19 Jul, 2017

Are E-commerce Stores Going Back to Old School Platforms?

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E-commerce businesses like Amazon are looking toward more traditional platforms such as brick and mortar stores to target their customers.

This was first implemented when Amazon acquired retail giant Whole Foods, as well as opening book stores across the country.

It draws the question, are brick and mortar stores really as absolute as we think?

 This question is a tricky one to answer since E-commerce has gained the reputation to be taking over the retail industry.

“In the last twenty years, e-commerce has entirely revolutionized retail. It went from being an essentially non-existent business model to becoming a potential threat to the traditional mall as we know it.” Forbes reported. 

First, let’s take a look at a few e-commerce platforms that enable e-commerce businesses to thrive.

Shopify

Shopify is an e-commerce software platform that enables businesses to sell products online by providing a customized domain name and services.

“Selling your products in many places should be every bit as simple as selling in one. With Shopify’s e-commerce software, you get one unified platform to run your business with ease.” Shopify states.

Fully customize your online store

By customizing your online shopping space, a unique shopping experience is created that is exclusive to the business.

Once this shopping experience is built, a targeted audience is formed, which benefits the CMO’s trying to engage with consumers.

“…customer expectations are soaring, but retailers who don’t meet the new shopping experience standard may see a serious slump in sales as a result.” Shopify reports. 

Add new sales channels in seconds

A sales channel makes products and services accessible to customers by bringing them to the market.

Shopify gives businesses the ability to add new sales channels instantly, which creates an immediate relationship between the business and the customer.

“Selling the same product across multiple sales channels used to be complex and frustrating. Shopify gives you one unified platform to do it all.” Shopify states.

This e-commerce platform offers a variety of online markets that give businesses an option to sell products on such as:

  • Amazon
  • Facebook Shop
  • Wanelo
  • Buzzfeed
  • Kik
  • Wanelo
  • eBay

Manage products and inventory

Shopify is partnered with drop shipping company, Oberlo, that helps businesses find products to sell, hold inventory and handle shipping.

“Oberlo helps you find and add products directly into your Shopify store that you can start selling right away.” According to Shopify. 

Track sales and growth trends

Shopify offers services that make it accessible for members to have access to sales growth as well as developing trends such as:

  • Product reports
  • Export reports
  • Google Analytics
  • Traffic/Referral reports

This can all be done through Shopify’s mobile app, that displays data and tools in order for online businesses to track progress at all times, using mobility to create an accessible way to manage your business.

Volusion

Volusion has been said to be Shopify’s biggest competition.

Volusion leverages the idea of customization by supplying a variety of features that businesses can use for their e-commerce site:

  • Customized layout page
  • Add site search
  • In page editing
  • Responsive themes

Once the site is created, Volusion promotes businesses to sell products by offering a “streamlined system” that includes different means which ultimately direct sales to the site with:

  • Built in SEO
  • Social media tools
  • Amazon and eBay integration

Volusion prides its business functions on offering 24/7 help and guidance for those taking the plunge into the online retail world.

BigCommerce

BigCommerce targets:

Enterprises

“BigCommerce Enterprise is the leading cloud ecommerce platform for businesses making $1 million or more in sales per year” BigCommerce reports.

Small Businesses

“BigCommerce is the most feature-rich ecommerce solution available for small businesses, providing the best ROI for your company.”

B2B Businesses

 “BigCommerce makes it easy to build those experiences, plus includes the specific tools you need to serve your B2B and wholesale buyers. It all integrates deeply with your existing systems and ecommerce solutions for seamless processing and fulfillment.” 

BigCommerce has constructed a content management system that has been formed for businesses of all sizes to use in order to build and grow an online business by:

  • Managing products
  • Processing orders
  • Integrate with leading payment providers (Paypal, Stripe)
  • Promote brand
  • Fulfill orders

These features allow businesses to take care of every aspect of growing an online business, in order to fully emerge into the e-commerce industry.

 E-commerce Stores are Transitioning

Although e-commerce platforms are there to help and guide businesses into becoming online retailers, there are still many factors to tackle:

  • Online real-estate is pricey
  • Competing with giants like Amazon for keywords
  • Tackling a digital brand

“In the last few years, some 20 online companies in the US have launched a physical presence to better market their wares, forge closer customer relations, and yes, boost online traffic and sales. Amazon aside, these include mostly specialty and clothing stores such as Warby Parker, Bonobos, Birchbox and Casper.” According to The Guardian. 

These stores are leveraging popularity online to draw their customers to newly opened flagship stores, in order to have audiences both online and in physically.

“By opening physical stores, they aim to increase awareness and draw customers in a realm where the retail options aren’t infinite or influenced by an all-powerful gatekeeper.” The Guardian reports.

Because of the visual aid that stores offer, the appeal for brick and mortar stores is still there, especially when selling products such as clothing or jewelry.

ABOUT DIGITAL RETAIL TRANSFORMATION ASSEMBLY

Digital Retail Transformation AssemblyLearning about the major e-commerce platforms puts business leaders in a position to understand where their competition is, and what online services they are using. By being informed about the e-commerce platforms that are on the market gives businesses the opportunity to transform their business from brick and mortar, to target the mobile, online customer.

It is clear that brick and mortar stores are constantly battling the digital transformation wave that online retailers have tackled.

The bridge between digital stores and physical stores is gradually being closed, as they come together to received customer engagement.

The Millennium Alliance is hosting North America’s most prominent digital, marketing, technology, and business leaders from the Retail Industry on October 19-20, 2017 at the Grand America Hotel in Salt Lake City, UT, for the Digital Retail Transformation Assembly. By working with the industry, we have put together an event to challenge attendees and anticipate the highly complex digital retail marketing environment that will develop over the next few years.

By working with the industry, we have put together an event to challenge attendees and anticipate the highly complex digital retail marketing environment that will develop over the next few years.

We are thrilled to announce the participation of Martin Barhel, Global Head of eCommerce & Retail Strategy, Facebook, and Brendan Witcher, Principal Analyst, Forrester as speakers at this edition of the Digital Retail Transformation Assembly.

This is not just another “Retail” event. Spaces are reserved for the best in the business. Register your interest here >

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