The online retail industry is extremely competitive, so in order to effectively manage and operate a retail business online, companies have to differentiate themselves from their competitors by making their online store as intuitive and attractive as possible. While this is usually achieved through manual coding and design, it can take months, even years, to complete. With eCommerce software, however, online retailers can quickly create and deploy compelling and user-friendly sites, thereby maximizing revenues and sales.
The online retail industry is highly lucrative, and eCommerce is expected to grow along with new developments like daily deal sites, smartphone commerce, and more. These new eCommerce opportunities have made it such that any online retailer needs to optimize their site to accommodate every form of revenue stream that’s now available.
At the same time, buyers have any number of sites to choose to do business with, and new competitors are entering the market every day. In order to realize peak profitability, companies have to make their sites accessible and noticeable to potential customers, while still providing the most convenient and intuitive shopping experience possible.
eCommerce software provides online retailers with the tools necessary to automate all facets of an Internet store front. Also billed as shopping cart software, eCommerce software supports online retail activities from the creation and management of an online product directory, to marketing and promotion, to payment processing, and finally to order history tracking.
eCommerce software applications generally provide the following features as standard:
- A centralized database to store product listings, order history, and customer data.
- Advanced search features so that customers can find products quickly and easily.
- Functionality to add and update tools for new products and categories, as well as the capability to include detailed descriptions, features lists, images, and more.
- End-to-end automation of the checkout process, including dynamic pricing, taxes, and shipping and handling fee calculations.
- Third-party payment integration so that customers can choose the payment option they prefer most.
- Shipping service provider integration in order to offer fully-customized delivery options at checkout.
- Wide-ranging statistical reporting that includes keyword tracking, referring sites, clickstream analysis, and customer demographics.
- Accounting software integration for more effective revenue, invoice, and payment management.
Additionally, most eCommerce software packages are intended to accelerate online store deployment. With professionally-styled design portfolios and templates, retailers can rapidly create and launch their online storefront without hiring an expensive graphic design team.
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) Tools
Delivering a convenient online shopping experience to consumers is important, but ensuring that they can even find your store in the first place is vital to your sustained profitability. A truly effective eCommerce platform will include advanced SEO capabilities so that you can optimize your site for Google, Yahoo, Bing, and other search engines, guaranteeing it will in search results for your products.
Affiliate and Online Advertising Program Support
A number of online retailers work with affiliates in order to leverage cross-promotion on related sites. Many others put ads on various sites to promote products and services. If online ads or affiliate sponsorships are a big part of your company’s marketing strategy, you’ll need to find an eCommerce solution that can track your initiatives and how effective they are.
Inventory Management Integration
Your eCommerce software should link directly to your business’s inventory or warehouse management systems in order to prevent delays or errors in fulfillment. If you don’t have warehouse management software already, many advanced eCommerce packages can also dynamically remove unavailable products from product catalogs and search results.
Support for International Customers
In order to better leverage every possible sales opportunity, it’s essential to choose an eCommerce platform that will support international commerce. Look for features such as dynamic product description translation or conversion tools for foreign currencies.
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