While the research shows certain sectors, such as finance, retail and transport, interact the most online, it is high for all, including the public sector, for which the online collection of taxes, renewing licences and so on are forms of e-commerce.

…For many there is also a need to manage the so-called omni-channel – that is a customer’s desire to move seamlessly from one means of interaction to another.

…The priorities for constructing an e-commerce platform were made clear by the respondents to Quocirca’s survey: websites and applications for interacting with users via mobile devices and web browsers; back-end management including customer relationship management (CRM); taking payments; and interaction with third-party services, including social media.

Larger organisations may consider each element separately, but for many it will be more convenient to turn to an aggregated service provider that delivers many or all of these requirements, often as an online service.

…The management of online shopping baskets is a standard part of e-commerce offerings and an experience most consumers are now familiar and comfortable with; there is little point in re-inventing the wheel.

…Taking a payment, whether by a service such as PayPal or a payment card, is the most problematic part of e-commerce because of the oversight of the Payment Card Industry Security Standards Council and its Data Security Standard (PCI DSS).

…Recognising a customer from one channel to another and from one transaction to the next needs a back-end system capable of managing the details of customers – with the exception of payment card data – and their interactions. … While Salesforce offers a wide range of services, it does not provide an e-commerce platform – yet it has 19 partners on its AppExchange that do, linking into the Salesforce platform for back-end CRM, all managed in the cloud.

…The ability to target online marketing needs effective CRM and, these days, this has to interact with social media to get through to users on their personal, mobile and larger format devices.

…Based on figures from the Amazon-owned Alexa top websites rankings, aheadWorks (a Magento partner) calculates the market share by number of deployed sites for Magento’s free open-source Community Edition to be 33.8%, and for the paid for Enterprise edition, 8.7%.

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