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2014 – 2015

Established in 2014, SECOMM – Saigon Ecommerce Solutions has specialized in providing ecommerce development solutions based on the top-leading platforms: Magento, Shopify, WooCommerce, WordPress,… in the Australian market.

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Officially partnered with Built With Digital Company to put the objectives in strengthening SECOMM position as well as developing end-to-end solutions for Aussie Clients.

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Made a significant breakthrough with Changi Airport Group in Singapore and Optergy in the USA market.

2020 – 2021

Focusing specifically on the Vietnam market with potential e-industries to help businesses ride out the storm of the COVID-19.

2021+

Has officially become a new member of VECOM (Vietnam Ecommerce Association) and VINASA (Viet Nam Software and IT Services Association) to shorten the path to accompany Vietnam businesses. We simultaneously innovate and transform ourselves to become a full-service ecommerce solution provider.

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Top 5 ecommerce platforms for egrocery
TOP 5 ECOMMERCE PLATFORMS FOR EGROCERY

With the boom in recent years, ecommerce is a potential business form pursued by many businesses, especially egrocery stores. According to Statista, the grocery ecommerce market in the United States is likely to exceed $24 billion by 2023.

Realizing the potential of the egrocery market, several businesses have deployed grocery ecommerce websites early and experienced breakthrough growth, such as Grofers (Blinkit) and BigBasket in India, Bach Hoa Xanh, An Nam Gourmet, Farmer’s Market, WinMart, and Organica in Vietnam.

The common thing that makes the success of the above brands lies in the ecommerce platform. Therefore, to develop and operate an effective ecommerce website, the role of platforms is enormous.

So which ecommerce platforms are suitable for the grocery industry?

Platform selection criteria

User interface and administration interface

For the website interface, in addition to meeting basic needs such as UI/UX standards and showing the brand’s characteristics and the eGrocery industry, businesses also need to focus on the presented product images. Therefore, on the website, everything needs to be synchronized and precise.

The administrator interface (admin) must be easy to use, navigate, control, and manage all data in the system.

Functional system

With eGrocery, the system of ecommerce features needs to be diverse from basic to advanced, solving complex characteristics of the grocery industry such as products with multiple units, weight difference, and price volatility, export-import complex warehouse, and synchronized data throughout the system.

Some functions required in a grocery ecommerce website system such as:

  • Primary functions: Meet the most basic needs when operating an ecommerce system, such as order management, checkout, payment, shipping, etc
  • Advanced Functions: Functions that enhance the consumer experience and accelerate the shopping process such as order tracking, abandoned cart recovery, similar product recommendations, product search fast products, multi-layered product portfolio, etc
  • Specific functions: Functions that help to thoroughly solve the difficulties of implementing specialized grocery ecommerce, meeting the needs of customer segments and businesses such as fast delivery, choice of time delivery point, etc

Integration capabilities

To have a seamless online volatility store system with multiple sales channels, businesses must integrate their ecommerce website with other payment services, shipping services, management software, analysis, report, and distribution systems:

  • Payment: Integrate various payment methods from domestic cards to international cards, such as payment gateways (Paypal, Stripe, OnePay), e-wallets (Momo, ZaloPay), etc.
  •  Shipping: Integrate with international shipping providers like DHL Express, Fedex, Ups, USPS, and popular shipping providers in Vietnam like Fast Delivery, Economy Delivery, Ninja Van, etc. With order tracking applications to help process and operate the delivery processes
  • Management software: Easily integrate CRM, ERP, and POS software to get a seamless connection on all supply channels from offline to online
  • Analysis and reporting: Integrate analysis and reporting software such as Business Intelligent, Google Analytics, Facebook Pixel, etc.

This integration helps businesses overcome the limitations of the “rice-powered” process, increase the automation of the system, limit business mistakes, and ensure high accuracy and performance.

Ability to extension

To accompany businesses to develop over time, from startups, and SMEs (small and medium enterprises), to large corporations, from B2B, B2C, and D2C business models to B2B2C, commerce electronics platforms must be highly scalable. High scalability helps meet all future business growth needs, such as multi-site, multi-country, and multi-currency, all manageable on “one screen.” Not only that, but highly scalable platforms also support businesses to operate the system stably regardless of the traffic in promotion campaigns.

Evaluate 5 ecommerce platforms for egrocery business based on each criterion

Top 5 ecommerce platforms for egrocery
Some platforms that support egrocery business: Ziel Commerce, Shopify, Haravan, WooCommerce, Magento

Ziel Commerce

Ziel Commerce is a readymade grocery ecommerce platform with all the features designed to support an online grocery store business.

Top 5 ecommerce platforms for egrocery ZielCommerce
Ecommerce platform Ziel Commerce

Website interface

Ziel Commerce provides a repository of themes specifically for the grocery industry, allowing businesses to customize according to their needs, helping to both reflect the characteristics of the industry and position the brand image.

Remarkably, the interface for administrators is also invested by the founders to make it most accessible for businesses to use. But currently, Ziel Commerce is not popular in the Vietnamese market, so there is no Vietnamese version for businesses.

Functional system

As a platform designed specifically for the eGrocery industry, Ziel Commerce can meet all the most specialized needs of businesses, including fundamental to advanced functionality systems and existing industry-specific solutions.

Integration capabilities

Ziel Commerce has a significant drawback in integrating the website system. In addition, this platform only supports add-ons available in its ecosystem, so businesses will not be able to link with the ERP, POS, CRM, BI, etc., systems in use. Therefore, when using Ziel Commerce, companies need to transfer all existing data to the server of this platform.

Ability of extension

Although it does not own the source code, Ziel Commerce is still a highly appreciated platform for its scalability compared to SaaS platforms. Ziel Commerce supports businesses to expand their ecommerce website system from one to many stores/websites, multi-language, multi-currency without many obstacles. However, in the long run, Ziel Commerce cannot support businesses to expand or develop new functions because firms cannot affect the source code; if it affects it, it will cause instability for the commercial website system. 

→ Rating: 3/4

Ziel Commerce provides an almost comprehensive online grocery store website building solution for businesses, from website interface and functional system to scalability. However, the implementation cost is relatively high, about $50,000/project in 6 months. Therefore, Ziel Commerce is only popular with retail chains, has high functional demand, and operates mainly abroad. However, when using Ziel Commerce, businesses should consider adding the platform’s integration, limiting instability in the operation when 3rd party systems are not compatible with the platform.

Shopify

Shopify is a SaaS ecommerce platform favored by the international ecommerce business community because of its fast implementation time and reasonable starting cost.

Top 5 ecommerce platforms for egrocery Shopify
Ecommerce platform Shopify

Website interface

Shopify provides a variety of interfaces, including grocery industry and UI/UX standards, but cannot be edited according to the characteristics of the business.

Functional system

Shopify’s functional system is relatively complete, meeting the basic needs of businesses. But to use advanced functions, companies have to pay a certain amount of money every month, leading to an increased cost of using the functional system. In addition, even Shopify can barely provide eGrocery industry-specific resolution functions.

Integration capabilities

Because it is a SaaS platform, businesses cannot affect the source code, and it is not easy to integrate with many 3rd parties. Companies can only integrate utilities provided by Shopify or a platform partner.

Some utilities that companies can integrate with Shopify include:

  • Payment: Paypal, Stripe, SagePay, AliPay Global, etc
  • Shipping: DHL Express, USPS, UPS, etc
  • Administration: Microsoft Dynamic 365 (ERP), Oracle NetSuite (ERP), Acumatica (ERP), etc
  • Marketing: Google Tools, MailChimp, Facebook Pixel, etc

Ability of extension

Similar to the ability to integrate, the scalability on Shopify is not high because businesses cannot influence the source code to edit and upgrade the website. Therefore, online grocery businesses can only use Shopify for the first time.

→ Rating: 2/4

Shopify is only suitable for businesses new to the ecommerce market, startups, or SMEs (small and medium enterprises) because of the reasonable development cost and time to deploy an online grocery store business website.

Haravan

Founded in 2014, Haravan is an ecommerce platform based on Shopify. Currently, Haravan is a popular platform in the Vietnamese market with more than 50,000 business people and trusted brands.

