From Workbenches to Shelves: The Steps Behind Online Shopping

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E-commerce came to be when Electronic Funds Transfer (EFT) became possible and Electronic Data Interchange (EDI) allowed sellers and buyers to exchange data. Creating buying and selling platforms became a democratized process, thanks to the spread of the Internet in the 90s.

With the onset of virtual stores and selling platforms, profits from online shopping continue to rise on a year per year basis. Now that it’s defined, what are the steps involved in E-commerce and online shopping?

Integration to Reporting

For some companies, the online shopping process can be boiled down to seven steps: Integration, storage, customer order, picking, packing, delivery, and reporting.

Integration happens when shipments between manufacturers and dealers are received by the warehouse. Their data is integrated into the warehouse’s system after each product is checked for its quality and quantity. These items sit in storage until customer orders trickle in.

Once customer orders come in, pickers “shop” from the shelves to fulfill the order. To avoid doubling, each picker is equipped with mobile devices and handheld scanners used to check in picked items into the warehouse’s system.

Picked items are then inspected, weighed, and meticulously packed for their safety. Items are delivered to customers and orders are reported to the warehouse’s dashboard. A warehouse’s returns management services department is engaged in case a product needs to be sent back to the seller.

Shopping Types

E-commerce doesn’t exist in just one form. At least four forms of e-commerce shopping types exist. Competitive or logical, fast shoppers thrive on getting the best deals. They value having the most information about deals, as it gives them a sense of control over their buying decisions. Not only are they competitive with other shoppers, they also pit products together to see which deal will give them a bang for their buck.

Logical and slow, methodical shoppers still rely on information to make their shopping decisions. Unlike competitive shoppers, they take the time to make their decisions. Warranty information, return and shipping policies, and similar administrative information are valuable to a methodical shopper.

Quick on the click, spontaneous shoppers drop cash whenever they fancy it. Highly emotional, these shoppers are in need of quick solutions to problems or fancy items they feel are needed in their lives. Their counterparts are humanistic shoppers. Though as emotional as spontaneous shoppers, they’re slow when it comes to purchases. They tend to check community reviews, ratings, and feedback before they make their decisions.

Hallmarks of a Good E-commerce site

man shopping online on his laptop

Ease of access, fast loading times, and advance filtering are just some of the features that people look for when it comes to e-commerce solutions.

Fancy graphics and presentation may mean nothing to a shopper if they prefer having a simple layout that won’t eat into their data. Mobile shoppers will be turned off from an e-commerce platform if the site is only optimized for desktop users. Use of high-quality photos and videos of products, in addition to highlighting user-generated reviews, can make shoppers stay on a given platform.

E-commerce, as noted above, will experience exponential growth in the coming years. About 25 percent of the world’s population is estimated to convert or continue to shop online. By 2021, 2.14 billion people are estimated to use e-commerce platforms. With these statistics, there’s no better time to join the rush than today, either as a buyer or a new seller.

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