Creating Scalable E-Commerce Infrastructure - ChicagoShipper

If there’s one thing your e-commerce operation needs to do, it’s infrastructure. This can be anything from end-to-end e-commerce technology solutions to services offered by third-party providers. 

As your company expands, your e-commerce infrastructure should be able to keep up and support your expanding operations. 

In this post, we’ll look at how to create a scalable e-commerce infrastructure. Let’s get this party started. 

E-Commerce Infrastructure Definition 

All of the facilities and tools required to run your e-commerce business are referred to as e-commerce infrastructure. This includes the hardware, software, network, and services that help your business run smoothly from start to finish. You can not only optimize your performance but also prepare your business to scale with the right e-commerce infrastructure. 

Components of E-Commerce Infrastructure 

E-commerce infrastructure is made up of various components that must frequently collaborate in order to solve major e-commerce problems. The following are the various types of e-commerce infrastructure that your company will require: 

  • Technology 

E-commerce businesses, more than any other type of retail business, rely heavily on technological infrastructure. The first and most important consideration would be an e-commerce platform, as this is where your entire website will reside, serving as a digital storefront for your customers. 

Setting up an e-commerce website involves many factors, including website design and development, hosting, e-commerce website maintenance, and content management. In addition, various integrations such as payment processing gateways, multi-channel retail, and inventory management should be considered. 

As a result, the cost of setting up your e-commerce website can quickly add up. Depending on the size and scope of your operations, you may need to make additional investments. For example, if you sell on multiple sales platforms, you’ll need reliable inventory management software to keep your catalogs up to date. Once your website is live, you may need to make additional changes based on how visitors interact with it. 

  • Marketing and Sales 

Another important factor to consider is the sales and marketing aspects of your e-commerce operations. You won’t be able to attract enough customers to your online store unless you use effective marketing. That means you won’t be able to make enough sales to generate profits for your company. As a result, it is critical to strengthen your sales and marketing infrastructure. 

In terms of marketing, you’ll need to consider infrastructure to support various channels such as email, social media, and search engines, as well as paid advertising. To make your e-commerce store more appealing to customers, you may require a complete website teardown. 

In terms of marketing, you’ll need to consider infrastructure to support various channels such as email, social media, and search engines, as well as paid advertising. To make your e-commerce store more appealing to customers, you may require a complete website teardown. 

Is your value proposition, for example, prominently displayed above the fold? Are annoying popups interfering with your shopping experience? Do you display social proof on relevant product/landing pages? 

You should also think about whether your pricing strategy is optimized to entice customers to buy your products. Also, look for product bundling opportunities to boost your average order value. 

On the selling front, you’ll need to make it as simple as possible for customers to purchase your products, which is why investing in omnichannel retail infrastructure is critical. Can your customers have a consistent and seamless experience no matter where they interact with your company? 

  • Customer Service 

To provide excellent customer service, your e-commerce store must be equipped with the right tools. Email may be sufficient to provide basic customer service both on sale and after-sale, but you should use phone support to make your email more robust. In addition, live chat and social media support are important considerations for allowing customers to reach you wherever they are. 

As your company grows, you’ll need a strong customer relationship management system that can handle hundreds of thousands of interactions. While many of these activities can be handled in-house, you may want to consider outsourcing to relevant third parties. 

  • Fulfillment 

Fulfillment covers everything from warehousing and inventory management to shipping and delivery, making it one of the areas that require a robust infrastructure. Therefore, if you choose to manage everything yourself, you will incur significant costs for warehouse space, fulfillment staff, and logistics fleets. 

Fortunately, this is another area where you can effectively outsource to an e-commerce fulfillment partner. 

  • Finance 

As your e-commerce business grows, you’ll also require infrastructure to support the increased financial transactions. Aside from your alternative channel sales and payments, ensure you can keep track of any applicable vendor fees, subscription fees, and taxes. You should also keep detailed records of any e-commerce financing options you have used, such as loans or inventory financing. 

A closely integrated accounting and bookkeeping system with your e-commerce platform can significantly streamline your efforts while reducing the need for an in-house bookkeeper. 

You could also think about outsourcing this side of your business and allowing a third party to handle your payroll, payments, and accounting needs. 

eCommerce infrastructure Based on Computers 

Growing your e-commerce infrastructure necessitates the purchase of high-quality hardware and software to support your operations. Among these are: 

  • Servers 

If you host your own e-commerce website, you’ll need to invest in powerful physical servers capable of processing and storing large amounts of data. That means you must also consider the physical space on your premises dedicated to those servers. Application servers and proxy servers, in addition to your primary web server, should be considered. 

Alternatively, if you’re outsourcing to e-commerce hosting providers who have their own servers, you don’t necessarily need server hardware. There are numerous options, including A2 Hosting, HostGator, and SiteGround. The cost varies depending on the provider and your specific business needs, but it can start as low as $75 per year. 

  • Firewalls 

Because you must protect your customers’ personal and financial information, security should be a top priority for e-commerce businesses. As a result, you must invest in strong firewalls to protect your networks from outside attackers. This adds a layer of security by allowing only certain types of traffic to access your site. 

In addition to other security services, many e-commerce website security providers, such as Sucuri and Cloudflare, provide PCI compliant firewall solutions. These services are inexpensive, especially when compared to the high cost of network security breaches. Depending on your requirements and the service you select, you can expect to pay between $200 and $2,400 per year. 

  • Devices for Encryption 

Data encryption is also essential for ensuring that information can be securely transmitted over the internet as an added layer of security. This makes recovering the original data – whether it’s login information or credit card information – more difficult for third parties and malicious attackers. As a result, your website requires SSL encryption and ongoing support. 

In addition to firewall solutions, some e-commerce website security providers provide SSL support. That means you won’t have to pay for data encryption separately. Plans with SSL support typically start around $300 per year. 

  • Data Analytics 

You must constantly monitor your performance data in order to identify opportunities for improvement. To name a few, important e-commerce KPIs to monitor are conversion rate, customer acquisition cost, churn rate, return on ad spend, cart abandonment rate, and inventory levels. You’ll need infrastructure that can accurately monitor and analyze all of these data points. 

Many e-commerce platforms include built-in analytics that tracks some of these important details, such as visitor behavior, cart abandonment rate, and so on. So, unless you require something more robust, you shouldn’t need to invest in a separate data analytics tool. 

  • Software for Order Management 

Order management is a critical factor in ensuring the smooth operation of your e-commerce business, making order management software an essential investment. 

Ecommerce Infrastructure Issues 

Ecommerce businesses face numerous infrastructure challenges, which are especially noticeable during peak selling seasons and in international e-commerce sales. The majority of these issues revolve around technology and fulfillment. 

Webscale discovered that many e-commerce retailers struggled with site availability and slow page loads in a survey of 350 e-commerce professionals. Security incidents and hosting issues were also prevalent. The majority of these major challenges can be mitigated by selecting the right hosting and security provider. 

In terms of fulfillment, e-commerce businesses may face difficulties as a result of poor inventory management and warehousing. Smaller businesses operating in cramped quarters, for example, may run out of storage space. This will obviously have an impact on fulfillment because workers will struggle to find the items they need to pick and will be unable to move freely within the warehouse.

Furthermore, they may lack the infrastructure to accurately forecast demand, causing them to order too much or too little inventory. Overstocking can result in financial losses as well as negative customer experiences due to stockouts. 

Poor collaboration with third-party shipping carriers exacerbates the problem, as retailers are frequently kept in the dark about delivery delays or capacity constraints.