Top 5 ecommerce platforms for egrocery Haravan
Ecommerce platform Haravan

Website interface

Haravan has many standard UI/UX interfaces suitable for the grocery industry, including free and paid. At the same time, the interface for administrators supports Vietnamese and is easy to use, so businesses do not face many difficulties when using it.

Functional system

Haravan provides many utilities – functions for online grocery stores in Vietnam.

In addition, similar to Shopify, to use more advanced functions, businesses have to pay a monthly application fee of about 100,000 VND/month/app.

However, businesses can’t find parts that deal with the grocery’s specifics in Haravan’s app store and can’t develop in terms of specific functions. Enterprises can only use the functions included in the package and app store.

Integration capabilities

For integration capabilities, Haravan can integrate with Haravan’s partners such as transportation (Economic Delivery, Fast Delivery, Ahamove, GrabExpress, etc.), payment (Ngan Luong, VNPAY, Napas, PayPal, etc.), etc.).

It is difficult for businesses to integrate for 3rd party utilities outside Haravan’s ecosystem on their ecommerce website.

Ability of extension

As for the extension of the ecommerce website system, Haravan can only support the multi-language – currency but cannot expand from one to many websites/stores. It is challenging to manage all the data on a foundation.

As the business gradually grows and expands, Haravan will no longer be functional enough to maintain an online grocery store business. As a result, companies are forced to switch to more specialized platforms such as Magento, WooCommerce, and OpenCart. But, of course, switching platforms will create many other problems such as costs, time, personnel, etc.

→ Rating: 2/4

Similar to Shopify, Haravan is only suitable for businesses new to the ecommerce market, startups, and SMEs. But Shopify can support online grocery business globally, and Haravan only stops at the Vietnamese market.

Woocommerce

WooCommerce is an open-source platform in the form of a WordPress plugin, allowing businesses to use it completely free.

Top 5 ecommerce platforms for egrocery WooCommerce
Ecommerce platform WooCommerce

Website interface

WooCommerce and the community provide businesses with various themes designed for the grocery industry. At the same time, this platform also allows influencing the source code to customize according to needs, helping businesses quickly convey brand messages and images.

Since WooCommerce is a WordPress plugin, the admin will continue to manage the website on the WordPress interface itself. This makes it easy for businesses using WordPress to adapt, use, and navigate on the WooCommerce dashboard.

Functional system

WooCommerce supports a variety of features, from basic to advanced. However, this platform has some limitations on features specific to the grocery industry because interfering with developing these functions will easily cause instability for the website system.

Integration capabilities

Thanks to the advantages of the open source platform, WooCommerce has flexible customization capabilities and supports integration with many 3rd party utilities.

In payment, businesses can use amount plugins such as Stripe, PayPal, Apple Pay, and Square to their ecommerce website system with high security and safety. In addition, companies can integrate with many shipping providers such as Fedex, Ups, USPS, and DHL Express. The WooCommerce platform also allows businesses to integrate with management software such as Odoo, Square POS, WP ERP, and Marketing software such as Google Listings, Google Ads, and Facebook Pixel to support businesses in effective business management. More fruitful.

Ability of extension

Contrary to the integration capabilities, the extensibility of WooCommerce is not appreciated. Because the system is easily overloaded with plugin themes, and the number of products does not exceed 2000 SKUs (Stock Keeping Unit). Therefore, businesses wishing to expand their website system need to consider when using this platform in the long run.

→ Rating: 3/4

WooCommerce is the right platform for grocery businesses that use WordPress and are looking to develop an ecommerce system. But when using WooCommerce, companies should consider the limitations of integration, extensibility, and customizability of specific features.

Magento

Magento is a popular open source commerce platform in ecommerce, with nearly 200,000 websites in use. Currently, Magento has 2 versions: Magento Open Source (free) and Magento Commerce (paid).

Top 5 ecommerce platforms for egrocery Magento
Ecommerce platform Magento

Website interface

Although Magento does not own a rich theme store like other ecommerce platforms, businesses can look to the developer community, market (Envato), or design their own. Having many options when designing the interface helps Magento websites to have their uniqueness, avoid overlapping the interface with many different websites and bring a higher shopping experience.

Previously, the admin interface on Magento 1 was often considered difficult to use and took a long time to adapt. As a result, Magento publishers developed Magento 2 with a more intuitive and easy-to-navigate dashboard to overcome this problem.

Functional system

The Magento platform has a highly diverse system of features from basic and advanced to industry-specific to help grocery businesses quickly build and develop a sustainable system.

A basic functional system, including catalog management, product management, customer management, report analysis, etc., helps meet the basic needs of a convenient online grocery store business.

In particular, Magento also has many advanced functions for ecommerce, such as multi-language support, multi-currency, multi-store, PWA, MSI, ElasticSearch, etc. Shopping happens faster.

Magento does not have built-in features only for the grocery industry regarding specific features. Still, businesses can quickly build a system of particular features such as category classification, quick search, and delivery time selection thanks to flexible customization on open source code.

Integration capabilities

Thanks to the advantages of the open source platform, the Magento website can be easily integrated with any 3rd party utilities, from payment, shipping, and business administration.

Regarding payment, Magento easily connects with today’s popular payment methods such as card payments (domestic cards, VISA, Mastercard), e-wallets (MOMO, Zalopay), and payment gateways (OnePay, VNPay, etc.) PayPal) or COD, which helps to diversify payment methods.

Magento can integrate with shipping providers such as Fast Delivery, Economy Delivery, Viettel Post, and order tracking applications.

Magento can be integrated into back-office management software (ERP, CRM, POS) such as SAP, Salesforce, and Oracle to help operate all resources and processes seamlessly in the enterprise.

In addition, Magento also supports integration with business analysis tools such as Power BI, Tableau, and Looker and analysis and reporting utilities such as Google Analytics, Google Tag Manager, and Facebook Pixels to exploit all data from the system. As a result, Magento plans to improve its business strategy.

Ability of extension

Magento allows businesses to expand from one website to many different websites on the same system to meet the needs of business development. In addition, with the available support for language and currency conversion from Magento, businesses can build a grocery ecommerce system with content suitable for a diverse audience of customers around the globe.

In addition, open source customization enables Magento developers to build functional solutions specific to the grocery industry. This advantage makes Magento expand the system of capabilities according to each business size, from small businesses to large-scale corporations.

→ Rating: 4/4

Because Magento possesses many outstanding advantages, from website interface and functional system to the ability to integrate and expand, Magento is suitable for a variety of grocery business models from B2B, B2C to B2B2C, a multiform of enterprise-scale such as startup, SME, enterprise (large corporation). However, the time to deploy ecommerce on Magento is usually long – from 6 months to 1 year, with high construction costs of about 50,000 – 100,000 USD/project. At the same time, businesses also need to have a professional team or cooperate with experienced units to develop an effective grocery ecommerce system. Therefore, Magento is popularly used in the community of large-scale businesses that need many functions to increase user experience.

Top 5 ecommerce platforms for egrocery
Top 5 ecommerce platforms for egrocery

Choosing the right platform is the first and most significant step when building a grocery ecommerce website. Selecting the right ecommerce platform will help businesses save budget and time in building a website while increasing competitive advantage and sustainable growth. On the contrary, choosing the wrong forum will cost businesses a lot of time and budget to deploy and switch platforms. Therefore, companies need to consider the goals and problems in the current model to choose the most suitable platform.

With experience in successfully implementing complex grocery ecommerce systems like An Nam Gourmet, SECOMM understands grocery businesses’ obstacles.

Contact SECOMM now for a free consultation on detailed ecommerce system development solutions!

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nền tảng thương mại điện tử SaaS - Top 3 SaaS eCommerce platforms: Haravan, Shopify and BigCommerce
TOP 3 SAAS ECOMMERCE PLATFORMS: HARAVAN, SHOPIFY, AND BIG COMMERCE
A SaaS (Software as a Service) eCommerce platform is a software-based delivery mechanism for e-commerce business purposes. In short, the supplier develops software to aid in developing an eCommerce system, and the firm must pay a fee to use this service.

