An e-commerce platform is not just a shopping cart. In fact, e-commerce software is a much more comprehensive solution that includes product management, inventory control, customer relationship management, marketing and analytics tools, etc. Although, it is highly advised to hire a professional to manage your online marketing efforts, including setting up an e-commerce site that is relevant and works when your potential customers are there to buy.
Compared to e-commerce software, shopping cart software often comes in the form of things like website plug-ins or extensions. Furthermore, it is usually limited to just setting up a virtual storefront, payment processing, and maybe some merchant tools. Depending on the website and software, some basic customizations may also be possible.
Experts understand it’s essential to know that there is a big difference between shopping cart software and a full-fledged e-commerce website. Shopping cart software offers an easy way to add items to a virtual shopping cart, but it doesn’t do much else. An e-commerce site should be more than just a place for people to purchase your products. It should be designed to help visitors find and purchase the products they’re looking for quickly and efficiently while offering an enjoyable browsing experience.
Here’s a quick list of basic differences:
- Shopping cart software is limited to just setting up a virtual storefront
- E-commerce software is a custom solution that must be developed and implemented
- Shopping cart software is focused on helping customers purchase products quickly and easily
- Shopping cart software generally has a simpler setup and user interface
- E-commerce software offers more advanced features such as analytics, customer loyalty programs, and marketing automation.
What are the 3 types of e-commerce?
There are three main types of e-commerce: business-to-business (websites such as Shopify), business-to-consumer (websites such as Amazon), and consumer-to-consumer (websites such as eBay). Below is an example of how it works:
- Business-to-Business (B2B): This type of e-commerce is the buying and selling of goods and services between businesses. An example is a manufacturer selling their products to a wholesaler.
- Business-to-Consumer (B2C): This type of e-commerce is the buying and selling of goods and services between businesses and consumers. An example of this would be an online store selling products directly to consumers.
- Consumer-to-Consumer (C2C): This type of e-commerce is the buying and selling of goods and services between consumers, usually facilitated by a third-party platform. An example would be an individual selling a used item to another individual on eBay.
And, of course, in this day and age, we all, well, most of us, understand how e-commerce works. Personally, I have been shopping on Amazon for my kids’ “Santa” gifts since the early 2000s. It was so easy to do while they were asleep versus going to a 24-hour shopping market alone and late at night. As a parent, I learned quickly how wonderful Amazon was for those of us who’d rather be getting their rest for the next day of madness with toddlers than shopping all night at Meijer! Plus, when the unmarked boxes came in the mail, I just threw them up in random spots in my garage like it was nothing, so we never tipped off Santa. Amazon was a success for this family, shh…
Advantages of e-commerce
While there are many advantages for a business to consider in regards to having an e-commerce capability for their customers, we have a mere few below:
- Reduced overhead costs: With no physical store to maintain, fewer overhead costs are associated with running an e-commerce store. This allows businesses to save money on rent, utilities, and staffing.
- Improved customer service: Customers can access an e-commerce store anytime and from any location, making it easier for them to find the products they’re looking for.
- Global reach: An e-commerce store allows businesses to reach a global audience. This opens up the potential for increased sales and larger profits.
- Increased product visibility: With an e-commerce store, businesses can display their products in various ways, allowing customers to browse and compare products easily.
- Automation: An e-commerce store can automate many of the processes associated with running a store, such as inventory management, order processing, and shipping.
- Personalization: With an e-commerce store, businesses can create a personalized shopping experience for customers. This can include tailored product recommendations, personalized emails, and more.
- Increased security: An e-commerce store can provide increased security for customers by using secure payment processing, data encryption, and other security measures.
Ok, so there are a few for the business side; what about the consumer?
What are the advantages of e-commerce for customers?
The speed at which I can make a purchase is at the top of the list for me. Next would be anonymity, not because I care if people know what I am buying, but for the “Santa” factor. Or how about when birthdays come along for those people who live and shop with you? Yes, it can be done and has been done for centuries; however, this is a convenience that I truly enjoy. Speaking of convenience, check out this expanded list below:
- Convenience: Consumers don’t have to leave their homes to shop, as they can access an e-commerce store anytime and anywhere.
- Variety: Consumers can find a wide variety of products on e-commerce stores, making it easier to find the products they need.
- Price comparison: Consumers can compare prices between different e-commerce stores, allowing them to get the best deal.
- Discounts: E-commerce stores often offer discounts on products, allowing consumers to save money.
- Product reviews: Consumers can read reviews from other customers before making a purchase, allowing them to make informed decisions.
- Personalization: Consumers can customize their shopping experience on an e-commerce store by setting preferences, getting personalized product recommendations, and more.
- Security: E-commerce stores use secure payment processing and data encryption to protect customer information and keep their data safe.
Difference between e-commerce and shopping cart
Utilizing e-commerce vs. shopping cart is a great way for businesses to reach more customers and increase their sales. Additionally, e-commerce stores can provide businesses with valuable insights into their customers and their buying habits, allowing them to make better business decisions. And in turn, the consumer also is able to make better, more informed buying decisions.