Maybe you’re looking towards creating your own ecommerce store, but do not yet know how it works. Or perhaps you’re fascinated by how fast your orders are processed, and you desire to know what goes on behind the scenes.
This blog post is an introductory guide to how e-commerce works and the design framework behind the technology.
What is E-commerce?
As the name suggests, e-commerce is any commercial activity carried out over the Internet. When you buy or sell things online, you are basically doing e-commerce.
Although no one knows when trading first started, Man has been on an eternal quest to make the process as fast as possible. It led to the use of horses, carts, vehicles, ships, trains, and planes for the efficient transfer of goods. Now you can sit in front of a computer, browse through an e-commerce website, compare products, and order that which most appeals to your taste. A few days later, you receive it at your doorstep.
E-commerce has made life so convenient. But what are the components of an e-commerce platform that makes it work?
The Basic Components of an E-commerce Store
An e-commerce platform is made up of the following systems:
1. A Web Server
The web server is what manages the online storefront by communicating with the web browser. This is where the customer gets to see the various products the retailer has in stock and interact with them. It’s like going into a shop and seeing the items, comparing sizes, colors, and texture.
But there’s one thing that has differentiated physical stores and online storefronts for years. While you can tell, for instance a carpenter, to design a piece of furniture according to your color and size preferences, it hasn’t been that easy with online purchases. Most times, you have to browse for hours to find a product that exactly suits your specs. To counter that challenge, Some e-commerce platforms that offer customizable products now incorporate a 3D product configurator into their web server. This software allows the customer to customize an item to their specific requirements by changing size, color, etc. The 3D product configurator therefore offers a more immersive buying experience.
Furthermore, the web server processes your transaction when you order.
2. A Database System
This database system is more or less automated. It runs checks on the items on the platform to know what’s in or out of stock. It updates whenever someone places an order (because that may be the last item of its kind) and when suppliers bring in new products. And when a product goes out of stock, it makes automated orders with suppliers to restock.
When a user places an order, the web server sends the order to the order manager, a central computer that monitors all transactions. The order manager then sends a query to the database system to know if the ordered product is in stock. If it is, the order manager then sends the buyer’s card details to the financial agent (merchant bank or Credit Card Company). If not, the database sends an order to the appropriate supplier.
3. A Dispatch System
The dispatch system is digitally connected to the warehouse. When an order is processed, and payment validated, the dispatch system sends the order to the warehouse to send the product to the buyer.
It Doesn’t Always Have to Be That Complex
Although the model looks simple enough, you can make it even much simpler. That’s because, of the three systems discussed, the most vital is the web server. You can therefore simplify things by using the web server to display your in-stock products and process orders while you receive payment and deliver the goods in more traditional ways.
It all depends on how sophisticated you want your e-commerce platform to be.
This is a Sponsored Post – the author has requested this post be shared on Women in Ecommerce – WECAI.org and WE were compensated for sharing.