eCommerce software — everything you need to know

If there’s one thing that eCommerce businesses couldn’t function without, it’s eCommerce software. There are many different types of eCommerce software, including platforms like Shopify or Wix, which are often supported by complimentary software in the form of apps, plugins, addons, and integrations.

There’s also order management systems, customer relationship managers, warehouse management systems, marketing automation tools, and so on. We could spend the whole day listing them if we wanted to!

Today, we’re taking a deep dive into eCommerce software, explaining what eCommerce software is, what you can do with it, and the benefits it can bring to both your business and your customers.

What is eCommerce software?

Put simply, eCommerce software refers to digital products that help make managing an eCommerce business more efficient and accessible. Rather than staring at a bunch of complex code and data, eCommerce software takes the code and data to present it in a user-friendly way, allowing you to interact with it without the need for vast amounts of technical knowledge.

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Some large businesses develop their own eCommerce software in-house to provide a truly bespoke solution to their needs. However, developing eCommerce software takes a long time, and is very expensive to build and maintain. It’s simply not suitable for SME eCommerce businesses.
Therefore, most eCommerce businesses opt to outsource to a SaaS (software as a service) solution. With SaaS, there is very little to worry about on the technical side of things, and to stay competitive, SaaS companies constantly upgrade their tech with more features and flexibility.

What can you do with eCommerce software?

With eCommerce software, you’re able to manage various aspects of your eCommerce business.

Every piece of eCommerce software is different, but the software worth your time and money will share common features. Here are some of the most common things you can do with eCommerce software.

Product management

With eCommerce software, you’re able to manage all of your product information in one place. You can upload photographs of products, submit comprehensive product descriptions, add variants, and all other information that’s necessary for your customers to know. This data can then be transferred across to a product page on your online store.

Product management software is especially useful when you want to run a sale, create bundles, or generate discount codes.

Build a website

Many eCommerce software platforms have website builders built into them. It’s never been easier to build an eCommerce website, as the days of needing to know complex code are a thing of the past.

Most eCommerce platforms offer a number of pre-built website templates for you to customise to your liking. Once you’ve selected and customised a template, you’ll then be able to build pages, usually by dragging and dropping pre-built elements and adding your own customisation, all without code!

While website builders don’t offer as much flexibility as a custom-built website, they’re much easier and cheaper to put together.

Improve marketing

eCommerce software can help you streamline and optimise your digital marketing efforts. There are many types of digital marketing, including social media, search engine optimisation (SEO), pay-per-click (PPC), email marketing, and more.

There are many different pieces of software to improve each type of digital marketing, and most come in the form of integrations or plugins. They’re designed to help you get seen online, thus bringing more traffic to your website. You’ll also get data and insights for reporting, and to better understand what’s working, what isn’t, and what to try next.

There’s a lot you can do with marketing software. We could dedicate a whole article to it, but instead, here’s some of the basic, but effective, things you can do:

  • Schedule posts across all your social media channels much easier, and get recommendations on what time of day is best to post.
  • Find topics within your industry that people are interested in. You can write about them and bring more traffic to your website.
  • Make your website more SEO friendly
  • Find out how people interact with your website, and make changes to reduce bounce rates and improve conversions
  • Collect email addresses, segment customer data, and create personalised email marketing campaigns

Warehouse and inventory management

A warehouse management system (WMS) is a piece of eCommerce software that you can use to optimise storage costs, and the efficiencies of your supply chain and fulfilment process. A good WMS collects data on all aspects of your warehouse operation, such as where goods are in the supply chain, which SKUs are selling and which are struggling, how much your storage space is costing you per month, and much more.

Inventory management is a subsection of warehouse management that involves the recording and tracking of inventory as it enters the warehouse,

A warehouse management system works best when it is integrated with your website and shopping channels. It creates a centralised system where data can be best utilised for smart business decisions.

Shipping management

eCommerce software can automatically assign orders to the most appropriate carrier and shipping service, whether you want to prioritise speed, cost, or your customer’s specific requirements. Furthermore, you can use shipping software to automatically print the correct shipping labels, send email or SMS notifications to customers, and manage tracking codes.

Customer service

You can use eCommerce software to offer better customer service with minimal manual work required from your end. For example, with customer service software you can set up trigger points – such as at point of purchase or dispatch – to automatically email your customers, keeping them in the loop.

Another popular piece of eCommerce customer service software is website live chat. It allows customers to speak with your business directly through your website, or, you can set up automated responses to point customers in the right direction.

Benefits of eCommerce software

eCommerce software helps businesses stay competitive, pursue growth, and offer a better customer experience. Some of the benefits include:

Boosts revenue

eCommerce software can help you to boost revenue in a number of ways, whether that’s generating more sales via helping you attract new customers to your website, keeping your customers engaged with your brand, or helping you to create a fantastic user experience on your website.

More data

The eCommerce industry generates a mind-boggling amount of data. eCommerce software can take the important data – whether that’s customer information, inventory analysis, or shipping rates – and present it to you in an accessible way. Good eCommerce software will offer insights and recommendations based upon the data, and give you plenty of customisation over what data you want, or don’t want, to see.

Saves time and money

Time and money are two of the most important assets for anyone running an eCommerce business. eCommerce software saves huge amounts of time at virtually every stage of the operation, mainly thanks to the automation of so many tasks.

Money savings can also be made in both the short and long-term. In the short-term, using eCommerce software removes the need to hire expensive in-house software developers to design and build your tech. In the long-term, businesses can use eCommerce software to constantly identify areas where productivity and efficiency can be improved across the supply chain and fulfilment process.

Creates customer loyalty

It’s much easier to create a fantastic customer experience through every step of the fulfilment process with the help of eCommerce software. You can make buying products from you simple and engaging, offer them personalised product offers based on their preferences, keep them updated on the status of their orders, nurture them with emails and discounts, and much, much more. All of this contributes to creating a brand your customers love, thus increasing their loyalty.

Improves efficiency

When you are able to automate a lot of tasks, efficiencies naturally improve due to human error being removed. Furthermore, as your software continues to collect data, you’ll regularly be able to make smart business decisions on how to take your business forward, where costs can be cut, and where productivity can be improved.

Similarly, more time on your hands means more focus on making other aspects of your business more efficient, such as marketing our product development.

ControlPort – the award-winning eCommerce software from James and James Fulfilment

At James and James, we’ve developed our own industry-leading eCommerce software that changes the game for us, our clients, and their customers. James and James are an eCommerce Fulfilment provider with locations across the world, and we’re powered by our amazing, multi-award-winning platform, ControlPort.

At our end, ControlPort enables us to fulfil orders at 99.999% accuracy, and ship 98% of orders on the same day they’re made. This is thanks to ControlPort being a huge part of every step in the fulfilment process, from goods coming in, to picking, packing, shipping, and processing returns. It’s a custom-built eCommerce fulfilment specifically designed for us, and our clients.

It’s for our clients where ControlPort really begins to shine. Via the ControlPort dashboard, our clients are given real-time updates on the status of their goods, as soon as they enter one of our facilities right up until they’re in the hands of their customer.

It’s a forensic level of detail, where clients can do everything from identifying where goods are being held up to spotting which are going out of date and might need clearing via a sale. Our clients have complete clarity and control over their inventories, making inventory management a breeze.

To top it all off, our software provides real-time, whitelabelled updates to your customers on the status of their order. They’ll be able to follow it through the fulfilment process as it’s being picked, packed, and shipped, keeping them in the loop at all times!

We’re helping businesses across the world boost sales, grow, and Scale Up. If you’d like to learn more about how our software and fulfilment service can help take your business to the next level, please feel free to get in touch.