Article written by Ievgen Kustorovskyi, Head of Magento / Engineering / Ciklum Digital. Ievgen has over 8 years of experience in eCommerce. He is a Magento Certified Developer. Ievgen is also an expert in Agile, being SAFe 4.0 Agilist and ICAgile certified professional.
Online shopping is one of the internet’s most popular activities. E-Commerce is applicable to various business models, including B2C, B2B, B2B2C, MarketPlace, and specialised Loyalty Platform. In this article, we are focusing only on B2C and Online business. Across the world, products can be selected, purchased, and delivered from nearly any digital device — and in many cases delivered in less than an hour. Companies seeking to sell their products in the marketplace without a quality online shopping experience risk losing out to competition just a few clicks or taps away.
While statistically significant, that number still leaves ample room for growth in the digital marketplace. To attract and retain customers, offering a comprehensive eCommerce solution that’s personalized, intuitive and painless is imperative to fueling the growth of online retailing.
Customers often prefer shopping online for convenience, speed, greater product selection, better pricing, more shipping options, ease of comparison and access to reviews. But in order for a digital storefront to offer a better experience than a physical retailer, shopping must be a frictionless activity that guides customers toward finding the right product and making a quick purchase. Outdated website designs, unsecured web technologies and a lack of compatibility with modern digital payments can turn users away from making an online purchase, leading to missed opportunities for building long-term customer relationships. Next-generation physical stores are here to stay to provide a unified customer’s experience.
Fortunately, modern eCommerce solutions can create elegant, seamless online and in-store shopping experiences. Whether it’s an integration with an existing website or a brand new, custom-built solution, putting together a high-quality digital storefront can deliver long-term customer loyalty and keep products flying off virtual shelves.
We suggest our clients consider a two-stage approach in identifying the top 3 eCommerce Solution. In Stage One you should have your key business, operational and strategic drivers. Create a list of a commercial and open-source framework, eCommerce products and technology stacks and apply these drivers to prepare a shortlist. In Stage Two you should have detailed criteria to filter out the shortlisted eCommerce Solution and arrive at the top three picks. This approach will ensure that you have selected your eCommerce solution based on your fission and product roadmap without any influence from existing IT capabilities and constraints.
Here’s a look at some of the most popular eCommerce platforms like WooCommerce, Magento and as well Custom eCommerce Solutions:
One of the web’s most popular eCommerce platforms, WooCommerce is trusted by businesses around the globe. A modular and secure platform built on WordPress, the software powering more than 1/4 of the web, WooCommerce easily and quickly integrates with existing websites. Offering countless themes and extensive customization options bolstered by its open-source roots, WooCommerce is a powerful option for medium-sized businesses seeking power, flexibility and compatibility.
WooCommerce’s extensive WordPress focus makes it possible to seamlessly integrate eCommerce features alongside existing content. Fully compatible with the vast array of WordPress plugins, products can be quickly and easily embedded into blog posts, product landing pages and other types of content. Powerful product sorting and filtering, customer feedback and an unlimited number of images, galleries and products ensure a medium-sized business has the resources necessary to handle its ever-evolving needs.
Whether products are physical, digital or both, WooCommerce features built-in payment processing capabilities, tax options and shipping tools. Through its checkout system, registered users or guests can initiate pain-free, one-click refunds, and shop owners and employees can use WooCommerce to manage inventory and orders and to communicate with customers over email. Powerful extensions can also link a WooCommerce store to a wide array of third-party solutions, including Fulfillment by Amazon, Google Analytics, MailChimp, Facebook and Authorize.net.
WooCommerce’s greatest strength, however, is also its biggest drawback: The eCommerce platform only runs on WordPress. While WordPress powers a significant percentage of the modern web, it’s not used by everyone — and for companies using different content management systems or have custom-coded sites, using WooCommerce would require a serious transition to a new platform. Because it’s an extension of WordPress, WooCommerce also doesn’t offer its own hosting or storage, which could add significant costs to medium-sized businesses that expect high traffic or use lots of images.
Trusted by medium-to-large-sized businesses like Weber, Singer, Orange and the Ripley’s Believe it or Not! Bookstore, Woo Commerce‘s simple WordPress integration makes it a powerful choice for companies looking to quickly integrate a secure and painless eCommerce experience.
Magento Commerce offers medium-sized businesses a powerful platform to create unique, personalized shopping experiences. Under the umbrella of Adobe, one of the industry’s leading names in creative software, Magento Commerce lets eCommerce companies craft elegantly designed and intuitive shopping experiences with simple drag-and-drop editing tools. Putting flexibility and control in the hands of merchants, Magento Commerce delivers a smooth path to purchase through effortless brand interactions.
