Setting up E-Commerce

Online shopping or e-commerce is becoming popular and it is going to be the trend in next coming years.  This article tells you about various options if your business wants to set up an e-commerce on web and mobile for your customers.

Order from Computer and Mobile app

Ordering from a mobile app is as popular as from a computer these days.  That leaves the business (seller) to have to maintain an e-commerce web site as well as an e-commerce mobile app

If you already have a web site and need to convert it into e-commerce web, or if you want to start a brand new web site with e-commerce facility, Zoliotech can do that for you.  Please feel free to contact us.   There are many premium (paid) and freeware software available in the market for e-commerce websites and the implementation is pretty well established.

For mobile apps, businesses have following options to choose from:

  Native apps

Cross Platform apps

  Mobile web

Native mobile application for e-commerce

In Singapore context, you will need an IOS and Android app to convert majority of your target audience.  Native mobile apps for e-commerce can be very creative and can be a showcase marketing tool for  your business.  Remember that your customers are going to carry your logo and product lists inside their mobile, which is always with them.  You have an opportunity to communicate with them through push notification regarding your promotions and discounts.

From the development aspect, typically we replicate the apps on both platforms.  The look and feel of the apps will be exactly the same on IOS and Android.  User's accounts will work seamlessly on web, IOS app and Android app.  Ensure that the app works on all devices and all screen sizes that are available in the market.  Zoliotech consultants and developers will advice you whether different UI design is needed for small and big screens.  

Cross platform apps for e-commerce

Cross platform apps are applications developed in HTML5 and packaged in native apps wrapper.  HTML works on browsers. Since IOS and Android has browser components within them, these cross-platform apps work on top of the browser on each platform.  Advantage of this approach is that there is only code base to develop and maintain. Since it is in HTML, the code is relatively simpler.  

Here is a short write up to compare native apps and cross platform apps.

E-commerce apps developed using HTML5 will work well for all practical purposes.  The fact that the app runs on top of browser does not pose any user inconvenience or security risk. However, the HTML development environment for cross platform apps is not as established as native apps.  So is the case with HTML based apps.  Because of these factors, trendy e-commerce apps are still developed more in native environment as compared to cross-platform development.

Mobile Web

Mobile Web is the normal web component on the server customised to fit the mobile screen.  On the mobile device, user will open up the browser and type in the URL.  What they see on the screen will behave mostly like an app with good looking buttons and images.  User experience will be similar to a normal web site. Screen transition are also like normal website which has to wait and download the next page from the server.  Because of that the page transitions may be slightly slow, and the animations and other graphical features may not be as impressive as a native app or cross platform app .  From the functional aspect, the app will fully work as an e-commerce app including secure payment.  Advantage for mobile web over native app and cross-platform app is that the development and maintenance is much easier.  It is like developing and maintaining web pages.

Payment Gateway

Payment is the crucial part of e-commerce apps.  Interface to payment gateways in a secure way is the core of all e-commerce apps.  Collecting cash at the time of physical delivery of the goods (cash on delivery) does not need any payment gateway; but majority of e-commerce apps rely on online payment mechanisms to collect money prior to delivering the goods to the customer.

There are different mechanisms to get payment from the customer.  Most popular is payment through credit cards.  Paypal eNETS  and few other companies provide the payment gateway services in Singapore.  As an e-business owner you need to set up a merchant account (or business account) with the payment gateway agency.  You will register as an e-business owner providing your bank details.  Once customer makes the payments, the gateway agency will transfer the money to your bank.  There will be some service charges which will be deducted from you (the merchant).  The service charge varies depending upon the agency, bank and credit card types.  A typical service charge will be about 2 to 3 percent of the transaction amount.  If you plan to do business in other currencies (e.g. USD or MYR), these getaways have mechanisms to accept payment in any currency.  However transfer to your bank account will be in the local currency, depending upon your arrangement with the agency. 

Apple pay   and Android pay   are the latest trends in mobile apps payments.  These are getting popular in Singapore.  There is an added convenience of paying directly from the app in these cases.  Read more details of Apple Pay here.

Zoliotech developers are experienced in interfacing with the payment gateways, including the Apple Pay and Android Pay.  Please get in touch with us if you have any queries on easiest way  for your business to accept online payments.

E-commerce system development

Typically it takes about 3-4 weeks to develop and set up the online shop.  Zoliotech will do end-to-end implementation of e-commerce shops for you.  We do the e-commerce set up for businesses on web as well as on mobile apps.  

Initial uploading of the products will be done by the developer.  You will be given a web page to update the products such as add new products, update the price, add new images etc. After the testing phase, our developers will train your staff on how to manage the online shop.  

Once the e-commerce site is published, your customers will start sending orders to you.  When an order is placed, you will get a notification via email with complete order details.  You can login to the system and view the order.  Verify that the payment has come in, update the status of the order as "Processing".  Your customer will see this when they check the status online.  After verification of the payment  against the order, make arrangements to send the product to your customer.  As the business grows, you will need an established back end process for ensuring that your customers get satisfactory service from you.  Make sure to get positive feedback from your customers.  We can create a mechanism for capturing the feedback from customers on the e-commerce site and app.  It is possible to share into social media such as Facebbok, Twitter and other sites/apps.

Back-end tasks for the shop

There are several tasks you need to streamline at the back end:

-Set up the products online. Add new products to the online store

-Maintain the products list., Make sure out-dated products are removed from store, ensure the price list is updated, add/remove promotional items and overall keep the site impressive.

-Payment verification. Always have a manual verification of the payments - especially at the start, till the system is stable enough

-Order processing and shipping. Make sure your team takes care of the order properly. Ensure timely shipping of the product

-Timely communication to customers. Give human touch to your online store. Your customers love to hear from you. Zoliotech developers will make easy provisions in the system to communicate with each of your valuable customer efficiently.

-Promotions and discounts. Attracting and retaining your customers are important. Our site and apps will ensure you can do it easily on the e-commerce system.

Next Step

If  you are planning to set up an e-commerce system do get in touch with us.  We have all the expertise and know how to set up e-commerce web site and mobile apps.