Within our new normal, e-commerce for many has become a great solution to navigate through the uncertainty brought upon us by the Covid-19 pandemic. Allowing businesses to continue trading while still observing strict social distancing measures, e-commerce helps to broaden the reach of businesses and grow their client base into areas that would otherwise be unreachable. With the addition of platforms such as Shopify or Wix, e-commerce has never been more accessible. Yet, even with the ease granted by these e-commerce platforms, some businesses still struggle to successfully implement their business into the digital realm.
Generally speaking, the 2 most comment types of e-commerce platforms are: Software-as-a-Service (Saas) platforms and Platform-as-a-Service (Paas) platforms. SaaS platforms involves only the use of software, an example here being Shopify, whereas PaaS platforms offer both hardware and software over the internet, an example being Amazon Web Services (AWS). Using e-commerce platforms offers a host of different benefits such as:
- Ease of customization
- Professional support
- Quicker setup turnaround times
- Operational cost reductions
With the current big e-commerce platforms, smaller businesses no longer need to hire whole IT teams to develop and setup e-commerce stores as long as there are a few computer savvy employees within the business who are willing to invest time into learning the platform and working with the provider’s support team.
With this being said, it is however important for you to choose the correct platform for your business. As each business is unique with its different processes and offerings, not all out-of-the-box platforms will be able to support the wide range of different businesses. Choosing the incorrect platform for your business will lead to unsuccessful implementation and a lot of wasted time. To help in successfully choosing the correct platform, your business should:
- Carefully document each of its core business processes which must be communicated to the platform provider to ensure that they can support your fundamental needs
- Find platforms that offer integration to some of the current software you are using such as your accounting software
- See if some of its processes can be changed to better suit the platform
- Assess if the costs are within budget
More often than not, e-commerce platforms may not offer the perfect solution to your business out-of-the-box and will require workarounds or additional custom solutions to be developed. Fortunately, most platform providers would be able assist in developing a custom solution for you, usually at an additional fee, to ensure your business requirements are properly met.
All businesses should critically assess the use of e-commerce for their business as it can unlock numerous opportunities when implemented successfully. Technology is dynamic by nature and by assessing and realizing these opportunities as they rise, businesses will be able to survive and thrive in these times of uncertainty.
© 2020 Nexia SAB&T. ALL Rights Reserved. Nexia SAB&T is a member of Nexia International, a leading, global network of independent accounting and consulting firms that are members of Nexia International Limited. Nexia International Limited, a company registered in the Isle of Man, does not provide services to clients. Please see the “Member firm disclaimer” for further details.