The two most common types of e-commerce websites are:
- Business-to-Consumer (B2C): designed for selling goods and services to consumers.
- Business-to-Business (B2B): used to build strategic relationships with other businesses, and to ease the supply and procurement processes that characterize trade among those organizations.
Sites can have multiple roles, and a single site can provide several functions. Optimizely Commerce is a flexible platform allowing for seamless integration with external systems such as financial, CRM, inventory, warehouse, and customer service systems.
A typical B2C shopping flow involves a number of interactions between a site visitor, Optimizely Commerce, and any integrated external system. You can automate the shopping flow so that it requires little manual attention. But if needed, you can monitor, access, and manually handle a purchase order from the Orders system.
The following example shows a B2C shopping flow and the actions and tasks involved.
In the shopping flow example, a customer does not need to register on the site to make a purchase. The order process starts when the visitor selects a product and adds it to a shopping cart. A cart (basket) is created and saved in the system, and is viewed in Order Management > Carts. If the customer does not complete the checkout procedure, the cart remains in the system for a specified time.
If the customer returns to the website, the cart is available for continued shopping. Already, in this early step, the system performs inventory and pricing checks for warehouse availability and discounts for products in the cart. These checks are updated if the customer returns to the cart.
When the customer completes the purchase and proceeds to checkout, the first step of the checkout procedure is initiated.
The shipping and billing address information is added together with the preferred type of delivery (First class, Express, and so on). An anonymous customer can add the address information manually; a registered and logged-in customer can populate the address information automatically. You can also set up the system to split shipments and ship to different addresses.
The payment is added to the purchase order-to-be. The system calculates the total, including purchase amount and shipping fee. The customer selects a payment method, such as credit card or PayPal. The payment is registered and verified. Payment can happen instantly or after a specified time, depending on how the payment process is set up and the solution type (B2C or B2B). You can also set up split payments, if the system is configured for this.
Usually, the purchase order is created in the system when the payment is settled. In the last checkout step, a purchase order number is created, the customer confirms the purchase, and an order confirmation is sent to the customer. The shopping cart is converted to a purchase order, which is visible with status In Progress in Order Management > Purchase Orders.
After the order is created, order processing starts to check the warehouse and inventory status for the products in the order, and creates the actual shipment. Inventory status for the products may split the order into more than one shipment.
After the shipment is verified, it is released. The purchase order now appears in Order Management > Shipping/Receiving with the status Released for Shipping.
Add to picklist.
Warehouse personnel use a picklist to create the physical shipping of the order's products, and produce a packing slip that is attached to the package.
After the system creates picklists with different orders and their respective packing slips, the order is set to Completed by creating a shipment validation number that is associated with a tracking number. You can enter the tracking number manually, or automatically if such an integration exists. The tracking number connects the physical package with the shipping provider for the delivery, and tracks the package on its way to the delivery address. The purchase order appears in Order Management > Purchase Orders again, with status Completed.
Only completed orders are subject to a return or exchange. You can create returns automatically or manually by replacing a delivered product with another one in exchange, or a payment refunds, or both. When you create a return, it appears in Order Management > Shipping/Receiving > Returns. Order status may be Awaiting Exchange.
If the return involves replacement of a new product, the shipping procedure is initiated again. The return also may involve receiving a faulty product, in which case a receiving procedure is initiated involving the acknowledgment of a receiving receipt for the returned product.