How to Choose an E-commerce Service Provider?

 If there's a popular trend in retail it's about buying and selling online. Online commerce is growing rapidly compared to physical stores. Hence, the umbrella term people use to describe buying and selling on the Internet is known as e-commerce. However, the competitive strength of e-commerce revolves around customer experience.

What is an e-commerce service and how can you choose an eCommerce service provider? This article takes a closer look at analyzing e-commerce and shows you critical factors that you should consider before choosing an eCommerce service provider.



According to the US Census Bureau, online retailers are responsible for nearly 9% of wholesale sales. In other words, internet traders account for roughly half a trillion USD of all trade. In contrast to the rapid increase in online transactions (approx. 15% -17% annually), the growth in the entire retail sector is approx. 5% per year. Most importantly, the trend is even more important. In 2017, about 1.66 billion online retailers spent up to $ 2.3 trillion on shopping. Therefore, the possibility that the sales volume will increase in 2021 compared to 2017 doubles.

Furthermore, it comes as no surprise that some of the largest internet companies in the world are e-commerce companies. As a result, several stationary stores are involved in online trading in order to benefit from the trend and secure their business. This leads us to the question: what is an e-commerce service?

    What is an e-commerce service?

    E-commerce, also known as electronic commerce, comprises all processes that take place when selling and buying goods from the manufacturer to the end consumer via the Internet or online. E-commerce is based on innovations such as: [1]

    • Supply chain management;
    • Automated data acquisition system;
    • Mobile commerce;
    • Electronic data interchange (EDI);
    • Internet marketing;
    • Inventory management systems;
    • Processing online transactions; and
    • Electronic money transfer.

    In other words, e-commerce is the most important sector in the industry. In addition, it is equally influenced by the technological development of the semiconductor industry.


    Ecommerce typically uses the internet for a portion of the trading cycle, although it may use technologies such as email. Additionally, e-commerce retailing includes buying services (such as digital distributions such as iTunes Store) and goods (such as Alibaba clothing). There are also three areas of e-commerce:

    • Online auctions
    • Online retail
    • Electronic markets

    Hence, e-commerce is supported by electronic stores. These online transactions take place either as customer-to-business (C2B), business-to-customer (B2C), business-to-business (B2B) and customer-to-customer (C2C) [2].

    In addition, the words e-business and e-commerce are usually used interchangeably. In other cases, the word retail is used to refer to the process of online retail shopping.

    However, e-commerce businesses can use all or some of the following options:

    • Business-to-business (B2B) trading;
    • Engaging in retail services introducing the latest goods and services;
    • Direct online sale of retail sales to consumers via mobile apps and websites and conversational trading via voice assistants live chat and chatbots;
    • Internet financial exchanges for trading or currency exchange;
    • Electronic data exchange between companies;
    • Participation in online marketplaces that conduct other consumer-to-consumer (C2C) or business-to-consumer (B2C) transactions;
    • Marketing to established and potential customers by fax or email;
    • Use and collection of demographic data via social media and web contacts.

    After all, over the past few years, the use of e-commerce marketplaces like Aliexpress and Alibaba has led to a significant development in online retail shopping.


    How does an e-commerce service work?

    E-commerce works over the internet. Customers can access an online store to browse services or products and place orders from any of their devices. This part briefly explains how an e-commerce service provider works.


    After the order is placed, the customer's web browser sends messages to the server that hosts the online marketplace. In addition, the information related to the order is sent to a central computer called the order manager.


    The information is then transferred to the databases that handle the stocks. This includes the bank computer and the merchant system, which controls the payment process before it is routed back to the order manager. In short, this ensures that there is enough money from the customer to process the order and that there is enough inventory to meet demand.


    In addition, after the order has been confirmed, the order manager sends a notification to the shop's web server. It then generates a message informing the customer that their order was successful. The order manager then transmits the order information to the fulfillment department or warehouse for the services or goods to be delivered to the customer. In this phase, access to a service can be granted, or digital or physical goods can be sent to the customer.

    In conclusion, providers that host e-commerce services can include 2:

    • Online marketplaces that sellers only need to register for, such as Alibaba.com;
    • Open-source tools for companies that can use in-house development; or
    • Software as a Service (SaaS) means that customers can rent online shop equipment.


    Examples of e-commerce services

    By using e-commerce services and shopping carts, suppliers or wholesalers create online shops in which they present their services and products. Owning an online storefront is one of the easiest strategies for doing e-commerce. Numerous e-commerce service providers are also available. Choosing the perfect e-commerce service for your product or service will depend on your preferences, business needs, and financial position. Below we've outlined one of the best e-commerce service providers out there.


    Alibaba.com

    Alibaba.com, part of the Alibaba Group, is a well-known multinational B2B e-commerce service provider. Jack Ma founded it on April 4th, 1999. This B2B platform includes services for both suppliers and buyers, such as online B2B trading, trade insurance, data analysis, digital media, and so on.


    With Alibaba.com launching a small platform for exporters and manufacturers to sell internationally, it has gradually grown into a leading global mobile commerce and e-commerce marketplace.


    Alibaba.com is often cited as a great example of a B2B e-commerce business as it faced several challenges before it became a typical B2B example.


    Alibaba.com is currently one of the largest online marketplaces in the world. For global buyers, the e-commerce platform is exceptionally efficient in sourcing goods in bulk and contacting large suppliers [3]. For manufacturers, wholesalers, and distributors looking to export their products around the world, they can reach over 26 million active buyers from more than 200 countries.


