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BUY NOW PAY LATER IN ECOMMERCE: MODELS AND EXAMPLES

The Juniper Research report titled “Buy Now Pay Later: Regulatory Framework, Competitive Landscape & Market Forecasts 2022-2027” predicts that the global user base for Buy Now Pay Later (BNPL) will exceed 900 million by 2027. In Vietnam, the BNPL payment method is expected to experience an annual growth of 126.4%, reaching 1,123.9 million USD in 2022.

What is Buy Now Pay Later (BNPL)?

Buy Now Pay Later (BNPL) is a short-term financial arrangement that allows consumers to make immediate purchases and defer the payment to a future date, typically without accruing interest.

How it works

In BNPL, the financial technology (Fintech) organization facilitating the service directly pays the purchase amount to the seller on behalf of the customer. The customer then repays this amount gradually to these organizations over a period, often extending from one to several months.

When using BNPL, customers can make payments through bank transfers or have the amount automatically deducted from their debit card, bank account, or credit card. While the specific terms and conditions may vary between companies offering BNPL services, the general operational mechanism is similar to credit card instalment plans. However, BNPL is often considered much simpler, and additionally, it typically does not involve interest charges; instead, late payment fees are calculated as a percentage of the product or service value.

Buy now Pay later in eCommerce Models and Examples - How BNPL works
How does Buy Now Pay Later work in eCommerce?

Pros and Cons

For customers

With the BNPL model, consumers can make immediate purchases even if they don’t have the financial capacity to pay the entire shopping cost upfront. This payment is divided into shorter instalment periods, corresponding to smaller amounts, reducing financial pressure on consumers. Additionally, BNPL typically does not entail annual fees or hidden charges, and the registration process is simple and quick, averaging less than 15 minutes. In general, BNPL companies usually only require customers to be at least 18 years old and own a bank card, without specifying a minimum personal income.

However, BNPL often comes with a relatively low consumer spending limit, typically ranging from 20 to 30 million VND, to meet the needs of purchasing items such as fashion, cosmetics, phones, laptops, electronic components, etc. If consumers do not know how to control their spending, they may easily engage in excessive shopping as there is no immediate need to pay the full amount at the time of purchase. This can lead to late payments for the instalment periods and additional penalty fees.

For businesses

Collaborating with BNPL organizations to launch BNPL programs with 0% interest can help businesses attract more customers without incurring excessive marketing costs. With this approach, businesses can encourage customers to make purchasing decisions more quickly without extensive financial consideration, thereby significantly boosting revenue. Moreover, instead of offering discounts or freebies, the ability to pay gradually without urgency and without incurring interest aligns with customer psychology and needs.

However, many businesses still hesitate to implement BNPL models due to concerns about not being able to control the debt of individual customers. Additionally, this potential model is relatively new to the Vietnamese market, so there are not many payment service providers offering BNPL services, and there is a scarcity of experienced eCommerce website development units capable of efficiently integrating this functionality.

Compare Buy Now Pay Later with Credit Cards

The BNPL model is revolutionizing the global consumer credit sector, but many people still confuse BNPL with credit card instalment plans offered by banks. 

So, what are the differences between Buy Now Pay Later and credit cards?

Format Buy Now Pay Later Credit Card
Unit accepting payment The seller allows BNPL payment method Banks issue credit cards
Registration process Register quickly, completely online The procedure requires a lot of paperwork
Time 1 to 3 minutes Have to wait for censorship, which can take up to several days, even weeks
Credit limit Depends on buyer profile Depends on buyer profile
Card maintenance fee All free Average 299,000 VND/year
Registration fee All free Average 50,000 VND/card
Conversion fee in instalments All free Average 200,000 VND/transaction, or calculated as a percentage of transaction value

Comparison table of Buy Now Pay Later with Credit Card

Despite trailing behind the global trend, the BNPL model in Vietnam is forecasted to explode due to the market falling into a favourable timeframe. This is influenced by the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic, which has significantly propelled the development of online shopping and eCommerce. Additionally, the BNPL model aligns more with the preferences of Generation Z than traditional credit cards.

Case studies

Tiki and Sendo – Two of the four kings of eCommerce participating in BNPL

Two out of the four largest eCommerce platforms in Vietnam have begun implementing BNPL, affirming the tremendous potential of this model in the online shopping market.

In 2020, Sendo was a pioneer in eCommerce by early adoption of BNPL through collaboration with financial solution provider Atome, offering Buy Now Pay Later services. With BNPL, Sendo aims to make shopping more convenient for customers, removing concerns about financial issues often associated with credit cards, such as increasing interest rates for late payments over an extended period.

Buy now Pay later in eCommerce Models and Examples - Sendo
Buy Now Pay Later program in Sendo

Since the beginning of 2022, Tiki has collaborated with two financial service providers, Home Credit and Lotte Finance, to launch the ‘Buy Now Pay Later’ project, enhancing smart payment solutions directly within the Tiki app. This initiative not only supplements intelligent payment options for Tiki users but also empowers customers to manage their personal finances better when engaging in online shopping, thereby further enriching the overall eCommerce experience for consumers.

Buy now Pay later in eCommerce Models and Examples - Tiki
Buy Now Pay Later program in Tiki

Laybyland – The leading brand in the Buy Now Pay Later model in Australia

Laybyland was established in 2012 in Australia with two key eCommerce business models: Layby (Pay Later) and Shop Now Pay Later (Shopzero). Over its 10 years of eCommerce operations in the Australian market, the business has witnessed remarkable growth. Starting with +10,000 products across two initial websites, it has expanded to offer over +400,000 products daily across five online stores, including Laybyland, Shopzero, Mylayby, and Layawayland.

Shopzero, a part of Laybyland, provides BNPL services through seven main partners: Afterpay, Zip, Openpay, Humm, Latitude, Klarna, and Wizpay. Notably, Shopzero maintains complete control and operation over all BNPL activities and payment processes within its system. Pioneering the BNPL market has brought Shopzero significant success, especially in the electronics, office supplies, fashion, cosmetics, furniture, gardening tools, children’s toys, and travel sectors.

It is evident that BNPL is contributing to a significant revolution in consumer payment habits, shifting from a payment method choice to a crucial factor in customer purchasing decisions.

Buy now Pay later in eCommerce Models and Examples - Laybyland
Buy Now Pay Later program in Laybyland

With extensive experience in implementing eCommerce solutions in various countries, especially in the Buy Now Pay Later market, SECOMM understands the challenges businesses face when exploring how to establish Buy Now Pay Later systems.

Contact SECOMM now or call us via hotline (+84)28 7108 9908 for a free consultation on detailed eCommerce system development solutions!

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What is Social Commerce? A Trend That Keeps Heating Up
WHAT IS SOCIAL COMMERCE? A TREND THAT KEEPS HEATING UP

As per Statista’s data, Social Commerce worldwide generated 992 billion USD in revenue in 2022, with projections indicating a potential surge to 2.9 trillion USD by 2026. This positions Social Commerce as a highly valued and potential trend in the future of eCommerce.

What Is Social Commerce? A Trend That Keeps Heating Up
Source: Statista

What is Social Commerce?

Social Commerce is a term that combines two key concepts: “Social” and “Commerce”.

It represents a business model that seamlessly integrates social media and eCommerce, aiming to create a shopping experience that is more interactive and connected for customers.

What Is Social Commerce? A Trend That Keeps Heating Up
What is Social Commerce?

Social Commerce enables users to view and purchase products directly through social media platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, etc.

This approach allows customers to delve into product details, read reviews, engage with comments from other users, and even make direct purchases through business posts, advertisements, or social platform storefronts.

The Social Commerce model often comes with interactive features, product-sharing capabilities, and personalized product recommendations.

Social Commerce takes advantage of the widespread popularity and extensive user base on social media platforms to naturally amplify the reach and influence of products and brands.

How does Social Commerce work?

Social Commerce vs eCommerce

Social Commerce and eCommerce are two distinct online business models, yet they share the common goal of online commerce. Here are the differences between these two models:

What Is Social Commerce? A Trend That Keeps Heating Up
Social Commerce vs eCommerce

Types of Social Commerce

There are various popular types of social commerce, and the choice depends entirely on the scope and objectives of each business. Here are some common types of social commerce:

  • Influencer Marketing: This marketing form leverages the influence of users with large social media followings. Businesses collaborate with celebrities or influential individuals to promote their products and brands.
  • Affiliate Marketing: In this strategy, businesses empower influential individuals to promote or review their products/services in social media posts by embedding links, and incentivizing sales. In return, these affiliate partners earn a percentage of the revenue generated from those links.
  • Social Media Advertising: This type of social commerce centers around using social media platforms as advertising spaces. Businesses can run ads on platforms like Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, TikTok, etc., to reach their target audience.
  • User-Generated Content (UGC): By encouraging customers to share their experiences using products or services on social media platforms, businesses aim to build trust among both current and potential buyers. 
  • Live Streaming: Hosting live streaming sessions on platforms like TikTok, YouTube, or Twitch allows viewers to interact directly with the business. This involves introducing products/services, fielding questions, and receiving user feedback during the broadcast, ultimately boosting online interaction and sales.

Benefits of Social Commerce

Enhance brand identity

Social Commerce facilitates businesses in reaching millions of users across various social media platforms, particularly globally popular ones like TikTok, Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest.

This approach not only boosts brand awareness but also promotes businesses’ products and services to the extensive user base on these platforms, creating organic traction through user sharing and interaction.

The renowned sportswear brand Nike has successfully implemented Social Commerce by leveraging engaging posts, videos, and advertisements on social media platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.

The brand consistently runs advertising campaigns encouraging users to share their product experiences. Through user-generated posts and the strategic use of specific hashtags, Nike has sparked natural virality, resulting in an increased level of brand recognition.

What Is Social Commerce? A Trend That Keeps Heating Up
Enhance brand identity

Optimize the shopping experience

A key feature of social commerce is its focus on creating a seamless online shopping experience for users, simplifying the transition from product browsing to actual purchases. Customers can buy directly from posts, advertisements, or online stores on social media platforms.

This not only streamlines the shopping process but also enables businesses to optimize customer experiences, save time, and boost the eCommerce sales volume for the brands.

The cosmetics brand L’Oréal has created various TikTok channels for each target market in its beauty chain, such as lorealparis (global), lorealparisusa (U.S. market), lorealparis_vn (Vietnamese market), lorealparisid_shop (Indonesian market), lorealparisth_store (Thai market), and so on.

This approach not only allows the brand to reach the right target audience but also takes advantage of TikTok Shop, enabling customers to purchase products directly through L’Oréal’s TikTok channel.

What Is Social Commerce? A Trend That Keeps Heating Up
Optimize the shopping experience

Monitor & measure performance

Presently, social media platforms offer comprehensive analytics and data measurement tools for businesses. For instance, Instagram Insights provides demographic information such as gender, age groups, and geographic locations.

Facebook Audience Insights goes a step further in collecting detailed data about a business’s target audience, while TikTok Pixel allows tracking vital metrics like clicks, views, and conversion rates, and assessing the effectiveness of advertising campaigns.

Leveraging these data sources assists businesses in creating more efficient social commerce campaigns compared to traditional retail operations. A noteworthy example of the successful implementation of Social Commerce with optimized tracking and measurement is Fashion Nova.

This prominent American fashion brand specializes in offering women’s clothing and accessories. Fashion Nova’s Instagram posts often incorporate sharing and user tracking features, enhancing the dissemination of information about products and the brand.

Furthermore, Fashion Nova utilizes Instagram’s measurement features and analytical tools to evaluate the effectiveness of the brand’s marketing and advertising campaigns.

What Is Social Commerce? A Trend That Keeps Heating Up
Monitor & measure performance

Boost engagement & customer service

Embracing social commerce enables businesses to seamlessly engage in direct interactions with customers and gather their feedback regarding the brand or product through posts, direct conversations, comment responses, and messages.

This facilitates quick customer support, addresses inquiries promptly, fosters satisfaction and fortifies customer relationships. Moreover, based on this valuable customer feedback, businesses can refine their products/services to align with customer expectations.

Tarte Cosmetics, a renowned cosmetics brand specializing in makeup and skincare products, has effectively utilized social media platforms such as Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter to implement social commerce. The brand consistently engages with customers across social media channels.

The administrative team promptly responds to user comments and messages, addressing inquiries and offering technical support. This approach builds trust and satisfaction among customers, actively strengthening positive customer relationships.

What Is Social Commerce? A Trend That Keeps Heating Up
Boost engagement & customer service

The Bottom Line

Here are insights, advantages, and examples of businesses effectively embracing Social Commerce. Depending on each business’s strategy, administrators can blend social media and eCommerce to engage customers and establish a brand in the current digital era.

Related Reading: eCommerce: Inbound Marketing vs Outbound Marketing

Contact SECOMM or directly call the hotline at 02871089908 today for complimentary guidance on implementing eCommerce Marketing overall and Social Commerce specifically.

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14 Must-Have Features to Develop Your Online Marketplace
14 MUST-HAVE FEATURES TO DEVELOP YOUR ONLINE MARKETPLACE

The surge in demand for online shopping via eCommerce marketplaces over recent years has been remarkable. So, it comes as no surprise that numerous businesses are looking for ways to build their own marketplaces to diversify their product offerings and engage with a wide range of customer segments.

Operating an eCommerce marketplace differs significantly from managing an eCommerce website. The key is to ensure that the experience is user-friendly and efficient for all involved parties, including administrators, sellers, and buyers, during both the operational and transactional phases. 

Depending on the strategy, scale, budget, market, and target audience, businesses will make suitable adjustments. However, the following online marketplace features continue to be crucial when implementing the majority of eCommerce marketplaces today.

Operator Features

14 Must-Have Features to Develop Your Online Marketplace - Operator features
Operator Features

The operator, also known as an administrator or owner of the online marketplace, holds a pivotal role in managing and running the platform. They possess the authority to access and govern all data and carry the responsibility for the platform’s overall performance and growth.

As a result, essential features for operators include:

Seller Management

14 Must-Have Features to Develop Your Online Marketplace - Seller management
Seller Management

The operator’s role involves helping sellers register on the platform, gather their information, and grant access to tools that aid their business operations. Additionally, other aspects of ‘Managing Sellers’ that businesses should consider include:

  • Communication and Support Channels: This entails providing customer service and addressing seller accounts and technical issues through channels like email or a hotline.
  • Content Management:  Ensuring that products, content, images, and videos uploaded by sellers comply with the eCommerce platform’s established standards and regulations.
  • Monitoring Seller: Tracking and evaluating data related to seller activities, such as sales volumes, customer feedback, response times, and adherence to platform policies.
  • Transaction Management: This covers policies regarding commissions, transaction fees, and payments. Businesses must ensure they furnish comprehensive documentation, accurately and promptly process payments, and offer support in resolving related concerns.

Marketing Management

14 Must-Have Features to Develop Your Online Marketplace - Operator features - Marketing management
Marketing Management

To expand the pool of registered sellers and draw more customers to shop on the online marketplace, operators continually rely on marketing efforts. Some methods include optimizing SEO, leveraging influencer marketing, running targeted advertisements, devising in-platform promotional initiatives, and more.

However,  it’s crucial for businesses to possess a set of features and tools to proficiently craft and manage marketing campaigns across multiple channels. This aids in the effective promotion of their marketplaces, the attraction of additional sellers and customers, and the establishment of a distinctive presence within the competitive eCommerce landscape.

Supply Chain Management

14 Must-Have Features to Develop Your Online Marketplace - Supply chain management
Supply Chain Management

Given the substantial order volume, operators need features that offer them full control of order fulfillment. This includes inventory management, overseeing multiple warehouses, configuring automated workflows for handling and transporting orders between warehouses, and delivering them to end-users.

Plus, to optimize the delivery process, businesses can partner with third-party shipping providers to provide customers with various choices, such as standard, express, or expedited shipping methods.

Analysis & Reporting 

14 Must-Have Features to Develop Your Online Marketplace - Operator features - Analysis & reporting
Analysis & Reporting

Through comprehensive data analysis and detailed reporting, businesses can gain insights into their overall operations and make informed adjustments. Key data points include:

  • eCommerce Performance: This encompasses metrics related to sales, revenue, user engagement, and satisfaction levels to assess the current state of the platform and make strategic decisions.
  • User Behavior: This includes data on new account registrations, conversion rates, browsing habits, and search trends on the platform. It helps identify lingering issues for improvement and provides a better user experience.
  • Marketing Reports: Operators need in-depth marketing reports to assess the ROI of marketing campaigns, analyze customer acquisition channels, and evaluate the impact of various promotional programs and incentives.

Seller Features

14 Must-Have Features to Develop Your Online Marketplace - Seller Features
Seller Features

Sellers, also known as suppliers or merchants, are individuals or businesses that offer products or services on the online marketplace. Their responsibility is to manage their operations and optimize sales performance.

Therefore, eCommerce marketplace features for sellers to conduct efficient business operations include:

Easy Onboarding

14 Must-Have Features to Develop Your Online Marketplace - Easy onboarding
Easy Onboarding

Sellers have many choices in the midst of multiple online marketplaces. So, offering a swift and uncomplicated registration and store setup process is an effective way to attract a wide pool of new sellers to open their stores.

Businesses can offer detailed step-by-step guidance to sellers, from creating an account and verifying their seller identity to decorating their store and listing products. Furthermore, businesses can provide instructional videos, FAQs, and blogs to guide them on optimizing their store, promoting products on the platform, as well as understanding the fees associated with the eCommerce marketplace’s sales policies.

Product Management

14 Must-Have Features to Develop Your Online Marketplace - Product management
Product Management

Beyond listing products, helping sellers manage their product catalog effectively on the marketplace is equally important.

