WHAT EXACTLY IS AN E-COMMERCE WEBSITE?
E-Commerce websites are online portals that enable online purchases of goods and services by transferring information and funds over the internet. Initially, e-commerce was conducted primarily through emails and phone calls. Everything that a transaction requires can now be completed online using a single website.
Every industry has its own e-Commerce website. Retail selling is the most common, but there are many others, such as auction websites, business-to-business services, music portals, consultancy websites, finance management websites, and so on. Such websites can be created by hiring dedicated website developers.
A good e-commerce website has the potential to change the game.
Even in the early stages of development, effective eCommerce websites must be designed to:
- Increase revenue by increasing the total number of transactions.
- Increasing the “average order value.”
- Directing customers to the most lucrative products and categories
- Encourage brand loyalty, repeat customers, and audience participation.
- Checkout and other critical conversion funnels being streamlined.
E-Commerce websites range from template-driven plug-and-play shopping carts to complex e-commerce websites that cost thousands of dollars to develop and maintain.
WHAT’S THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN E-COMMERCE WEBSITES AND TRADITIONAL WEBSITES?
In contrast to a standard company website which only highlights a company’s corporate identity, the design and development of an entire e-commerce website incorporates a database of products, product information, product search, order processing, payment systems, and much more. All of this additional functionality is required by an e-commerce company to ensure that customers can browse and purchase at any time.
Eye-catching multimedia and cutting-edge design tools are essential components of a company’s online marketing presence and e-commerce website design makes use of these elements to create an appealing and cost-effective alternative to physical retail stores.
In fact, businesses are in love with these low-cost, high-quality tools that require no retail space, no employees to manage the store and no hassles with property maintenance.
THIS IS HOW MOST E-COMMERCE WEBSITES OPERATE
A potential customer arrives at an e-commerce website via search engines, paid advertisements, referral traffic, and so on.
The e-commerce website connects to a database, which contains a wealth of information about the website’s categories, products, product dimensions and weight, articles and content, images, and so on. This data is requested by the website in order to dynamically render any requested web pages.
A potential customer browses the e-commerce website, adds a product or service to their virtual shopping cart, and then decides to check out.
The shopper completes the checkout process and the transaction is completed.
The shopper’s credit card information is encrypted and sent to a Payment Gateway (such as PayPal or Republic Bank’s EPay service) for secure and remote credit card processing.
Once the order has been completed and payment has been received, the website will typically provide an estimated shipping time, a unique transaction number, a postal tracking number, and so on. The majority of these processes are automated and are part of the core functionality of a good e-commerce website.
Orders are stored in the website admin and sent to an order fulfillment team as transactions occur. Order fulfillment can be handled in-house or outsourced to a third-party company/drop shipper.
IS YOUR ECOMMERCE WEBSITE UP TO PAR?
MOBILE-FRIENDLY ECOMMERCE WEBSITE
Mobile shopping accounts for 50% of all online transactions.
A responsive website adapts its content to the device that is accessing it in order to provide the most user-friendly experience.
After optimizing its mobile site, Walmart increased mobile sales by 98 percent. It makes no difference if you have millions or five product pages. Providing a mobile-friendly experience for your customers will boost sales and possibly your rankings.
ATTRACTIVE, EASY-TO-NAVIGATE WEB STORE DESIGN
Persuasion equals attraction. A visually appealing online store assists customers at every stage of the purchasing process, from enticing them to visit the website to inspiring them to explore the store and its products to finally charming them into purchasing.
You have 10 seconds to make an impression on an online visitor and tell them what they will get out of your website and company. If you don’t capture their attention within that time frame, they’ll most likely leave and never return.
Making your online store layout user-friendly for visitors is a great way to direct their attention to the right places. For example, organizing your products into logical categories and sub-categories, and making those categories visible, will help shoppers quickly find the products that most interest them.
Displaying multiple large, high-quality product images on the home page and individual product pages piques people’s interest and tempts them to buy. Incorporating images of the product, both alone and in use, assists customers in visualizing how they will use the product. Displaying related products can also help persuade customers to buy. If they’re looking at a product they like, chances are they’ll be open to looking at more.
It is also critical to place clear calls to action throughout your online store. Don’t leave it up to shoppers to figure out what they should do; instead, tell them exactly what they should do. Do you have a loyalty program that offers great deals to customers who sign up? Do you have a new sale that is about to end? Giving a fantastic discount? Tell the customer to “click here to join the loyalty program,” “click here to see the products for sale,” or “use this code for this discount.”