Many firms have selected SaaS eCommerce platforms to create e-commerce enterprises for brands because of their essential qualities, which can rapidly install eCommerce at a low cost.

Haravan 

In Vietnam, Haravan is the most popular eCommerce platform that allows multi-channel sales. This platform was officially launched in 2014, aims to assist companies in developing professional e-commerce websites at an affordable cost.

Haravan - Top 3 SaaS eCommerce platforms: Haravan, Shopify and BigCommerce
Haravan is a popular multi-channel e-commerce platform in Vietnam

Themes

Haravan provides many UI/UX themes so that firms may select a design that suits the brand’s image. At the same time, many organizations regard the admin interface to be easy to use. However, companies must pay additional fees to raise the number of admin accounts.

Features 

Haravan has an extensive feature store that supports multi-channel sales for enterprises, including POS (Point of Sales), social commerce (Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, etc.), eCommerce marketplace (Tiki, Shopee, Lazada, Sendo), and company websites.
Furthermore, Haravan incorporates various utilities to enhance the user’s experience, such as cart management, payment services (Momo, Moca, VnPay, Visa, etc), and transportation (Giao Hang Nhanh, Giao Hang Tiet Kiem, Ninja Van, DHL, etc).

Haravan’s essential features, on the other hand, are just enough for businesses to run their web operations successfully but not ideal sufficient for long-term development. In addition, because Haravan is a SaaS platform, organizations find it difficult to customize or expand functionality outside of its ecosystem.

Deployment time

Haravan’s drag-and-drop manipulation allows companies to create an eCommerce website with all the critical functionality for business online in around 30 minutes.

Deployment costs

Businesses must pay a monthly charge ranging from 200,000 VND to 3,000,000 VND based on their demands:

  • Standard (200,000 VND/month): Appropriate for independent sellers
  • Pro (600,000 VND/month): For organizations who wish to implement Omnichannel
  • Grow (1,500,000 VND/month): For firms need automating processes to take care of and resell current customers
  • Scale (3,000,000 VND/month): Help establish loyal customers

Haravan is now gaining popularity in the Vietnamese eCommerce business, particularly in the B2C model or low-involvement product business, due to its ability to deploy with affordable charges swiftly. Vinamilk, Juno, and L’Oréal are some companies that use Haravan.

Shopify

Shopify is a software-as-a-service platform for online retailers and point-of-sale systems. Shopify is popular among the eCommerce community due to its simplicity, quick development timelines, and low setup expenses.

Shopify - Top 3 SaaS eCommerce platforms: Haravan, Shopify and BigCommerce
Shopify is a software-as-a-service platform for online retailers and point-of-sale systems.

Themes

Shopify provides many attractive themes that are device-agnostic and ideal for a broad array of industries. Shopify’s admin dashboard is simple to use, and it offers a Vietnamese version for Vietnamese firms. Like Haravan, firms must upgrade their service packs to expand the number of admin accounts.

Features 

Shopify provides more tools and add-ons than Haravan, ranging from order administration to product research and company planning and marketing for SMEs.
However, as Shopify cannot be modified or expandable like an open source eCommerce platform, businesses will have to pay extra fees for some particular functionalities.

Deployment time

Depending on the system’s complexity, each business will need some time to get used to Shopify. Still, in general, it will not take long for companies to establish a website, taking between 1 and 2 days on average.

Deployment costs

Shopify has created a variety of packs for companies to choose from:

  • Basic Shopify ($29/month): Suitable for new businesses with small sales.
  • Shopify ($79/month): Appropriate for growing online enterprises
  • Advanced Shopify ($299/month): Ideal for firms that need to expand and want advanced reporting capabilities.

Shopify also creates different service bundles to meet a range of organizations:

  • Shopify Lite ($9/month): Ideal for businesses to integrate sales buttons and payment services into an existing website or blog.
  • Shopify Plus ($2000/month): Offer a sophisticated eCommerce solution for large enterprises that need to process high-volume orders.

Shopify is constantly developing and enhancing its offerings to meet a wide range of customer requests rapidly and effectively, making it perfect for B2C enterprises. However, the monthly cost is a significant impediment because firms must pay significantly more to use extra functions. Sony Vietnam, Vsmart, and DHC Vietnam are some Vietnamese companies that use Shopify.

BigCommerce

BigCommerce is a SaaS platform that launched in 2009 and has made a significant impact on the eCommerce developer community. Despite being founded later than other platforms, BigCommerce does not fall behind in terms of a functional system, theme store, and so all.

BigCommerce - Top 3 SaaS eCommerce platforms: Haravan, Shopify and BigCommerce
BigCommerce is a well-known SaaS platform in the field of e-commerce web developers.

Themes

BigCommerce provides a wide range of visually appealing themes and adapts to customer behavior, including 12 free versions and over 160 professional ones.  BigCommerce’s admin dashboard is easy to use, and it supports businesses in rapidly setting up eCommerce websites. However, since BigCommerce does not offer a Vietnamese version, firms must hire and train English-qualified employees to manage the site.

Features 

BigCommerce’ packages are jam-packed with features and add-ons to help businesses achieve solid internet business. However, BigCommerce’s capacity to customize and expand functionalities remains limited, restricting firms from adapting to their needs to deal with industry-specific difficulties.

Deployment time

Thanks to its drag-and-drop page builder feature, the time it takes to establish a website on BigCommerce is shortish. BigCommerce construction process takes about 1-2 days on average.

Deployment costs

BigCommerce now supports three package options and one on-demand solution:

  • Standard: $29.95/month for businesses with more than $50,000 in revenue
  • Plus: $79.95/month for enterprises with more than $180,000 in revenue
  • Pro: $299.95/month for companies with more than $400.000 in revenue
  • Enterprise: For firms with high sales volumes, costs will be calculated depending on the brand’s online sales

Moreover, BigCommerce will charge you additional fees based on your online sales.

Overall, BigCommerce is not inferior to Haravan or Shopify in every way; nevertheless, the central issue right now is that this platform does not support Vietnamese enterprises.

Which SaaS eCommerce platform is best for your company?

Inheriting the advantages of a SaaS eCommerce platform, all three platforms are easy to use, with various themes and functions for quick construction at a reasonable cost.

nền tảng thương mại điện tử SaaS - Top 3 SaaS eCommerce platforms: Haravan, Shopify and BigCommerce
Haravan, Shopify, and BigCommerce all inherit the advantages of the SaaS eCommerce platform.

Businesses that solely conduct business in Vietnam may choose to use Haravan to take advantage of cost-competitive benefits and functionalities tailored to suit Vietnamese shopping habits. Shopify and BigCommerce are options to explore if you want to develop your business worldwide. Simultaneously, Shopify is ranked higher for providing great 24/7 live chat support, which will aid companies in addressing difficulties as quickly as possible. As a consequence, Shopify will be ideal for large-scale and high-volume enterprises. BigCommerce, on the other hand, compresses functionality into more affordable solutions and is not restricted to the number of administrators like Shopify, making it suitable for small or medium-sized businesses.

However, using SaaS eCommerce platforms like Haravan, Shopify, and BigCommerce in the long term would result in the following deficiencies:

  • Duplicate design ideas: Using the given interface will easily be similar to other websites, making it hard to show the brand’s distinctive qualities.
  • Difficult to customize functionality: Because these platforms are not as flexible as Open Source eCommerce platforms, firms may only select from existing options and customize to the extent permitted. In the future, it will be essential to change to build advanced and specialized functions based on the features of products and industries to meet the demands of customers and the expansion of companies through time. Switching to an Open Source eCommerce platform such as Magento, OpenCart, WooCommerce, etc will take a significant amount of time and money.
  • A lot of fees: Because of the monthly charge, the longer you use it, the more expensive it is to use the website. Furthermore, Shopify and BigCommerce impose extra fees based on online revenue.
  • Do not own the source code: If the contract with these platforms is canceled, the company will no longer utilize the source code of the website and will have to rebuild it from scratch on the new platform. Switching platforms is not only time-consuming and expensive, but it may also result in data loss or misalignment.

