Ready to explore customized eCommerce for your business? We hear you.
Companies of all sizes, in all industries, have recently been feeling the pinch from Amazon’s tight margins, irritating fees, lengthy payment terms and ever-changing data and shipping requirements – not to mention their cookie-cutter format. It’s time to cut out the middleman and create a customized eCommerce store that delivers the exact customer experience you want for your B2B or B2C customers, which means you need to… Wait, what exactly do you need to do?
Get some help figuring out the plan to set up your own secure, effective and attractive web store for your large and complex B2B or B2C business.
Choosing the Right Architecture
Though it’s an interactive portal that brings customers and products together through the Internet, your eCommerce store is, at heart, a technological masterpiece. If you haven’t thought much about the sheer programming magic that underpins your online storefront, now’s the time to start thinking.
First off, when planning your online store, you’ll need to find professionals who have experience designing a multi-tier architecture framework for web stores. If the terminology leaves you scratching your head, this may help:
Multi-tier architecture is comprised of three layers:
- The data tier
- The business tier
- The presentation tier
In short, the data tier houses your raw data, keeping safe the information about how many green widgets you have, what your company is called, your various tax rates, etc.
Skipping forward, the presentation tier looks pretty – it’s what your buyer sees on their screen when they visit your eCommerce store.
The business tier handles everything in the middle: in essence, translating client queries into answers by going back and forth between the data tier and the presentation tier.
For example, your data tier will know how many green widgets you have to sell so that when your customer navigates to the Green Widgets page on your store’s website, they’ll know you have three in stock and they should order soon. The business tier is what translates the ugly, messy, raw data about the number of widgets you have into an attractive and readable sales message for your buyer.
This multi-tier deal is a pretty complex process, so here’s another explanation for you:
Your customer decides they want to order two green widgets. They add the widgets to their cart online and begin the checkout process. They enter their credit card number and shipping info into a readable screen on the presentation tier, while the business tier:
- Calculates invoice totals
- Sends transaction data to a secure credit card payment processing merchant
- Receives card transaction approvals
- Places the order in your ERP
- Reduces your green widget inventory by two
- Integrates shipping data with your preferred shipping systems
- Creates tracking data for the order
- Sends a secure confirmation email to the customer
Meanwhile, the data tier securely stores updated data so that the next customer who wants green widgets can see that you only have one left in stock.
Sound Confusing? That’s Because It Is…
Remember, we told you at the beginning of this article that eCommerce stores were a technological masterpiece. The process consists of many, many snippets of code, each of which is responsible for performing a single function in the browsing or buying process.
In a way, you can think of an eCommerce system as being a lot like a highly complex clock or, if you want to get a bit metaphysical, you can think of it like philosopher William Paley’s watchmaker analogy of the universe, in which an “intelligent designer” creates a detailed system that works perfectly to avoid rampant chaos.
Yes, we just compared an eCommerce system to the universe. It’s really that complex.
…And It May Be as Large as the Universe Too
It’s unlikely that your eCommerce store will be big enough to sell so many products that your stock will rival the number of atoms in the planet, stars, galaxy and universe, but the point is: we’re thinking big.
And you want to think big too, because the more you can sell through a customized, experience-driven online store, the more you can build long-lasting brand success – which means more sustainable growth.
However, big web stores require big capabilities and you’ll need to make sure your eCommerce architecture is easy to scale up with more products, more pages, more data and more integrations. The best way to scale your online store effectively is to use multi-tier architecture because it gives you the power to integrate APIs easily and constantly update the look and feel of your store, without creating data dependencies that leave you open to attack or data corruption.
There’s an Easy Way to Connect It All Up
To build an effective eCommerce system, you’ll need system architects, full-stack web designers, network security administrators, ERP integration experts, database engineers, API specialists and a project manager who can manage your tech team’s scrum work – and if you already had all those pros in office, you wouldn’t still be reading this.
Luckily, getting all the tech help you need can be effortless. With ISG OnDemand, you’ll have the power to place the top tech minds in the business at your disposal, each focused on getting you the solutions you need, on deadline and on budget.
All you need to do is contact ISG. We’ll take care of the rest.