This includes tasks like adding and removing products, maintaining high-quality product descriptions, images, and videos, handling product variations and attributes, updating inventory, setting product prices, applying discounts, prompting product reviews, and moderating and verifying reviews based on the platform’s standard.

Marketing Management

14 Must-Have Features to Develop Your Online Marketplace - Seller Features - Marketing management
Marketing Management

Sellers need tools and features for setting up marketing campaigns to promote their stores and products, driving increased sales. These commonly used marketing tools on online marketplaces include in-site and off-site advertising, promotional messaging, flash sales, bundled deals, shipping discounts or free shipping promotions, creating discount vouchers, live-streaming sales events, and participating in platform-wide promotional activities.

Order Management

14 Must-Have Features to Develop Your Online Marketplace - Order management
Order Management

Providing sellers with effective order management capabilities also impacts the customer experience on the eCommerce marketplaces. This means offering sellers features to manage their order lists, track the status of orders, fulfill orders, handle returns, and efficiently address any issues that may arise.

Analysis & Reporting

14 Must-Have Features to Develop Your Online Marketplace - Seller Features - Analysis & reporting
Analysis & Reporting

Sellers rely on data analysis and reports to track and manage their business performance on the online marketplace effectively. These reports provide valuable insights for making data-driven decisions and optimizing their operations.

  • Sales Performance: Sellers have access to data including total sales, revenue, order volume, and average order value to evaluate the success of their products or services and make informed decisions.
  • Inventory Reports: Data related to inventory levels, inventory turnover, best-selling products, and less popular products help optimize inventory by adding popular items or reducing/limiting the sale of low-demand products.
  • User Behavior: This includes data on purchasing behavior, feedback, customer reviews, and ratings for products and services, allowing sellers to enhance the customer experience and service.
  • Expense Reports: This covers financial aspects such as transaction fees, commissions, invoices, payment receipts, and taxes. Clear financial reporting helps sellers manage cash flow efficiently while adhering to the marketplace’s policies.

Buyer Features

14 Must-Have Features to Develop Your Online Marketplace - Buyer Features
Buyer Features

Buyers, also known as customers, refer to individuals or businesses that purchase goods or services from sellers on the eCommerce marketplace. Customers play a crucial role in driving the success of the marketplace. Therefore, feature development is focused on enriching the shopping experience.

Advanced Search

14 Must-Have Features to Develop Your Online Marketplace - Advanced search
Advanced Search

When accessing an eCommerce marketplace, the first thing most users do is use the search bar to find the information and products they desire. However, the product catalog on marketplaces is extensive and can be overwhelming for buyers. 

Therefore, beyond maintaining well-structured and organized product categories, businesses should offer advanced search capabilities to simplify and enhance the customer’s product discovery experience process. Common advanced search options include filtering, image-based, or voice-based search (optimized for mobile devices).

Personalization

14 Must-Have Features to Develop Your Online Marketplace - Personalization
Personalization

Features like product recommendations, push notifications, personalized content, and customer service tailored to individual shopping behavior and preferences are crucial for enhancing the eCommerce experience. Studies have revealed that 74% of customers feel frustrated when encountering non-personalized shopping experiences on websites. 

By integrating advanced search capabilities with personalization, companies can offer a more enriching user experience, leading to greater satisfaction, higher levels of engagement, and increased customer retention. This transforms their marketplace into an ideal shopping destination for buyers.

Simple Checkout

14 Must-Have Features to Develop Your Online Marketplace - Simple checkout
Simple Checkout

Out of the various reasons for cart abandonment, issues related to long and complicated checkout procedures make up 17%, according to Baymard. it is essential for businesses to streamline the payment experience for customers, removing unnecessary steps, offering a transparent payment process, or implementing a one-page checkout. 

Moreover, businesses can diversify their payment methods to suit their target markets, including options such as Cash on Delivery (COD), credit card payments, eWallets, and buy now, pay later options.

Order Tracking

14 Must-Have Features to Develop Your Online Marketplace - Order tracking
Order Tracking

To boost the trust of buyers and sellers in the eCommerce platform, it is crucial for businesses to offer real-time order tracking and status-checking capabilities. 

Buyers can track their orders through the marketplace’s mobile app or website by using their unique order IDs. This way, both the seller and the buyer can communicate promptly if any issues arise with the order.

Review & Rating

14 Must-Have Features to Develop Your Online Marketplace - Review & Rating
Review & Rating

With a diverse range of product choices offered by different sellers, customers may find it challenging to make purchasing decisions when they lack trust in either the product or the seller. Hence, the review and rating feature is essential for building trust and expediting decisions.

The review feature allows buyers who have made purchases to leave comments, reviews, and ratings for a product, customer support, and product packaging, regardless of the seller. 

Whether these reviews and ratings are positive or negative, they have a significant impact on a buyer’s decision-making process. Therefore, this serves as a motivation for sellers to enhance the quality of their products and services and for the eCommerce marketplace owner to provide an improved user experience.

Above are the 14 essential features for operators, sellers, and buyers that businesses should keep in mind when building an online marketplace. With many years of eCommerce implementation experience for numerous clients in various countries worldwide, SECOMM has gathered valuable insights to boost the development and operation of your business’s marketplace swiftly and effectively.

Contact or call SECOMM’s hotline (02871089908) today for a free consultation.

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The Complete 9 Steps for Building an eCommerce Marketplace
THE COMPLETE 9 STEPS FOR BUILDING AN ECOMMERCE MARKETPLACE

Unlike building eCommerce websites for simpler models like B2C or B2B, implementing an online marketplace requires a higher level of technical knowledge, programming skills, database management, system administration, and more.

In this article, SECOMM will share the essential steps for successfully developing an eCommerce marketplace, from market research and business planning to designing an appealing user interface, developing functional systems, and more.

Conduct market research and business planning

Market research and business planning are essential and indispensable initial steps in starting an eCommerce marketplace or any business operation.

The Complete 9 Steps for Building an eCommerce Marketplace - Conduct market research and business planning
Conduct market research and business planning

Here are some considerations for businesses when undertaking these activities:

  • Understanding customers and market needs: Market research helps businesses gain a better understanding of their target customers, competitors, and industry-influencing factors. By exploring customer needs, preferences, and shopping behaviors, businesses can make strategic decisions to create the best online shopping experience and seize effective business opportunities.
  • Setting goals and business strategies: Business planning helps companies identify specific objectives and devise strategies to achieve them. Companies need to define their core and secondary products/services, market access strategies, customer engagement approaches, and competitive value creation methods. A business plan helps create a detailed roadmap for how the business will build, develop, and operate its eCommerce marketplace.
  • Defining USP (Unique Selling Point): Market research allows businesses to comprehend the strengths and weaknesses of their competitors. This helps businesses identify distinctive features and competitive value that their brand can provide to attract customers. Determining the USP enables businesses to leverage these elements in branding, marketing, and operational strategies to gain a competitive advantage in the eCommerce marketplace.
  • Risk and financial management: Creating a financial plan and managing risks before embarking on the online marketplace development process is crucial. Businesses need to evaluate the financial resources and requirements for project implementation and establish long-term financial plans to ensure the sustainability of the business.

Select eCommerce platform

The eCommerce platform is a crucial element in the process of building an online marketplace. If the right choice is not made from the beginning, businesses may find themselves entangled in the whirlpool of technology when implementing their marketplace.

Typically, there are two types of eCommerce platforms for businesses to choose from: SaaS and Open Source.

The Complete 9 Steps for Building an eCommerce Marketplace - Select eCommerce platform
Select eCommerce platform

SaaS platform

SaaS (Software as a Service) eCommerce platforms are a software distribution model for building websites.

In this model, data is stored on the provider’s server, and the platform is responsible for handling technical aspects for businesses. Some popular SaaS platforms today include Haravan, Shopify, BigCommerce, and more.

  • Pros: User-friendly, quick development time, high security, 24/7 customer support.
  • Cons: Increasing development costs over time, limited customization, functionality, and scalability, and businesses may not own the source code and data.

Open-source platform

An Open Source platform, or open-source software, is software with publicly available source code that anyone can use for free. Open-source platforms are an optimal choice for businesses looking to develop complex eCommerce systems, especially tailored to the specific needs of an online marketplace.

Prominent examples of Open Source online marketplaces include Magento, WooCommerce (a plugin for WordPress), OpenCart, and more.

  • Pros: These platforms offer high levels of customization and scalability, a wide range of additional features and utilities, and businesses have ownership of the source code and data.
  • Cons: They are not very user-friendly, involve high development costs, and require extended deployment times.

Each platform type has its own set of advantages and disadvantages. Therefore, businesses should either have an in-house team or collaborate with an experienced and highly skilled eCommerce marketplace development agency to effectively advise on the selection, development, and operation of the chosen platform.

Outsource or build an in-house team

The initial decision regarding resource allocation for starting an eCommerce marketplace system has a profound impact on a company’s early business direction. Companies can choose to either collaborate with specialised development firms or establish their own in-house teams.

The Complete 9 Steps for Building an eCommerce Marketplace - Outsource or build an in-house team
Outsource or build an in-house team

Opting for an in-house team entails investing time and budget into the recruitment and training of staff. However, it provides effective resource management, enabling businesses to adapt and develop the online marketplace system in alignment with their original vision.

Alternatively, when companies decide to seek external partners, they need to collaborate with various firms to identify the most reputable one. However, upon finding a partner with extensive practical experience in marketplaces across multiple platforms, businesses benefit from consultations and a multitude of solutions from diverse perspectives even before system development begins.

Moreover, these firms possess a wealth of experience in promptly addressing emerging issues during system development and operation. This not only ensures that the requirements are met as anticipated but also facilitates valuable knowledge and experience exchange among all parties involved.

Design UI/UX

The User Interface (UI) and User Experience (UX) are often considered two inseparable aspects in the process of designing the interface for an eCommerce marketplace.

The Complete 9 Steps for Building an eCommerce Marketplace - Design UIUX
Design UI/UX

Here are the key steps in the UI/UX design process:

  • User Research: Research and gain a deep understanding of the target user audience, including demographic information, behaviour, needs, and expectations. This helps the business identify important elements to focus on and design accordingly.
  • Create Wireframes: Wireframes are simplified outlines of the website’s structure and layout, helping the business determine the placement of interface elements such as menus, buttons, images, and content containers. Wireframes provide an overview of the interface and assist in building the basic layout for the marketplace.
  • Optimize User Experience (UX): Ensure the website is user-friendly, easy to navigate, and meets user needs, such as enhancing interactivity, mobile-friendliness, optimizing page loading speed, and more.
  • User Interface (UI) Design: Create UI components such as buttons, menus, forms, images, and graphics that align with the brand. Make sure to use appropriate colors, fonts, and images to create a professional interface with a touch of the brand’s identity.
  • Testing and Evaluation: After completing the UI/UX design, conduct testing with a user group or use testing tools to assess the effectiveness of the interface.

Design architecture and database

Starting from business requirements, the technical team will build the system architecture for the eCommerce marketplace based on the appropriate technology framework or platform. Various architectures can be used, such as three-tier architecture, microservices architecture, hybrid architecture, headless architecture, etc. Each type of architecture has its own advantages and limitations, so businesses need to carefully consider and work with experts on the team or partners to choose the most suitable system architecture for each stage.

The Complete 9 Steps for Building an eCommerce Marketplace - Design architecture and database
Design architecture and database

Another equally important next step is to establish security and data management. Businesses need to define security measures to protect user data, payment information, and other critical data. Ensure that data is encrypted and transmitted securely via an SSL connection. Implement data protection measures such as access control, user authentication, data encryption, and data integrity checks.

Depending on the operating model of the marketplace, system and database design may need to be customized to be suitable and effective.

Develop functional system

After completing the essential functional systems, businesses should continue to develop specific features for their online marketplace, such as:

The Complete 9 Steps for Building an eCommerce Marketplace - Develop functional system
Develop functional system

Operator Portal: Full control of platform information, including seller management, product categorization, customer segments, supply chain management, ad content control, and more.

  • User Groups and Administrative Levels: Categorizing users into various groups and granting different permissions to different users.
  • Supply Chain Management: Warehouse and inventory management, assisting sellers in order fulfilment by routing orders, and more. 
  • Marketing Tools: A range of tools support marketing strategies, including search advertising, live streaming, gamification, and more.
  • User Experience Personalization: The ability to display personalized products such as favorites, similar products, past purchases, and facilitate order communication with sellers.
  • Analysis and Reporting: Analyzing and measuring the performance of the online marketplace to develop future business strategies.
  • Integration with Other Systems: Seamless integration with external systems.

Seller Portal: Sellers self-manage their presence in the marketplace, including product listings, orders, and activities, etc

  • Category and Product Management: Add, edit, delete product categories and products within categories; manage product attributes and variations (color, size, etc.); manage inventory quantities.
  • Content Management: Create and optimize content, including text, images, videos, banners, widgets, templates, branding, messaging, and more.
  • Order Management: View order lists and their statuses. Track shipments and deliveries. Update order status (processing, delivered, canceled, etc.).
  • Advertising and Promotions: Display advertisements, banners, promotions on the website. Manage discount codes, promotional programs, and more.
  • Payment Integration and Transaction Processing: Integrate payment gateways for online payment processing. Confirm and track payment transactions.

Customer Portal: Allow users to perform and manage basic information such as phone numbers, email addresses, delivery addresses, adjust payment options, request quotes, manage shopping lists, check order status, etc.

  • Account Registration and Management: Register new user accounts (buyers and sellers), log in, and manage personal information, delivery addresses, payment methods, etc.
  • Product Search and Viewing: Search for products by keywords, categories, brands, etc. View detailed product information, including images, descriptions, prices, ratings, and more.
  • Cart and Checkout: Add products to the cart; edit product quantities, remove products from the cart, calculate and display the total amount in the cart; select payment methods; enter payment information and delivery address; confirm and place orders. 
  • Reviews and Comments: Rate and write reviews about products; view reviews and comments from other users.
  • Customer Support: Provide contact channels for customers to ask questions, request assistance; offer real-time support through direct chat, email, phone, and more.

Q/C Testing

Whether you’re building an in-house team or enlisting the services of external development agencies, the quality testing phase of a project holds immense significance. This critical stage is where businesses validate that the system functions as expected and complies with the initial requirements.

The Complete 9 Steps for Building an eCommerce Marketplace-QC-Testing
Q/C Testing

Step 1: Define Testing Objectives

Identify the objectives and scope of the testing process. Set specific criteria and requirements that the business wants to verify to ensure the platform operates accurately and meets the specified requirements.

Step 2: Test Planning

Determine a detailed test plan, including test cases, scenarios, and data. Identify the resources, timeline, and scope of the testing phases.

Step 3: Functional Testing

Verify all website functions to ensure they are working correctly as expected. If the business’s website supports multiple languages and regions, it should also verify compatibility and display of each feature in different geographical areas.

Step 4: User Interface (UI) Testing

Ensure the interface is designed beautifully and user-friendly. Evaluate information display, buttons, links, and user experience on various devices, including mobile and tablet.

Step 5: Browser Compatibility Testing

Test the website on popular browsers such as Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, Safari, and Microsoft Edge to ensure compatibility and correct display on all platforms.

Step 6: Performance Testing

Assess website performance, including page load speed, concurrent processing, and scalability. Ensure the website operates smoothly and can handle the expected traffic load.

Step 7: Security Testing

Examine the platform’s security by testing intrusion potential, data security, and user authentication. Verify security methods such as SSL, data encryption, and security certificates.

Step 8: Issue Resolution

Document and track any errors and issues that arise during testing. Identify the root causes, rectify the errors, and retest until the testing process is approved, and the entire system is ready for go-live and operation.

Golive

Go-live is the final stage in the process of starting an eCommerce marketplace when the system is officially launched and becomes operational.

The Complete 9 Steps for Building an eCommerce Marketplace - Golive
Golive

To ensure a successful go-live process, businesses should prepare a checklist known as the Go-live checklist. This is a list of tasks that the deployment team needs to perform to prepare the system for go-live. The checklist includes task items, responsible individuals, status, and how they affect the system.

Pre-golive

  • Prepare the Production environment and configure the domain.
  • Ensure that the entire source code of the go-live preparation system is the final version of the quality testing process.
  • Data migration: Execute the data migration process from the old system to the new system using the established method. Then, verify the data after migration to ensure the integrity and accuracy of data in the new system.
  • Content update: Review website content, including text, images, videos, and other materials. Ensure that the content is displayed accurately without spelling or formatting error
  • Backup all website data to ensure safety and data recovery capabilities when needed
  • Identify and prepare customer guide and support materials

Finally Golive 

  • Implement the transition process from the development environment to the actual production environment.
  • Monitor website traffic and activities immediately after golive.
  • Ensure system stability and performance throughout the go-live process.

Post-golive

  • Monitor and analyze user feedback
  • Address issues and problems that arise post-go-live
  • Ensure the system’s stability and performance over an extended period after golive
  • Ensure compatibility of integrations with external systems
  • Train employees and managers to use and maintain the system effectively

Continuously update & develop features

Regularly updating the system is important for businesses to adapt to the ever-changing customer needs, improve customer experience, stay abreast of emerging technology trends, enhance competitiveness, and more. Moreover, continuous bug fixes and security patch updates enhance the brand’s credibility, safeguard users from internet threats, and so on. 

Moreover, the development of new features empowers businesses to capitalize on market opportunities and scale their operations more professionally. For example, after a period of operation and accumulating a specific customer base, businesses can introduce features tailored to loyal customers. 

The Complete 9 Steps for Building an eCommerce Marketplace - Continuously update & develop features
Continuously update & develop features

Running a thriving marketplace involves a multitude of factors, such as the business model, financial capabilities, and building strategic partnerships with diverse brands. However, a well-functioning eCommerce platform with high performance plays a vital role in the path to success. The journey of marketplace development is anything but straightforward. It requires substantial investments of time and resources for thorough research and the seamless alignment of solutions with each development phase.

