What is E-commerce?
E-commerce is short for electronic commerce. OK, many of you probably figured that, but what does that really mean? E-commerce refers to online sales. It’s the transactions that happen on the internet, the buying and selling of products on the web. The products are stored in large warehouses easily moved using liquidation pallets, and all the business is done under one roof using an online portal. Yes, it’s not a new concept, but it’s never been as widespread as it is today. According to the United States Department of Commerce, e-commerce sales increased by 15.1 percent from 2015 to 2016. Businesses who avoid selling or buying merchandise online do so at their own peril.
E-commerce is important. If you want to succeed in the digital marketplace, you need to embrace the internet, not run from it.
But, how do you create your own e-commerce website? What do you need? What must you do to make it successful?
What do you NEED?
- Online catalogue of products, services, descriptions, and prices. Your e-commerce business won’t get far if you don’t tell your customers what you’re selling and how much it costs. Describe your products in easy to understand language and make the prices easy to find.
- Shopping cart. No, not a physical cart, a digital one. Shopping carts let customers save the items they intend to purchase and allow them to continue their shopping spree. You want your customers to buy multiple items, not just one. Shopping carts encourage people to keep shopping. Keep your customers active, you don’t want them to buy one item and leave.
- Easy to use, safe payment system. In 2017, most people feel comfortable purchasing products online, but some remain unsure. They worry their credit cards and information aren’t safe online. While crime certainly exists on the internet, today’s payment systems come with advanced security features. Briefly explain the security measures in place to your customers.
- Order process that allows you to keep track of the purchases, delivery notifications, and returns. You need to stay organised. Order process systems are a must. Make sure your system saves all of your transactions. You also want to make it easy for people to contact you. Customer service is critical in business. Companies who make it hard for their customers to reach out to them will struggle. Make it easy for them and for you.
If you’re worried about how to implement all of the above, you may want to work with an ecommerce web developer to ensure you’re doing it right. You still get your say on the design and can ensure it follows your vision, but their professional guidance will help remove any of the hardship.
What MUST you do?
- Stick to your budget. As with any business, money matters. Determine how much you’re willing to spend on the development of your e-commerce website and don’t go over.
- Know your potential clients. You can’t ignore who’s buying your product. Understand what your customers like and how much they’re willing to spend. Also, know what people can and can’t find at their local stores and how much those products cost. Customers aren’t likely to purchase your online merchandise if it’s less expensive at the department store.
- Focus on the margin. This is business after all. Profits matter. Your e-commerce website won’t last very long if your return on investment (ROI) is low. Be smart, study the market, and select a price that’s high enough to make money, but low enough to keep your customers coming back.
- Don’t overlook the design of your website. You can have the best products at best prices, but if you’re website looks hideous it won’t matter. Online customers think with their eyes. Take time to create a website that’s easy on the eyes.
So, there you have it! If you want to get involved in e-commerce, ensure you have these essentials covered.