For every e-commerce website, there is a distinct set of challenges. No one solution is going to solve all the issues of every business.
Finding a system that allows for easy customization is key to solving challenges and maximizing an Internet-based business. That’s something experts at Bayshore Solutions see often, said Richard Read, who serves as director of programming for the company.
“Every online retailer’s business requirements are different depending on the types of products they sell, the region that they sell in, the demographics of their customer base,” said Read.
That’s made providing e-commerce solutions a highly competitive business. Many third parties offer plug-ins and customization for online retailers. However, Read said, most e-commerce solutions address “around 75%” of the common features they think business will need.
He said online businesses that need anything beyond that are “stuck.”
One of the reasons Bayshore Solutions and other companies have promoted and used nopCommerce is because it offers simple and efficient ways to customize a client’s sites.
For example, one of the most popular plugins among online retailers is a custom discount promotion. Because the online business world continues to get more competitive, retailers constantly work at creative ways to attract more customers and win a larger share of the market.
That creativity includes creating product discounts and sales promotions, often planned around holidays throughout the year. Read said nopCommerce’s simplicity of design “makes it easy for us to develop these types of plugins and add them to the system.”
Developers also can speed up the time needed to put plugins in place using nopCommerce’s “wealth of data access services and business logic APIs for developers to hook into,” Read said. Developers also can easily create new functionality and displays on category pages and individual product pages, meaning that no two nopCommerce websites look alike.
Part of the job of Read’s team at Bayshore Solutions is evaluating third-party plugins to ensure their quality and compatibility. According to Read, some of the most popular plugins that online businesses want include the following.
Fulfillment system. Using customized plugins, orders placed online are transmitted to an order fulfillment or warehouse management system. Read said it’s also very common for Bayshore Solutions to integrate a client’s inventory management system with a plugin, which allows consumers to get real-time stock availability information.
Payment gateways. Retailers can choose from many different online credit card payment gateways. Another advantage of nopCommerce is that it has plugins available for all the major gateways (PayPal, Amazon, FirstData, for example) so retailers don’t have to change gateways if they switch to nopCommerce.
Improve customer experience. Many popular plugins are aimed at improving the shopping experience for customers, including product filters, advanced search capabilities, social media integration and one-page checkout. This is another area where customization is possible.
Tax calculators. Because they operate over state lines, online retailers often like to have a real-time sales calculator if they are required to collect sales tax in many different jurisdictions.
Clearly, plugins are key for success in e-commerce. And most cost less than $250. However, Read said business leaders should always go with solutions and developers they can trust.
“It’s important to note,” he said, “that not all plugins are created equal.”