Every E-commerce Brand Needs These 7 Cloud Solutions

Paul Korzeniowski · Feb 20, 2024 · 7 minute read

woman shopping on computer surrounded by shopping bags

Forget the days of manual ledgers and Excel spreadsheets. Clunky, on-prem software is over. The modern e-commerce company thrives on powerful cloud tools. 

From enhancing website performance to streamlining inventory management and optimizing customer experiences, e-commerce cloud tools have become indispensable for driving success in the online retail industry. The sheer variety and number of options that are available today for e-commerce brands and retailers can be overwhelming. How do you know which ones are truly essential to keep your online store looking and performing its best? Here are the 7 solutions that we recommend every e-commerce brand have in their arsenal to stay ahead of the curve and drive success.

1. E-Commerce Platforms

First, the foundation on which everything stands. E-commerce platforms are comprehensive software solutions that serve as the commerce engine of your store. Essentially, these products take care of the business’s core, from managing cataloged products, creating product listing pages (PLPs), product detail pages (PDPs), and registering purchases. The best options are those that play nicely with other useful integrations like content editing tools, analytics and reporting tools, and secure payment processing solutions.

Popular e-commerce platforms include Shopify, Magento, and BigCommerce.

What to look for in an e-commerce platform: 

Scalability: Even if your store is currently small, you want an e-commerce platform that can scale along with your orders.

Headless: It’s not right for every brand, but separating the presentation from the back-end functionality can give you a lot of flexibility.

2. Application Development Tools

The process of starting an online store starts with building your website, which needs to be intuitive and offer a completely seamless user experience (while hiding all of the underlying platforms and complexities.) E-commerce merchants can choose from a wide range of application development tools, from simple to intricate. These solutions must include cross-platform features and prioritize the ability to develop sites that load quickly on various types of devices, including mobile devices, laptops, and desktops. Popular options include Rancher, Kubernetes, Python, Jenkins, and Django.

What to look for in an application development tool: 

Data Security: Your backend should have secure access for payment transactions, and uses reliable encryption measures to keep customer data private. 

Stability: The application should be able to move customers through transactions with ease, despite a heavy load.

3. Marketing Systems

Marketing is the lifeblood of any business, especially in the competitive retail industry. A capable cloud-based e-commerce marketing tool can manage and execute campaigns across various channels: social media, e-mail, web, and mobile. Ideally, such solutions possess not only a comprehensive but also a cohesive approach to attracting and convincing potential customers to buy the company’s goods. Salesforce, Mailchimp, and Constant Contact are a few of the many solutions in this space.

What to look for in a marketing tool: 

Automation: New tools rely on automation to streamline repetitive tasks, such as post-purchase follow-ups or abandoned cart emails or text messages. 

Integrations: A good e-mail marketing service, for example, can sync to your shop and send each customer personalized recommendations based on order history.

4. Reporting and Analytics

Want to know why your shoppers are dropping off at a certain point? Or which marketing and sales campaigns are knocking it out of the park? Analytic tools measure user behavior, performance trends, and the company’s return on investment (ROI). How many people visit the website? Where are they coming from? How long does it take the average shopper to place an order? 

Analytics tools can help you understand the “why” behind the data. The right tool empowers companies to make smart sales decisions without incurring significant expenditures. Google Analytics and Optimizely fall into this category.

What to look for in an reporting and analytics tool: 

Versatile: Your analytics platform should seamlessly support the data types and integrations you need to streamline your data management.

Visual: A talented BI tool can generate interactive visualizations in seconds. It’s much easier to tell a data story with pictures than with numbers.  

5. Security

Given the sensitive financial nature of e-commerce interactions, they are constantly under attack. Therefore, suppliers need vigilant security measures in place to protect against cyber threats.

A firewall, like Fortigate or pfSense, establishes a barrier between an internal network and external networks like the Internet. Such solutions monitor and control incoming and outgoing network traffic based on predetermined security rules. They act as a filter, allowing or blocking data packets based on specified criteria and prevent unauthorized access and attacks.

A Virtual Private Network (VPN), such as Utunnel VPN or OpenVPN, enables secure and private communication over open networks, like the Internet, by creating an encrypted connection between a user’s device and a server. This solution ensures that the data transmitted between the two is shielded from outside interference.  

What to look for in a security solution: 

SSL: Secure Socket Layer (SSL) certificates encrypt customer and company data during transactions.

Biometrics: Gaining popularity in the e-commerce space, biometric authentication systems can verify the identity of customers and employees and protect sensitive data. 

6. Order Fulfillment

Order fulfillment tools are designed to optimize the process of delivering products to customers. A good fulfillment tool can automate order processing tasks, such as order confirmation, inventory updates, and shipping notifications. Increasingly, these systems rely on AI to perform those tasks, reduce manual errors, and enhance efficiency. 

To stay competitive, suppliers need to offer a variety of shipping options. Customers can then choose the delivery speed and cost that best suits their needs. Real-time order tracking information has become standard practice and is good for managing customer expectations. A robust returns process helps handle product returns efficiently, with clear policies and procedures for inspecting, restocking, and disposing of returned items. 

What to look for in an order fulfillment tool: 

Global distribution: A strategically located network of warehouses can ensure that you serve all customers efficiently.

Personal touch: Choose a company that will include your custom-branded shipping materials, add personalized notes, or include promotional information with your packages. 

7. Inventory Management

Inventory management tools are a digital solution for online retailers to keep track of what they have, what they are missing, and where in the supply chain their goods are.

Inventory management software offers real-time features and functionality such as low-stock alerts, barcode scanning, demand forecasting, inventory optimization, and even dashboard analytics. Popular options include Cin7, LinnWorks, and IBM Sterling.

What to look for in inventory management software: 

Compatibility: Data synchronization within your entire tech stack will ensure that product information is up-to-date and stock levels are maintained. 

Future-proofed: The tool should be able to adapt to changing trends and technologies like IoT and omnichannel retailing.


The rise of e-commerce has revolutionized the way we shop. Since many customers discovered its convenience during the pandemic, they haven’t returned to brick-and-mortar stores, preferring to buy online. The e-commerce industry generated $6.3 trillion in 2023 and is expected to reach $6.9 trillion in 2024.

While e-commerce offers entrepreneurs vast potential, navigating the technology landscape can be daunting, with a complex web of applications that all need to communicate. They can piece the solutions together themselves, buy turnkey systems, or work with third parties to create their technology infrastructure. It’s only with a strong technological foundation in place that they can effectively scale and expand their business operations.

Paul Korzeniowski
Paul Korzeniowski

Paul Korzeniowski is a B2B content producer, market analyst and leading voice in the high tech community. He has dissected technology and business issues for more than two decades. Paul served on the staffs of Computerworld, Network World, and Internet Week. He has written for leading suppliers like Microsoft, Intel, and VMware, and startups like Bedrock Systems and Launchables. His work has appeared in numerous business publications, including Fortune, LinkedIn, Entrepreneur, Investors Business Daily, and InformationWeek.