SECOMM has significant experience developing complicated eCommerce websites in different countries, and we know the challenges that businesses face when selecting and implementing an e-commerce platform.
Contact SECOMM for a free consultation on eCommerce website development!

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So sánh nền tảng thương mại điện tử SaaS và mã nguồn mở - SaaS eCommerce Platform vs. Open Source eCommerce Platform
SAAS ECOMMERCE PLATFORMS VS OPEN SOURCE ECOMMERCE PLATFORMS
The technological infrastructure is regarded as the core value for the whole eCommerce system, and selecting an appropriate platform will assist firms in growing sustainably and developing extensively in the market.
Businesses must first grasp the benefits and drawbacks of each type of platform before making a decision. Ecommerce platforms are classified into two groups based on their implementation characteristics: SaaS (Software as a Service) Platforms and Open Source Platforms.

SaaS eCommerce Platform

A SaaS eCommerce Platform is a service delivery paradigm for developing a software-based website system. Data is kept on the provider’s server system under this approach, and that platform is in charge of dealing with technical concerns for the business.

So sánh nền tảng thương mại điện tử SaaS và mã nguồn mở 1 - SaaS eCommerce Platform vs. Open Source eCommerce Platform
Many Vietnamese firms use SaaS platforms like Haravan, Shopify, and BigCommerce

Advantages of SaaS eCommerce Platform

Available eCommerce system

The provider pre-designs the SaaS platform for the full system, from hosting, interface, and features to technological infrastructure maintenance. As a result, organizations can quickly create and manage a website system without worrying about technological concerns.

Furthermore, the platform developer offers firms 24/7 assistance through live chat, desk help, or a hotline while the platform is in operation.

So sánh nền tảng thương mại điện tử SaaS và mã nguồn mở 4 - SaaS eCommerce Platform vs. Open Source eCommerce Platform
The Haravan platform’s website management interface
So sánh nền tảng thương mại điện tử SaaS và mã nguồn mở 5 - SaaS eCommerce Platform vs. Open Source eCommerce Platform
The Shopify platform’s website management interface
So sánh nền tảng thương mại điện tử SaaS và mã nguồn mở 6 - SaaS eCommerce Platform vs. Open Source eCommerce Platform
The BigCommerce platform’s website management interface

Various interfaces and functionalities

The SaaS eCommerce Platform includes a multitude of functionality and appealing UX/UI interfaces, making it suitable for a variety of businesses.

Furthermore, these platforms include wide range of essential eCommerce functions, including product administration, order management, customer management, marketingbusiness analysis, and reporting to let firms quickly develop an e-commerce website. Moreover, extensions such as Omni-channel, Affiliate Marketing, E-Payment, E-Logistic, and so on are constantly added to these platforms to strengthen the e-commerce system.

Quick implementation

The time it takes to establish a website on a SaaS eCommerce Platform is quite fast, ranging from 1 to 7 days on average, depending on the website’s setup.

Affordable investment budget

The initial building cost is pretty cheap because firms would pay monthly or yearly use fees (subscription-based) to establish a website using SaaS eCommerce Platforms, such as:

  • Haravan: 
    • Standard (200,000 VND/month): Appropriate for independent sellers
    • Pro (600,000 VND/month): For organizations who wish to implement Omnichannel
    • Grow (1,500,000 VND/month): For firms need automating processes to take care of and resell current customers
    • Scale (3,000,000 VND/month): Help establish loyal customers
  • Shopify:
    • Basic Shopify ($29/month): Suitable for new businesses with small sales.
    • Shopify ($79/month): Appropriate for growing online enterprises
    • Advanced Shopify ($299/month): Ideal for firms that need to expand and want advanced reporting capabilities.
  • BigCommerce:
    • Standard: $29.95/month for businesses with more than $50,000 in revenue
    • Plus: $79.95/month for enterprises with more than $180,000 in revenue
    • Pro: $299.95/month for companies with more than $400.000 in revenue
    • Enterprise: For firms with high sales volumes, costs will be calculated depending on the brand’s online sales

Aside from the monthly/yearly licensing charge, businesses must pay extra expenditures such as interface fees, new features, expanding the number of backend users, and POS (Point of Sale) to grow the eCommerce system.

Disadvantages of SaaS eCommerce Platform

Having no control over the source code and data

Because the enterprise’s whole website system is housed on the provider’s server, ownership and control of the website source code will belong to that platform, not the firm.  Businesses who transfer platforms can no longer utilize the previous site source code and must rebuild from scratch on the new platform. Moreover, data loss or misalignment is usually unavoidable.

The enterprise’s data, like the source code, is likewise kept on the provider’s server, thus ownership and control over the data remains constrained. There are many difficulties for not owning and controlling data, such as linking data between departments, customizing users, and so on.

Poor scalability and flexibility

Because the website system depends on the SaaS platform, customization and expansion are currently limited. When it comes to upgrading existing features, developing new functions for the company’s development, in line with the particular requirements of the product and industry, and optimizing the user experience, SaaS platforms are frequently unable to adapt. As a result, switching platforms after a period of usage is unavoidable, and of course, this change will take significant time and money for the company.

Usage costs increase over time

Because you must pay monthly or yearly license fees, the longer you use the higher the overall cost of use. Furthermore, the SaaS eCommerce Platform charges on the revenue online sales.

For example, various Shopify apps, such as DCart (Create Discount Codes on Cart), OctaneAI (Similar Product Suggestions), Ali Reviews (Product Reviews), and others, would charge a monthly fee, average $10 /month/features. The more applications that are installed, the more the monthly or yearly expenses will be.

So sánh nền tảng thương mại điện tử SaaS và mã nguồn mở 3 - SaaS eCommerce Platform vs. Open Source eCommerce Platform
Businesses need to pay about $10/month/additional functionality on Shopify

Businesses can use the SaaS platform if they wish to enter the e-commerce industry rapidly, have minimal need for customization, and do not need to enhance the system. As a result, SaaS systems are frequently selected by startups, SMEs (small and medium enterprises), and businesses just getting started in the e-commerce industry.

Open Source eCommerce Platform

Open Source is software whose source code is publicly available and freely used by anyone.

Because the data and source code will be housed on a separate server system, Open Source eCommerce Platforms have the opposite aspects of SaaS platforms. Businesses that use open source platforms must collaborate with professional website developers or build a highly specialized in-house team for the website system to achieve maximum efficiency.

So sánh nền tảng thương mại điện tử SaaS và mã nguồn mở 2 - SaaS eCommerce Platform vs. Open Source eCommerce Platform
The most popular Open Source E-Commerce Platforms are Magento, WooCommerce (WordPress plugin), OpenCart, and PrestaShop

Advantages of Open Source eCommerce Platform

Control the data and own the source code.

Businesses have complete ownership and control over the source code and data on the system due to the characteristic of being housed on a separate server system. As a consequence, while deploying an eCommerce website, companies only need to pay development expenses in order to utilize the source code, rather than monthly/yearly license fees just like SaaS platforms. At this point, you could reuse the previous source code if you change developers or platforms. Furthermore, security is improved, reducing hacker attacks, server failures, and technical faults from staff and consumers.

So sánh nền tảng thương mại điện tử SaaS và mã nguồn mở 7 - SaaS eCommerce Platform vs. Open Source eCommerce Platform
Owning the source code and controlling the data is the great advantage of open source eCommerce platforms

Customize the interface to meet your requirements.

Businesses have more choices in developing their website’s interface to boost brand image and maximize revenue since they use Open Source eCommerce Platforms.

Currently, there are three methods for designing interfaces:

  • Use pre-existing themes: Like SaaS platforms, organizations can select and use pre-existing themes from the market, development community, or cooperation unit. This method will help businesses save the most money since a standard UX/UI theme costs between $50 and $200 on average.
  • Customize the interface based on an existing theme: Similar to the preceding method, but instead of purchasing and using the same theme, firms may design their own traits by rewriting the website’s code at the front-end. Since then, organizations have cut expenses while also expressing their own distinct characteristics.
  • Create your own user interface: To effectively position the brand on the website, the interface should be created individually. This is typically more expensive than utilizing a theme, but it addresses the most particular and specific requirements of the company.