Recognizing the challenges and hurdles that businesses face during the process of starting their eCommerce marketplace, feel free to contact or call SECOMM directly at (02871089908) for a free consultation.

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Ultimate Guide for Vietnamese Firms to Deploy O2O Commerce
ULTIMATE GUIDE FOR VIETNAMESE FIRMS TO DEPLOY O2O COMMERCE

According to data compiled by Statista, over 82% of retail sales take place in brick-and-mortar stores. Within that, more than 81% of customers have spent time researching products online before deciding. This demonstrates both online and offline business activities must be aligned for the optimized overall operation. That means you, as a business, need to consider implementing an O2O commerce strategy in line with your business goals and capabilities.

Define objectives

To establish objectives, it’s important to determine your vision for O2O commerce implementation. It represents the future look that you aim to achieve, and then you will set specific and measurable goals. You can also use SWOT to make sure you understand your strength, weakness, opportunity, and threats. 

Ultimate Guide for Vietnamese Firms to Deploy O2O Commerce - Define objectives
Ultimate Guide for Vietnamese Firms to Deploy O2O Commerce – Define objectives

Clear objectives will keep you focused on what is important, minimize risks, and achieve O2O commerce success.

Plan the strategy

Next is to work with your team to develop O2O strategies to achieve the established objectives. 

You can use performance analysis software to measure and analyze, identifying pain points and touchpoints throughout the purchasing journey. This way, you can determine which O2O model to implement and which channels are suited for the chosen model. 

After choosing your business model, you will select resources to facilitate O2O commerce. 

Ultimate Guide for Vietnamese Firms to Deploy O2O Commerce - Plan the strategy
Plan the strategy

Here are 3 great ways to pool resources:

Number 1. Plan to build your in-house team for both online and offline sales channels

Pros: You can manage and shape your team to develop the business the way you want

Cons: It requires significant costs and time to recruit and train your in-house team, making your market entry to be slower than the competition. 

Number 2. Collaborate with an O2O-experienced developer

Pros: You can learn a lot from your partner

Cons: It’s not easy to find trustworthy and professional partners with expertise that suits your needs. 

Number 3. Facilitate the O2O commerce with an expert developer along with building the in-house team to maintain it.

Pros: You can quickly develop the O2O system and control it in the long run

Cons: It takes time to find a trustworthy vendor, as well as the costs to recruit and train your in-house team.

Those approaches can help you in effectively outlining your O2O commerce plan, encompassing aspects such as budget allocation and implementation timeline.

Optimize the offline commerce system

Typically, businesses that implement O2O strategies are those that already have an existing offline business system. However, to effectively fulfill O2O orders you must optimize your offline commerce capabilities. The optimized offline system will strengthen your O2O operations with some management software such as POS, CRM, ERP, and PIM instead of using manual management processes relying on paperwork or Microsoft Office tools (Word, Excel, OneNote, Access, etc).

Ultimate Guide for Vietnamese Firms to Deploy O2O Commerce - Optimize the offline commerce system
Optimize the offline commerce system

POS (Point of Sale) is where the buying and selling transactions take place. A POS system combines hardware and software to create a complete transaction process. Some popular POS systems include Magestore, mPOS, VNPAY, and KiotViet. 

ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) is software that helps plan and manage all operations of a business. Some world-renowned ERPs include Odoo, Sage, TomERP, Oracle, and SAP. 

CRM (Customer Relationship Management) is a software that allows you to manage information and interaction of your existing and prospective customers. CRM helps you to collect, store, and analyze customer data to improve customer interactions and enhance sales capabilities. You can use CRM tools like Salesforce, HubSpot, Zendesk, Zoho, and Pipedrive. 

PIM (Product Information Management) is a system used to store and manage your business’s product information in a centralized manner. Product information includes technical specifications, descriptions, images, videos, size and color information, multilingual product descriptions, and other relevant information needed by marketers or sales staff. There are some popular PIM solutions including Pimworks, Salsify, Akeneo, and Inriver.  

Depending on the current level of digitization in your offline operations, you can consider upgrading existing systems, transitioning to different platforms, or implementing additional suitable software solutions. 

Develop the online commerce system

Select platforms

Typically, building the online commerce system including websites, and apps, you can choose between 2 types of platforms: SaaS and Open Source.

Ultimate Guide for Vietnamese Firms to Deploy O2O Commerce - Select platforms
Select platforms

SaaS (Software as a Service) platform is a service delivery model where the website system is provided as software. In this model, data is stored on the provider’s server, and the platform is responsible for handling technical issues for the business.

Some popular SaaS platforms:  Haravan, Shopify, and BigCommerce.

  • Pros: Easy to use, quick development time, high security, 24/7 customer support
  • Cons: Increasing development costs over time, businesses have limited ownership of source code and data, limitations in functionality and customization, and scalability.

The SaaS platform is often a popular choice for startups or SMEs (Small and Medium-sized Enterprises) due to its reasonable cost and implementation time. 

The Open Source platform refers to software with publicly available source code that can be used by anyone free of charge. Open-source platforms are the optimal choice for businesses to develop comprehensive websites and apps. 

Some notable Open-source platforms include Magento, WooCommerce (a plugin for WordPress), and OpenCart. 

  • Pros: High customization and scalability, diverse critical features and utilities, you have ownership of source code and data. 
  • Cons: Not user-friendly, high development costs, lengthy implementation time. 

The Open-source platform is the perfect choice for enterprise-level businesses requiring complex customization due to its high flexibility and scalability.

In addition, you can also build your store on popular eCommerce marketplaces such as Shopee, Lazada, Tiki, Sendo, and Amazon. Marketplaces give you a great opportunity to reach out to a wide pool of potential customers and increase sales. Moreover, using eCommerce marketplaces helps you save costs on ads, shipping, and customer relationship management (CRM).

To succeed on marketplaces, you will need optimized store pages and an effective strategy. It’s easier said than done, however, relying on eCommerce marketplaces in the long run may result in a loss of control over customers and their data. Marketplaces will have their own policies regarding customer data management and contact information making it difficult for you to directly access their customers and may lose these potential customers to your competition. 

Overall, to effectively implement O2O commerce, you can choose to develop an online system alongside your offline system or proceed with it after getting the offline system done. 

Create UI/UX design

After choosing the platform to build the O2O e-commerce website and app, you will create the UI/UX design that aligns with your brand’s characteristics. 

Ultimate Guide for Vietnamese Firms to Deploy O2O Commerce - Create UI UX design
Create UI/UX design

There are 3 recommended approaches:

  • Using pre-built themes: This helps you save theme costs. Both SaaS and Open-source platforms offer a variety of themes ranging from $300 to $500.
  • Customizing based on pre-built themes: This approach allows you to customize the theme to suit your development needs. 
  • Create the UI/UX design from scratch: This helps you to develop your brand image uniquely and creatively compared to the majority of competitors. It may incur higher costs compared to using pre-built themes but the “tailored” design will meet the market needs and your business’s requirements. 

Develop critical functions for the digital system

Ultimate Guide for Vietnamese Firms to Deploy O2O Commerce - Develop critical functions for the digital system
Develop critical functions for the digital system

After you’ve done with your design, it’s time to develop some critical functions for both eCommerce website and app implementation. Below are a few suggestions:

  • Catalog Management: involves managing categories, functions, prices, and product images/videos to optimize your operations.
  • Sales Management: focus on managing order information, and being aware of customer shopping behavior.
  • Marketing Management: integrating features such as URLs, meta tags, and internal links to optimize SEO, and combine with other effective marketing campaigns to boost sales. 
  • Content Management: All about generating and optimizing engaging content for CMS, including text, images, banners, widgets, templates as well as blogs, and branded content, v.v
  • Customer Management: All about storing, managing, and analyzing customer data and segmentation to boost your marketing strategy and optimize the customer online experience.
  • System Management: All about managing and assigning permissions to administrators to operate, secure, and maintain the eCommerce system. 
  • Store Management: All about using inventory management tools at main stores, branches, and warehouses to ensure an efficient supply chain. 
  • Cart and Checkout Management: All about the shopping cart and payment information.
  • Analysis and Reporting: All about analyzing and measuring the performance of the eCommerce system to help you make decisions based on data. 

Testing

Testing serves as a vital undertaking to help you uncover any lurking bugs that may emerge within a website and app, all in the pursuit of aligning the entire system seamlessly with the precise demands of your business. By doing testing, you will not only grant a comprehensive overview of your project but also provide the means to evaluate targets and even proactively manage risks as you navigate the realm of eCommerce.

Ultimate Guide for Vietnamese Firms to Deploy O2O Commerce - Testing
Testing

There are several testing methods:

  • White-box testing: In white-box testing, the code and algorithms are examined. Testers access the source code to perform the tests. 
  • Black-box testing: This method tests the system’s functionality based on specific requirements.
  • Gray-box testing: It combines black-box and white-box testing. 

In general, conducting testing based on test scenarios is an important step that helps you ensure quality and provides a solid foundation for a smooth operation.

Legal Registration and Launch the app

Ultimate Guide for Vietnamese Firms to Deploy O2O Commerce - Legal Registration and Launch the app
Legal Registration and Launch the app

Declare with the Vietnamese Ministry of Industry and Trade

The final step to developing the online capabilities is to complete the legal procedures to make sure your eCommerce operation is legit. You can follow the step-by-step guide in the eCommerce Management Portal. 

This is a mandatory requirement set by the Vietnamese Ministry of Industry and Trade for individuals or organizations having online businesses to fulfill their obligation to register/notify within the specified timeframe. 

Publish the app on Google Play and App Store

To publish the applications on these platforms, you need to follow these steps:

  1. Register a developer account on the App Store and Google Play
  2. Create your developer profile and register the app
  3. Create and submit the app, including necessary information such as name, description, images, videos, and other features. You must ensure the app complies with the regulations and requirements of these platforms.
  4. Check and confirm the app registration. When the app is approved, you can start promoting and managing it on the platforms. 

By pushing the app to Google Play and the App Store, you take one closer step to mobile users.

Measure performance

After facilitating your O2O commerce system, it’s time to take a look at the collected data to measure its performance for further critical decisions. Several tools can be integrated into your business system such as Google Search Console, Google Analytics, Facebook Pixel, TikTok Tracking Pixel, and more.

Ultimate Guide for Vietnamese Firms to Deploy O2O Commerce - Measure performance
Measure performance

Moreover, you can integrate BI (Business Intelligence) tools, which are intelligent management reporting systems, to gather large amounts of data from various sources and use them to make predictions. Some popular BI tools include Magento Business Intelligence, Tableau, Power BI, and Looker.

Optimize customer experience

Having the analysis and reports in place, you can now develop appropriate strategies to optimize customer experience. Some popular strategies include Loyalty Program and Omnichannel.

Ultimate Guide for Vietnamese Firms to Deploy O2O Commerce - Optimize customer experience
Optimize customer experience

The Loyalty Program is a marketing strategy designed to encourage customers to continue to shop associated with the program. This enriches customer shopping experience and keeps them engaged with your brand. 

Omnichannel is a multichannel sales approach that focuses on providing a seamless shopping experience by marketing and selling on all channels where potential customers are present, from mobile devices, social media, and eCommerce websites to brick-and-mortar stores.

O2O Commerce Solution at SECOMM

Established in 2014, SECOMM is a company specializing in providing O2O commerce solutions. Over the years, SECOMM has accumulated a vast portfolio of O2O commerce projects with large domestic and international clients such as Annam Gourmet, Trentham Estate, and much more.

Regarding O2O commerce solutions, SECOMM offers a diverse range of services to help businesses enhance their competitive capabilities and dominate the retail market in the digital age. These services include Solution Consulting, Team Development, and O2O System Development including:

O2O Commerce Model

eCommerce System

Developing an O2O commerce system to provide a comprehensive experience for customers:

  • Deploying eCommerce websites on platforms such as Shopify, WooCommerce, and Magento, etc
  • Building eCommerce Apps using platforms, technologies, and frameworks such as Flutter, NodeJS, ReactJS, Ionic.
  • Building and managing online stores on popular eCommerce marketplaces such as Shopee, Lazada, Tiki, Sendo, and Amazon.

Management system

Deploying and integrating management tools and software to efficiently operate business activities for the enterprise.

  • ERP: Odoo, Sage, TomERP, Oracle, SAP, etc.
  • CRM: Salesforce, Hubspot, Zendesk, Zoho, etc.
  • POS: Magestore, mPOS, VNPAY, KiotViet, etc.
  • PIM: Pimworks, Salsify, Akeneo, Inriver, etc.

Customer Experience System

Building and integrating platforms to support businesses in enhancing customer experience.

  • Mobile Applications: Flutter, NodeJS, ReactJS, Ionic, etc.
  • Loyalty Programs
  • Omnichannel Commerce

Data System

Integrating tools to support the analysis and reporting for the business operations.

  • Data analysis and reporting: Google Search Console, Google Analytics, Facebook Pixel, Tiktok Tracking Pixel, etc.
  • Business Intelligence: Magento Business Intelligence, Tableau, Power BI, Looker, etc.

To learn more about the O2O commerce model as well as the best solutions to conquer the retail market, please contact SECOMM today for a free consultation.

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6 Tips to Build a Successful Omnichannel eCommerce Strategy
6 TIPs TO BUILD A SUCCESSFUL OMNICHANNEL ECOMMERCE STRATEGY

In 2021, The Vietnamese eCommerce market size reached 13.7 billion USD, which means the industry is growing rapidly and playing an important role in Vietnam’s economy. 

It forces business owners to find ways to make their businesses stand out and connect with customers.

One of the effective approaches is to implement an Omnichannel eCommerce strategy. This is a marketing method aimed at providing a consistent customer experience across multiple channels. It may be confused with Multichannel eCommerce, where brands sell on various channels but provide different customer experiences on each channel. Although customers can shop on social media, eCommerce websites, physical stores, etc, their experience across these channels could not be seamless. There is also the Single-channel eCommerce model, where a brand only uses one channel for sales. 

Retailers globally recognize the potential and impact of Omnichannel eCommerce on their business operations. According to Report Linker, the market for multi-channel retail platforms reached 5 billion USD in 2020 and is projected to reach 14.5 billion USD in 2027. Industry analysts and experts also emphasize that Omnichannel is the future of eCommerce and is a great way to attract customers and provide them with true value. 

Here are 6 tips to help you, as a business successfully build an Omnichannel eCommerce strategy.

Tip 1: Understand the target audience & their shopping behavior

Tip number 1, regardless of any business strategy, you have to know who your target customers are and their shopping behavior. You can start by gathering relevant data about demographic information, purchase history, etc from various sources, including eCommerce websites, social media platforms, physical stores, etc. Then, you will analyze how they interact with the brand across different channels and create detailed buyer personas. 

6 Tips to Build a Successful Omnichannel eCommerce Strategy - Tip 1_ Understand the target audience & their shopping behavior
Tip 1: Understand the target audience & their shopping behavior

This helps identify effective approaches for each customer segment and tailor messages for each channel. For example, if a significant portion of your customers prefers shopping on mobile devices, you can optimize your suitable marketing campaigns alongside improving the website to attract more customers. Or, you can invest in developing mobile applications to enrich the customer shopping experience and drive conversions.

Tip 2: Map the customer journey

Tip number 2 is to map out the customer journey to visually understand the process that a potential customer goes through when interacting with your brand. It helps you clearly understand their needs, buying motivations, and so forth. When developing an Omnichannel eCommerce strategy, mapping the customer journey allows you to proactively provide personalized customer experiences across channels. It not only enhances cross-selling, and upselling but also improves customer intention and loyalty. 

There are typically 5 stages in the customer journey: Awareness, Interest, Purchase, Retention, and Advocacy. 

6 Tips to Build a Successful Omnichannel eCommerce Strategy - Tip 2_ Map the customer journey
Tip 2: Map the customer journey

Here are the basic steps to create a customer journey map:

  • Set clear goals for the map
  • Identify buyer personas and define the target customers
  • Determine the stages and objectives for each stage
  • List out the touchpoints
  • Collect data and feedback
  • Identify areas that need to be improved

Tip 3: Develop a brand image & messaging

Another valuable tip is to develop a consistent brand message and image across channels. It requires you first to identify and understand the brand values, vision, and mission. For example, you can use consistent elements such as colors, fonts, etc, to help customers easily recognize your brand. Moreover, you need to train your staff on the brand message and image to ensure they understand and communicate the message properly across all channels. 

6 Tips to Build a Successful Omnichannel eCommerce Strategy - Tip 3_ Develop a brand image & messaging
Tip 3: Develop a brand image & messaging

This tip not only helps increase brand recognition and customer loyalty but also creates a seamless customer experience.

Tip 4: Engage customers on social media

Next, you can incorporate social media into your Omnichannel eCommerce strategy and focus on engaging with customers on social media platforms alongside other effective marketing channels. With over 3.6 billion social media users globally, building your brand presence in these places is no longer an option but an imperative measure  to effectively connect your brand with customers.

6 Tips to Build a Successful Omnichannel eCommerce Strategy - Tip 4_ Engage customers on social media
Source: Statista

Leveraging social media enables you to engage with customers by responding to inquiries and addressing concerns through messaging or interactions on the news feed in a friendly and approachable manner. In addition, social media provides you with great space to deliver brand messages and voices to customers in a quicker and more intimate way to enhance brand awareness. You can create your own ideas and content or collaborate with influencers. 

To tightly integrate social media with other channels in the Omnichannel eCommerce strategy, you can, for example, encourage users to like, comment, and share posts to receive attractive discount codes for purchases on websites or physical stores. 

