Ecommerce Enablement: Best Business Practices in 2022

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Think of an ecommerce tech stack as your business’s backbone – it needs to be strong in order to support other functions and operate correctly.

Every ecommerce business relies on their tech stack to enable their online operations. You need tools and technology solutions working together in order to receive payments, process orders, and send them to the fulfillment queue.

In this post, we’ll take a closer look at what ecommerce enablement is, how to get started, and what software and tools you can use. Let’s find out.

What is ecommerce enablement?

Ecommerce enablement refers to the process of receiving orders and payments and processing them over the internet. In other words, it’s the enabling of online transactions that are the heart of any ecommerce operation. Ecommerce enablement involves the incorporation of features such as Secure Sockets Layer (SSL), shopping carts, and shipping service tools.

With the promise of convenience and time savings, people are increasingly turning to online stores to make their purchases. As a result, global ecommerce sales are growing exponentially. In 2021, retail ecommerce sales worldwide reached $4.9 trillion and these numbers are expected to grow by 50% over the next four years.

The opportunity to maximize convenience and get a better deal is among the top reason why people choose to buy online. According to Deloitte, consumers believe that online channels offer the best price and promotions, making it the top reason why they buy online vs. in-store. Additionally, many consumers also shop online because it’s the most convenient channel for them.

Faster shipping, fueled by enhanced fulfillment operations, is also adding to the appeal and convenience of ecommerce shopping. Many shoppers are willing to pay premium prices to expedite shipping to get their orders faster. Deloitte found that 49% of survey participants would pay more for same-day delivery and 42% would pay more for next-day delivery. 

Moreover, two-day delivery is also highly appealing to shoppers, with 47% of participants saying that they’d buy online to get their order in two days. On top of this 31% would even pay more to get two-day delivery.

These figures give testimony to the growing popularity of ecommerce shopping, which makes it the perfect time to get involved. Additionally, you can gain a competitive advantage by offering good prices and enhancing the fulfillment experience with express delivery options.

How to sell your retail products online

If you have retail products that you plan to sell online, you’ll want to set up a store so customers can find you. Before that, it’s important that you’re thoroughly prepared to start selling online. Follow the steps below to start selling your retail products online. 

Scout out online competition

One of the most valuable things you can do is look at what your competitors are doing. If there are stores selling similar products online, take a closer look at their approach and strategies.

Based on this research, you can decide on the best channels for your business – online store vs. marketplace or both? You’ll also be able to understand how to better position and price your products to stand out from the competition as well as what shipping options to provide.

Purchase a domain

Next, it’s time to buy a domain that aligns with your branding. Ideally, it should be an exact match to your company name. For example, the domain name for Walmart is walmart.com. 

However, this is dependent on the name of your business. The idea is to keep it short and simple. Hyphens and additional elements should be avoided as well as doubled letters. For example, instead of using michaelsstores.com, Michaels Stores keeps their domain name simple with michaels.com.

Use professional pictures

When shopping online, customers can’t touch the products or see them up close like they do when shopping in-store. They can only assess items by pictures and descriptions while deciding to make a purchase. This makes it crucial to have high-quality professional pictures that will allow them to see the product at different angles and in the best light possible. 

Here’s an example of how professional product photos might look.

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Software and tools enabling ecommerce operations

Effective ecommerce enablement is all about having the right ecommerce tech stack. When selling products online, you need to invest in software and tools that will be able to let you effectively receive and process orders, manage inventory, and automate different tasks. Here are some of the software and tools that enable ecommerce operations and should be part of your tech stack. 

Platforms

First and foremost, you need a platform to sell your products. Look for a small business ecommerce platform that offers design flexibility without compromising speed. Additionally, it should also come with comprehensive analytics tools so you can keep track of your performance. Some of the top ecommerce platforms you should consider are:

  • Shopify – Plans start at $29/mo.
  • BigCommerce – Plans start at $29.95/mo.
  • Wix – Plans start at $23/mo.

Order processing

Next, you also need a robust order management system that will automatically receive and process orders coming from your online store, which will allow you to automate fulfillment. This means the system should be able to integrate with your online store so you can get real-time visibility into ecommerce orders. Additionally, if you plan on selling through multiple channels, it should be able to integrate with all your sales channels.

Ideally, your order management system should also integrate with your inventory management system. This will ensure that real-time inventory levels are updated across all your sales channels.

Some of the best order processing and management solutions to consider are:

Accounting

As you start to sell products online, the number of financial transactions also increases. You’ll have to account for credit card transactions, bank transfers, taxes, invoicing, returns, and many more. This is why you need to invest in comprehensive ecommerce accounting software that will simplify the entire process for you.

Some of the best ecommerce accounting software solutions in the market are:

  • QuickBooks – Plans start at $15/mo.
  • Wave Accounting – Free to use
  • FreshBooks – Plans start at $15/mo.

Shipping

Finally, you also have to think about getting orders delivered to your customers as efficiently as possible while cutting down costs. This is where ecommerce shipping software comes in so you can automatically generate shipping labels and quickly get orders ready for shipping. Ideally, look for multi-carrier shipping software that allows you to compare rates between different carriers and choose the best carrier for each shipment.

You can even find fulfillment software that comes with different features to support different aspects of your ecommerce fulfillment. This may include warehouse management, inventory management, order processing, and shipping. 

Take a look at some of the top ecommerce shipping software to choose from.