Full of features and add-ons

In terms of website system features, Open Source eCommerce Platforms are quite superior to SaaS platforms. Not only have basic functions, but Open Source eCommerce Platforms also have many advanced features such as quick search, similar product suggestions, abandoned cart notifications, real-time productsand so on.

In addition, the Open Source eCommerce Platforms also has many add-ons that are improved, provided, and shared by the developer community.

Great flexibility

Because organizations control their own source code, they can simply update the functional system, build new features, or expand the system to suit business demands and meet consumer needs. At the same time, the open-source code’s flexibility allows businesses to easily link with third-party utilities in order to run the system.

Disadvantages of Open Source eCommerce Platform

Require a professional team or experienced developer

It is hard to build “tailor-made” systems for each firm with a system of various e-commerce features ranging from basic to complex, therefore systems developed on open source e-commerce platforms frequently have high accuracy.  As a result, in order to build and function efficiently, a specialized team or development organization must have strong knowledge and several years of experience.

Prolonged setup time

Deployment times for open source e-commerce platforms are frequently lengthier than those for SaaS platforms. Depending on the complexity of the functional system, the average amount of time for the IT team to build a website varies from 3 months to 1 year.

Expensive development

Using an open-source platform is basically free, but having a full e-commerce system from website to mobile app needs a significant commitment of your own labor. The in-house IT team will design interfaces and functions. As a result, the initial cost of developing an e-commerce website using an open-source platform is pretty expensive, an average of $10,000 per project.

So sánh nền tảng thương mại điện tử SaaS và mã nguồn mở 8 - SaaS eCommerce Platform vs. Open Source eCommerce Platform
The initial cost of developing an e-commerce website using an open-source platform is around $10,000 per project

The Open Source eCommerce Platform is suited for all sorts of enterprises due to its numerous features. However, budget and implementation time restrictions have kept many small and medium-sized businesses from utilizing it. Large firms frequently engage in these platforms to construct specialized and specialized eCommerce systems.

In general, the decision of which eCommerce platform to select will be determined by each firm’s business plan, budget, and time of eCommerce development.

In the early stages, firms who are new to eCommerce or have a restricted budget would often use a SaaS platform to develop a simple eCommerce website. Following that, companies will switch to an Open Source eCommerce Platform to develop a comprehensive eCommerce website. However, due to budget constraints and the prolonged time required to move platforms, firms must exercise caution while selecting these platforms. Nowadays, some organizations have decided to begin an eCommerce business with an Open Source eCommerce Platform and then progressively enhance their websites over time in order to gain the lead in the market and avoid switching platforms.

SECOMM has spent over 7 years implementing complicated e-commerce systems in a variety of nations, we know the challenges that businesses face.

Contact SECOMM now for a free consultation on how to select a long-term eCommerce platform!

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markets and businesses
INTERACTIONS BETWEEN MARKET AND BUSINESS
The business is a very diminutive part of a market; on the contrary, the market is a vast forest, including all transactions and many customers, respectively. During the operation process, the good-supply by the seller, combined with the buyer’s good-consumption, will create the circulation of goods and the business’s development. However, interactions between market and business are the main driving force for all factors to develop in orbit and increasingly innovate according to the times’ improvement and transformation.

1. How does the market contribute to business growth?

The market is the foundation for creating a business’s original values, deciding essential requirements and conditions a business needs to achieve to enter the stage of market presence. From then, customers with specific demands will choose to buy the items they want. The ultimate goal of a market is to meet the needs of commodity exchanges precisely. This process continuously compels businesses to maintain and update their business operations, immediately adapting to customer requirements and not falling behind other competitors in the same market.

business growth
A market contributes to creating the environment of its businesses inside, which can be requirements and conditions for a company to approach the target customer with itself products or services

The market helps businesses approach customer behaviors more deeply, which is very important in resource management. That also presents in data sources such as the number of selling goods, rising goods consumption, or figures showing a sharp drop in merchandise sales due to the disease’s impact. These factors will contribute to the next analysis steps from collected data, approach the operation process more accurately, simultaneously regulate the level of goods production to meet just enough customer needs, avoid goods-excess or -shortage.

A market will reflect the competitiveness, scale, and position of all businesses within the market-share concept. Determining market share will point out precisely the revenue dimension compared to other competitors, also contribute to research and development activities, clearly identify competitors, customers, strengths, weaknesses, and at the same time, aim for following strategies to improve or increase sales.

2. What a business can do for its market?

Under the control and dominance of a market, businesses also contribute their values ​​to the general development custom, creating different development orientations and characteristics for each market type.

The competition among businesses promotes a much more vibrant market. It is also the driving force for enterprises to change and perfect day-to-day operating systems, update the trend not to fall behind other similar competitors, and finally optimize the customer experience.

vibrant market
Business is the driving force for the whole market to change and perfect itself every single day

Business growth expands the market dimension and stability. A speedily growing business will supply more substantial quantities of goods, focusing on research and improving goods quality. This approach will attract more potential customers; also new companies. The full penetration of market factors (sellers and buyers) concurrently affects the market size compared to a general economic picture.

3. Interactions between market and business in the digital transformation

Over 50% of companies are aware of the impact of the Industrial Revolution 4.0 and feel it is taking place day by day. However, more than 70% of businesses do not fully understand their technology systems’ status and have yet to ascertain where and when to start deploying digital transformation.

While many other companies have quickly grasped and implemented digital transformation strategies for a long time and achieved specific success in the market, most of the remaining companies struggled with financial and technological problems. That contrary also affects the market, makes it move slowly and miss technology updates. Therefore, to successfully digital-transform, the interactions between market and business should not be overlooked.

interactions between market and businesses
The digital era has had the opportunity to witness firmer and tighter interactions between markets and businesses

First, market and business must satisfy the fundamentals of digital transformation, including connectivity and a stable internet platform. Connectivity refers to connection size and speed. Connection needs will increase continuously in the future, allowing businesses and markets to ignore their customer networks’ connections.

Next, the connection speed needs to be improved to help data transmission and processing take place faster. Since ecommerce sites have become more and more popular, customers have more options when shopping, and there is no reason to waste time waiting for a too slow-speed website. That is why the Internet platform is a vital imperative requirement to promptly meet the needs of markets, businesses, and users in the digital age. The Internet has become an essential part of daily life and a cornerstone facilitating the digital transformation process, promoting innovation, creativity, and new technology applications to the existing civilization.

Besides, focusing attention on improving digital skills for human resources is also a way to tighten the interactions between market and business. Digital transformation tends to impact old business models to upgrade and improve them into leaner and much more modern models. That prediction significantly affects human resources when some jobs have been automated and operated by artificial intelligence without humans. However, these automation jobs can produce more brand-new alternative jobs, namely quality management, market research and development, and product development.

Nevertheless, at the same time, it also raises the requirement to improve the capacity and digital skills of all existing human resources. Information technology skills have gradually become an essential condition for each individual to fully meet the labour market’s basic needs, especially when ecommerce becomes a trend worldwide. However, the ecommerce market also needs to improve data security issues, logistics, and payment security to gain the highest trust from customers and further development in the future.

The interactions between market and business are often subject to significant impacts from common development tendencies, technological advancements, and other digital transformation issues that make sense to be continuously updated and changed procedures to suffice customer needs and experience. Within those interactions, businesses will perform digital transformation responsibilities from the market requirements and vice versa; the market is the environment showing the exact business outcomes. When having reached the capacity and position, businesses can create a different market themselves with a stable and sustainable customer source.

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data digitization process
THE THOROUGH PROCESS OF DATA DIGITALIZATION
In the context that the 4.0 era opens up an essential evolution for human society, data has become a priceless treasure of enterprises in researching objectives to implement business strategies comprehensively. It is also about time for businesses to admit a complete data digitization formula to optimize this process’s benefits. Therefore, digitizing data becomes a mandatory transformation requirement that companies need to complete to adhere to modern market trends and the inevitable development era. Data digitization will be the core foundation for more extensive digital transformation layers in a more prolonged vision.