Tip 5: Optimize the shopping experience

Tip number 5, for a seamless omnichannel experience, you need to ensure that customers can make purchases through any channel they interact with, such as eCommerce websites, marketplaces, social media platforms, and physical stores.

Additionally, to keep up with mobile commerce trends, you should optimize mobile-friendly and responsive websites as well as user-friendly mobile apps for easy navigation and usage.

6 Tips to Build a Successful Omnichannel eCommerce Strategy - Tip 5_ Optimize the shopping experience
Tip 5: Optimize the shopping experience

Since Omnichannel eCommerce emphasizes consistent experiences across all channels, content and customer-related information such as login credentials, payment details, and shopping carts should be synchronized. This enables customers to move seamlessly between channels and devices while preserving the items in their shopping carts or without the need to spend time logging in or re-entering payment information. Moreover, you can leverage data analytics to personalize product recommendations for each customer, displaying relevant or complementary products based on their behavior and purchase history across channels to increase cross-selling and upselling opportunities.

Tip 6: Measure & analyze the outcome

Tip number 6 is measuring and analyzing the results of the strategy. During the implementation process, you can utilize data analysis tools such as Google Analytics, Google Tag Manager, Facebook Pixel, and others to check, track and analyze customers across all channels. It helps identify which channels generate the most traffic, level of engagement, and sales revenue, and identify areas for improvement. In addition, you can gather customer feedback to enhance and optimize your strategy. The work should be conducted to make appropriate adjustments and achieve desired results. 

6 Tips to Build a Successful Omnichannel eCommerce Strategy - Tip 6_ Measure & analyze the outcome
Tip 6: Measure & analyze the outcome

Contact SECOMM now for a consultation on building an Omnichannel eCommerce strategy.

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Step-By-Step Guide To Develop eCommerce Loyalty Programs
STEP-BY-STEP GUIDE TO DEVELOP ECOMMERCE LOYALTY PROGRAMS

Loyal customers contribute significantly to the profitability and development of eCommerce businesses. Therefore, as a business, you need to focus on strengthening relationships with customers and encouraging repeat purchases. Among the methods available, building and convincing customers to participate in Loyalty Programs is an effective strategy.

Below is the ultimate guide to successfully build and implement an eCommerce Loyalty Program. 

Related Readings: Everything To Know About eCommerce Loyalty Programs

Set Objectives

The first step of the process is to establish the goals of the eCommerce Loyalty Program, which includes identifying the objectives (e.g. increasing customer retention rates, promoting repeat purchases, attracting new customers, increasing CLV). These objectives should align with the overall development strategy and business goals. 

Step-By-Step Guide To Develop eCommerce Loyalty Programs - Set Objectives
Set Objectives To Develop eCommerce Loyalty Programs

In addition, as a business, you need to clearly define the target audience of the Loyalty Program by analyzing the demographic and psychographic characteristics of those audiences to design a suitable program that meets their expectations. 

You also can research the Loyalty Programs of competitors, analyze their strengths and weaknesses, and then create your own program to differentiate your business and provide unique value to customers. 

Develop eCommerce Loyalty Program

Determine types of Loyalty Program

Step-By-Step Guide To Develop eCommerce Loyalty Programs - Determine types of Loyalty Program
Determine types of Loyalty Program

Currently, there are various types of eCommerce Loyalty Programs, but the most popular ones are point-based programs, tiered-based programs, and subscription-based programs. 

  • Point-based Loyalty Programs

This allows customers to earn points for each purchase or specific action and redeem them for rewards once they have accumulated a certain number of points. You should pay attention to the value of the rewards customers will receive and the reasonable time to redeem them to make the programs attractive. 

  • Tiered-based Loyalty Programs

This program encourages customers to strive for higher tiers to receive higher-value rewards and benefits. It will require customers to invest their time and money in shopping and engaging with your brand, meaning the more they spend, the more benefits they receive, and the higher their loyalty to your brand.

  • Subscription-based Loyalty Programs

This Loyalty Program requires customers to register as members and pay a monthly, quarterly, or annual fee, depending on the terms of each program. Because of that, customers are more likely to commit to engaging with the brand, which is higher than other types of programs. Typically, these programs will have a trial period for customers to decide whether or not to join, and this is also an opportunity for you to convince them that the value they will receive is worth every cent. 

The choice of Loyalty Program type depends on the budget, resources, and overall strategy of your business. 

Choose rewards meaningful to customers

After choosing the right type of eCommerce Loyalty Program, you will want to select rewards that are suitable for that program. For point-based Loyalty Programs, common rewards include:

  • Discounts on the next purchase;
  • Free shipping;
  • Free gifts;
  • Priority support;
  • The opportunity to join exclusive events 
  • The latest product updates.

The SHEIN Bonus Point Program is a typical point-based Loyalty Program, where customers will earn 1 point for $1 spent. In addition, customers can also earn reward points by taking specific actions such as verifying their accounts, reviewing products, etc. When reaching the required number of points, customers can redeem them for discounts of up to 70%.

Step-By-Step Guide To Develop eCommerce Loyalty Programs - Choose rewards meaningful to customers - Shein
The SHEIN Bonus Point Program

For the type of tiered Loyalty Program, the tiers will determine the equivalent benefits that customers will receive and require effort to maintain or upgrade. Therefore, rewards will be designed to reflect the brand’s characteristics and personalized for each customer at each specific tier. This makes the customer’s efforts worthwhile. 

For example, Aldo Crew is a tiered Loyalty Program from the famous fashion brand – Aldo, with 3 main tiers: Crew, Plus, and VIP. The program offers customers attractive and personalized benefits such as special pricing, free birthday gifts, birthday discounts, 20% off handbags when purchasing shoes, exclusive privileges and surprises, and account sharing with friends.

Step-By-Step Guide To Develop eCommerce Loyalty Programs - Choose rewards meaningful to customers - Aldo Crew
Aldo Crew

Most membership programs are applied by leading and well-known businesses worldwide due to their credibility, product value, and high-quality service that make customers trust them to spend their money to sign up. The rewards of this type of program tend to be exclusive, only available at the brand and for registered members. 

For example, customers who register for the Walmart+ membership program will receive benefits such as product discounts, shipping policies, gas service, and movie watching with Paramount+ that non-members cannot receive.

Step-By-Step Guide To Develop eCommerce Loyalty Programs - Choose rewards meaningful to customers - Walmart+
The Walmart+ membership program

Depending on what Loyalty Program you choose, you will select rewards that are appropriate for both your customers and your business. However, you should consider the cost of each reward as well as the benefits it brings to the business before applying it to the program. Providing valuable rewards can not only increase customer retention and loyalty but also boost sales and increase the CLV. 

Choose Loyalty Program Software

Next, you will need software to develop,  and manage eCommerce Loyalty Programs, track customer activities, and distribute rewards. The choice will be based on some factors such as ease of use, integration with eCommerce websites, and the price of the software. There are some popular Loyalty Program software on the market today, including Smile.io, Loyalty Lion, Yotpo, S Loyalty, and so forth. These softwares can be easily integrated and work effectively with eCommerce platforms such as Magento, Shopify, WooCommerce, etc. 

Design the program rules

The next step is to design the rules of the program. You need to ensure that the rules and conditions for participation are presented clearly, easy to understand, and easy to follow.

For example, the Sephora Beauty Insider program is based on a tiered system where customers earn one point for every dollar they spend, and the conditions for participation and advancement are clearly presented.

Quy Trình Xây Dựng Và Triển Khai eCommerce Loyalty Program-Xây dựng thể lệ chương trình-Sephora
Sephora Beauty Insider

Again, with Walmart+ as an example, customers easily recognize the benefits they will receive for joining the program as a member, and the cost of $12.95/month after a 30-day trial as well. 

Step-By-Step Guide To Develop eCommerce Loyalty Programs - Design the program rules - Walmart+
Walmart+

In addition, the registration process should be easy to execute. Typically, brands will require customers to create an account on their website or fill out a registration form, or even simpler, just log in with Facebook to participate. These actions are quick and easy to execute.

For example, in the Sephora Beauty Insider program, customers can click “join now”, fill out the form, and join the Insider tier. Or, if they already have an account, they need to log in to see their points balance and tier.

For the Aldo Crew program, customers need to fill out a registration form on the website or log in with their Facebook account to start.

Step-By-Step Guide To Develop eCommerce Loyalty Programs - Design the program rules - Aldo Crew
Fill out the form to join Aldo Crew

In addition to ensuring the clarity and understandability of the program rules, you also want to ensure that the conditions set are appropriate for customers to quickly earn rewards and maintain the attractiveness of the program, while also bringing profits to the business.

For example, the Amazon Prime membership program offers customers a 30-day free trial and a range of pricing options. The most noteworthy are the monthly payment plan at $14.99/month and the annual payment plan at $139/year. The majority of customers are likely to choose the annual payment plan ($139) to save money, which is also Amazon’s intention as the profits they earn will be higher.

Step-By-Step Guide To Develop eCommerce Loyalty Programs - Design the program rules - Amazon Prime
Choose a suitable plan to join Amazon Prime

Implement eCommerce loyalty Program

Integrate the program to eCommerce website

To implement a Loyalty Program, you will need to integrate the program into your eCommerce website and display the point balance and rewards on the Shopping cart page.

Taking Sephora as an example again, the Profile page displays the customer’s current membership tier and current point balance.

Step-By-Step Guide To Develop eCommerce Loyalty Programs - Integrate the program to eCommerce website - Sephora
Integrate the Loyalty Program to your eCommerce website

Train the team

For the success of your eCommerce Loyalty Program, you have to educate your team about the program, including participation requirements, point accumulation methods, rewards, and more. 

Moreover, you want to ensure that your team knows how to answer customer questions about the program and handle any arising issues. This activity should be done regularly along with the changing of your Loyalty Program to fit market trends. 

By providing effective training, your team is able to promote and manage the program accordingly. This contributes to the success of your eCommerce Loyalty Program.

Launch & promote the program

When launching your Loyalty Program, you will want to make it popular so promotion is necessary. To do it effectively, you can prominently display the program on the Homepage and Navigation menu of your website. Also, you can promote the program on social media or use eye-catching graphics and compelling content for email marketing. 

An Influencer marketing campaign is an effective way to increase the program’s awareness and engagement. Referral Marketing is also a commonly used marketing strategy in Loyalty Programs today, encouraging customers to refer new members to the program to expand the customer base.

Step-By-Step Guide To Develop eCommerce Loyalty Programs - Launch & promote the program
Launch & promote the program

Popular Loyalty Programs such as Sephora Beauty Insider, Amazon Prime, Walmart+, Aldo Crew, and eBay Plus all have referral programs. When someone signs up for the Loyalty Program through a referral link, both the referrer and the referee will receive a small bonus of $1-$10 or a discount on their next purchase. 

Measure outcomes & keep customers engaged

You will need to track and measure the results of the Loyalty Program to ensure the objectives are achieved and make adjustments if necessary. 

You can use KPIs like customer retention rate, repeat purchase rate, or average order value of members compared to non-members. Moreover, you can collect and analyze customer feedback and reviews on their satisfaction with the program to identify what to improve.

You also need to keep your customers engaged by regularly improving, updating, and promoting the program. At the same time, you should provide personalized rewards and experiences based on their interests and behavior to increase customer satisfaction and interaction.

In addition, you can consider building a community of members by providing online and offline events and special offers exclusively for program members. Again, Sephora does this well, they offer exclusive events for all Insider, VIB, and Rouge members in addition to other incredible experiences. This gradually creates a community of loyal Sephora customers who love beauty.

Step-By-Step Guide To Develop eCommerce Loyalty Programs - Measure outcomes & keep customers engaged - Sephora
Exclusive Events for Sephora’s all-tiered customers.

Retention isn’t about convincing customers who were going to leave to stick around. Instead, retention is about providing so much value to your existing customers that they never go anywhere else and become your strongest benefit.

Therefore, enhancing your customer experience through attractive Loyalty Programs is an effective way to increase customer retention and loyalty.

Contact SECOMM now for a free consultation on developing a comprehensive eCommerce Loyalty Program.

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The-Proven-Roadmap-To-Develop-Your-eCommerce-App
THE PROVEN ROADMAP TO DEVELOP YOUR ECOMMERCE APP

Facing the boom of Mobile Commerce, businesses now have two choices: to build an eCommerce app to adapt to this boom or to ignore it and gradually fall behind. 

According to Insider Intelligence’s forecast, mobile commerce market sales will reach $534.18 billion in 2024, of which two devices contributing to this incredible number are smartphones and tablets. Smartphones alone account for 87.2% of mobile commerce sales. These figures are the most convincing answer to the above consideration: Yes, businesses need to build an eCommerce app.  

The Process of Creating An eCommerce App

Building an eCommerce app requires a lot of effort and serious work because it is a complex process with many stages and the involvement of many relevant. Below are 8 summarized implementation steps that will help businesses understand the building process of an eCommerce app to make their business operation more effective. 

Identify Objectives

The first step of the process is to determine the objective of the eCommerce app, including deciding which products will be sold through the app and identifying the target audience. This way, businesses can build an app that meets their needs and quickly achieves the objective.

The-Proven-Roadmap-To-Develop-Your-eCommerce-App-Identifying-Objectives
Identifying objectives

Businesses should do market research to understand their target audience’s needs, preferences, and behaviors in various ways, such as through surveys, interviews, etc. It helps them define the app’s features and the marketing strategies to promote it. Moreover, businesses should find the app’s unique selling points that differentiate it from its competitors, making it easy to attract potential customers and stand out. 

Define Must-Have Feature Set

After identifying the objectives, the business proceeds to the next step: identifying the vital features of the eCommerce app. Here are some recommendations:

  • Product Catalog: The app should include a catalog of the business’s products, clear product images, detailed descriptions, and comments about products. 
  • Search function: Not only websites, but eCommerce apps also need a search bar to help customers easily search for products they are interested in.
  • Shopping cart: The shopping cart feature allows users to add products to their cart, view the list inside, and add or remove items from the cart.
  • Payment integration: To help the payment process run smoothly, businesses can integrate multiple payment methods to provide customers with various options such as cash on delivery (COD), credit/debit cards, eWallets, etc.
  • Social media integration: This integration not only helps customers log in quickly but also encourages them to connect with the business on social media platforms.
  • Push notification: For eCommerce apps, push notifications play a crucial role as a communication channel with customers and support businesses in marketing campaigns.
The-Proven-Roadmap-To-Develop-Your-eCommerce-App-Define-Must-Have-Feature-Set
Define Must Have Feature Set

Select Platform and App Type

  • Select platform (iOS/Android)

The selection of a platform for building an eCommerce app depends on many factors, including target customers, budget, development stage, necessary features, expansion needs, etc. iOS and Android are two popular platforms in today’s market. In most cases, businesses will build eCommerce apps on both platforms. However, those with limited resources, start with one platform first and then expand to the other later. 

Additionally, if a business is targeting customers in the European and North American markets, iOS would be the right choice because iOS dominates these markets. However, because Android has a superior market share in Asia, businesses with plans to penetrate the Asian market should consider choosing Android.

  • Select App Type (Native app/Hybrid app)

Any business looking to build an eCommerce app will have to choose between a Native app and a Hybrid app. Developing a Native app refers to building a specific app for a specific platform (iOS & Android), using the respective programming languages of the platform – Swift/Objective-C for iOS and Java/Kotlin for Android. Native apps can provide great performance and user experience as they are optimized for the specific platform the app is built on. However, building Native apps can be costly and time-consuming. 

Developing a Hybrid app involves building a single app that works on both iOS and Android platforms, using web technologies like HTML, CSS, and JavaScript. Hybrid apps can speed up the development cycle and be less expensive in terms of budget and time compared to native apps. However, Hybrid apps cannot provide the same performance and user experience as Native apps.

Therefore, the choice between developing a Native app or a Hybrid app depends on the budget, development process, and the desired user experience. If the business has a surplus budget to invest in user experience, then developing a Native app is a good choice. However, if the business needs to bring its eCommerce app to the market quickly but has budget constraints, then it should focus on developing a Hybrid app.

Related Reading: Native App & Hybrid App: Key Differences, Pros & Cons

In-house or Outsourced App Development

In the next step, businesses decide whether to use an in-house team or collaborate with a specialized agency, which depends on the budget, experience, expertise, and resources. Below are some pros and cons of the two options: In-housing and Outsourcing. 

In-house development team

Pros:

  • The team will control the entire development process.
  • The in-house team can communicate and make decisions directly.
  • The in-house team will deeply understand the project and the business goals.

Cons:

  • It can be expensive in terms of budget and time to recruit, train, and maintain an in-house development team.
  • If the in-house expertise and resources are insufficient, it may take a long time to build the app, affecting the product launch process.

Development partner (Outsourcing):

Pros:

  • The business benefits from a partner with a lot of experience building eCommerce apps.
  • The eCommerce app development process may be faster than an in-house team because the partner’s expertise is proven.
  • Saves budget and time in recruiting, training, and maintaining an in-house team.

Cons:

  • It takes a lot of time for the business analysis phase so that the partner can understand the business operations and goals to make decisions on the app development.
  • The communication and decision-making process between both parties may be difficult due to geographic distance.
  • If choosing the wrong partner, the final result may not meet the requirements of the business.

