What is E-Commerce?
E-commerce is the purchase and sale of goods and or services via the internet. This may be done as a direct transaction, at a fixed price, or via an auction. The advantages of e-commerce over traditional shops are numerous. They are, for example, available 24 hours a day and not restricted by time zones, or extortionate city centre parking fees!
How do I Create an Online Business?
To start an online business you require an e-commerce enabled website. This can be obtained either by creating a new website from scratch or by adding e-commerce shopping cart capabilities to an existing site. You will also need a way of accepting payments online. This may be done by obtaining a merchant account and accepting credit cards through an online payment gateway or alternative payment methods, such as PayPal.
As with all websites, having the ability to accept payment does not mean that sales will roll in. Specialist services provided by a professional web development agency can assist with this. They can create an internet marketing campaign, offer search engine optimization or show how to streamline and improve the purchasing experience.
Do I Need an E-Commerce Website?
E-commerce websites may not suit all products and services but a majority of items can be sold in this way. It is also an invaluable way of capturing consumer information. Most e-commerce processes require the input of considerable personal data and all of this is invaluable when analysing the purchasing behaviour of customers. This information can then be used to identify niche markets or areas suitable for product development and thus provide a development strategy for your business.
Will an E-Commerce Website Improve my Business?
Apart from the obvious purchases which take place through an e-commerce website, the increased interaction on the website as a result of this process can increase the ranking of the website. Encouraging customer feedback and product reviews are another way to increase the interactivity of the site. As the search engines are essentially rating websites on user experience, the greater the experience and the higher the positive feedback a site can receive the higher up the rankings it is likely to go. This, in turn, is likely to increase traffic to the site and an increase in traffic promotes sales and revenues.
Can I Design an E-Commerce Site Myself?
Whilst it is possible to create an e-commerce site on a shoestring it is recommended that expert advice is sought, since the purchasing experience can break the reputation of a company if mishandled. Apart from the potential loss of sales, rules regarding data protection are extremely stringent and so site security is an important factor to consider.
Equally, if the customer experience is neither neutral nor positive this can have a negative effect on the perception of the company. Web Assistants, are experienced in this area and can guide you through this process. If the purchasing process is quick and easy, customers are more likely to both return and recommend the site to others. One person’s bad experience can have a detrimental effect on a company’s reputation, so ensuring the commerce process works well is crucial to a successful e-commerce business.