1. Complete preparation for the data digitization process

Data digitization is a data-transforming process from traditional paperwork to digital format databases. After digitization comes to completion, the database will be stored and managed by software or technology platforms, enhancing this data system’s security and accessibility. This enhancement is an obligatory transformation requirement for traditional business models as most businesses face operational and management problems. At the same time, start-ups already can access new technologies and have a more modern changing mindset.

First things first, there are many difficulties in storing and preserving paper-printed documents. They are often bound to form in book-types with large sizes. Secondly, paperwork makes searching, synthesizing, and analyzing unnecessary time-consuming. Meanwhile, digital data sources can streamline the bulk of previous paperwork while still having enough digital space to store in the data systems. Those systems especially have many advantages about security and flexibility in supporting data analysis and research for business development strategies.

An essential data digitization process goes through 3 main stages: data classification, format conversion, storage, and management.

Data classification

To fully prepare for a digital data plan, businesses can start by sorting and sifting through document types according to digitalization objectives and strategies. Specifically, retailers can prioritize the data of products, inventory, customer information, or ordering reports. Besides, operating-oriented businesses may consider using internal data sources for in-house working and managing processes such as accounting data, factory data, operating records, and other related types.

data classification
Data classification helps to select and categorize the high-volume of information resource in a business

Format conversion for data digitization preparation

In the next conversion step, paper documents will be scanned and converted to image sources such as JPG, TIFF, GIF, PNG, RAW… With a much more improved budget, an organization can take advantage of more breakthrough technologies, namely AI, Machine Learning, Big Data… to digitize paper-printed data into editable formats. The data will then become streamlined and stored in data systems for the later exploiting and editing objectives.

Data storage and management

The benefits of digital data management systems are the minimization of storing space and cost, access time, operation, and management costs, simultaneously providing the optimization of security and data mining performance. These systems operate under two main requirements: the first is to store, the second is to support data access flexibly and quickly.

store and manage data
Almost digital data management systems allow users to store huge-range data and access them flexibly

One of the essential tasks is to use the right technology at a particular milestone to optimize the process’s quality and time. When matching both the above requirements, businesses no longer need to worry about the budget-exceeds anymore.

2. The role of digital data management systems

Solutions for data digitization processes will be much more comprehensive by using digital data management systems tailored to the data storage and access needs. Businesses also easily use data for business research and development objectives, improve products, service quality, or produce brand-new products and services to meet customer demands. Essentially, digital data management systems can:

  • Ensure data integrity. Digital data systems are a complete alternative to physical document storage spaces (paperwork, shelves, archives, etc.). This solution will reduce the previous cumbersome data-types while restricting the loss, fragmentation, or data damage.
  • Make information more proactive. Data migration to digital systems keeps it available for mining and fast retrieval of analytical, research, and statistical reports. Data will no longer be limited, but on the contrary, businesses can access it anytime, anywhere.
  • Minimize seeking-time. Modern and innovative management systems also allow multiple users to access information simultaneously, ensuring the smoothness and seamlessness of business processes.

One of the most popular digital data management platforms is ERP systems. ERP contributes to being an entire enterprise management system capable of using data as a business operation resource.

ERP system
ERP systems can be a seamless connection for all the business workload

In particular, ERP creates a high-logical storage arrangement for all business departments to develop the ability to seamlessly and quickly access, usage, and exploit information. However, ERP is a comprehensive transformation that requires businesses to accept innovation significantly and reform the traditional operating model.

3. Typical case studies of data digitization

Data digitization can also be effectively applied in national public services, forming e-government to transform the traditional administrative environment’s working process. E-government creation brings a massive advantage for both the government and the citizens when managerial procedures become faster and more flexible.

Also, information and data sources in the electronic management environment are more secure, safe, and transparent. A typical example of this strength is the blockchain application in managing the e-tax system of an enterprise. Blockchain possesses a significant advantage in data security, and value-added tax transactions are also real-time done quickly, minimizing fraud and tax evasion.

E-government
The e-governments now effectively apply data digitization to transform the traditional working process

Another data digitization case study is the accelerated development of retail technology applications by Saigon Co.op. With the most astounding purpose of optimizing the customer experience, this retailer aims to partner with leading technology businesses to create a digital shopping space.

As a result, the cooperation with Momo wallet has got implementation, and the brand has become the principal e-payment method in supermarkets. The combination with the Grab delivery system is also an essential breakthrough, promising GrabExpress freight forwarding services and food delivery GrabFood applied to the entire structure of Co.opmart, Co.opXtra in Ho Chi Minh City.

However, these successful case studies in typical pioneers’ digitization process do not mean that formula will bring absolute success for almost all businesses. Data digitization strategies mostly depend on external factors. They are even contingent on business demands. That is the reason why companies need to tailor standard processes and systems before conducting data digitization.

Digital transformation is an essential process of multiple scales, in which digitization is only a small layer. However, this layer is a critical core value of the whole digital transformation process.

Data digitization gives businesses many significant advantages to meet the digital transformation process’s basic requirements, converting the format of data platforms. Forms of storing and managing data are also quite diverse, and businesses can choose the right way to manage their digital data sources. However, technology is not the main factor for success, so is multiple platforms usage. Considering the correct strategies, data systems based on appropriate technology platforms will lead businesses closer to expected results.

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digital transformation layers
THE 3 DIGITAL TRANSFORMATION LAYERS
The Fourth Industrial Revolution has created constant changes in modern life, applying digital technology innovations’ core values. In particular, digital transformation (DT) has also gradually attracted more attention from businesses and individuals, although it has crept into the business operational processes since computers became popular in the 1990s. However, DT has marked a spectacular breakthrough when it matures a hot topic globally. This term shows itself a tremendous impact on the future of business. DT’s critical elements – data digitization, process, and model digitalization have fully demonstrated the improvement tasks for companies to overtake future opportunities. They are also essential pillars in multilayer DT systems, forming data, technology, and people’s seamlessness.

1. Terminology speaking of digital transformation and related perspectives

Digital transformation is a necessary process for traditional business models to keep pace with technologies and times. Implementing DT that is suitable for each of the businesses will increase its competitiveness in the market, thereby increasing revenue while optimizing the operation process, creating values for corporate culture and human resources. A complete DT model is a three-layered design: data, process, and business model.

The data layer is necessary to digitize data sources by using technologies for easy-management. A business will implement transformative strategies for operational processes based on transformed data in the process and model layer. Companies can change their models to suit the prolonged orientation and develop corporate culture more extensively. They can also conduct step-by-step or simultaneously implement all the layers if there is a suitable option with the business requirements and specific transformation strategies in both the short and long-term.

Data digitization

Data digitization is transforming from paper-works to digital formats and then storing the digital database in computerized data management systems. Those systems are made up of the technology-implementation to store data intelligently, making data retrieval more manageable and faster. Therefore, data becomes more proactive and brings substantial value-in-use to the business.

Data digitization will create a more seamless working process while ensuring strictly systematic and complete data sources, building a comprehensive digital infrastructure for businesses. It simultaneously is the digital transformation process’s kernel, forming the foundation for all the remaining layers. Up to now, data digitization is an optimal solution ensuring the integrity and security of data systems in the long run, which significantly reduces operating costs.

Additionally, database management systems are the most critical archives that can maximize data access and exploitation efficiency. MySQL is an excellent example among the most popular DMS today, owning multiple useful features based on open source code while ensuring data speed and safety, even large-capacity data systems in the ecommerce field. Accompanying other DMS such as SQL Server, Oracle, PostgreSQL, MySQL can meet most of the data-usage requirements of storage performance, security, and data-safety standards.

These outstanding advantages help MySQL get more appreciation from technological experts by implementing them in many highly-complex technology industries.

Process and business model digitalization (PMD)

Based on the digital data’s core, the process and business model digitalization form a more widespread layer covering the core inside. This classification is highly complex and embraces various forms depending on the operations’ ways and objectives. PMD refers to the transformation relying on technology infrastructures and digital data frameworks to form a digital platform.

To complete the digitalization is to analyze issues in operating processes and business models. From an in-depth analysis, they can provide the right direction and strategy for transformation decisions. This transformation layer has supported businesses to meet the DT requirements, which fully are:

  • Customer connection in the business process;
  • Maintenance, development of the appropriate technological initiatives;
  • And over-the-time human resources optimization.