Create UI/UX Design 

The UI/UX design of an eCommerce app refers to creating a visually appealing and user-friendly interface to help users easily search for and purchase products. Here are some suggestions for businesses to consider when designing the UI/UX for eCommerce apps:

  • The design should reflect the image and brand value.
  • The design should be simple to enhance user experience and easy navigation.
  • Use high-quality product images and keep file sizes small to minimize load times.
  • Consistent design throughout the entire app, including colors, fonts, etc.
  • Ensure the design is responsive and performs well on various screen sizes.
  • Use clear and intuitive navigation systems to help customers find out what they need on the app.
  • Collect user feedback and make necessary adjustments to improve UI/UX design.
The-Proven-Roadmap-To-Develop-Your-eCommerce-App-Create-UIUX-Design
Create UI/UX Design

 

Build the MVP

In eCommerce app development, MVP stands for  Minimum Viable Product, which is typically a condensed version of the app that is launched to the market before the official launch of the full app. Building an MVP for an eCommerce app usually focuses on developing the core features and ensuring those features work effectively before adding additional features.

As listed, the most crucial core features may include a product catalog, search bar, shopping cart, payment methods, etc. When releasing an MVP, the business must ensure that it is error-free and meets the needs of the target customers. The goal of an MVP is to understand the customer’s thoughts on the product, minimize risk, and allocate resources effectively before launching the full product to the market.

The-Proven-Roadmap-To-Develop-Your-eCommerce-App-Build-the-MVP
Build the MVP

Gather Feedback

After building and releasing the MVP, businesses should collect feedback from users through various channels such as social media, surveys, or reviews on the App Store or Google Play to gather their opinions on the experience when using the eCommerce app. Moreover, businesses should carefully review the feedback and use it to make decisions about how to improve the app. In particular, they should prioritize the most important issues users are facing and resolve them quickly. 

The-Proven-Roadmap-To-Develop-Your-eCommerce-Apps-Gather-feedback
Gather Feedback

Refine and Launch the app

After gathering and reviewing user feedback, businesses can will refine the app and conduct a second round of testing to ensure the app performs well and the improvements have enhanced the user experience. Once the refining and second round of testing is done, businesses can release the product to the market and run marketing campaigns to reach target customers. However, the business needs to closely monitor the performance of the eCommerce app and regularly collect feedback from customers while continuously improving to meet the ever-changing demand of users and maintain a competitive advantage in the market. 

3 Things To Keep In Mind 

The-Proven-Roadmap-To-Develop-Your-eCommerce-App-3-Things-To-Keep-In-Mind
3 Things To Keep In Mind

Security

It is a top priority factor that businesses should put their minds to when building an eCommerce application. When users download, register an account, and start using the app, their private data such as login information, personal information, and payment information will be stored on the system. Therefore, businesses should comply with general regulations related to security issues and provide customer information as well as deploy secure payment gateways, and use SSL encryption or two-factor authentication to protect user data of the eCommerce app.

Stability

The stability and reliability of an eCommerce app are crucial for a business to provide an incredible user experience. Customers typically prefer apps that run smoothly without any bugs or errors. However, releasing a flawless eCommerce app without any bugs is unrealistic. Therefore, businesses need to conduct thorough testing to identify and fix any issues before launching, while also regularly maintaining and updating the app to improve its performance and prevent or correct any errors that may arise.

Scalability

This is the ability of an eCommerce app to handle increasing traffic, user volume, and shopping transactions without affecting the performance or functionality of the app. When getting started, businesses should predict the app’s future growth and place to build an app that is easily scalable when necessary. Moreover, businesses need to plan for the addition of advanced features to meet expansion needs.

In summary, security, stability, and scalability are three factors to consider when building an eCommerce app. By focusing on these three factors, businesses can provide customers with a safe, reliable, and scalable app that corresponds to the development of the business.

Above is the general process of 8 steps for building an eCommerce app with some important notes during the implementation. With years of experience implementing eCommerce for businesses from many countries, SECOMM understands the difficulties businesses will face when implementing eCommerce apps.

Contact us today for a free consultation.

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Top 6 Benefits of eCommerce Apps Implementation
TOP 6 BENEFITS OF ECOMMERCE APPS IMPLEMENTATION

According to data compiled by Forbes Advisor, global Mobile Commerce sales reached $415 billion in 2022 and are expected to reach $710 billion in 2025. 

In fact, Mobile Commerce dominates the eCommerce industry, accounting for about 73%, and the use of eCommerce apps is growing faster than any other type of app on the market, with an annual growth rate of 54%. This shows that eCommerce apps contribute significantly to sales on mobile devices and implementing eCommerce apps is considered the right path for every business in the mobile commerce era. 

Boost Brand Awareness

Increasing brand awareness is one of the benefits that eCommerce apps bring to businesses. Since most customers spend hours on mobile devices (e.g smartphones), it’s easier for brands to connect with them through eCommerce apps. However, to fully leverage the other capabilities of eCommerce apps, brands need to provide a rich and high-quality mobile app experience. As Statista has noted, about 32%-34% of app users will uninstall if the app is difficult to use or has too many unwanted ads. 

Top 6 Benefits of eCommerce Apps Implementation-Boost Brand Awareness
Boost Brand Awareness

Offer Personalized Shopping Experience

eCommerce websites help deliver personalized shopping experiences with algorithms and support tools but eCommerce apps enable businesses to offer personalized special incentives or promotional programs right in the app without having to access the websites via browsers on desktop or mobile. As a result, among various methods, business owners can combine push notifications, and instead of sending the same push notification to all app users, they can send personalized notifications based on user behavior. 

Top 6 Benefits of eCommerce Apps Implementation-Offer Personalized Shopping Experience
Offer Personalized Shopping Experience

Increase Conversion Rates

As mentioned, customers tend to love and prioritize shopping on eCommerce mobile apps instead of eCommerce mobile web. Therefore, the conversion rate of the mobile app will be higher than that of the mobile web. The graph below indicates the different conversion rates between the mobile app and mobile web. 

Top 6 Benefits of eCommerce Apps Implementation-Increase Conversion Rates
Source: Skift

Mobile app users view products more than 286% and add items to the cart at a higher rate of 85% compared to mobile web users. Moreover, the graph shows that the conversion rate of mobile apps is over 130% higher than that of the mobile web. Naturally, when the conversion rate increases, it will lead to an increase in sales revenue and profits.

Increase Average Order Value 

Building an eCommerce app not only boosts brand awareness, enhances customer experience, and improves conversion rate but also increases the average order value (AOV). This is the average dollar amount customers spend each time an order is placed on the eCommerce app. 

Top 6 Benefits of eCommerce Apps Implementation-Increase Average Order Value
Increase Average Order Value

Customers prefer shopping on eCommerce apps because it’s convenient for them to browse through products and make purchases. Therefore, they have more opportunities to browse through a wider range of products. This enables businesses to apply cross-selling and upselling techniques, suggesting complementary products to encourage customers to make additional purchases. As a result, the increased AOV drives up revenue and profits. 

Reduce Cart Abandonment

Some data on cart abandonment has been reported by Ruby Garage:

Top 6 Benefits of eCommerce Apps Implementation-Reduce Cart Abandonment
Reduce Cart Abandonment

One of the top reasons for that is the long and confusing checkout process. eCommerce apps will help businesses reduce cart abandonment with the optimized checkout process. When customers buy products, relevant information will be stored in the app’s system, so they don’t have to re-enter their information but complete the purchase with a few taps. In addition, businesses can also shorten the checkout process to improve cart abandonment rates by integrating various payment methods into the mobile app. 

Improve Customer Retention and Loyalty

For every eCommerce business, increasing sales revenue is a valuable achievement. However, it’s crucial to point out how many regular customers contribute to this success. According to the Harvard Business Review, the cost of acquiring a new customer is more expensive than retaining and satisfying an existing one, ranging from 5-25 times higher. But, if the customer retention rate increases by just 5%, profits can increase from 5% to 95%. As a result, businesses need to put their minds to existing customers. 

There is a 50% chance that customers will return to an eCommerce app within 30 days of their last purchase. In other words, businesses can increase customer retention and loyalty with their eCommerce app in several ways, including

  • Leveraging customer data to provide personalized shopping experiences;
  • Using push notifications as a means of communicating with customers;
  • Offering exclusive incentives to encourage users to download and use the app;
  • Building a loyalty program to encourage people to return to the app, shop, and interact more to earn reward points.
Top 6 Benefits of eCommerce Apps Implementation-Improve Customer Retention and Loyalty
Improve Customer Retention and Loyalty

With the incredible benefits of mobile eCommerce apps, businesses are increasingly motivated to quickly build their app to enrich the customer shopping experience while capturing the Mobile Commerce trend.

With years of experience in implementing eCommerce for many businesses in many countries, SECOMM understands the difficulties and obstacles in developing eCommerce apps.

Contact us today for free advice.

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Explore Top 5 eCommerce Use Cases of ChatGPT
EXPLORE TOP 5 ECOMMERCE USE CASES OF CHATGPT

ChatGPT is a new popular AI-powered tool. With the ability to generate human-like text, ChatGPT has a variety of applications in healthcare, education, entertainment, and even in the eCommerce world.

In this article, we will share the top 5 use cases of ChatGPT that business owners can leverage to accelerate their eCommerce.

What is ChatGPT?

ChatGPT (Chat Generative Pre-training Transformer) is a large-scale language generation model developed by an AI company called Open AI, which was formed in 2015. ChatGPT is regarded as one of the most advanced language models available today since it can produce human-like text. It can be used for a variety of tasks, including answering questions, creating essays, emails, poems, and even programming. 

ChatGPT (Chat Generative Pre-training Transformer) is a large-scale language generation model developed by an AI company called Open AI, which was formed in 2015. ChatGPT is regarded as one of the most advanced language models available today since it can produce human-like text. It can be used for a variety of tasks, including answering questions, creating essays, emails, poems, and even programming.  You can simply use ChatGPT by visiting OpenAI’s website to create an account. Once you’ve logged into your OpenAI account, on the ChatGPT side of the website, you need to read through and accept ChatGPT terms. Then, you can start your conversation with it by asking questions.  Because it is still in the research and feedback-collection stage, it is free to use. But as of February 1, 2023, the OpenAI company launched a new version of ChatGPT Plus in the US for $20/month, while keeping the free version.
What is ChatGPT?

You can simply use ChatGPT by visiting OpenAI’s website to create an account. Once you’ve logged into your OpenAI account, on the ChatGPT side of the website, you need to read through and accept ChatGPT terms. Then, you can start your conversation with it by asking questions. 

Because it is still in the research and feedback-collection stage, it is free to use. But as of February 1, 2023, the OpenAI company launched a new version of ChatGPT Plus in the US for $20/month, while keeping the free version.

How does ChatGPT work?

ChatGPT runs in a language modeling architecture called Generative Pre-training Transformer (GPT), specifically GPT-3. This type of AI model is trained on vast amounts of information from the Internet, including websites, books, articles, and so forth. 

Explore Top 5 eCommerce Use Cases of ChatGPT-How does ChatGPT work
How does ChatGPT work?

It is fine-tuned using reinforcement learning. Meaning that ChatGPT “learns” from information found on the Internet as well as the user input. Due to Reinforcement Learning from Human Feedback (RLHF), ChatGPT is unique. 

RLHF enables human AI trainers to build conversation models in which humans act as both users and AI assistants, according to OpenAI. That helps ChatGPT learn new information rapidly and grow more intelligent. 

The key differences between ChatGPT and Search Engines

ChatGPT is a language model to generate conversation with the end users, whereas Search Engines index web pages on the Internet to help users find what they desire. ChatGPT can understand and respond to input information quickly. But, it does not search on the Internet for the information, instead, it uses the training data to generate a response. 

Another difference is that ChatGPT’s information update speed is still slower than that of search engines. Some search engines like Google can access the latest information but ChatGPT can only access data up to September 2021. Thus if you ask ChatGPT who is Miss Vietnam 2022, it would not be able to answer while Google could give you an immediate answer in just 0.6 seconds.

5 ways for using ChatGPT in eCommerce

Using ChatGPT helps increase revenue and enhance eCommerce business operational effectiveness. Here are 5 great ways to use ChatGPT in eCommerce.

Explore Top 5 eCommerce Use Cases of ChatGPT
Explore Top 5 eCommerce Use Cases of ChatGPT

Create product description

Because an eCommerce website has different product categories, writing a unique description for each product takes a lot of time and resources. ChatGPT can be used to automatically generate compelling product descriptions. This can save time and effort for business owners while still providing customers with high-quality information about the products. Moreover, this language model can create SEO-optimized descriptions that improve product visuality. 

For example, a fashion retail brand has launched a new sportswear collection. ChatGPT will generate descriptions focused on moisture-wicking, comfortable fit, and the full range of motion and flexibility. It not only informs customers about the technical aspect of the product but also encourages them to shop with compelling and persuasive words.

Explore Top 5 eCommerce Use Cases of ChatGPT - Product descriptions
Example of product descriptions

Create product recommendations

ChatGPT còn được các doanh nghiệp thương mại điện tử sử dụng trong việc đưa ra đề xuất cá nhân hoá sản phẩm. Bằng cách sử dụng dữ liệu khách hàng và lịch sử duyệt web, ChatGPT có thể đưa ra các đề xuất sản phẩm phù hợp cho từng khách hàng cụ thể. 

Ví dụ: Gần đây có một khách hàng tên Mỹ đã mua một chiếc áo thun thể thao tại cửa hàng, doanh nghiệp có thể sử dụng ChatGPT để đưa ra đề xuất sản phẩm tương tự mà khách hàng này có thể quan tâm. Từ việc gợi ý sản phẩm phù hợp và cá nhân hoá có thể giúp tăng mức độ tương tác và doanh số bán hàng.

Explore Top 5 eCommerce Use Cases of ChatGPT - Product recommendations
Example of product recommendations

Generate social media content

Another way to use ChatGPT is to generate engaging social media content. 

For example, a company can use ChatGPT to generate promotional posts on social media platforms to introduce features and benefits of products engagingly and excitingly. Posts can include a caption, image, or video to highlight the advantages of that product. By leveraging the power of ChatGPT, businesses can promote their products and reach new customers on social networking sites effectively.

Explore Top 5 eCommerce Use Cases of ChatGPT - Social media content
Example of  of social media content

 Generate email marketing campaigns

Running email marketing campaigns enables eCommerce businesses to build relationships with their customers, advertise their products and boost sales. By sending personalized ideal emails to customers and prospective customers, businesses can earn customer loyalty and encourage repeat purchases. 

ChatGPT can be used in your email marketing campaigns targeting specific customer segments to achieve the desired results.

Example: Jennifer is a regular customer of a sports fashion company. Now the company launches eco-friendly sneakers with a minimalist design. The company uses ChatGPT to compose content for email marketing campaigns to introduce Jennifer to new products and ideal incentives for loyal customers.

Explore Top 5 eCommerce Use Cases of ChatGPT- Email marketing campaigns
Example of  of email marketing campaigns

Enhance customer service

eCommerce business owners can use ChatGPT to handle customer requests in a personalized way. It could be responding to inquiries about order status, product availability, shipping fee, or return concerns. By providing ChatGPT demographic information such as age, gender, and interest, it will immediately generate text for a specific customer in a specific case. That helps increase customer engagement and conversion rate. Businesses will free up time and workload for the team to focus on more important tasks. 

For example, if a customer named Jennifer asks for a return process, ChatGPT can generate a response with detailed information including requirements and time for return. 

Enhance customer service
Example of customer service

The downsides of using ChatGPTin eCommerce

Like every AI-powered tool, ChatGPT has its downsides when used in eCommerce. 

Firstly, although ChatGPT helps generate content for marketing campaigns quickly and automatically, it still can’t compete with the original writing by humans. If people depend too much on ChatGPT, their writing will become robotic and clunky which might affect their marketing campaigns the most. 

In addition, as mentioned above, ChatGPT is trained by reinforced learning. This leaves room for issues since the information ChatGPT “learned” might not be accurate, hence generating wrong answers for users.

Last but not least, businesses should use ChatGPT with caution. They might want to clarify the information given by ChatGPT carefully before using or publishing their content, which could harm the businesses’ reputation when incorrect or misleading information is used. 

Every business owner today can use the five most effective ways to use ChatGPT in eCommerce to stand out from the crowd. Yet, it’s not easy to use it properly and make it an important factor of eCommerce business without being dependent. 

Talk to SECOMM now to get started.

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Gamification - a New Great Boost for eCommerce Businesses
GAMIFICATION – A NEW GREAT BOOST FOR ECOMMERCE BUSINESSES

According to Research and Markets, the global gamification market was valued at over 10 million USD in 2020 and is expected to reach more than 38 million USD by 2026. 

Gamification is a creative marketing strategy that has recently grabbed the attention of eCommerce business owners who are looking for ways to enhance customer engagement and achieve sales targets. In this article, we will discuss the ways Gamification empowers eCommerce. 

What is Gamification?

Gamification hay trò chơi điện tử ứng dụng hoá, gọi tắt là Game hoá là thuật ngữ chỉ việc lồng ghép khéo léo cơ chế của trò chơi điện tử vào hoạt động marketing một cách sáng tạo, ấn tượng nhằm đạt được mục tiêu marketing đã đề ra.

Gamification - a New Great Boost for eCommerce Businesses-What is Gamification
What is Gamification?

Gamification is the application of typical elements of game playing to other areas of activity to help businesses achieve their marketing goals. 

Gamification emphasizes entertainment, making it a fantastic tactic for boosting brand loyalty and encouraging engagement with products or services. In recent years, eCommerce businesses have been accelerating the use of Gamification in the online shopping experience. Because customers today have more options, they also have higher expectations for their purchasing experiences. If an online store offers unique and enjoyable shopping experiences, customers are more likely to make a purchase quickly. Gamification will help eCommerce businesses stand out from the crowd.

Why apply eCommerce Gamification?

