E-commerce platforms are modern tools used by more and more entrepreneurs. When and if is it worth to decide to implement them? What should I do to choose the right platform?
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How does a shop platform work?
The shop platform is an extensive online shop, equipped with additional and advanced functions. It is perfect especially for manufacturing companies and those offering a product range difficult to sell in a stationary shop. Thanks to numerous additions it gives the possibility to easily adjust to the character of a specific business.
A shop on a shop platform or on your own server?
Online shops can be divided into two basic types. The first of them are shops installed on their own servers. The latter, however, operate within the framework of the Internet shop platform, so they do not require installation on the server. Shop platforms save time for entrepreneurs – in their case it is not necessary to pay for the server, buy additional plugins and extensions or make backup copies. The only obligation is to pay the subscription fee on a regular basis. As part of the operation of shop platforms, we can also count on efficient technical support.
Types of shop platforms
The growing number of online shops is accompanied by the emergence of newer and newer solutions for their management. Currently, we can distinguish 4 main types of e-commerce platforms:
- SaaS (Software as a Service),
- based on a licence,
- dedicated platforms.
All of them enable cataloguing products, their sale, accepting payments, e-mail handling of transactions and more. The choice of an appropriate platform should depend on the individual needs and expectations of the company.
Advantages of shop platforms
E-commerce platforms have many advantages. Companies using them can:
- automate sales processes – from accepting orders, through status change and booking payments, to updating warehouse inventories, thus relieving the burden on purchasing or customer service departments;
- gather knowledge about customers – integration with the warehouse and accounting system and automation of communication enables the collection of data about customers, including the history of their orders, which can be successfully used to create personalised communication and individual offers;
- save time and money – thanks to sales automation, online shops are able to serve more customers in a short time and reduce costs, including office and warehouse maintenance costs, consulting costs and market analysis costs;
- operate without geographical limitations – thanks to shop platforms, companies can reach customers not only in the country but also abroad, regardless of the location of the shop;
- increase sales – sales growth is both the main assumption and the final effect of using the e-commerce platform.
E-commerce platforms – benefits for customers
Shopping platforms are a tool that brings a number of benefits both for the online shops themselves and for the customers using them. Convenient access 24 hours a day, 7 days a week enables shopping at their preferred time. Intuitive interface of the platforms facilitates placing orders, both on stationary and mobile devices. Not without significance is also the time saving resulting from both unlimited access to the platform and automation of contact or ordering process. All this results in greater satisfaction of customers who place more trust in the e-shop and become its loyal users.