At the same time, a business needs to combine digital solutions to create customer values and build operating models.

Currently, businesses have successfully applied CRM platforms or ERP systems to optimize operational processes in terms of time and resources. It is well-known management platforms such as Zoho CRM, Microsoft Dynamics CRM, or Salesforce CRM that almost all businesses implement for stable development. Those names are tremendous supporting tools to create the business departments’ continuity of processes and operational processes.

Both CRM or ERP systems effectively help businesses achieve targeted sales and effectively disentangle complex manual processes or issues related to data controllability and preservation.

3 layers of digital transformation
3 layers of digital transformation process

Digital transformation (DT) is the largest category, the complete model to bring businesses closer to the 4.0 digital economy. DT represents the whole process of digitizing data and digitalizing operating processes, business models. DT’s ultimate goal is people-orientation, and at the same time, combining the corporate culture with the customer-centric foundation. DT sets macro-objectives of people’s direction in building strategies, corporate culture, digital technologies, and adapting to these digital transformations.

Generally, most companies carrying out DT encounter significant barriers. They frequently ignore a complete data digitization plan while only focusing on refining more macro-plans in the process and model digitalization layer, which does not bring the high-volume transformation effect due to the initial preparing step not been done thoroughly.

Also, preliminary estimates of time and the limited budget will present a significant challenge for DT tasks in specific periods. Multiples of businesses are unable to catch the expected results. However, despite the existing challenges that they have confronted recently (the COVID-19 crisis), digital transformation will provide comprehensive support on data systems and digital platforms, exclude all social distances, and connect the world easily anytime.

2. The finishing-point of digital transformation – ecommerce?

The digital transformation process has made both efficiency and sales for numerous B2C and B2B businesses. In detail, ecommerce is the most typical manifestation, having recorded impressive growth since 2017. B2C companies have also strengthened the development of a more powerful ecommerce channel than ever.

Meanwhile, B2B models pay much more attention to transforming chains/systems/processes such as production or goods distribution processes by gradually turning into online methods to adapt to the flexibility and rapidity of the 4.0 supply chain.

ecommerce in digital transformation
The digital age witnesses traditional commerce becoming e-commerce with fully-transformation

Up to now, ecommerce can be considered as the complete performance of the digital transformation process. Ecommerce channels can update information quickly and continuously while also ensuring UI/UX optimization to provide perfect user experience, excellent customer experience, and as a result, increase sales. These are also the requirements to digitalize the markets and perfect the business’ operating system. Depending on the DT objectives, the company will stop at the stage that best suits its business model. Some of the businesses only need to digitize data for more effortless operation.

However, from a much more general perspective, almost all companies convert to an ecommerce system to control their business independently and connect directly with customers, partners and come closer to the DT outcomes. Those objectives are also the straightforward development orientation of most retailers today. They focus abundant resources on developing the ecommerce channel to expand the business scale.

For instance, The Coffee House is a case study of the F&B industry’s impressive DT outcomes in Vietnam. The brand has achieved their ordering application for more intensive data resource management and operation. This application was initially built on a requirement to increase the loyalty program’s ease and improve customer care service quality.

However, until now, this sales channel has grown more than that and has become a mainstream business channel that seamlessly integrates with the brand’s existing offline stores.

The story of The Coffee House brand
The Coffee House has implemented impressive digital transformation outcomes in Vietnam’s F&B industry

The TCH app aims to connect and interact directly with customers based on the D2C model, allowing app-users to create membership accounts to earn points and order quickly. These features allow brands to access customer data and shopping habits easily. In-depth data analysis will contribute to new product strategies or menu amendments to better suit the customer’s taste.

Digital transformation is a long-term journey that needs to be done with a detailed and complete strategy while meeting the time and budget, matching the current business’s capabilities. Digitization/digitalization layers also need to fully play their role in digital platforms, transforming entirely and efficiently. A complete ecommerce system considerations are also required for supply chains currently in the marketplace. Ecommerce will be the most agile driver of digital transformation; however, make sure that you can implement a strategy with the right priority in the current situation to give the best effect.

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ecommerce experience
HOW AI TRANSFORMS THE ECOMMERCE EXPERIENCE?
Do you think one day you can command Siri to do an online order in minutes or buy a shirt with just a picture taken by accident while driving on the road? Those are some examples that artificial intelligence (or AI) can bring to the ecommerce future. Since AI has been leveraged for optimizing and enriching the ecommerce experience, the user community has become more proactive when purchasing a product on the internet. Customers gradually have greater confidence in the quality of products and ecommerce services as they can interact much more easily and quickly thanks to the AI applications in every selected product.

1. How customers experience products in traditional shopping

Traditional shopping refers to the way customers directly buy products at stores, markets, or supermarkets. Since that trading model has emerged, the ecommerce experience about products has often originated from direct product-observation and -interaction. A consumer can hold and touch the item directly, feeling its characteristics, such as hardness, softness, size, or even color. They can quickly try one dress and exchange another one for a suitable size. This model has several benefits for shoppers:

  • Guarantee of product quality: Customers have the opportunity to interact and observe the product directly before buying. At that time, customers can choose a product with complete packaging, favorite colors, or delicious fresh food, or a skirt of a suitable length.
  • Time-saving in return and exchange policy: The traditional purchase is rooted in the amicable sale principle. Of course, the buyers will be partly responsible for goods quality due to the opportunity to touch and inspect them before buying.
  • High-satisfaction level: Customers tend to be more enthusiastic and get more exciting feelings when using products. They will not put too much doubt on the reliability of the product.
traditional shopping before transforming to ecommerce experience
This face-to-face buying assists shoppers to check the goods mostly

The benefits of experiencing products with traditional models will have many changes in online shopping models. Although customers will enjoy the convenience of freely choosing a suitable item in a wide range of goods at more bargained prices and also experience regular promotions, the limited interaction with the product pre-buying has reduced the convenience as the traditional model did before.

2. AI invention penetrating process to optimize the ecommerce experience

With the rapid development of the digital age, customer demand is a critical factor that is a priority in every development strategy and orientation. In particular, businesses also invest more in modern technologies to optimize consumer-product interaction, and AI applications are a useful option for ecommerce experience optimization process.

AI technology
AI is a great supporter for users to experience the product fully

Within the Ecommerce field, AI aims to the product experience, contributing to the efficiency of the business’s customer-centric orientation. The AI application has been integrated into search engine systems to support the creative and effective searching process with features such as “search by image” associating with material, shape, size, or brand. The display technology also invests in improving product interaction, shortening the distance between online and offline models.

Moreover, AI supports the ecommerce industry as a knowledgeable online assistant. This technology can bring two-way benefits when supporting both user experience and data analysis about user behavior trends.

Those are the two factors motivating brands to invest in developing more modern and efficient AI platforms towards a smarter, automated model for perfect customer experience.

3. AI trends for smarter ecommerce experiences in the digital age

Since applying to the ecommerce industry, various AI technology types have contributed to significantly changing consumer habits and purchasing decision-making processes, ultimately optimizing the convenience that customers received from online shopping. However, AI tools are continually developing and improving every day to enhance the user experience, and they also regularly stay updated with many popular trends.

Product 3D view

The 3D formats have been practical to enhance more excited customer-product interactions. Customers can observe different product aspects or even try placing a small decoration item at any house location to check the product’s suitability. This invisibility generally creates exciting experiences to increase interaction making customers more interested in the product.

3D-view product
3D technology in real estate and interior enhances the effectiveness of multi-dimensional sense of space which was limited before

Some interior brands have been using 3D scanning technology to perfectly experience interior space and architecture. Based on a provided video, customers can enjoy AR via remotely 3D virtual reality technology.

Mobile virtual reality fitting room

That AI ability can be a perfect solution when a store has too many customers visiting at the same time while the fitting room is overloaded. Customers can scan product images and try them out on a mobile phone screen. This technology is already available on Lacoste’s app, supporting customers to try their favorite shoes freely via their smartphone.