Increase Customer Engagement

Businesses can increase engagement by integrating Gamification into eCommerce websites and making shopping fun and interactive. Recent studies show that the eCommerce Gamification strategy will increase customer engagement by 47%

Games usually ask players to complete tasks to earn reward points or to win the game (e.g sharing the game on social networks, inviting friends, browsing products, and adding to carts). If the game has some discount codes or vouchers, it will attract more players. That way, an eCommerce business can deliver its brand messaging directly to customers without pressuring or urging them into buying. An enjoyable shopping experience leads to an increased conversion rate. 

Gamification - a New Great Boost for eCommerce Businesses-Increase Customer Engagement
Game of Lazada

Boost Sales

eCommerce Gamification strategy will help businesses boost sales if used effectively. When customers are engaged with the game, they are more likely to win discount codes and use them for later purchases which will make sales increase significantly.

Gamification - a New Great Boost for eCommerce Businesses-Domino's Pizza
Game of Domino’s Pizza

In 2021, Domino’s Pizza,  one of the world’s leading pizza brands, increased its sales revenue by 30% with the help of Gamification. This company developed a game called Pizza Hero, in which users will make their pizzas on mobile devices. They can then click “Make an order” to order their pizza creation at a discounted price.

Enhance Brand Loyalty

For brands, retaining customers and turning them into loyal customers is important. Gamification can help enhance brand loyalty by creating interesting experiences that encourage repeat visits. If a brand offers points or badges for reaching milestones, customers excited about earning rewards will be more likely to come back and play again. Whenever customers have shopping needs, they will recall and choose that brand.

Gamification - a New Great Boost for eCommerce Businesses-Enhance Brand Loyalty
Enhance Brand Loyalty

The drawbacks of Gamification

Although Gamification helps increase customer engagement, boost sales, and enhance brand loyalty, it still has potential drawbacks that eCommerce businesses should keep in mind before implementing it. 

Developing amazing games requires creativity. Basic games like Quiz or Spin The Wheel are easy to create. These game experiences are too common among users so it’s unlikely to generate conversion. Hence, every business needs to get professional advice from creative agencies to design and develop engaging games that catch the eyes of users. However, it costs a lot of time and budget. 

For example, creating a game with a variety of sound effects, images, videos, or personalized animated elements that enrich the user experience will increase the cost of implementation. 

Most successful Gamification campaigns

Starbucks

Among brands that have had success using Gamification, Starbucks would be the first one mentioned. Coffee brands usually offer vouchers or loyalty cards to encourage customers to return next time. Breaking out of the old rut, Starbucks developed a special game for its customers – “Flip the Cup”, in which the player chooses his favorite drink and could use one hand to flip the Starbucks cup. Each time, the player has 10 flips and each successful flip gets 10 points. Then, with the points achieved, the player can choose to play again or download vouchers. This exciting experience boosted engagement by 90% and the number of downloaded vouchers exceeded the targets by 110%.

Gamification - a New Great Boost for eCommerce Businesses-Starbucks
Starbucks

Domino’s Pizza

As mentioned above, Domino’s Pizza first entered the market in 2012, and that same year the company also launched Pizza Hero, the first game that gave pizza lovers a new way to order. In case they don’t know what to order, they can shake their mobile devices to ask the app for suggestions. Especially, users can customize their pizzas, find coupons, place orders at a nearby store, and track order progress right on their devices. 

By using this strategy, Domino’s was able to boost online sales by 30% and achieve $1 billion in the US market alone. Pizza Hero received 140,000 downloads in the first two weeks after its debut, propelling it into the top 15 Lifestyle ranking on Google Play and the iTunes Store. Moreover, Pizza Hero and Domino’s Pizza both won the praise of Forbes, the most prestigious magazine in the world.

Gamification - a New Great Boost for eCommerce Businesses-Domino's Pizza
Game of Domino’s Pizza

Gucci

Gucci has taken eCommerce Gamification to a new level. Gucci Arcade is one of the fashion giant’s Gamification strategies to attract the attention of Generation Z. It offers customers amazing games to engage with such as Gucci Bee and Gucci Ace. This experience helps Guccis reach a wide pool of potential Gen-Z customers.

Gamification - a New Great Boost for eCommerce Businesses-Gucci
Game of Gucci

Gamification is a strategy that strengthens the development of eCommerce. It has become popular in the world as well as in Vietnam. Every business owner needs to seriously recognize its potential and plan for rapid implementation. 

Talk to SECOMM today to get expert advice on eCommerce Gamification.

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The Journey Towards A Great Cosmetics eCommerce Website
THE JOURNEY TOWARDS A GREAT COSMETICS ECOMMERCE WEBSITE

​​​​​​According to CommonThread, the global cosmetics eCommerce market size is valued at 483 billion USD in 2020 and grew to 511 billion USD in 2021 at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 4.75%. The market size is anticipated to surpass 716 billion USD by 2025 and reach 784.6 billion USD by 2027.

The amazing growth rate of the online cosmetics sector demonstrates both the industry’s enormous potential to grow and its significant contribution to the global economy. Cosmetic companies must encourage the development of eCommerce websites to enter the market rapidly and take control of it in order to keep up with the economic trend as a whole.

It takes time to develop an online store for cosmetics, and SECOMM has detailed and analyzed the two key stages of the process.

Stage 1: Basic cosmetics eCommerce website development

The Journey Towards A Great Cosmetics eCommerce Website-Stage1
Stage 1: Basic cosmetics eCommerce website development

Targeting

The first important thing a cosmetic business needs to do is to set goals and prioritize those goals in the short and long term. 

In the short term, promotional activities, monitoring, analyzing, and measuring the effectiveness of marketing campaigns, especially user experience should be the top goals that need to be promoted.

In the long term, cosmetics eCommerce businesses should focus on increasing brand recognition and online business capabilities of their products.

At this stage, businesses do not have much data to analyze and evaluate for the whole process, so they can listen to a lot of advice from specialized eCommerce implementation consulting units with a lot of experience in long-term consulting to get the right list and priority of goals for both this period and beyond.

Platforms selection

In today’s market, there are two types of platforms that are dedicated to building eCommerce websites, including SaaS platforms and Open Source platforms.

SaaS platforms

Service as a Software (SaaS) is a service-based software application distribution model for eCommerce business purposes.

In other words, the provider creates and maintains software to help build an eCommerce website and the business will pay a certain cost to use this service.

With SaaS, the entire website system is hosted on the provider’s server, so ownership and control of the source code and data will belong to the provider.

This means the SaaS service provider will be responsible for handling and fixing technical problems arising during the cosmetic eCommerce implementation. 

  • Pros: Easy to use, fast deployment time, good security, 24/7 customer service.
  • Cons: The cost of building an eCommerce website increases over time, businesses cannot own the source code and data, and the functions and capabilities of customization and expansion are limited.

Some of the popular SaaS platforms today are: Shopify, BigCommerce, Salesforce Commerce Cloud, etc

The Journey Towards A Great Cosmetics eCommerce Website-SaaS
Some of the popular SaaS platforms are Shopify, BigCommerce, Salesforce Commerce Cloud, and more

Open-Source platforms

An Open Source platform or an open source platform is software with a widely released source code that allows users to download, modify and upgrade necessary features for eCommerce business purposes.

The platform is often developed by a community of developers rather than a single company.

Moreover, this will be the ideal platform for implementing complex eCommerce website systems, specific to many fields including cosmetics thanks to in-depth customization functions.

This means that businesses need to cooperate with professional eCommerce website builders or develop a team of highly qualified internal staff to operate the website effectively.

  • Pros: Customizability, flexible extension, diverse features, and add-ons, businesses own the source code and website data. 
  • Cons: The cost of building an eCommerce website is high, the implementation time is long and it is not easy to use.

The most prominent Open Source platforms on the market today: Magento, OpenCart, WooCommerce (WordPress Plugin), etc. 

The Journey Towards A Great Cosmetics eCommerce Website-Open Source
The most prominent Open Source platforms on the market today: Magento, OpenCart, WooCommerce (WordPress Plugin), etc

At this stage, businesses should choose a SaaS platform to start with to familiarize themselves with the eCommerce business as well as save budget for more important investments such as marketing,…

Then, when entering the second stage, the business scale has now grown and expanded, and switching to the Open Source platform is now necessary and reasonable to achieve the goal of eCommerce growth.

Web interface design

After choosing a platform to build a cosmetic eCommerce website, the business will design the website interface so that the standards of UI/UX are met in order to optimize the website, showing the characteristics of the brand and cosmetics industry.

​​So, businesses can choose one of the following three ways to design an eCommerce website interface:

  • Using the available interface: This way helps businesses save interface costs compared to the other two ways. Both SaaS and Open Source platforms provide a variety of UI/UX interfaces with prices ranging from $300 to $500.
  • Customizing based on the available interface: Almost the same as the first way, but businesses will customize the interface to suit the needs of brand development.
  • ​​Using a self-designed interface: Companies can start thinking about designing their own website interface right immediately to develop a brand image that is unique and more creative than rivals. Even while this is more expensive for businesses than adopting an already-existing interface, the “tailor-made” design interface will match the industry-specific requirements and expectations of the company during the eCommerce deployment phase

Usually, in stage 1, businesses should only use the available interface or customize based on the available interface because the basic functionality system needed, most of the interfaces provided are already there.

The Journey Towards A Great Cosmetics eCommerce Website-6
Web interface design

Functional system development

In the first stage, businesses should prioritize developing the basic functional system needed for a complete cosmetic eCommerce website, specifically including: 

  • Category management: Manage product categories, functions, prices, images/videos to optimize business operations.
  • Sales management: Manage order information, understand and analyze customers’ shopping behavior effectively.
  • Marketing management: Integrating features such as URLs, meta tags, and internal links to optimize SEO, combined with effective marketing campaigns to achieve sales goals.
  • Content management: Build and optimize content for the CMS system from text, images, banners, widgets, and templates to brand content, blogs, etc.
  • Customer management: Store, manage and analyze customer information and customer groups, thereby improving marketing effectiveness to optimize the online shopping experience.
  • System management: Manage and decentralize administrators to operate, secure and maintain the eCommerce website system.
  • Store management: Use inventory management tools at branches, stores, and warehouses to ensure a continuous and efficient supply process.
  • Cart and checkout management: Manage customer shopping cart and payment information.
  • Analysis and reporting: Analyze and measure the performance of the eCommerce website system, thereby giving the next business strategy.

The Journey Towards A Great Cosmetics eCommerce Website-7

Functional system development

Legal procedures finalizing

The final step of building a basic eCommerce website is completing the necessary legal procedures for the website to be allowed to operate legally.

Businesses can follow the simple registration steps as instructed at the eCommerce Management Portal.

This is a mandatory requirement of the Ministry of Industry and Trade for every individual or organization that owns an eCommerce website to sell goods and to perform the registration/notification obligation on time.

Stage 2: Advanced cosmetics eCommerce website development

The Journey Towards A Great Cosmetics eCommerce Website-stage2
Stage 2: Advanced cosmetics eCommerce website development

Re-targeting

Along the business development journey that comes with the constant change of consumer behavior, business goals, and strategies need to be adjusted and re-established to match the current context of the eCommerce market. In addition, at this stage, businesses also have problems, data, and insights about online users, so setting goals will be easy.

In the short term, businesses can prioritize finding and attracting potential customers and growing online sales with effective marketing.

In the long term, a cosmetic business can consider the goal of expanding the market segment by identifying the target market segment and making a marketing strategy in accordance with the product characteristics and the direction of the business in the second stage. 

In addition to short-term and long-term goals, businesses need to focus on considering the time and cost of investing in the cosmetic eCommerce website system because, at this stage, the cost and investment budget will often be large. much more than the basic construction phase above.

eCommerce platform switching

In the beginning, cosmetics businesses are advised to develop their initial eCommerce websites using SaaS platforms. However, the restricted capability and customizability of SaaS won’t be able to satisfy that expectation given the second phase’s objectives of growth and scalability.

To create more specialized cosmetic eCommerce websites at this moment, companies can think about moving to Open Source platforms with respected names like Magento, WooCommerce, etc.

Some suggested criteria to consider when choosing an Open Source platform:

  • ​​Support to design eCommerce website interface based on UI/UX standards.
  • Provide functional systems from basic to advanced and specific to the cosmetic industry.
  • Flexible customization, high extensibility, integration with third-party services, and a variety of add-ons.
  • High security.

Besides that, businesses should be aware of the costs associated with switching from a SaaS platform to an Open Source platform, the time required for staff to learn on the new platform, the danger of data loss, and any issues that may occur.

Resources selection

Unlike the basic eCommerce website building stage, in the second stage of the implementation process, businesses need to choose resources for development. Businesses can build an internal team or seek support from a specialized developer.

The business will hire and train skilled and specialized IT people on the chosen platform for internal team growth. In this case, it will require a lot of time and money from the company, but it will aid in better resource management, control, and active adjustment to develop the eCommerce website system in accordance with the original aim.

Businesses frequently work with a variety of firms to find “true love” in their collaboration with eCommerce website developers. As a result, businesses will receive the eCommerce websites they need as expected, the collaboration process will go smoothly, and businesses will gain more expert knowledge and website development experience from a partner, which will point them in the right direction in terms of the cosmetic eCommerce industry’s development trends.

These are the criteria that businesses should consider when choosing: In-depth knowledge and experience in eCommerce and the cosmetics industry; professional working team; clear and detailed working process; ability to quickly handle problems that arise during website development.

The Journey Towards A Great Cosmetics eCommerce Website-2
Resources selection

Web interface re-design

Businesses are not required to update the website interface while switching platforms. Redesigning the website interface to work with the Open Source platform, however, is today recognized as a wise company development approach that was introduced simultaneously with the deployment of advanced eCommerce websites.

Similar to the previous period, businesses have three options for designing e-commerce website interfaces, including using the available themes, customizing based on the available themes, and designing their own interface.

Usually, at this step, businesses should choose method 2 or 3 to design the interface to ensure the uniqueness of the brand and the specificity of the cosmetic eCommerce industry.

The Journey Towards A Great Cosmetics eCommerce Website-3
Web interface re-design

Upgrade the system with advanced and industry-specific functions

In addition to the basic functions that have been built for the eCommerce website system in stage 1, businesses should concentrate on developing a system of advanced and specific functions for the cosmetic industry in the later stages. 

Today, several well-known cosmetic brands embrace AR (Augmented Reality) technology to improve the customer experience. Customers can now download the AR software, activate the camera, and sample the goods online rather than going physically trying it on in the store to see whether it will fit their face.

The Kylie Virtual World application, for instance, offers users an engaging product experience. Users of the newly released Kylie Cosmetics items, such as eye cream, foundation, and lipstick, can sample the product out in 360 degrees by using their phones to scan the QR code.

eCommerce website system maintenance

A sophisticated eCommerce website system demands a great deal of experience and effort to operate and maintain. This is the procedure of continuously maintaining, updating, and upgrading the entire system to aid firms in foreseeing and resolving problems (for example, sudden increase in traffic from the promotions that stimulate shopping).

That supports sustained and persistent online sales growth, which is important for eCommerce businesses in general and furniture eCommerce in particular as they compete for a market share of this “pie,” which is “delicious” but can be challenging to consume.

eCommerce acceleration

Furniture eCommerce enterprises readily accomplish growth above and beyond expectations by putting into practice efficient business and marketing strategies.

Therefore, the entire process—from planning through implementation—must be structured with effective, practical solutions that have been demonstrated to work. Implementing Omnichannel, eCommerce Marketing, and SEO optimization are some suggested methods for eCommerce enterprises to accelerate growth.

eCommerce business optimization

​​The journey of developing an eCommerce website ends with measuring, analyzing, and optimizing eCommerce business activities.

Businesses can use analytics tools such as Google Analytics, Google Tag Manager, Facebook Pixel, etc., to track, update and measure website performance metrics as well as the effectiveness of marketing campaigns.

From there, the eCommerce business strategy for the next stage of development will be carefully and methodically planned thanks to clear and detailed reports & analysis.

The Journey Towards A Great Cosmetics eCommerce Website-5
eCommerce business optimization

The journey of building a cosmetic eCommerce website with two stages from basic to advanced has been outlined in detail with meticulously analyzed implementation steps. Businesses in the industry can refer to it to draw their own development journey in this potential field.

With many years of experience in successfully implementing eCommerce for many customers in many countries in recent years, SECOMM understands the difficulties and challenges in the process of implementing an interior eCommerce website.

Contact SECOMM today for free support and advice.

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Which open source eCommerce platform is the best for firm
WHICH OPEN SOURCE ECOMMERCE PLATFORM IS THE BEST FOR FIRM?

It’s important when it comes to choosing the right platform to build an effective eCommerce system. Businesses have many options to choose from either the open-source eCommerce platforms or any eCommerce platform as a service (SaaS, Paas), depending on the eCommerce business model and business plans.

To have a comprehensive eCommerce system, the open-source eCommerce platform is the business’s best friend, because of the great flexibility, scalability, customization according to the products, and catalogue characteristics.

In addition, the open-source platform also allows businesses to own the entire system source code and data. With all of these outstanding features, open-source platforms are slowly becoming the eCommerce development choices that many businesses are aiming for.   

However, businesses need to carefully consider choosing the right platform. There are a lot of open-source eCommerce platforms on the market (OpenCart, WooCommerce, Magento,…), and each platform has its pros and cons. 

WooCommerce

WooCommerce is a WordPress plug-in introduced in 2011, completely free, and allows businesses to turn their WordPress sites into online stores, with built-in and additional features.

Which open source eCommerce platform is the best for firm-woocommerce
Pros and Cons of Woocommerce

Pros

Ease of use

Many businesses that have been using WordPress for their online business, must be familiar with WooCommerce. Businesses can turn their website into an eCommerce system when implementing the WooCommerce Plugin into their WordPress website easily.

