If you’re operating an ecommerce business, you have lots options to configure the ideal ordering and fulfillment process. But with so many choices available, it’s difficult to sort through which tools you’ll need, and which will just bloat your operation or require additional spending. When it comes down to it, there are just three main ecommerce solutions that can make or break your online business, in terms of efficiency.
Here are the three pillars required to create a streamlined ecommerce business.
A quality shopping cart platform
There are lots of shopping carts available, many of which are designed specifically to support ecommerce businesses. But how can you tell which cart will help streamline your business versus options that add cumbersome, unnecessary features?
One of the main points to remember when selecting a shopping cart platform is to take into account not just your current cart requirements, but how and where you see your ecommerce business expanding in the future. By taking into account the ability to grow your business – both vertically and horizontally – in the future when selecting your shopping cart solution today, you create a smooth transition as your company’s sales increase.
Features to look for when selecting a shopping cart solution:
- Multi-store management capabilities
- The ability to add new URLs or themes
- A cart that is easy to customize without requiring lots of additional coding
- A cart with a vibrant network of partners and members
- Frequent updates that keep pace with current technology and consumer shopping habits
- An open API for easy future connections
- A cart with specific B2B features, if yours is a B2B company
A flexible ecommerce integration system
Your ability to fulfill orders in a streamlined manner is dependent on the flexibility and performance of your integrations. Not only should your ecommerce integration software mesh seamlessly with your shopping cart, but it must be able to integrate with other services, such as your company’s fulfillment network.
As with your shopping cart, remember that your ecommerce integration software should be designed to expand with your business, without requiring additional custom coding or deep development. As your ecommerce business expands into multiple domains, your integration platform should be able to keep up by accommodating different scenarios and workflows without requiring a separate system for each.
Remember that to keep your ecommerce business operating without any hiccups, you should select an ecommerce integration software platform that features automatic updates to documents, so you are not required to hire a custom software developer.
A robust fulfillment network
Being able to fulfill orders fast and accurately is at the heart of any successful ecommerce business. If you’re fulfilling orders in-house, make sure your ERP system adapts to your process and doesn’t slow you down.
If you aren’t able to fulfill orders in-house – or you have outgrown this option – then be sure to partner with a proven network. There are many services with long track records of reliable and efficient order fulfillment. Amazon FBA, eFulfilliment Service, and Newgistics are a few – but there are plenty of other services available.
Before selecting the right fulfillment partner, do your homework. Not only look at pricing for actual order fulfillment (usually tied to the size and weight of the products you are shipping), but consider costs associated with storing your products in your partner’s warehouse, how well the partner manages returns and their level of customer service – both toward you and the people buying your products.
Finally, examine how easily their software can integrate with your own ERP, ecommerce or shopping cart systems. If you’re using an all-in-one integration platform that includes this fulfillment partner already, you’ll be able to avoid custom development that drains time and slows down your operation.
New ecommerce solutions are emerging daily to help online businesses sell more efficiently. Don’t get mired in aging systems just because it’s the way you’ve always done business. As you utilize these tools to streamline your ecommerce business, you free up time and space to innovate additional products and services that will better serve your customers.
For more information about how Alluvia’s all-in-one ecommerce integration software can help streamline your business, contact us today.