AR technology
Lacoste’s shoe trying app uses IR and AR technology, supporting the new-arrival models from the brand

The development of 3D and virtual reality technology has proved that nothing is impossible in the digital age. AI development is also a considerable solution for ecommerce barriers, mainly interacting with products when buying online to optimize ecommerce experience.

In the future, as many expert predictions, AI can be a modern and popular trend to optimize the ecommerce experience correctly. However, businesses also need to consider the needs of target customers to have appropriate applications and increase the number of potential customers and loyal customers in the long run.

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The concepts of a brand
CONCEPTS OF A BRAND- HOW MUCH DO YOU UNDERSTAND?
A brand needs more than just a campaign, which involves many aspects starting from the structuring identity process to brand development and maintenance activities. The concepts of a brand also include many different categories, both horizontally and vertically. However, many ideas or terms have scores of similar meanings that often confuse in a bunch of writing contexts. So, distinguishing almost identical words, spotting the essential elements in a branding model, and pointing out the most critical factors will be the first primary for a new brand.

1. Brand identity and brand awareness – what is the difference between the two concepts of a brand?

The first two common concepts of a brand are the confusion between brand awareness and brand identity when it comes to brands. The biggest problem here is, most people use them, assuming that they have the same meaning and have complementary relationships. However, the simple truth is scopes of these two concepts are entirely different, including how they create awareness and identification values.

Brand identity – a basis term of all concepts of a brand

Brand identity is a way to identify a brand in the public’s mind, using materials such as logo, slogan, company profile, design style, name card, brochure, and even colors across their designs. Brand identity usually starts from the brand’s values to create the first impressions and memories in the customers’ mindset. Among the concepts of a brand, brand identity can do more than as a brand face; it makes the brand memorable, creates a position for the brand in the market, and creates a particular attraction when the brand publishes an advertisement.

brand identity is one of the concepts of a brand

In Vietnam, Coca-Cola often appears on holidays, important occasions with two primary red-white colors and unique handwritten fonts. This brand always communicates to the public the values of reunion, family affection, inspiring people not to forget where they belong. Another example is the Apple logo’s story performing the image of “an apple with a bite” has a strong desire to reach perfect, rebellious, and unique values.

All the elements that appear, more or less, convey a specific aspect of brand value, vision, and mission. They also contribute to creating the unique memories that customers experience with the brand and stimulating closer connections.

Brand awareness – the highly-confused in concepts of brand

Brand awareness is the result of creating a set of values to make a brand different and essential. Awareness implies the mindset, perspectives of the brand’s role to customers and other market competitors.

To build a brand awareness process is to focus on connections and interactions mostly. However, it is first necessary to create an information platform that helps the audience get the whole picture of a brand. In particular, the crucial factors that can make this process done are content platform, product/service platform, and human factors.

brand awareness
Brand awareness remarks about the long-term connections and interactions of brand-and-customer

Content has a great ability to create a brand’s tone and voice while also shaping its style. This ability allows brands to set perspective and the appropriate direction usefully, similar to how Redbull conveys the messages from the “Give you wings” campaign with the desire to become the dream-maker.

On the other hand, product quality also dramatically affects the brand. Product quality is the launchpad for the next PR or marketing campaigns, but an inferior-quality product will make the brand fail no matter how good those campaigns are.

Starbucks has gone beyond the limits of a coffee shop with increasingly appreciated values. However, when it comes to Starbucks, everyone is pleased with almost all the drinks here. The excellent taste of the beverage menu has attracted and kept more customers.

Coca-Cola gets a very high level of brand awareness when almost 90% of the world population knows what Coca-Cola is. Like many other long-standing brands, Coca-Cola has created a cohesive consumer habit that can retain generation-to-generation and refreshed itself by creative advertising campaigns that add more imprints to customers’ mindsets. Did you remember the Coke bottle had your name printed? Have you ever taken a selfie with it? Yes, these name-bottles are part of the “Share A Coke” campaign – a campaign to help Coca Cola to surpass Samsung, to win the Gold Award – Brand Awareness category at The Smarties Vietnam 2015 (organized by Mobile Marketing Association in Vietnam to honor the best brands and agencies).

In another context, to maintain the identity values of perfection, rebellion, and uniqueness, Apple built its own extremely discriminating cognitive system. The brand does not narrow itself to any target market but towards a design that is everyone-friendly. It forms a unified brand culture from the inside out, including creativity and simplicity. Apple ignores the trends and competitions; it contrarily produces themed devices, generating new patterns for other brands in the technology market.

In general, brand identity emphasizes feelings of “love at first sight”. This concept tailors the brand’s face, helping customers classify the brand’s identity, functions, roles, and products. On the other hand, brand awareness conveys long-term values, internal values, and different values remaining in customers after using a brand’s products or services.

Those two concepts of a brand are not synonymous and equivalent, and brand identity is a part of a brand awareness strategy.

2. Essential elements of a comprehensive brand positioning model

Among the concepts of a brand, brand positioning models have been diverse, from the Minimal Viable Brand model provided by Eric Ries to much more complex models, namely the Brand Key (by Unilever) or Brand Pyramid (provided by Keller). There is a common-sense between these positioning models, which is the forming and maintaining values, from the root strength to the brand essence, which can eventually be long-lasting in the community’s mindset from generation to generation.

Usually, we are aware of the elements of visible benefits and measurable values. However, brands that leave an in-depth impression in the customer’s mindset create subjective and sensory values. Therefore, the positioning process worth considering includes discrimination and customer experience as well. Also, emotional and personal factors often require a high level of two-way interaction between both brands and customers, in general.

brand positioning model
A standard brand positioning model needs to adapt two-way interaction between brand and customer

Discriminations refer to values ​​making a brand different from its competitors. You can use product strengths, brand stories, or media messages to emphasize how you are different from dozens, hundreds of brands in the same field. A coffee shop with a mountain-view will be more attractive than another with small tables in 4 tight walls. Of course, the very first goal of people coming to a coffee shop is to drink coffee; however, gradually, people need more than a coffee cup when coming to the shop, such as to talk and discuss together, to work, to have group meetings, to take photos, or even dating.

People tend to be more interested in which coffee shop is suitable for taking pictures, which are tranquil enough for working. A tasty coffee-cup is one of the different values making customers frequent more; besides, people also care about the space, décor, view, etc.

Another fundamentally important factor for a branding campaign is customer experience. Experience is truly the accompanying actions or services, making customers feel they have received the attention and devotion when using certain products or services. Customer experience is one source of developing brand touchpoints and including various concepts of expertise, such as interface experience, shopping experience, or product experience of a brand.

Apple has successfully satisfied their customer experiences by designing an intelligent technology product-ecosystem to meet the seamless connection and interactions between devices and people, creating convenience and ease. Therefore, besides the brand itself’s discriminations, an excellent customer experience will be an active element for branding.

The digital age has witnessed a transformation of the brand-value system and concepts of a brand when almost all the customers are much more interested in sensory factors like emotional experience when using products. That experience requires brands to keep up with customers’ insight, creating compelling content to obtain customers’ trust.

3. Brand voice – the strength out of all the concepts of a brand

Why is brand voice important? Because it can speak up almost all the values of a brand and directly affect its audience. Voice can help personalize the brand, let itself create personality, and speak up as a human. As one of the key concepts of a brand, that is the most basic visualization of brand voice. However, brand voice is the element synchronizing and positioning brands at a higher level, shaping the brand identity and awareness. As a result, brands know what and how to reach the right audience target or market, developing both content styles and operation models consistently.

brand voice
Brand voice has a full power to personalize itself

We remember Pepsi as a symbol of dynamism, youthfulness, and positive energy. On the other side, Coca-Cola is reminiscent of family reunions, cozy and fun spaces. While Apple emphasizes the simplicity and quality of the product system, Samsung focuses much more on diversity and stunning design. These differences show that every single brand shapes the growing direction with unique concepts, then they will record in the user’s mindset of distinct characteristics and styles.

Whether branding is minimalist or sophisticated, businesses need to fully meet the most fundamental concepts of a brand to increase communication and interaction with their customers. Simultaneously, it is necessary to follow appropriate values integrating with development orientation to avoid overuse, and confusion, which then losing the discriminations brands want to convey.

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