  • ShipBob (best for outsourced fulfillment or as a warehouse management system): Pricing on request with basic core fees listed here
  • ShipStation:  Plans start at $9.99/mo.
  • Shippo: Paid plans start at $10/mo.
  • Easypost: Pricing on request
IntegrationFulfillment services and WMSOrder and inventory management Data and analyticsMulti-carrier partnerships
ShipBobYesYesYesYesYes
ShipStationYesNoYesYesYes
ShippoYesNo YesYesYes
EasypostYesNoYesYesYes

How fulfillment enables ecommerce growth

When businesses start to sell their products online, fulfillment often tends to be the last of their concerns. In reality, fulfillment should be central to ecommerce enablement the success of your ecommerce operations relies heavily on getting the right products delivered on time to your customers in the most cost-efficient way possible. 

You should be able to seamlessly keep track of your inventory levels, process orders coming from multiple channels, replenish your stock on time, keep up with changing demand, and accurately pick and pack your orders. This is why many ecommerce businesses turn to a 3PL for order fulfillment as it allows them to leave all these complex tasks to the experts.

A 3PL can simplify your ecommerce order fulfillment by storing your order for you, automatically receiving orders at their warehouses, and moving them to the fulfillment queue. Professionals will pick, pack, and get your orders ready for shipment in the shortest amount of time possible while helping you save on shipping costs with discounted shipping rates.

How tech stacks are geared towards ecommerce enablement

As highlighted earlier, ecommerce tech stacks hold the key to successful ecommerce enablement. Since ecommerce processes largely take place online, there’s a need to leverage software and technology solutions in end-to-end ecommerce. Your ecommerce tech stack refers to all the platforms, applications, frameworks, and other technology solutions that are necessary for running and managing your ecommerce operation. 

At the front-end, your ecommerce tech stack would include HTML and JavaScript, which determine the overall look, feel, and design of your website. The back-end involves server-facing languages and applications including databases, web server, and storage. 

In general, you’d need to build your tech stack around different areas of your ecommerce business including the following:

  • Order and inventory management
  • Order and payment processing
  • Fulfillment and shipping
  • Customer service and support
  • Product information management
  • Enterprise resource planning
  • Omnichannel platforms
  • Returns management
  • Data and analytics
  • Marketing 

Taking advantage of the current ecommerce environment

Traditionally, ecommerce businesses had to rely on multiple software tools and platforms to manage different parts of their operations. Now the environment has evolved with the help of ecommerce solutions that allow these different areas to work seamlessly together. The ShipBob proprietary software, for example, offers a comprehensive fulfillment solution that includes order management, inventory management, and fulfillment.

Then software integrates with your ecommerce store so orders are automatically received and processed in our fulfillment centers as soon as they’re placed. This instantly sends orders to the fulfillment queue, where professionals pick, pack, and get them ready for shipment. Moreover, your sales channels are updated with real-time inventory data so as to avoid selling out-of-stock orders. 

ShipBob’s supercharged ecommerce enablement

ShipBob’s services and fulfillment solutions enable your business to supercharge ecommerce enablement. With a massive fulfillment network and a powerful fulfillment platform, you can leverage ShipBob to start selling products online.

Integrations

ShipBob’s partner ecosystem and integrations allow you to seamlessly scale your ecommerce operations. You can integrate the software with leading ecommerce platforms and marketplaces such as Shopify, BigCommerce, Amazon, and Walmart. Additionally, ShipBob also offers a wide range of integrations for different ecommerce processes such as Gorgias for customer support and Kickpay for financial management.

Distributed inventory

You can leverage ShipBob’s distributed network of fulfillment centers across the nation to store your inventory closer to your customers. That way, you can improve the speed and efficiency of your ecommerce deliveries as orders are sent out from the nearest fulfillment locations. Moreover, this helps to bring down the cost of fulfillment. 

2-day shipping

To improve the fulfillment experience, ShipBob enables you to offer affordable 2-day shipping. This allows you to reduce transit times and improve the likelihood that customers will go through with their purchases because you’re getting their orders delivered quickly.

Order and inventory management

ShipBob’s fulfillment software comes with comprehensive features for order management and inventory management. This gives you full visibility throughout the supply chain and enables you to efficiently manage everything in one place. 

Orders are automatically received, processed, fulfilled, and tracked using the software. Additionally, you can keep track of real-time inventory levels, which allows you to replenish your stock on time and strategically distribute your inventory across different fulfillment centers.

Data and analytics

ShipBob offers a free analytics reporting tool that gives you a comprehensive look at how your ecommerce business is performing. You can use this tool to monitor important ecommerce KPIs related to fulfillment and shipping. Additionally, you also get predictive insights about future demand so you can plan your procurement accordingly.

Returns management

With ShipBob’s returns management integrations, you can simplify the process of receiving and keeping track of returns without having to switch to different software. Plus, you can leverage discounted shipping labels to keep the cost of returns low.

Get started with ShipBob

Think ShipBob will fit into your ecommerce tech stack? Request a quote below to connect with our team.

What is the difference between online and offline commerce?

Online commerce involves selling products through online channels. It may involve selling through ecommerce marketplaces, DTC through ecommerce websites, or even through B2B websites. Offline commerce involves selling products through physical stores or physical distribution centers.

What are the benefits of ecommerce for retailers?

Ecommerce allows retailers to provide a convenient way for customers to buy their products. It also gives them insights into online consumer behavior to better understand their needs and preferences. 

Can ShipBob help retailers sell online?

Yes, ShipBob helps retailers to sell online through multiple channels. ShipBob supports multichannel ecommerce through integrations with leading ecommerce platforms and marketplaces. The fulfillment software also supports multichannel inventory management and simplifies ecommerce fulfillment.

Written By:

Meredith is a Content Marketing Specialist at ShipBob, where she writes articles, eGuides, and other resources to help growing ecommerce businesses master their logistics and fulfillment.

Read all posts written by Meredith Flora