e-Commerce - trading on the Internet is becoming increasingly important in the course of the digital age. The forecasts promise steady growth and good business prospects. Electronic commerce (e-commerce) is a concept for the use of certain information and communication technologies. On the one hand, e-commerce can be used to integrate and interlink different value-added chains or cross-company business processes, and to manage business relationships. In practice, e-commerce can be defined as online trade, online exchange of information and online Internet support. The Software & Information Engineering Department took up the subject in the context of a cooperation with a Swiss logistics service provider and offered advice and assistance in the complex subject area.
Functions in e-commerce
e-Commerce has numerous functions. These include:
- the returns management
- the customer front-end (user interface with layout and design)
- the logistics processing
- the procurement of goods
- the product management
- the web analysis
- the contact management and
- the handling of payments
These functions are, however, bound by framework conditions. These include multi-channel capability, security and usability.
Companies must constantly adapt the distribution of their goods to the increasing requirements of the digital environment. The challenge is that the market is becoming increasingly tight because supply is growing faster than demand. For this reason, our cooperation partner from Switzerland focused on improving performance in terms of logistics and customer satisfaction. Logistics is an important success factor for a good business relationship between customer and online mail order company. We supported the cooperation partner by implementing an intelligent merchandise management system.
Online retailers are very much focused on their core business and often leave one thing out: IT security. Every tenth online retailer was the victim of a system attack within 12 months. At the same time, not even every third merchant tests his system for security gaps. In the process, sensitive payment and personal data is transferred during the processing of payment transactions. This customer data is subject to a high risk of misuse. The aim is therefore to encrypt insecure communication channels with sufficient security. This can be achieved by means of suitable TLS/SSL or IPSEC implementations. This makes the awareness of IT security inevitable for the use of eCommerce. However, the lack of know-how or the neglect of IT-related topics can cause major problems.
For example, system integration into the company's internal systems, as the interfaces are often not automated. (interface between online shop and merchandise management system or interface to shipping service providers).
Within the scope of an IT consulting service, the Software & Information Engineering department sharpened the senses of our cooperation partner. It was important for us to "take the client by the hand" in order to clarify the importance of IT security in the e-commerce context. In addition, this was to create a sensitivity for this topic in the future.
When developing the web presence of an online shop, you have to choose between different options: In-house development, open source solution, purchase/license solution and rental shops. The open source systems have proven themselves as an eCommerce solution. However, the disadvantage is that a high level of technical and process-oriented know-how is required. Help from outside is therefore unavoidable. However, the use of Open Source solutions guarantees a high flexibility with low acquisition costs.
Merchandise management system
For what reasons do online retailers introduce a merchandise management system? Primarily for reasons of process automation or reduction of manual processes. One of the biggest drivers is the use of several distribution channels, so-called multichanneling. The shipping data of your online shop (e.g. the customer address) are automatically is transmitted via an interface from the shop system or from the merchandise management system.
For this reason it is important that the merchandise management system is connected to the online shop via an interface. We, the department for software & information engineering, used the MMS to make the distribution of the logistics service provider more efficient in order to guarantee a better and faster distribution as well as customer satisfaction. Especially with regard to the returns, which are connected with high costs.
An investment in eCommerce systems is inevitable in the age of digital change. In fact, an investment in mobile eCommerce. This includes apps and mobile-ready websites. Information technology know-how is indispensable for this. And this is exactly where we -the Software & Information Engineering department- come in and offer advice and support so that you too can benefit from the efficient use of e-commerce systems.