QUICK PAGE LOADING
Online shoppers want convenience, and they will leave if a page takes too long to load. Studies show that 40 percent of people will abandon a website that takes more than three seconds to load, the online shopping experience should be seamless and simple. In fact, a one-second delay in page response can result in a 7% drop in conversions.
Customers read customer reviews. Approximately 95% of them in fact. In addition, 57% of customers will only use a company if it has 4 or more stars.
You might believe that having negative reviews is a deal breaker. The exact opposite is true. Having negative reviews can frequently be beneficial. It has been demonstrated that products with no negative reviews are perceived as censored, and as a result, customers assume the positive reviews are fake.
Depending on the functionality of the website, e-commerce sites can use plugins from popular review platforms such as Yelp, Foursquare, and Facebook.
Online shopping can be a gamble. Because a shopper cannot physically pick up and feel the merchandise before purchasing as they would in a physical store. According to studies, 62% of shoppers prefer brick-and-mortar stores over online options because they want to be able to see, touch, and feel the product.
Shoppers, however, want to become acquainted with what your e-commerce platform has to offer. Include informative features such as high-resolution photos, detailed product descriptions, zoom-in and 360-degree rotation capabilities, the ability to view the product in different colors, and product videos on product pages. You can reduce the likelihood of returned items and increase the likelihood of satisfied customers by providing as much product detail and information as possible.
FILTER AND SEARCH
Some customers know exactly what they’re looking for, which is why it’s critical to provide them with a focused shopping experience that includes searching and filtering functionality. Customers can quickly find what they need by using a search bar or box. According to Marketing Charts, 35% of e-commerce site visitors always use the site search box.
ADVANTAGES OF E-COMMERCE WEBSITES
1. REDUCED COSTS
One of the most obvious advantages of e-commerce is the lower cost. A portion of these cost savings could be passed on to customers in the form of lower prices. Here are some of the ways that e-commerce can help you save money:
- Organic search engine traffic, pay-per-click traffic, and social media traffic are all examples of cost-effective advertising channels.
- Personnel: By automating checkout, billing, payments, inventory management, and other operational processes, the number of employees needed to run an e-commerce setup is reduced.
2. CUSTOMER SERVICE THAT WORKS
With the help of the internet, e-commerce provides customers with up-to-date information about the company and its products. You can easily respond to customer inquiries quickly and arrange for immediate delivery of goods. Similarly, effective communication and timely delivery of goods leads to complete customer satisfaction. In this way, business owners can develop a mutual relationship with their customers.
3. INCREASE IN REVENUE
Because the e-commerce business is open 24 hours a day, every day of the year, customers are served. This increase in sales of a business with a higher profit. In this way, e-commerce websites aid in increasing business revenue.
4. INCREASE BRAND AWARENESS
E-commerce businesses, for example, can assist B2B organizations in gaining new customers. As a result, it will be beneficial to e-commerce businesses in terms of increasing brand awareness in the market. E-commerce websites have a 24-hour online presence, and a large number of people can access your business. As a result, your brand names will increase.
5. GLOBAL REACH
The business organization provides access to new markets and global reach at a lower cost. E-commerce attracts customers and business clients from all over the world. This is because of the internet’s global reach. You must identify the most likely global market and be able to sell your product anywhere in the world. If you have a physical store, you are restricted to the geographical area that you can serve. The entire world is your playground when you have an e-commerce website.
6. REDUCE TRAVEL TIME AND COST
Customers frequently travel long distances to reach their preferred physical store. E-commerce allows them to virtually visit the same store with just a few mouse clicks.
7. STAY OPEN AT ALL TIMES.
The store is now open 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. E-commerce websites can be up and running at all times. This, in turn, increases the number of orders received by the merchant. A store that is “always open” is more convenient for customers.
8. Less Risk
An online shop allows you to enjoy increased profitability with less risk because you will most likely need a smaller workforce with fewer chances of shoplifting, rogue workers, and product damage that can occur in a physical store.
DRAWBACKS OF E-COMMERCE WEBSITES
The disadvantages of e-commerce websites are few and far between, however if you work with a reputable e-commerce website development company, they are easily mitigated. The following are some of the disadvantages of e-commerce sites:
- Customers may not always be able to see and touch the product in person before making a purchase leading to hesitation.
- Potential customers must be somewhat tech-savvy, which may limit market reach.
- Less ‘personal’ shopping experiences.
- Fraud risk, data privacy concerns, and so on.
WHY SHOULD YOU CONSIDER AN E-COMMERCE WEBSITE FOR YOUR BUSINESS IN T&T
The manner in which people shop evolves over time. Technological advancements both support and propel this transformation. Businesses are doing everything they can to stay on top of market trends. Before making a purchase, today’s shoppers search for products, look for alternatives, and compare prices on a variety of business websites or shopping apps. Technology has advanced significantly, allowing consumers to have a more enjoyable shopping experience. E-commerce has proven to be quite beneficial to businesses in the long run.
