write blog posts for GoodFirms about Ecommerce softwares, Cloud computing, IoT development, and many more such categories.

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