E-commerce is an integral part of the economy. In 2014, worldwide online retail sales were worth $1.3 trillion (£ 1.07 trillion). By 2026, e-commerce retail should account for $8.4 trillion (£ 7.5 trillion) in gross earnings. This impressive figure does not even count profits from online wholesale and business-to-business transactions.
Both large and small companies need robust software systems to handle the different aspects of online sales in this lucrative but competitive sector. This is where e-commerce software development services come into the picture. These specialists can create new systems or customise existing ones to meet the needs of e-commerce operations.
Custom e-commerce development is necessary because no two operations are the same. For example, business-to-business (B2B) e-commerce companies, manufacturers, and wholesalers need different order-management systems and payment gateways than retailers who see from a website directly to customers.
Without customised e-commerce platform development services, companies would have to tailor their operations to fit the software. However, skilled developers can change this dynamic so that the software fits the company's operations, plans, and needs.
Here is a closer look at how developers create e-commerce solutions to benefit online sales operations.
According to IBM, software development services are responsible for the "process of creating, designing, deploying and supporting software." E-commerce developers focus on systems that facilitate and support online sales. All their activities fall under this broad category.
The field of e-commerce software development is very diverse, and programmers, designers, and testers help companies in many different ways. Some provide specific solutions, such as creating a mobile app. In contrast, others may build an entire system containing everything from inventory and customer relationship management to payment processing and a user-facing website.
Developers can create three primary types of e-commerce systems:
Software developers will analyse clients' specific needs and then create or customise tools and platforms that meet those needs.
These solutions may include:
Developers do not just create e-commerce solutions and then send them to the client. They follow established frameworks for coding, testing, and debugging their software so that it is ready for use by the time the client deploys it.
Why do e-commerce companies choose to hire developers instead of using sales platforms of software out of the box? Each company may have different reasons. However, there are five significant benefits that e-commerce website development services offer over one-size-fits-all software solutions.
Customised e-commerce software can improve efficiency by automating or streamlining processes. For example, e-commerce order management tools can track the progress of each order, send automated alerts to customers, and streamline shipping.
This increased efficiency extends to data collection and analysis. With e-commerce analytics tools built into a platform, a company can collect and use customer data to target marketing and hone their website and offers to maximise profits.
This automation also increases productivity. Since they are not spending time on repetitive tasks like sending out emails to customers or collecting and cataloguing information, employees can focus on higher-level tasks. A study by McKinsey found that companies with automated processes experienced productivity growth of up to 1.4% each year.
E-commerce website design services can ensure that your customers use a clean, attractive site that is easy to navigate and fast loading. Skilled developers can also deploy algorithms that show relevant offers to individual customers based on their browsing history and other activity on the site. Instead of seeing a static site, each visitor has a personalised experience. 71% of customers expect this type of personalisation, so users will likely notice if you use a non-customised platform that does not deliver it.
Cybersecurity is essential for e-commerce. Hacks and breaches can lead to lost profits and damage the company's reputation. According to Visa, e-commerce sites are at high risk, with 75% of fraud and data breaches targeting online sellers.
E-commerce cybersecurity tools and techniques can offer extra protection. However, threats are constantly evolving, so it helps to have a development team that can add the latest security tools and provide timely updates to help mitigate new risks.
When e-commerce developers have all the aspects of your site and platform operating seamlessly together, you can experience an increase in revenue.
For example, one company found that user experience accounted for 20% of their online sales. They cited seamless payment processing, multiple payment methods, access to support, and localisation, all improving the overall UX and leading to more sales.
Companies need room to grow and adjust. This is especially true in constantly evolving industries like e-commerce. E-commerce software engineering includes concepts like scalability. A business needs the ability to add new inventory or process an increasing number of payments without having to switch to a new platform or completely change software configurations.
Scalability is absolutely essential for e-commerce companies because it allows them to take advantage of momentum when they see an increase in sales. Shutting down to switch software because your current configuration cannot stand up to traffic, sales, or new inventory can lead to significant losses in both revenue and productivity.
