The concept of End-to-End (E2E) is widely used nowadays both in the business and the IT world, and so it signifies more than one thing depending on which context you’re standing in. In this case, we’re interested in its meaning concerning the world of business, in particular, the world of Ecommerce business.
What does End-to-End (E2E) mean in the context of business?
From the point of view of pure business, in its abstract, wider sense, E2E will mean the producer/vendor of a certain product or service offers a fully functional solution which, in general, will not depend on third parties for its production and delivery. That means the vendor will provide everything from beginning to end –hence the term E2E. From materials and infrastructure, to human resources and intellectual capital, making business more efficient and cost effective by eliminating the “middleman” or middle layers that are usually implicit in conventional, third party dependent business models.
Applying the E2E concept to Ecommerce
So, if an Ecommerce business is what we’re talking about, then this will mean the vendor of a certain solution will provide everything, from the website/online store design and development, through order management and payment processing, to delivery logistics, customer support and marketing tools. With this said, it seems relevant to state that today, practically all Ecommerce platforms are E2E oriented.
Today there are several Ecommerce platform vendors which offer E2E solutions for businesses. Many business owners find great value in this all-in-one solution model, given the fact that they can coordinate and execute all things related to their online business from the same platform, which is rather an ecosystem of tools.
Technical support for any component of the platform is provided by the same platform vendor and so business owners don’t need to resort to different support providers whenever they experience a problem in this or that area. There are often forums from the community of users in which they share their experiences and offer help to certain technical issues concerning the use of a platform.
This all does for a positive user experience from the perspective of business owners, since meeting the solutions of business owners is, in a certain way, meeting the solutions of a business’s customers.
E2E model applied in an ideal Ecommerce flow
When a user is browsing our online business website, we usually want to suppose the process cycle is doing its work, and the visitor is in fact browsing our store thanks to our well devised marketing strategy. That would be a happy start.
Now, if we get to capture the visitor’s attention enough for him to eventually make a purchase, then the other components of our business come into play. By this time, a well set up inventory/stock manager must have been engaged and confirm the visitor whether or not the product is available for purchase. If the product happened to be out of stock, an email alert would be an intelligent strategy to make that visitor come back to our store.
While in the checkout process –supposing our visitor found and eventually bought the product he was looking for, we can show him other products related to his purchase, or offer him to apply for discount coupons, participate in giveaways, use gift cards, etc; things which may build loyalty to our brand, which is also marketing in itself. The cart manager will sum up all quantities –including tax and shipping costs– and get the order ready to be placed.
Before the order is effectively placed, the payment process must take place, guaranteeing all the security which may make the customer feel their money is safely transferred, providing all the existing mediums necessary to effectivize the transaction.
The order manager will then take care of the delivery logistics, based on the data provided by the customer, and will estimate delivery times and coordinate delivery routes, also –ideally, providing a way to track the package, and informing the customer on any concerning issues.
Referrals, customer surveys or offering other related products through email, as part of a marketing strategy can be an intelligent move after we made sure the customer received his purchase and is happy with it.
Marketing on social media is another important component of modern Ecommerce platforms, which let us automate certain processes, –like showing specific ads, redirecting visitors to our website, etc., through the use of customer data or targeting specific public by using analytics.
We’ve seen the technical differences between the generic business concept of E2E and the specific meaning when applied to Ecommerce.
An Ecommerce platform today is almost a synonym for E2E business.
It’s an ecosystem of tools, perfectly tuned to optimize our resources and maximize our profits, helping our brand to gain value and presence in the market.