In order to have a complete understanding of retail online channel definition, it is important to first understand what exactly is being defined. Simply put, this refers to the process by which customers purchase products from a store via the internet. For this reason, there are two related but separate channel components. The first component refers to the sales process, while the second component relates to the consumer interaction with the online retail channel.
Consumer interaction can be via a variety of different online methods, the most popular being social media (like Facebook) nowadays. Many businesses even try to buy Facebook page likes to boost their interaction with their consumers. The first component of a retail channel includes all sales and interactions with the online retail channel through standard operating procedures such as web analytics and e-commerce default customer data. The second component of the definition includes all the steps that would be necessary to actually initiate a sale transaction after entering the website’s domain of operation. This includes such things as registering an account, loading the shopping cart, billing for items purchased, and completing the transaction. All of these things are part of the commerce runtime.
The second component of the definition revolves around the identity provider. As we have stated previously, the identity provider is the entity, either an individual or a company, that creates and maintains the digital trail of every transaction that is performed on the online retail channel. The digital trail of every transaction consists of the IP address of the computer from which the transaction originated as well as the log files and other information accumulated during the course of the transaction. The identity provider’s job is to ensure that all these pieces of information are appropriately logged and correctly recorded during every retail, online transaction that occurs. Part of this responsibility involves monitoring all of the default customer data that is generated at every point in time.
The next step in the process involves establishing an authentic user in the chain of command. A user is any entity that can potentially perform retail business online. These entities include storefront operators, domain owners, and even customers themselves. All of these entities are authorized to transact on behalf of others. When an oauth 2.0 token is provided to a customer, the identity provider used a unique client reference number (CSR) to authenticate the token and ensure that only authorized entities are able to make a purchase or perform any other transaction with the particular website that the oauth 2.0 token was issued to.
This CSR, also known as the issuer identifier or IID, is not visible to the customer. However, it can be used to provide various other functions to the retail website. For instance, if a business owner wants to provide access to their storefront application to other businesses, they can configure the storefront using the “axle” concept. The area concept is used in conjunction with the standard OATH format and provides various different functionality and access permissions to the customer. This is the same method that most email services use when providing email access for their customers.
The “commerce Runtime Environment” or SERP is the application programming interface that is accessed by every retail website. This allows the web developer to easily define the behavior and features of the online retail channel and develop interfaces for managing and maintaining the workflow between the application server and the Retail Customer interaction. The SERP may contain various different database engines such as Oracle, SQL Server, and the Microsoft Retail Connection. The SERP stores all of the information and functionality necessary to support the shopping cart functionality and the back-end business logic necessary to support the Retail Online Channel.
The “retail channel interface”, or RISI, is responsible for the overall behavior and functionality of the retail website. The RISI acts as the communication gateway for the retail website and the web developer. The RISI allows the developer to define the store-level information that will be delivered to the consumer through the “retail portal” that is returned from the online channel. The retail website will then use this information to create and update the webpage and to update any other relevant screens and links.
The “retail portal” is responsible for presenting a user-friendly interface to the Retail Online Channel consumers. This interactive user experience is designed to capture the customers’ attention and help them make an informed decision about the products and services offered by the retail store. The portal can be developed using a number of different application vendors and technologies. Some of these technologies include Java, Perl, PHP, and more.