What You Need to Know Before Starting an eCommerce Portal

An eCommerce portal can be an incredible advantage as a way for people throughout the globe to make purchases and transaction easily and in one place. This article will walk you through what you need to know before starting an eCommerce portal. The best way to be prepared to start your own is to have a solid foundation of the information going into it.

Web Portals

The goal of web portals is to collect information regarding individuals (for eCommerce portals either customers, retailers, suppliers, etc), various products, and services and put them all in one place. This aids the consumer or customer by allowing them to find what they need all in one place, rather than completing multiple online searches to find what they need. Portals are still singular websites, they just provide a greater amount of information from a variety of different sources. So a web portal works by taking products, sites, and services that are central to a certain theme and putting it all in one place.

A great example of a web portal also happens to highly applicable to eCommerce: Amazon. While it is solely an online shopping portal, it is an easy way to understand the concept of the portal. Amazon puts together a variety of different things based around a central theme: online shopping. Specifically, eCommerce portals offer both individuals and business access to both sell and purchase either products or services through a single website. eCommerce portals come in two forms: Business to Business eCommerce portals and Business to Consumer eCommerce portals.

B2B vs. B2C

The difference between these two can be found in the name. Business to business (B2B) eCommerce portals are aimed at the streamlined exchange of products between businesses. A B2B portal will allow companies to buy and sell from each other. An example of this is any manufacturer/supplier B2B eCommerce portal, like Alibaba.com. On Alibaba.com, eCommerce business owners can order supplies or manufacture supplies for their own business, from manufacturing and supply businesses listed on Alibaba.  Business to consumer (B2C) eCommerce portals is essentially what it sounds like; it is a web portal that allows consumers to purchase products or services from a company for personal use.

Choosing The Right Platform

A general rule of thumb for eCommerce business is that choosing the right platform is critical to your business. Whether you are looking to choose a B2B or B2C eCommerce platform for your portal, there are specific areas you should focus on. First, you are going to want a system that is high-tech, or sophisticated. You don’t want something that is going to make you not look professional. You also want it to be something flexible so that you can adapt it to fit your business and to look on brand. As a platform for an eCommerce portal, it also needs to be able to support a variety of stores, branches, channels, etc., as well as responsive design for mobile, tablet, and social media.

A good platform for an eCommerce portal will let you manage all of the operations for your website using a single set of tools or under a single dashboard. And it should provide you with an easy, already setup system for managing and tracking your orders, customer information, inventory, or any other data associated with your eCommerce portal. You should also check that any given platform will give you the ability to choose from a variety of pricing requirements.

Determine whether you want a hosted platform or an open-source platform. For hosted platforms, you can either use on-premise or cloud-based. On-premise platforms require on-site installation, while cloud-based is hosted by the providers. An open source eCommerce platform gives you a higher degree of flexibility with your eCommerce portal; this is because you have the ability to change and adapt the platform’s code. That way, whether you are creating a B2B or a B2C eCommerce portal, you will be able to customize it to your business’s needs and your own preferences. However, this advantage only works if you have technical knowledge about website code and development or you have it in your budget to hire a website developer who is experienced with code. While you don’t get this level of flexibility with hosted platform (since they are mainly based off of pre-made templates), if you aren’t technically savvy or understand web development, a hosted platform is much easier to sit down and do it yourself. The platform developers make sure to create an easy-to-use and intuitive dashboard so that you could most likely figure it out yourself without any outside help.

Now that you have a solid foundation of information about B2B and B2C eCommerce portals, and you know what to look out for when choosing the right eCommerce platform for it, you are well on your way to starting an eCommerce portal. If you liked this article and want to learn more about the eCommerce industry, check out Genius eCommerce today!