Ecommerce refers to commercial transactions that take place over the internet, including the transfer of data. This transfer occurs via various mediums, including a branded website, a marketplace such as eBay or Amazon, mobile applications, or even a social media platform such as the Facebook Marketplace, Pinterest Buyable Pins, and Instagram Shoppable Ads. Although there are numerous methods for selling products to consumers online, the advantage of selling online is the convenience of being able to sell products or services to any consumer at any time, regardless of location.
LET’S TAKE A LOOK AT THE KEY BENEFITS OF OWNING AN E-COMMERCE STORE IN T&T
1. Sell as soon as possible
In contrast to traditional retail methods, a basic ecommerce store can be set up in just a few clicks. There are numerous ecommerce platforms available, such as Shopify and WooCommerce from which you can design your own store using pre-made templates. The platform handles hosting, maintenance, PCI compliance, and so on. Other marketplaces, such as Amazon or eBay, require you to create an account before you can begin selling. With Covid-19 lockdowns and retail restrictions now is the best time to launch your store online to beat the system by not having to utilize a physical store location to operate.
2. Low Price
Setting up an ecommerce business is less expensive than opening a physical store. The majority of online marketplaces and ecommerce sites offer a free sign-up. For allowing you to sell products on their platform, they typically charge a small fee, usually calculated as a percentage of the sale. Drop shipping allows you to obtain inventory without investing a large sum of money. Social media, Google AdWords, and organic search are all inexpensive ways to market your online business. You can run the company on your own, saving money on payroll. You can expand your business as your sales increase.
3. Shoppers Begin Their Search Online
Prospective customers increasingly use digital channels to find the products and services they require these days. Compared to 71% the previous year, approximately 87% of shoppers began their product search online this year. Whether they buy the product in a physical store or online, their search began on a website like Amazon or eBay. When searching for a product online, shoppers compare prices, brands, read reviews, and so on. As a result, it is critical for a brand to have an online presence in order to reach their target customers.
4. Customer Data Insight
Another advantage of selling online is the ease with which data can be collected, measured, and acted upon. Selling online allows you to collect first-hand data by tracking how customers interact with your website. The data gives you insights into how to improve the customer experience and increase sales on your website. The ability to track customer interactions allows you to identify and perfect feedback loops of any actionable insights that will assist you in improving your customer experience. All you have to do is ensure that you collect and use this data in an ethical manner while also protecting it.
5. Make Contact With New Customers
As previously stated, there are various formats for ecommerce selling. Each channel has its own distinct audience with whom sellers interact. An online presence can also help a company reach out to international customers. Social media platforms can assist a company in reaching completely new demographics. Marketplaces like Amazon allow you to reach a larger audience while also assisting businesses in identifying niche markets. Marketplaces such as Etsy and Podia cater to specific people looking for specific products. The best part is that a company can use various online touchpoints to interact with and engage a wide range of audiences.
6. Content Marketing Strategy
Having an online presence allows your company to provide a wealth of information about the products and services it provides to its customers. A branded website allows sellers to provide key content to their customers. Key product content includes detailed product descriptions, product comparisons, in-store inventory availability, and pricing. This information helps customers make purchasing decisions, whether they shop online or in-store. An ecommerce website can be used to provide customers with a wealth of information about the company or how to use the products they sell. Blog posts and videos can be posted on a website to provide a wealth of useful information about the use of products or services.
7. Focusing on Niche Markets
Ecommerce makes it easier for businesses to cater to the needs of niche markets. A rare coin collector, for example, will have a difficult time finding a buyer. The internet, on the other hand, has made this quite simple and easy. If you cater to a specific market, you may find it easier to sell your products online.
8. Visit Customers at Their Place of Business
Shoppers use the internet not only to research products, but also to make purchases. E-commerce has made it very simple for customers to buy products from anywhere and at any time. They can buy products through Instagram Ads or mobile apps. E-commerce has also enabled sellers to eliminate friction points and has made it simple for buyers to purchase products from any source, from anywhere.
In short, setting up an e-commerce store is easier, less expensive, and less risky than setting up a physical store. As long as you have a solid business plan and products that meet your customers’ needs, the internet can provide both a passive income and a high ROI in the long run. If you need professional assistance with the development of your e-commerce store, Action Advise Limited is one of the leading e-commerce website development companies in Trinidad & Tobago and we are here to help you.