An online store development company can offer specific services or provide a complete storefront with a back-end setup to manage the business. Here are five of the key components that software developers can add to your site individually or combine to create a complete e-commerce platform from scratch.
Shopping cart development involves creating and integrating an application that allows users to select items from the site and save them for a later purchase. It provides information about the total cost of all products in the cart, any tax and shipping costs, and other costs.
Shopping carts should offer information about shipping options and different payment methods, and users will expect to be able to easily edit the items in their cart, change quantities, and delete products with a single click or tap.
Software developers can ensure the shopping cart has similar capabilities across the website, mobile site, and app.
Payment gateway integration allows you to deal directly with customers at checkout. A payment gateway securely collects and transfers financial information, such as credit card numbers and billing addresses, from the customer. It encrypts the data for security and sends it to payment processors, who complete the transaction.
Payment gateways can also handle returns, refunds, and voided transactions. An integrated payment gateway has one distinct advantage: it does not rely on a third party. Users never have to leave your site or give information to another service when purchasing items.
E-commerce inventory management software development focuses on creating a system to track current product levels in your warehouse, collect data on sales, and predict future needs based on past sales patterns.
If a developer integrates the inventory management software with the other tools on your site, you can track product availability in real-time, find patterns, and take current supply chain conditions and shipping times into account when ordering from your sources.
Order management for e-commerce involves tracking all the behind-the-scenes processes once a customer places an order. By integrating an order management system into your e-commerce operation, you can automate and streamline many of the steps in the process.
Order management software includes everything from selecting the best packaging to creating the shipping labels to choosing the best shipment service or route for delivery.
Developers can also add special elements to your order management system, such as facilitating subscriptions, handling returns, and offering different shipping options.
Shipping and tax calculations can be highly complicated for e-commerce businesses. Items may have different tax rates depending on their category and their destination. Also, shipping rates can vary depending on the buyer's location. A shipping and tax calculator can use data about the product and buyer to calculate these costs instantly and add them to the total in the shopping cart.
This provides buyers with transparency, and it helps the e-commerce company meet its tax obligations and accurately tally shipping costs.
The right e-commerce software development company should have obvious qualities, like experience in the online shopping sector and employees with the ability to handle all of the basics, from payment gateway integration to UX improvements and personalisation. You might think it is necessary to look a little bit deeper at the traits and qualities of these service providers.
Here are some important factors to consider.
Your company is choosing to work with an e-commerce software developer because it wants a customised set of tools or a complete platform that meets its needs. Therefore, the first thing the development service should do is make an effort to understand your company's needs and the goals you hope to accomplish with your new platform. If the developers aren't interested in this and aren't explaining explicitly how their solutions or plans meet your needs, you need to keep looking elsewhere.
A development service should also produce a portfolio of past work and provide examples of projects they have worked on that are similar to yours.
Of course, there are also practical considerations, such as the budget. You should be transparent about how much you plan to spend on the project and ensure their budget fits with your finances.
Past clients should have positive things to say about the company. In many cases, you should be able to find reviews online. You should strive to do your own research in this area. Developers often have testimonials on their sites from clients who provide positive feedback. You will want to find unbiased opinions to make a true assessment.
The developers should provide a timeframe for the project and respond to your requests for benchmarks to help you know when each step of the process is complete.
The final consideration is the amount of post-project support they will provide. Does the company offer e-commerce website maintenance, handle debugging if issues arise, and offer reasonably priced services, such as integrating new software or tools into your existing system?
A quality software development service can create a website offering excellent e-commerce customer experience and providing the traits users expect. They can also develop all the back-end elements necessary to automate processes, take full advantage of customer data, and secure everything to ward off damaging cyber breaches.
A good developer can offer a complete package with a website providing an excellent user experience, an integrated payment gateway, a shopping cart application, inventory management and analytics tools, and streamlined and automated order management.
If an e-commerce software developer is focused on your needs and goals and presents solutions that meet these points, you can benefit from their service and help your company succeed in the competitive e-commerce marketplace.
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