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E-commerce software solutions explained

Written by
Saad Merchant
Published on
February 9, 2024

There are an estimated 12 million to 24 million e-commerce stores around the world, with more and more businesses building online stores by the day. One of the most effective ways for businesses to build, manage, and grow online stores involves implementing e-commerce software solutions or cloud applications. These range from SaaS (Software as a Service) platforms and e-commerce enterprise solutions to build small or large webshops to CRM, PIM, Marketing Automation software, artificial intelligence for e-commerce or AI commerce software, and many other e-commerce tools. Let’s explore the different types of e-commerce software solutions!

What are e-commerce software solutions?

E-commerce software solutions include digital products that help businesses build online stores and e-commerce tools for marketing, sales, shipping, order fulfillment, and more. They are also classified as specialized applications that help facilitate online transactions, streamline business operations, and elevate overall customer experiences. At their core, these robust systems cover a wide spectrum of functionalities, ranging from efficient inventory management to seamless payment processing.

Most modern e-commerce software solutions like Shopify & BigCommerce are now cloud-based SaaS (Software as a Service) solutions available on subscription online. However, there have also been long-standing e-commerce enterprise solutions like Magento (now known as Adobe Commerce) and WooCommerce (WordPress) that offered self-hosted, on-premises models.

How do e-commerce software solutions work?

In simple terms, instead of businesses needing to build online stores, e-commerce tools, or platform features from scratch, by implementing an e-commerce platform like Shopware or Shopify, businesses can instantly set up an online store. These platforms provide a wide range of pre-built web shop templates, features to list products and manage inventory, a secure payment gateway, and a checkout system. They also provide shipping, order fulfillment, and marketing features.

For additional or enhanced e-commerce tools or features to market and manage products, businesses can create e-commerce integrations with other e-commerce software solutions, which range from CRM systems and PIM systems to Business Intelligence and AI commerce tools.

The different types of e-commerce software solutions

There are several kinds of e-commerce software solutions, each tailored to help online businesses with features and e-commerce tools to improve customer experiences, sales and marketing efforts, support, order fulfillment, and operations. These include:

  1. CRM e-commerce software solutions
    Customer Relationship Management (CRM) systems provide valuable e-commerce tools to enable efficient management of customer interactions and data. They help aggregate customer preferences and communication history, helping streamline sales and marketing efforts. CRM systems like Salesforce and HubSpot provide features for lead management, sales automation, and customer engagement.
  2. PIM e-commerce software solutions
    Product Information Management systems are central hubs for managing and organizing product data. These solutions enable businesses to maintain a single, accurate, and consistent source of product information across various channels. PIM systems, such as Akeneo and Pimcore, help businesses enhance the quality of product data, optimize catalog management, and ensure that updated and accurate product information is readily available for customers.
  3. POS e-commerce software solutions
    Point of Sale (POS) software helps bridge the gap between online and offline retail by facilitating transactions at physical locations. Systems like Square and Lightspeed Retail offer features like inventory management, payment processing, and sales analytics. POS systems enhance the overall customer experience by providing a unified platform for in-store and online sales, inventory tracking, and seamless order processing.
  4. Channel marketplace e-commerce software solutions
    Marketplace channels like ChannelEngine and Channable provide e-commerce tools for businesses to sell products from their e-commerce store through third-party marketplaces like Amazon and eBay. This allows businesses to reach a broader audience by leveraging established online marketplaces. These solutions offer a ready-made audience, simplified logistics, and access to various marketing tools.
  5. WMS e-commerce software solutions
    Warehouse Management Systems (WMS) systems are critical for businesses involved in inventory management and order fulfillment. These systems optimize warehouse operations by efficiently tracking inventory, managing stock levels, and streamlining order processing. Examples of WMS solutions include Istia and MontaWMS, which enhance warehouse efficiency, reduce errors, improve overall supply chain management, and help optimize inventory levels.
  6. E-commerce enterprise software solutions
    For larger enterprises that require e-commerce tools for even more complex requirements, bigger product catalogs, and higher transaction volumes, there are e-commerce enterprise software solutions such as Salesforce Commerce Cloud and Shopify Plus, among others. These e-commerce enterprise software solutions provide advanced features like multi-channel selling, advanced analytics, global expansion capabilities, and robust integration with other enterprise systems like ERP. In fact, most large businesses and enterprises that govern all their operations using an ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) system, are now discovering a myriad of benefits from integrating their ERP with e-commerce. Integrating these two critical systems helps synchronize data across various departments, such as finance, inventory, and customer service, which helps ensure real-time updates on product availability, order status, and financial transactions, which improves inventory management and order fulfillment.
  7. AI commerce software solutions
    Leveraging AI for e-commerce is one of the latest trends. Businesses are harnessing popular AI solutions like OpenAI by integrating them into their tech stack. As such, leveraging artificial intelligence for e-commerce is helping automate inventory management, product information management, content creation, and more. Businesses are also using AI commerce chatbots for their predictive capabilities to provide customers with more effective solutions and recommendations. At the same time, AI-driven analytics enables businesses to gain profound insights into customer preferences and market trends, helping optimize inventory management and pricing strategies.

Read more about the benefits of integrating e-commerce solutions with AI →

The benefits of implementing e-commerce software solutions

E-commerce solutions have made it significantly easier for all kinds of businesses to digitally transform and expand their businesses online rapidly. As such, apart from just B2C (Business-to-Consumer) online businesses, a large number of B2B (Business-to-Business) and even D2C (Direct-to-Consumer) businesses are successfully occupying the digital space by integrating e-commerce software solutions. Apart from retailers, even manufacturers are integrating e-commerce software solutions to digitalize and automate their manual processes, business transactions, and operations.

In conclusion, implementing e-commerce software solutions offers a plethora of advantages for businesses venturing into online retail. One of the primary benefits is the automation of manual tasks, which helps enhance operational efficiency and streamline the customer journey. They offer user-friendly interfaces, secure payment gateways, and specialized e-commerce that contribute to an improved overall shopping experience. Most importantly, unlike traditional brick-and-mortar setups, e-commerce software solutions offer businesses unparalleled scalability, allowing them to grow their business online without any limits.

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