They can set up, integrate, and adjust functions on themes, and add-ons,… that have been built with high functionality from developers in a strong community around the world, making it easier to modify, and more flexible on the platform

In addition, WooCommerce is carefully built, convenient, also has huge and rich theme storage, and it is easy for businesses to design and build an e-commerce system right from the start, without knowing too much about technology. 

Rich in features and add-ons

WooCommerce allows and supports features such as product management, orders, inventory, search engine optimization (SEO), discounts, sales, statistics reports, easy integration of payment units, shipping, handling units, and shopping experience optimization on all devices, making it easy for businesses to build a comprehensive system for simple and effective e-commerce business development.

Regarding security, WooCommerce ensures that businesses have the best security through a regularly updated system, and also ensures all of the business transactions are secure and safe through the features from the third-party services.

Cons

Low performance

One of the biggest disadvantages for businesses using the WooCommerce platform is the low performance, the system is easily overloaded with plug-ins and themes, and the number of products does not surpass 2000 SKUs, and often affects the system if the number of products exceeds the limit. Therefore, when businesses want to expand their business, it is necessary to consider switching to another platform. 

Limited customization

WooCommerce is a plugin for WordPress, the platform lets businesses customize their eCommerce system, but building a complete, and comprehensive eCommerce system with unique features is very limited. The modification can cause instability for the system as well as the possibility that those built-in features are not compatible with the platform.

To customize a suitable system based on the available features system, businesses will face many challenges, it takes a lot of time and resources.

WooCommerce is perfect for businesses that are using WordPress and are looking to develop an e-commerce system. However, WooCommerce is not perfect for developing a comprehensive e-commerce system and expanding the business model. Some brands are using WooCommerce around the world such as Pluralsight LLC, and Gordon College, and famous brands in Vietnam such as Vietnam Airlines, Pharmacity, etc.

OpenCart

OpenCart is an open-source CMS (Content Management System) using PHP language, similar to WordPress but specially designed for e-commerce.

Which open source eCommerce platform is the best for firm-opencart
Pros and Cons of Opencart

Pros

Friendly interface and easy-to-use

OpenCart provides an intuitive, easy-to-use, friendly interface, which is specialized for  

the eCommerce industry. In addition, OpenCart also provides a completely free variety of interfaces and features, making it easy for businesses to develop e-commerce systems with basic website development knowledge and skills. Because OpenCart is built based on the MVC Model (Model- View- Controller), developing and writing a module for an e-commerce system on this platform is also quite easy. 

Full of basic e-commerce features and a variety of add-ons.

OpenCart supports businesses with every basic e-commerce feature. Since OpenCart is a CMS specially designed for e-commerce, the open-source commerce platform such as OpenCart fully supports basic e-commerce functions such as sales, sales management, data management, statistics, customer data lists, and invoices.

Businesses can easily create and manage many different stores on the same system without having too much technical knowledge. This also means that businesses can access and manage all data of multiple stores at the same time with just one single central OpenCart system.

Not only supporting businesses build and manage an eCommerce system, but OpenCart also supports marketing such as search engine optimization (SEO), keyword advertising (Adwords), marketing programs, and affiliate marketing programs to be able to reach customers more easily, increase sales on the eCommerce system.

On top of the basic e-commerce functions, OpenCart also has additional applications to support businesses such as daily business operations and product categories. The backup and restore function helps businesses always have a backup system in hand and ready to restore all of the data on the system in case of an emergency

Besides that the platform also has many features such as a shopping cart, support customers to buy many products at once; gift features issuing gift cards, and loyalty programs. In addition, businesses can integrate other utilities such as payment gateway VNPay, and PayCEC, to help businesses have a better, faster, and seamless shopping experience. 

Customization

With all of the basic features of an open-source program, businesses can easily modify, edit and customize on the OpenCart platform. In addition, the OpenCart e-commerce platform has a great ecosystem with many functions suitable for e-commerce business, firms can fully explore, as well as develop modules that are suitable for a satisfactory e-commerce system.

Cons

Although the OpenCart platform has many advantages that are the best fit for e-commerce businesses, there are also some limitations that businesses should be aware of when using the platform. 

Low performance, and unstable

Although the platform is highly rated and well designed for the eCommerce industry, the system is still not stable enough because the modules and functions are not fully optimized, many errors occur while operating, as well as the installation steps are still very perplexing.

Therefore, businesses still encounter many problems when building and operating, which might affect the business’s processing speed as well as the revenue.

Feature development costs can become expensive

OpenCart owns extensive storage with quite a lot of basic features to serve e-commerce businesses quickly and conveniently, but the platform still cannot meet the advanced and specialized features according to specific product characteristics, product categories, and business needs of each field.

Therefore, businesses will need to invest time and resources to develop advanced features. For example, the SEO feature is supported on the platform, but there are many difficulties when censoring content via Google, not as effective as on the WordPress platform.

The OpenCart platform is relatively new compared to other platforms on the market, has many limitations and needs to be optimized. Similar to the WooCommerce platform, this is a good platform to start an ecommerce business, but not perfect for developing a comprehensive ecommerce system that goes along with growing and scaling your business. Some of the international brands that are using OpenCart such as Sunglass Hut, Virgin Enterprise, Audio-Technica Ltd, and the brands in Vietnam that are using OpenCart are Mobifone, RitaVo, etc.

Magento

Magento is an open-source platform specially built for e-commerce. It is recognized as one of the leading e-commerce platforms today, offering various outstanding advantages such as high flexibility, a diverse ecosystem, and optimal security. Currently, Magento has two versions: Magento Open Source (free) and Magento Commerce (paid).

Which open source eCommerce platform is the best for firm-magento
Pros and Cons of Magento

Pros

Diverse features for e-commerce from basic to advanced

Magento possesses many features available from basic to advanced to develop a complete e-commerce system including Category Management, Content Management, Customer Management, Marketing Management, Order Management, Store Management, System Management, Shopping Cart and Checkout, Reporting & Analytics. These features have been built with flexibility, and high availability to deliver outstanding results when integrated into the system, meeting all of your business e-commerce operations and  sustainable growth needs

Scalability

One of the biggest fears of all ecommerce businesses is having a slow, poorly functioning system, or being overwhelmed when there are too many SKUs. With Magento, businesses do not need to worry about these issues even with millions of SKUs or thousands of transactions per hour. Magento can meet all the operational requirements, and business sustainable e-commerce development needs, with the ability to handle up to 500,000 products, and thousands of transactions in an hour.

High flexibility and customizability

Owning all of the advantages of an open source ecommerce platform, Magento has outstanding flexibility and customization. Businesses can easily change and develop new and specialized features according to the characteristics of products, industries, and businesses to be able to catch up with the rapid change of the market.

On top of that, businesses easily integrate third-party systems such as payment, shipping, POS, ERP, CRM, PIM, and BI to help develop all resources, and seamless processes without affecting the level of production, and the performance of e-commerce systems.

A global community for technical support and consulting

The customer support from Magento is for the customers, who are using the enterprise version, Magento Commerce. For customers, who are using the free edition, of Magento Open Source, there will not be any customer support from the platform.

However, Magento has a strong global technical support and consulting community. Therefore, most of the problems in eCommerce that businesses are facing can be solved from the Magento ecosystem or extensions from a third party. Having a strong global technical support community is also a testament to the level of reliability, quick resolution, and constant updates that Magento open source platform brings to customers.

Cons

High development costs 

Magento open source e-commerce platform is highly appreciated with outstanding functions to develop a sustainable commerce platform, but businesses need to invest significant resources to deploy and develop the system.

Magento is an open source platform built specifically for e-commerce. This is known as one of the leading eCommerce platforms today on the market with many outstanding advantages such as high flexibility, diverse ecosystem and optimal security. Currently, Magento has 2 versions: Magento Open Source (free), and Magento Commerce (paid).

Magento has several outstanding features to develop a complete e-commerce system, and become a one-stop-shop for businesses that need development:

  • Flexible Content Management: easy to adjust, and build many content management features on the e-commerce system.
  • Mobile-Friendly Configuration: The interface and design of the Magento e-commerce platform are very suitable for smartphone and tablet devices.
  • Advanced Search Engine Optimization: With effective SEO optimization, Magento gives online stores many opportunities to boost sales.
  • Regulating Security Rights: Magento supports businesses to customize many levels of security permissions, control internal access rights, ensure system safety and protect users’ rights.

High Scalability

The biggest fear of all e-commerce businesses is having a slow, poor-performing website, or being overloaded with too many SKUs. With Magento, businesses do not need to worry about these issues, whether they have millions of SKUs or thousands of transactions per hour. Magento can meet all business needs for sustainable e-commerce operation and development. Therefore, businesses can scale up their business with Magneto.

High flexibility and customizability

The fact that the Magento platform has a high degree of flexibility is because of an open source platform. Businesses can modify and customize the templates, as well as adjust the features that the business needs to operate. In addition, businesses can completely build features from scratch to have an e-commerce system that is most suitable for businesses.

On top of that, businesses can easily integrate third-party systems such as ERP, CRM, and payment methods without affecting the level of performance of the main e-commerce system. In addition, businesses can easily separate the front-end interface from the back-end commercial activities.

Magento is an ideal place for businesses to host their software, but also a place with a lot of features. If your business currently has an experienced developer, or finances to attain a developer, and is ready to have an impressive e-commerce system, then Magento is a good choice. You have complete freedom to adjust the features until you are satisfied with your e-commerce system.

Big developer’s community around the world

However, the customer care from the Magento e-commerce platform is completely absent, in addition to that, Magento has a global developer support community. Therefore, there will be a lot of support for businesses to solve problems, and related techniques, as well as advice on building the most suitable solutions for businesses anytime, anywhere, and of course with a fee.

Cons

High development cost

A fully functional ecommerce system for a business is estimated to be at least $20,000 annually or more. If your business is just getting into e-commerce and has absolutely no technology experience, choosing Magento is a risky choice. But if businesses have the capacity and resources to run the system with this platform, then business growth will be faster with additional features such as sales automation.

Fully functional enterprise versions are estimated to be at least $20,000 annually or more. If your business is just getting into e-commerce and has absolutely no technology experience, choosing Magento is a risky choice. But if businesses have the capacity and resources to run the system with this platform, then business growth will be faster with additional features such as sales automation.

Complexity of specialized functions

Many businesses currently still face difficulties when transforming to e-commerce because of the specific characteristics of different industries and fields. These specific functions require an appropriate technology solution to ensure that the ecommerce system can operate efficiently and sustainably after the transformation. To build a specific feature with high complexity for an e-commerce system, businesses will need to spend more resources and time than the usual plan that businesses have set out to get a solution that fits the specific requirements of your e-commerce business.

Vietnamese firms that are using Magento

Magento is the best-fit solution for small and medium B2C businesses that have the need as well as the time, manpower and skills to build an e-commerce system. Famous brands in Vietnam are using the Magento ecommerce platform: Sendo, Vietnamworks, SJC, etc.

So which ecommerce platform is best suited for your business?

Different e-commerce platforms offer different features and values. No matter what route your business follows when building your e-commerce system, always think carefully about the following factors:

  • The platform you choose must ensure your website is constantly updated and managed
  • Choose a good web hosting
  • Intuitive and seamless payment processors and shopping cart
  • Good for customer service and user experience
  • Ensure security for your site and customers’ data

BigCommerce

With BigCommerce, businesses can choose the price that suits their business needs. In addition, the BigCommerce eCommerce platform is designed for everyone to use, from beginners to professional developers. However, if the business does not have a lot of capacity, as well as finance, then using BigCommerce to develop an e-commerce system is not suitable.

WooCommerce

With the WooCommerce ecommerce platform, businesses have full control over the ecommerce system. In addition, businesses can freely compare, and adjust any functions in the ecommerce system. However, expanding your business on the WooCommerce platform would be an inappropriate choice, as the platform can be overloaded with functions on the ecommerce system. However, businesses can start an ecommerce system with WooCommerce with less investment than competitors like BigCommerce.

Magento

Magento is a comprehensive ecommerce platform capable of supporting businesses to expand and grow their business in all aspects. However, all the disadvantages of Magento can be narrowed down to a single problem: the technical challenges, which require businesses to have an in-depth programming team. Meanwhile, businesses can solve this by having a team with experience building e-commerce systems.

Businesses can contact SECOMM to receive detailed advice for the journey to develop a comprehensive and sustainable e-commerce system for businesses and consult Magento solutions specifically for SMEs in Vietnam!

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The journey of building a retail mobile eCommerce website
THE JOURNEY OF BUILDING A RETAIL MOBILE ECOMMERCE WEBSITE

The COVID-19 pandemic has shifted shopping trends from traditional stores to online channels. Due to the pandemic, the demand for electronic products such as phones, laptops, and tablets has increased. This has helped mobile phone retail businesses achieve high revenue growth and profitability. 

The “leap” into e-commerce has opened up many opportunities for businesses to develop – opportunities to provide a fast and seamless shopping experience for customers, expand sales channels, increase revenue, and establish brand identity.

In this context, owning an e-commerce website is almost a prerequisite for starting a successful online business. An e-commerce website can support businesses in several ways:

  • Maximize Revenue: Businesses can add sales channels to expand their business model, increase profits, and avoid limitations on time and space compared to traditional in-store sales.
  • Cost Savings: It saves costs related to renting physical space and human resources, and especially reduces dependence on e-commerce platforms.
  • Data Collection: Businesses can rely on customer journeys on the system to collect data, then analyze and leverage it to personalize the user experience.
  • Enhance Competitive Ability: Utilizing and exploiting the strengths of an e-commerce website with a visually appealing and unique interface will make it easier for businesses to position their brand and attract customers.
  • Brand Promotion: It increases trust, professionalism, and accessibility to potential customers.
  • These factors highlight the importance of having an e-commerce website for businesses looking to thrive in the evolving market landscape influenced by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Related article: Top 10 retail websites for mobile phones in Vietnam

Though the benefits are plentiful, how can one design a comprehensive e-commerce website for a business professionally and effectively? 

Below is the journey to build a comprehensive e-commerce website for a mobile phone retail business with two main stages: (1) building the basic e-commerce website and (2) transitioning to building an in-depth e-commerce website.

Phase 1: Building the Basic Mobile Phone E-commerce Website

The journey of building a retail mobile eCommerce website-phrase1
Phase 1: Building the Basic Mobile Phone E-commerce Website

Define Objectives

The first step in constructing an e-commerce website is for the business to determine elements such as objectives, budget, and time for project development.

  • Regarding Objectives: Businesses need to review and cross-reference all goals in the E-commerce Business Plan with the overall Business Plan to ensure the correct and effective implementation of E-commerce, assisting in organizing and prioritizing specific objectives in each development stage.
  • Long-term objectives play a guiding role, providing a general framework for e-commerce and overall business development. These may include sustainable brand awareness, the brand’s market value, total revenue, etc.
  • Short-term objectives help shape strategies with specific tasks and detailed outcomes corresponding to certain timeframes. These may include brand building, increased e-commerce revenue, enhanced competitive capabilities, product quality/diversity, service quality, etc.
  • Regarding Timeframes: To ensure the correct execution of objectives, specific time milestones need to be planned with appropriate prioritization in each stage of the e-commerce journey. Once an overall development timeline is established, it becomes easier to determine the payback period and allocate the budget more effectively.
  • Regarding Budget: Businesses can prioritize the implementation of essential components of the e-commerce system when the budget is limited, and later expand in subsequent stages. However, if there are sufficient financial resources, businesses can deploy a comprehensive business plan across departments and stages to enhance performance and achieve sustainable development.

After completing the “ideation” for the e-commerce website, businesses can kickstart the project by purchasing suitable hosting and domain names aligned with the products or services the business intends to offer.

Choosing an E-commerce Platform

Once the specific business strategy has been identified, the business needs to carefully consider choosing a platform for building the e-commerce website. Currently, the two most popular types of e-commerce platforms are Software as a Service (SaaS) and open-source platforms.

For SaaS Platforms

With SaaS platforms, businesses can choose from various pre-designed templates and features to build a website through simple drag-and-drop operations, requiring minimal investment in terms of time and development costs. However, with SaaS platforms, businesses do not own the source code and data; they can only utilize the available features of the platform. The flexibility and scalability of the system are limited, and usage costs may increase over time. Some popular SaaS platforms in Vietnam include Haravan, Shopify, Sapo, etc.

For Open-Source Platforms

With open-source platforms, businesses have complete freedom to design the interface according to their requirements. These platforms offer high flexibility and can be customized extensively. Open-source platforms provide a full range of features and additional utilities, supporting sustainable development. Businesses own all the source code and data. However, businesses will need a skilled in-house team or experienced development partners to accompany them, investing time and money in development. Some popular open-source platforms include Magento, WooCommerce, OpenCart, etc.

Interface Design

Businesses can initiate the interface design for the website on the selected platform by using existing templates or themes available on the system. Alternatively, they can customize and design a unique interface that aligns with the brand image and specific preferences of the mobile phone retail industry.

Developing Basic E-commerce System Features

At this stage, the business collaborates with an in-house IT team or a deployment unit to establish fundamental eCommerce features, ensuring smooth sales processes on the system. On both SaaS and open-source platforms mentioned earlier, businesses can choose suitable functions and integrate them into the website. Some common basic features include:

  • Category Management: Control over product data, functions, attributes, prices, inventory, images, and videos (brand, price, phone type, performance, memory, special features, design, screen, size, etc.).
  • Content Management: Develop and optimize content for CMS pages (origin, brand, product reviews, usage guides in video form, and success stories relevant to business development needs). Store images, customize themes, and design the website.
  • Sales Management: Control and operate sales processes, orders, barcode-based payments, and brand-based sales (iPhone, Samsung, etc.). Integration with customer management to ensure warranty times align with customer purchases. Set up payment methods (COD, card payments, e-wallets, payment gateways), and shipping methods.
  • Marketing Management: Deploy and manage various marketing programs and campaigns based on seasons and events (Tet, Black Friday, Christmas, Flash Sales, etc.), especially during product launches by major companies like Samsung, Apple, and Oppo.
  • Customer Management: Manage and collect customer information for personalized user experiences, post-purchase customer care, or collaborate with marketing campaigns to attract returning or potential customers.
  • Inventory Management: Proactively control the number of available phones in stock (grouped by type, brand, product code, and country of origin).
  • Reporting & Analysis: Exploit data and measure performance using tools like Google Analytics, Facebook Pixels, and Google Tag Manager.
  • System Management: Maintain a secure and stable eCommerce system. Grant administrator permissions to manage and review the best security practices. Additionally, the platform may offer tools for regular management and maintenance to support stable system operations.

