Selling via your Website, a Guide to eCommerce
Ecommerce is, to put it succinctly, the act of selling products on the web. It’s becoming more and more relevant these days, and allowing suppliers to reach a broader range of clientele than they would if they were to simply open one shop in a small town or village. It even allows small shops and large retailers to forgo the idea of having offline “shops” at all, and done correctly, it can bring in a lot of business.
ECOMMERCE IS SO POPULAR WITH CONSUMERS FOR MANY REASONS:
- Competitive Prices – Many retailers save on overheads by using ecommerce to save opening shops. These savings can be passed onto customers!
- No need to leave their home – Not only would you have to pay for parking, or pay for transport to visit a shop, you would actually have to get up, out and dressed. With online shopping, you can shop in your pyjamas!
- Quick delivery – Many retailers offer next day delivery, and sometimes if you spend over a certain amount, then you don’t have to pay for delivery at all!
- Speed of shopping – There’s no need to browse through the store if you know what you’re looking for!
WHILST THE REASONS ABOVE DETAIL WHY SHOPPERS LOVE ECOMMERCE, ARE THERE ANY BENEFITS TO BUSINESSES?
Well, of course there are.
On an annual basis, the amount of people who are conducting business on the web increases. These days more than 10% of sales worldwide are made over the Internet. This is because more and more people want the convenience of purchasing products or services from the comfort of their own homes, avoiding the long lines at the mall, reducing stress and saving money on things like fuel and parking charges. It’s so much easier to make a purchase online, from home, with a few clicks of your mouse than spend a day traipsing local stores in search of a product with no guarantee of finding what you want. Therefore as your target market moves online, so must you, else lose out on this massive market.
Another benefit of ecommerce for retailers is the low overheads. Whereas a shop needs lighting, heating, rental for premises, staff to work the till, display material, security, and many other associated costs, before you even get started on stock, an online retailer simply needs somewhere to store their stock, and a decent ecommerce site.
SO WHAT DO YOU NEED FROM A GOOD ECOMMERCE SITE?
Let’s say you’ve made the decision to get involved in ecommerce. You’re meeting with a web designer, and they start to ask all sorts of questions you haven’t considered.
In order to receive the best possible service for your ecommerce site, there are many elements you should consider:
Security – It is important to remember that your consumers are going to provide you with very personal details and sensitive information such as bank account numbers, pin codes, home addresses and credit card details, and it is your duty to safeguard this information. You can do this by choosing an Ecommerce hosting package that holds the maximum-security options. You cannot afford the risk of your consumers suffering identity theft, which whilst producing an abundance of stress for them is also hugely detrimental to your business reputation. If you lose trust, you lose consumers.
Uptime – You are relying on generating your income through your customers’ orders, and so it is important to ensure that your website is constantly available to them. If you have a website which is slow running, or unavailable during certain times then your consumers will simply go elsewhere. You will appear unprofessional, unreliable, cause frustration and in the competitive world on business today it’s easier than ever before for consumers to simply move on to somewhere else. Timeless Interactive can provide you with an uptime guarantee. You shouldn’t consider a hosting package that provides anything less than 99.9% uptime – this is what you receive with Timeless Interactive.
Dedicated, Cloud and VPS – When you are looking into Ecommerce web hosting, you may want to select a different method to shared hosting. Although shared hosting can be more than adequate for a business which is new, or small, as businesses grow and develop their popularity undoubtedly increases and when this happens you could experience a lot of degradation to your services. All businesses have the potential for a highly successful website, a way to achieve this is to look into dedicated, cloud or VPS hosting which will permit better scalability and accessibility as you develop.
Shopping Carts – Shopping carts are how your consumers can select a product, or service, on your website and make a purchase. They can add the desired product to their online shopping carts and take it to ‘check out’ – much like how it’s done offline, but in a straightforward virtual manner. Ecommerce offers the ability to add a shopping cart to your page with a one-time click installation.
Payment Systems – You need to ensure that you’re compatible with a range of payment gateways, such as a variety of credit cards and PayPal. It is important to have your payment systems verified to ensure that it is compatible with the payment means you hope to cater for.
TEST TO ENSURE RELIABILITY
When your website is completed, your payment gateway enacted and your shopping cart set up it’s very important to test your site thoroughly before allowing it to go live. This means that if any problems are to arise, or something has not been completed correctly, it’s you who notices it and not a potential customer. This means that you have time to rectify any problems and protect both your customers, and your reputation.
To test your website, begin by clicking on a product, or products, add them to your shopping cart and take them to check out. Consider how long the transaction takes – if it’s slow, can you fix this? If it doesn’t work correctly, explore what you can do about this before launching your website to the public.
One way to ensure that you will receive, and therefore supply, a secure, reliable and productive website is to consider a web design company that have experience in setting up ecommerce sites. This will allow you to have the confidence they can provide you with what you need, and ensure your customers don’t face problems when shopping online with you!