Anything can be done online now, and one of the biggest transformations in our modern economy is the eCommerce boom. Customers can research and purchase products and services online, giving them unparalleled convenience. Goods come right to their doors without even needing to leave their houses.
But a lot of businesses still have questions about eCommerce. The technology makes it easy for customers, but what about merchants? What must they do to get their online stores off the ground? Additionally, some companies can’t figure out if eCommerce has a place in their industry. Though popularly considered a tool for retailers, does eCommerce also play a role in manufacturing and distribution?
We’re here to clear up any confusion you might have about eCommerce. Let’s look at what eCommerce is and how it can strengthen your bottom line.
Electronic commerce, or eCommerce, refers to any online business transaction. The most popular example is online shopping, in which someone selects and purchases a product or service through the internet. Remember mail-order catalogs? An eCommerce site is essentially a digital version of these, except it makes shopping even easier.
A successful eCommerce strategy requires several elements to come together seamlessly. A payment gateway needs to be able to process multiple electronic payment options, including credit cards, without sacrificing security. Product and inventory information must remain accurate. The site must also be carefully designed to entice visitors and appear on search engines.
Sound complicated? Don’t worry—no business needs to worry about building an online store from scratch. The top eCommerce software platforms include user-friendly tools that allow you to launch your digital storefront within a day. Magento, for example, offers customizable templates to simplify web design while giving you full control over your site. In addition, search engine optimization (SEO) features help you get your store at the top of search results. With Epicor Commerce Connect (ECC), you can also enjoy a fully integrated ERP and eCommerce solution that automatically syncs orders, product information, inventory status and more to maintain precision and efficiency.
An eCommerce platform isn’t just for B2C retailers. An online store is becoming a key differentiator for B2B manufacturers and distributors. Forrester predicts B2B eCommerce to grow to double the size of B2C eCommerce by 2020. Several eCommerce vendors are designed to support complex ordering methods and other concerns for B2B transactions. A well-designed online store enables manufacturers and distributors to gain a competitive advantage in meeting modern customer demands.
Now that you know what eCommerce is, let’s get into the benefits it can bring to your company:
- Available Anytime, Anywhere: There’s no closing times for an online store, meaning anyone can browse and purchase at their convenience. If you equip your site with multi-lingual and multi-currency functionality, you can also expand your global reach. Without the confines of a brick-and-mortar, your online store can generate business from around the world at all hours of the day.
- Lower Costs: Steep costs make starting and maintaining a physical storefront an expensive undertaking. An eCommerce site doesn’t require a sales staff, rent or bills. Your online store can be up and running quickly at a fraction of the cost and reach even more customers. It can also run in conjunction with your brick-and-mortar store to drive more business
- Streamlined Processes: By integrating your eCommerce and ERP systems, you can streamline back and front-office processes. Orders automatically flow from your online store to your ERP solution to ensure fast, accurate order fulfillment. Your eCommerce site will automatically update product availability based on inventory status. With your platforms in perfect sync, tasks can be executed with a high level of speed and precision.
- Improved Customer Experiences: B2B buyers don’t have time to waste. With an eCommerce site, you can appeal to modern customers by delivering fast, easy shopping experiences. Attractive templates and the ability to add rich, interactive content will help you create an engaging online store. Furthermore, using data generated from your site, users can personalize customer journeys and refine sales and marketing strategies.
It’s never been easier to design an online store. As we increasingly rely on the internet to fulfill business goals, eCommerce is becoming an essential for forward-thinking manufacturers and distributors.
The simplest solution for opening your online store is Epicor Commerce Connect. ECC is tightly integrated with Epicor ERP or Prophet 21, so you can streamline processes without manually entering data between your systems. Built from Magento’s robust eCommerce platform, ECC provides an unparalleled assortment of tools to empower you to design the right online store to entice your targeted audience.
An Epicor Gold Partner, Datix has provided premier software solutions and services for over 20 years. Our certified consultants are trained to help each manufacturer and distributor make the most of their Epicor investment. With expertise in ERP and eCommerce, we’ll make sure your online store is adding value to your enterprise.
Ready to launch your online store? Get in touch with Datix today to transform your business through software!