    Other examples of e-commerce service providers are:

    • Magneto
    • eBay
    • Wayfair
    • Shopify
    • Etsy
    • Rakuten
    • Walmart Marketplace
    • Newegg
    • BigCommerce
    • WooCommerce


    7 Tips for Choosing the Right Ecommerce Service Provider

    Since many of the brick and mortar stores have decided to switch to e-commerce service providers, they need to make some plans for the project. This is the time to choose a service provider. But how do you choose the right e-commerce service provider for your business?


    Of course, starting an online business begins with choosing the right e-commerce service provider. But this is just the beginning as there are several factors to consider when comparing different e-commerce solution providers [4]. Hence, here are some tips that you can follow:


    1: Put together a strategic team

    The crucial aspect of any business is the e-commerce service team. So make sure you organize a team of people with a good understanding of both how your company runs and how your company works [5]. This includes marketing, e-commerce product entry service, retail store administration, e-commerce product managers, customer support, and much more. In addition, you save time by having the necessary staff available at the beginning of the project. You also eliminate avoidable errors. Likewise, there will be less resistance to some changes based on decisions made during the process.


    2: Prices and Payment

    You need to consider the price and payment method of an e-commerce service provider. Whether you are already an established physical store moving online or just starting out, you need to be aware of prices. Almost every provider offers a monthly payment option. The price can vary depending on the platform you want, whether jointly hosted or self-hosted. You also need to factor in the platform's processing fees. Most importantly, you consider the pros and cons of each platform to determine the right one for your budget.


    You should also consider the method of payment. Some platforms do not offer third-party payment methods such as PayPal. This can cause inconvenience for your customers, which leads to their shopping cart is abandoned.


    Before choosing an e-commerce service provider, don't ignore the types of fees.


    3: scalability

    The easiest way to understand scalability is a desire not to maintain the same status when starting a business. If you have ambitious development plans then ask yourself. Does the service provider have the experience and skills to help your business grow? What kind of feedback do you get from other customers? Are you serious leaders in the industry?

    The company website is the best place to start your research. Visit the blog/news section, go through the case studies and check their reports or customer service to evaluate their strategic partner. Finally, consider the benefits of the partnership.


    4: integration

    Another factor to consider when looking for the right eCommerce service provider is the plugins and integrations. Some of the best e-commerce platforms, like Alibaba, have multiple tools that you can use to run your online store. The requirements of your shop determine the perfect type of plugin for you.


    Here are some of the most common types of plugins that you need to focus on:

    • An e-commerce plugging that helps you reward your customers for using your goods
    • Accounting plugins to assist with taxes, profits, sales, and revenue
    • Plugins that help with dropshipping
    • Email Marketing Tools For Good Customer Service

    5: Test usability and shop functionality

    Speaking of ease of use, you want to be able to do your job without having to have a deeper understanding of programming and technology terms. In other words, the eCommerce site is expected to be perfectly set up, used over time, and accessible to operate [6].


    First of all, here are a few things to look out for:

    • Storage Units (SKU), SKU Management, and Product

    With the basics set up, uploading multiple products at once from comma-separated values ​​and CSV files is a much faster way to add the latest products to your catalog. At the same time, make sure the e-commerce platform allows it, especially if you have an evolving or colossal catalog.


    • Centralized channel management

    The Current State of Ecommerce Trends to Omnichannel Strategies. Depending on whether you are aware of it or not, customers shop anywhere, anywhere. Be it Alibaba, Instagram or Facebook. It is imperative to make your products available to people across different channels.

    After the launch and sale, you will most likely want to expand to other channels. With multiple ecommerce companies, you need to manage both the platform of the additional channel and that of your ecommerce site. In the meantime, this could get complicated. You can even get penalties from certain online marketplaces if you accidentally break the rules.

    Hence, it is best to look for a centralized channel management site to edit product descriptions and price points. You also need to transfer your products directly to other channels.


    • Setup process

    Does the ecommerce solution offer an easy setup flow outlining what to do before you get started? This includes setting up taxes, processing payments, loading goods, registering domain names, and others.


    • One-click app marketplace

    You need built-in plugins that help you develop your shop without having to hire developers. Use the ecommerce site app to search for essential tools. In short, stay up to date and connected in real time.


    6: SEO friendliness

    Ecommerce businesses, like any other business, need a well-optimized platform. In other words, having your online store high in search results can be hugely beneficial. Customers should be able to find you easily by searching for similar products.


    7: Customer service

    Customer service is an essential aspect of any business. Since a brick-and-mortar store depends on the physical location, the customer experience is in the hands of the employees, especially customer care [7]. However, it is different from e-commerce.


    Remember, server downtime and software failure are out of your control. Downtime can prevent your customers from evaluating your products and services. Hence, it is important to use an e-commerce service provider with a responsive customer care team. Take a look at each service provider's customer service to see:

    • When they are available 24/7?
    • The number of support levels offered and the respective costs.
    • How do you get there?

    Sell on Alibaba.com

    Alibaba.com is one of the best e-commerce platforms for suppliers and retailers looking for ways to distribute their products and services to multiple people around the world. This b2b e-commerce platform strives to meet the demands of sellers and buyers by providing many tools that are needed for their business. As a seller on Alibaba.com, you get more than just a showcase in the world market. You will also benefit from all the factors that we have covered when you choose Alibaba.com as your e-commerce service provider. In addition, you receive full support for your shop development and all associated functions, in order to communicate with your customers and to receive orders.

    Start selling on Alibaba.com by registering here.

    Reference:

    [1] Wikipedia
    [2] e-commerce guide
    [3] google e-commerce
    [4] Sana-commerce
    [5] Thefunmedia
    [6] Bigcommerce
    [7] google