Guide to E-commerce For The Mobile Era – part two

Guide to E-commerce For The Mobile Era – part two. Image Source: Shopify

Over the first part of this guide to E-commerce for the mobile era, I reviewed the key definitions of what e-commerce is, and narrated a bit of its history. E-commerce for the mobile era announces itself as a kind of business revolution and there is a number that symbolizes that revolution: 1.5 exabytes. That’s how much worldwide mobile data traffic was generated each month in 2013, according to a recent report published by Cisco. That number, 1.5 exabytes, means a leap of 81 percent over 2012. Cisco´s report has very interesting and quite intriguing observations about our mobile network consumption habits. What seems to be a fact now, is that businesses have to adapt and take advantage of the mobile environment, as it is there that will reside both the largest challenges for businesses and also the best opportunities.

In the second part of the e-guide  for the mobile era, I will cover security issues, and give some tips on how to implement a B2C e-commerce business.

screenshot of video done by Shopify

Security

One of the most important issues relating to e-commerce is security. How are you going to secure that your website provides a safe experience to your customer, and that the payments accepted in your online shop are trustworthy? There are safety systems that you can apply to your e-commerce platform, such as SSLs

SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) is a standard security technology for establishing an encrypted link between a server and a client—typically a web server (website) and a browser. SSL allows sensitive information such as credit card numbers,  to be transmitted securely. It is important that you get a SSL. Following this guide you will be able to do it properly.

Something else connected with security in the field of e-commerce is the PCI Compliance. PCI stands for Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard, which came up when a group of companies that had different concerns concerning the use of data, got together and created an organization that standardized the rules of online payments. If you go to the PCI Security standards website you will find there all the information you need as a merchant,  to  have PCI compliance.

Beware that if you opt to use already established online payment services such as PayPal or Square, you don’t need to take care of this issues, as these are already taken care of for you by default. That is the case as well of the latest and most popular e-commerce platforms, such as Magento and Shopify.

Implementation Options

How to implement an e-commerce business depends on what model of business you have in mind. Is it a B2B or B2C ?  Let´s imagine it’s a B2C. If so, there are some things you need to take into consideration:

  • How is Your Store Front Going To Be ? How will you build your own site and what steps can be made to have it optimized to the mobile devices ? You will need to design an attractive front store, upload your catalogue, establish payment services and have your store front optimized for mobile.
  • Administration Issues: How will you upload your catalogue of products? Here you will have to make some options. Will you use a SaaS (software as a service) or build your own store from scratch ? To use a SaaS seems quite wise, as there are now various alternatives out there, all very easy to implement. Examples  of such shops are Magento, Volution and Shopify.
  • Payments: What will you use to make payments? Some payment systems need programming, whereas others no, such as  Paypal or Google wallet. You can use various payment gateways such as Authorize.net or Stripe. Payment gateway is a service that you ‘plug in’ to your store in order to accept credit card payments. Stripe is a company that provides a way for individuals and businesses to accept payments over the internet, both web and mobile payments. It is beautifully designed, and enables cross device payments.

Case Studies: Complete e-commerce solutions for the mobile era:

  • Shopify is a complete ecommerce solution that allows you to set up an online store to sell your goods. It lets you organize your products, customize your storefront, accept credit card payments, track and respond to orders — all with a few clicks of the mouse. Shopify was founded in 2004 by Tobias Lütke, Daniel Weinand, and  Scott Lake,  when being frustrated with the difficulties of opening an online store for snowboarding equipment. Lukte, a programmer mentions: “to make a long story short, after trying a series of existing online store software packages, I got so disgusted with the quality of the whole lot, that I wanted to do something about it just to spite them”. He decided to design a custom store coded in what was then an obscure open source platform. After two months his online store Snowdevil was launched, and two years later, in 2006, the founders began sharing the code to help others sell their items online. The usefulness of Lütke’s product was to provide a template for online stores, that could be used by clients, that would provide their own pictures of their products. Nowadays, more than 15,000 Internet merchants use Shopify to conduct transactions daily. The following video, made by shopify, illustrates some of the potentialities of this platform.

  • Magento is a feature-rich eCommerce platform built on open-source technology that was launched in 2007. Magento provides online merchants with great  flexibility and control over the look, content and functionality of their eCommerce store. Magento’s intuitive administration interface features powerful marketing, search engine optimization and catalog-management tools. Merchants have as such the power to create sites that are tailored to their unique business needs. It has three editions: a free, open source ‘community’ edition; the ‘Go’ version (aimed at SMEs) and the ‘Enterprise’ edition . The Magento Community Edition has been downloaded over 4 Million times, giving Magento almost 10% of the eCommerce market share globally.
Screenshot of website Magento
  • Integrating the various online market platforms: It might happen that you will have your products in a variety of different online market places: your own store, magento, shopify, ebay, amazon etc. How to navigate the array of information spread in so many different channels? You can use aggregators.  Aggregator refers to a website or computer software that aggregates a specific type of information from multiple online sources.  eCommerce sites regularly send datafeeds of their product catalogs to shopping site aggregators. An example is Shopzilla  that operates a portfolio of shopping web sites, with greatest experience as a price comparison service. Another example is Channel Advisor that provides cloud-based e-commerce solutions that enable retailers and manufacturers to integrate, manage and optimize their merchandise sales across hundreds of online channels including Amazon, Google, eBay, Facebook and more. The following short video, done by Channel Advisor, illustates such possibilities.

Additional resource:

An infographic, done by Red Stag Fulfillment has valuable information on how your ecommerce store is leaking money and what to do to solve this issue.

Image source: http://redstagfulfillment.com/ecommerce-store-leaking-money/

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