Fulfilling Legal Procedures with the Ministry of Industry and Trade

A mandatory criterion for the official operation of a business’s eCommerce website is the completion of legal documents following regulations. According to Decree 52/2013/ND-CP by the Government, individuals or organizations owning eCommerce websites for selling goods are required to notify or register with the Ministry of Industry and Trade on the eCommerce Management Portal.

Businesses can either complete the registration process themselves or enlist the services of law firms that provide related services.

Phase 2: Developing a Comprehensive eCommerce System

Typically, a basic website may only support a business in its initial stages and face challenges as the business model evolves. Businesses gradually realize the need to develop a more specialized eCommerce system to enhance service quality and improve the overall experience for both customers and the business itself. The development of a sophisticated system requires businesses to be more prepared in terms of time and costs compared to the initial phase.

The journey of building a retail mobile eCommerce website-phrase2
Phase 2: Developing a Comprehensive eCommerce System

Redefining Objectives

Similar to developing a basic eCommerce system, the first step in developing a sophisticated e-commerce website is for the business to redefine its objectives, costs, and timelines for the project. It is crucial to explore specific features and advancements within the industry. This allows the business to plan a detailed and accurate development strategy that aligns with its business model.

Choosing a Platform for Transformation

To develop a deep eCommerce system, businesses should opt for open-source platforms such as Magento, WooCommerce, OpenCart, etc. Open-source platforms can best meet the expanding system needs and sustain development alongside the business. However, besides the drawbacks of high development costs and an extended construction period, businesses also need an experienced IT team to effectively utilize these platforms.

Criteria for Platform Selection at This Stage:

  • User Interface (UI) and User Experience (UX) Development

Allows the development of a standardised user interface that reflects the brand’s characteristics and showcases product images clearly and cohesively.

Enhances brand identity and differentiation.

The admin interface should be user-friendly, facilitating easy navigation, control, and management of the entire system’s data.

  • Basic and Advanced Features

The system should support basic functions and be flexible enough to accommodate the development or integration of advanced and specific features.

This flexibility ensures stable business operations in the long term and the ability to adapt to evolving business models.

Seamless integration with other software without compromising the performance of individual systems.

  • Scalability

High scalability to adapt and grow alongside the business, catering to various business models.

Cost-effective long-term budgeting while constructing a sustainable and efficient system suitable for the business.

The ability to expand, whether it’s adding multiple websites, operating in multiple countries, dealing with various currencies, or managing multiple channels.

  • Extensibility

Ensures the system can efficiently meet the evolving needs of the business.

Can extend to multiple websites, support internationalisation, handle diverse currencies, and manage various sales channels.

Ensures stable system operation regardless of increasing web traffic and transaction volumes over time.

Choosing Development Resources for eCommerce Website Development

To build a sophisticated eCommerce website, businesses can either establish an in-house team or collaborate with external development partners. In both cases, a skilled and experienced workforce with a professional work ethic is essential.

In-House Team:

  • Provides control and flexibility in managing daily tasks, timelines, and data.
  • Allows the business to have direct oversight of its data and a clear understanding of product values.
  • Challenges include limited manpower depending on the company’s size, restricted ideation due to internal expertise, and potential development limitations.

External Development Partners:

  • Collaboration with eCommerce system development experts facilitates a smooth platform transition.
  • Businesses don’t need to worry about the intricacies of the transition process as external developers offer optimal support.
  • However, there might be a trade-off between having 100% control over the development process and the limitation of collaboration.

Recommended Service Providers: Several service providers specialize in deploying advanced eCommerce systems. Some notable examples include SECOMM, SmartOSC, Co-Well Asia, Isobar, and Magenest.

Choosing between an in-house team and external partners depends on the business’s specific needs, resources, and preferences. Each option has its advantages and challenges, and businesses must carefully evaluate their circumstances before making a decision.

Improving the Interface

While transitioning to a new eCommerce platform, businesses have the flexibility to retain their current website interface or redesign it for an enhanced user experience and improved brand positioning. Redesigning involves adjusting existing themes to save time and budget. However, some businesses opt for a custom redesign to meticulously tailor the interface to their specific needs, which may require a higher investment in terms of time and budget.

Platform Migration

Platform migration is a crucial step in building a deep eCommerce website. Automation is typically used to minimize errors during the transition. Businesses need a comprehensive plan encompassing features, data, and scenarios to ensure a smooth and effective transition. The process begins with data extraction from the old system and recording it into the new system.

Post-migration, thorough testing is essential to verify that all components and data have been accurately and adequately transferred according to the plan.

Developing Advanced and Specialized Features

When constructing a deep eCommerce website, businesses must introduce advanced and specialized features to support business model expansion, enhance competitiveness, adapt to market changes, increase revenue, and improve the shopping experience. Some advanced features for eCommerce and mobile retail may include Buy Now Pay Later, Flash Sales, and advanced product search functionalities.

Continuous learning and staying informed about necessary features are crucial for system development. This can be achieved through online applications, an in-house development team, or external development experts. After outlining the development plan, collaboration with design experts to create a system model is essential. The subsequent step involves programming features based on the approved plan. Before deployment, thorough testing, based on the requirements specification document, is conducted to update test scenarios and log errors using error management tools.

Operation, Maintenance, and Development of eCommerce Websites

After developing an eCommerce website, regular maintenance, care, and updates are necessary to ensure continuous online business operation, seamless system operation from online to offline, and optimal user satisfaction. Ongoing research is vital to optimize and develop the website to create a satisfying and comfortable shopping experience.

The journey of building a retail mobile eCommerce website
The journey of building a retail mobile eCommerce website

In summary, a comprehensive eCommerce website is crucial for the current and future success of mobile phone retail businesses. Building such a website involves a meticulous process, and each step is critical. Businesses can contact SECOMM for free consultations on comprehensive eCommerce website solutions tailored to mobile phone retail businesses.

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Cosmetics eCommerce Is Experiencing Unprecedented Growth
COSMETICS ECOMMERCE IS EXPERIENCING UNPRECEDENTED GROWTH

Consumer demand for beauty and health care is rising as the quality of life gradually improves. The fact that so many individuals are involved in commerce has also contributed to the cosmetics industry’s reputation as one of the most important sectors in the modern economy.

Additionally, the rapid growth of eCommerce following the pandemic is gradually emerging as a successful business strategy and a crucial step in the digital transformation of every industry, including the cosmetics industry.

The market size for cosmetics sold online is estimated by CommonThread to be $483 billion in 2020 and expand to $511 billion in 2021 at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 4.75%. The market size is anticipated to surpass 716 billion USD by 2025 and reach 784.6 billion USD by 2027.

Cosmetics eCommerce Is Experiencing Unprecedented Growth
Global cosmetic eCommerce market size

How do cosmetics firms benefit from eCommerce?

Keep up rapidly with the market shift

In the past pandemic years, the global economy has witnessed a sudden decline in sales in many industries, including the cosmetics industry.

People are compelled to reduce their social interactions while social distancing mechanisms are in effect.

At this time, people’s psychology will be more concerned with keeping an eye on and caring for themselves. Due to the unpredictable changes of the pandemic, there has been a sharp rise in the need for skincare, hair care, and body care products to enhance spiritual life.

Cosmetics eCommerce Is Experiencing Unprecedented Growth
Deploying eCommerce helps cosmetics businesses keep up with the market shift

Due to restrictions on leaving the house, online shopping at the time had become not only a need but also an urgent method of purchasing in place of in-person purchases. That serves as a springboard for eCommerce to take off and spur significant growth in other industries like fashion, grocery, wine, and even cosmetics.

These two elements highlight the enormous potential of this “cake,” assisting several cosmetic companies in realizing and swiftly implementing eCommerce for both sustainable development and market revolution.

Scale up the business

Using eCommerce as a solution will allow the cosmetics industry to shift from offline to online (O2O) business models rather than allowing their businesses to “get lost” in the crisis of the global pandemic.

Additionally, if businesses still do not have a competent eCommerce website to introduce and sell products to customers who love to shop online ​​in the age of digital transformation, they will quickly lose many potential customers to rivals.

Cosmetics eCommerce Is Experiencing Unprecedented Growth
Scale up the business by developing cosmetics eCommerce

This is especially true for a highly competitive industry like cosmetics, but several firms, including Hasaki, LixiBox, Watsons, Guardian, etc., have embraced the trend early and are now the market leaders in cosmetic eCommerce.

Furthermore, early eCommerce development will also provide benefits that will make marketing efforts more successful, broadening the economic opportunities for businesses.

Enhance customer’s shopping experience

​​Businesses must consider customers’ purchasing experiences when launching eCommerce websites, and not just for the cosmetic industry.

Thanks to the use of contemporary technologies, which are quite popular in the cosmetics industry, the purchasing procedure will be swift, and effective, and bring customers satisfaction when they choose to buy cosmetics online.

For example, a 360-degree intuitive vision, virtual reality (VR), or augmented reality (AR) technology (AR).

Cosmetics eCommerce Is Experiencing Unprecedented Growth
Building an eCommerce website to enhance customer’s online shopping experience

eCommerce enables businesses to quickly and effortlessly tailor the experience for customers by gathering, evaluating, and synthesizing the consumption behavior of each target group. Typically, this is done with the capabilities listed below: Products have seen, similar product recommendations, etc.
eCommerce provides clients with a seamless experience in addition to an intuitive one across a variety of channels, including social networks (Facebook, Instagram, Tiktok, Zalo, etc.), eCommerce platforms (Shopee, Lazada, Tiki, Sendo, etc.), eCommerce websites, mobile apps, etc.

Best cosmetics eCommerce sites that really stand out

Kylie Cosmetics

One of the most successful cosmetic brands that has a significant global media impact is Kylie Cosmetics. When it comes to Kylie Cosmetics, it’s tough not to give Kylie Jenner credit.

She’s the youngest female millionaire in the US and has been hailed as a business genius by prominent publications like Forbes due to her success in the saturated cosmetics industry.

​​When Kylie Cosmetics was founded in 2015, it generated an astonishing $ 420 million in revenue in its first 18 months. It is predicted that by 2022, net sales will have reached $ 1 billion.

The sensible business strategy, in addition to the founder’s reputation, focuses on utilizing the “gold mine” of eCommerce and launching social media marketing campaigns, which are the factors that contribute to that respectable revenue block.

As a result, the company used Shopify, a platform that specializes in creating websites for the top online retailers in North America, to develop its eCommerce website.

With pink and white as its primary colors, the website’s design is incredibly clean and uncomplicated. The layout of the website centers on showcasing the company’s products.

Also, this is a part of Kylie Cosmetics’ business strategy, which includes releasing collections of cosmetic products like lipsticks, eyeshadow, and eyebrow pencils with limited design and manufacturing to appeal to customers’ FOMO (Fear of Missing Out).

It is not surprising that Kylie’s new collections or cosmetics Cosmetics are continually “sold out” every time it is published because this is thought to be a very intelligent strategy of Kylie Cosmetics, completely different from other well-known cosmetic firms.

Cosmetics eCommerce Is Experiencing Unprecedented Growth
Kylie Cosmetics’ eCommerce website

The business also utilizes social media platforms that are hugely popular in the US, like Instagram, Youtube, and Snapchat, to create content to market brands and products and engage with a huge audience across three platforms before driving traffic to the eCommerce website and generating conversions.

The company’s inventiveness and innovation are also on display in offline events that draw customers to free product samples. Here, the company wins over even customers who have reservations about the product’s quality, which greatly increases sales.

Since Kylie Cosmetics established its first traditional cosmetic retail store in 2018, customers may now purchase cosmetics from this cult brand at Ulta Beauty locations around the US.

Indeed, Kylie Cosmetics started off quite shrewdly and went on to tremendous success by keeping up with market changes by building an online business model at first, that is, selling through an eCommerce website and relying primarily on social media for promotion.

Guardian

Since entering the Vietnamese market in 2011, Guardian has grown to be a very well-known and recognizable brand among consumers of cosmetics. This brand is a part of the Dairy Farm Group, a company that manufactures and distributes health and beauty products in Asia.

Since its start, Guardian has made ongoing improvements to encourage millions of followers to lead healthy lifestyles and offer a trustworthy, high-quality purchasing experience at the finest rates and services.

With a system of more than 100 outlets “encompassing everywhere,” this retail chain is delighted to be a place to shop for cosmetics “for everyone” who can “purchase everything” and simply select appropriate items.

A clever business strategy and significant investment in successful marketing efforts are the only explanations needed to understand Guardian’s success.

When first entering the Vietnamese market, Guardian specifically pushed to quickly expand its business chain, focusing on cities with high purchasing power, with 80% of stores located in Ho Chi Minh City, the rest in Hanoi and some other major cities such as Da Nang, Can Tho, Bien Hoa, and Vung Tau.

Because at the time, online channels were not really well-known and powerful enough for this business to keep an eye on.

As a result, the company successfully raises the level of brand recognition with extensive coverage from the Guardian orange white wave, taking into account the characteristics of the cosmetics and beauty care industry, which require customers to have a direct point of contact, learn from, and test.
By 2019, the company began its journey toward digital transformation by combining offline and online (O2O) business models in parallel, and simultaneously, deploying Omnichannel.

Cosmetics eCommerce Is Experiencing Unprecedented Growth
Guardian’s eCommerce website

It is even more critical for Guardian to immediately implement potential sales channels like marketplaces, applications, fast delivery services like GrabMart, and eCommerce website operate side by side with a chain of 105 retail outlets in strategic locations due to the pandemic’s dual effects, which include changing market trends and altering consumer buying habits.

The orange and white colors and quick page loads make the Guardian website’s design stunning. Additionally, Guardian offers enticing incentives in the shipping policy, such as free fast delivery within 4 hours with orders from 349,000 VND, to encourage online shoppers.

The company’s unique product catalog, which is prominently shown on Guardian’s eCommerce website and features items like shampoos, shower gels, and hand sanitizers, is another standout.

The foundation for helping Guardian dominate the cosmetic retail market and leave a lasting impact on customers is a deliberate investment in developing a multi-channel ecosystem.

Hasaki

​​Modernity and growth come with invisible pressures that have an impact on everyone’s life as people struggle to keep up with the “standards” of the times.

However, that does not result in a drop in the demand for beauty and self-care, on the contrary, it is always rising, with a diversity of sufficient options to match customer expectations.

Vietnamese women are among the most beautiful in Asia, but, due to the responsibilities of work pressure and family, they occasionally neglect to care for and love themselves.

Because of this, Hasaki Beauty & Clinic was established with the desire to become a reliable beauty and spiritual care destination for Vietnamese women.

The Hasaki store system, which was introduced in 2016 and now has 76 locations across 29 Vietnamese provinces and cities, has steadily established itself as one of the top retail chains for real cosmetics. Hasaki is dedicated to offering real cosmetics at discounted pricing, living up to its motto of “True Quality – True Value”.

Along with system expansion, Hasaki also works on creating an eCommerce website with features appropriate for the cosmetics industry and always enhancing and upgrading the system to provide customers with the greatest online shopping experience.

Cosmetics eCommerce Is Experiencing Unprecedented Growth
Hasaki’s eCommerce website

The Magento platform was used to build the website, and the interface is attractive with green serving as the primary color tone for the entire eCommerce website and app system. Customers can check current promotions and conveniently look up order details when accessing the Hasaki website.

Additionally, the “handbook” section at Hasaki has a wealth of knowledge on cosmetics and skin care tips that each customer may learn and arm themselves with before making a purchase decision. Since then, the process of beauty restoration is safe and effective.

Similar to Guardian, Hasaki encourages people to order online with NowFree 2h and take advantage of free shipping rules.

As a result, Hasaki will provide free delivery to customers within two hours of receiving orders of 90,000 VND in 29 provinces and cities where the company has locations, including on Saturday and Sunday. Customers will benefit from free national shipping on orders that are at least 249,000 VND.

Therefore, Hasaki has sparked a “green craze” among many beauty fans and is now gradually competing with the country’s top cosmetics brands thanks to its quick recognition of market trends and broad perspective with an efficient marketing mix strategy.

It is clear that the growth of the furniture market has been hastened by the speed at which eCommerce is developing.

Today, numerous local and international cosmetics companies participate in and offer the greatest shopping experiences to customers through the effective implementation of an eCommerce website, including Kylie Cosmetics (USA), Guardian, and Hasaki (Vietnam).

From there, companies may quickly connect with a wider pool of Internet users and generate conversions through efficient marketing strategies.

However, business leaders need to carefully and comprehensively take into account the growing customer expectations and rapidly shifting market trends, not to mention specifically describe a systematic and precise business strategy for taking the most advantageous actions in the short and long term.

Completing that difficult task will take a lot of time and resources. As a result, many cosmetics companies opt for a more straightforward approach to the issue, enlisting the assistance of a highly qualified and dependable unit.

SECOMM has many years of expertise in effectively executing eCommerce for numerous customers in various countries. We specialize in offering free consultation services with qualified eCommerce implementation solutions.

Contact us right away for free counsel and assistance.

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