This goes to the heart of commerce. There has to be an exchange of value. If one of the parties to the transaction is paying money, the other one should provide a product or service in return. We have reached a point where almost all goods that sell in physical stores also sell on e-commerce websites — gadgets, books, automobiles, grocery, toys, and apparel among others.
There Needs Be a Mechanism to Accept Orders
When the customer has browsed through your e-commerce website and decided that they would like to buy, there has to be a process that accepts their order.
In addition to making a note of what is being purchased and updating the order database, the shopping cart performs several other tasks:
- calculating taxes
- processing of coupons or discounts
- obtaining the billing and shipping address of the customer (which can be different)
- up-sales (enticing the customer to purchase more items, upgrades or other add-ons in an attempt to make a more profitable sale)
- user acceptance of terms of service and other conditions of sale
- creating and keeping track of invoice numbers, order numbers, tracking codes (for shipping)
- real time delivery options based on sellers shipping location and total shipping weight and the options for shipping costs to the customer (overnight, etc)
- connecting to the payment gateway so that the customer can put in their credit card information and their information (credit card, billing info, etc) can be verified electronically by the gateway
- (in the case of downloadable digital goods) redirecting paid customers to the download page.
The software that runs this process is called a shopping cart.
We Need a Payment Mechanism
In most cases, an e-commerce transaction involves transacting money. This process is conducted by a piece of software called the payment gateway. The payment gateway provides the customers with payment options and authenticates customer’s provided info (address, credit card CVV code, etc)
The Product Needs to Be Delivered
One of the key aspects to a successful e-commerce endeavor is that the product needs to be delivered in a timely fashion. One of the most disappointing features of online purchase is the indeterminate and inordinate delay in receiving goods.
As a result, e-commerce businesses need to ensure that the right product is delivered to the customer, in good condition, and within the period that the customer expected. Since logistics is a specialized function, several e-commerce businesses outsource it to third party logistics providers.
Customers Need to Be Serviced
Customers need to be serviced pre-sales as well as post-sales.
Before the sale, customers might have queries about product features that are not mentioned on the website. They might have questions about customization and accessories.
After the sale, customers might have queries related to the usage, repair or enhancement of the products or services that they have already purchased.
If your head is spinning at the thought of how to set this all up, no worries, it’s what we do! Contact us and we will be more than happy to discuss the options you have as well take care of the technical details.