Although Magento 2 Open Source and Commerce share the list of core features, the paid edition adds more value to online merchants and their customers. Magento 2 Enterprise features are comprehensive scalability enhancements to the database, customer loyalty, order management, SEO, checkout experience, and more. Magento Cloud edition provides you self-managed, automated hosting platform with a great capability to scale and provision resources.
The full-featured Page Builder of Magento Commerce allows eCommerce companies to own their narrative through powerful content creation tools. In-line editing features, reusable dynamic blocks and publication schedules make it easy to quickly deploy new content. Engaging page designs with flexible content layouts for desktop, tablet and mobile can keep consumers interested in product images, videos and banners. Whether it’s through Page Builder’s fully customizable layouts or a blank slate, Magento Commerce lets eCommerce companies create unique and responsive shopping experiences.
Magento Commerce also integrates tools for customer segmentation and personalization, enabling eCommerce companies to boost conversation rates through context-rich targeted content. Instant purchase capabilities make it possible to bypass a traditional checkout, allowing customers to breeze through the checkout process by shaving off time-consuming steps.
For medium-sized businesses, Magento Commerce’s business intelligence and operations feature offer tools to maximize efficiency through automation and data. Magento data can be easily accessed and analyzed for a holistic view of the business, including conversion rates, the effectiveness of marketing campaigns and retention efforts. Order and inventory management capabilities also allow for operational efficacy of inventory tracking and product fulfilment and can be fully integrated with enterprise-grade ERP software.
The Magento Marketplace also offers a full range of extensions for integrations with other eCommerce solutions, like PayPal and MailChimp. Extensions for professionally-designed themes, additional SEO capabilities and enhanced digital security make it easy to for eCommerce companies to integrate new features on a one-by-one basis, allowing for the creation of a comprehensive experience without the need to incorporate unnecessary features.
Because of its flexibility, customization, and ability to create a data-driven, highly-personalized shopping experience, Magento Commerce is an ideal choice for medium-sized businesses seeking full control over their digital storefront. Companies like HP, Albertsons, Marie Claire and Shinola use Magento to power eCommerce experiences across a wide range of devices. For companies that desire the ability to custom-tailor a professional digital presence without added developers, Magento Commerce remains a powerful eCommerce choice.
Custom eCommerce Solution
Off-the-shelf components enable companies to build eCommerce experiences on their own using common sets of tools, but for truly customized and unique customer experiences, a custom eCommerce solution offers the chance to create unique and immersive digital shopping experiences. With WooCommerce and Magento, which offer varying degrees of flexibility and ease-of-use, even the most finely-tuned solutions can run the risk of offering the same eCommerce experiences as other companies. A custom eCommerce solution allows companies to use their digital presence as a point of differentiation.
Approaching a custom eCommerce solution isn’t necessarily the same thing as installing a new WordPress plugin; instead, the experience can be fully dictated by the needs of the company. After exploring business objectives, custom solutions can deliver user experiences that are updated and refined as frequently as necessary. Using comprehensive architectures, QA toolkits and AI frameworks, custom solutions can accelerate the time of deployment while reducing the risks of developing in-house. Rather than relying on drag-and-drop functionality, a custom solution can be tailored to meet the specific use case of any company without additional overhead or complexity.
Ciklum’s Digital Commerce and Retail solutions allow companies to modernize their eCommerce business models for the future. Incorporating AI-driven sales data, advanced visualizations and multichannel fulfilment capabilities, Ciklum’s custom eCommerce solutions can spearhead everything from a full website redesign to the development of a fully-customized eCommerce experience. Rather than relying on in-house staff to tweak settings in a traditional CMS, Ciklum’s award-winning developers can create seamless and unique user experiences that offer frictionless shopping experiences for customers backed by intuitive management functions for back-office users.
Built using modern technologies like MongoDB, Python, Laravel and Docker, custom eCommerce solutions can be deployed anywhere and are easy to host through providers like AWS. Ciklum Core technologies also offer full CRM, CMS and ERP capabilities to provide a thorough platform to build relationships with customers, manage content and integrate with fulfilment centres. Customized solutions can also incorporate forward-facing features like image and voice search, loyalty programs and AI chatbots to deliver a modern and unique shopping experience.
Custom solutions can also be tailored to meet the budget of any medium-sized business. Rather than pouring resources into unnecessary features, hosting or annual subscriptions, a custom eCommerce solution can be built with a specific amount in mind to ensure a sustainable long-term operation.
Custom eCommerce experiences give organizations greater control and flexibility over their online retail operations, allowing for the creation of a fully-realized platform tailor-made for a particular brand, customer or audience. Ciklum’s custom eCommerce solutions are used by major brands across a wide range of industries: Thomas Cook, Jabra, Fashionette, Just Eat and Stylepit to name a few. For an eCommerce solution that’s perfectly matched to a company’s specific needs, Ciklum’s Digital Commerce for Retail delivers a powerful, flexible option that is ready to meet the needs of customers today and into tomorrow.