To understand eCommerce and how it can benefit your business or brand, we first need to define what eCommerce is . Later we will see its different modalities and everything you need to know to run your brand or business
What is electronic commerce?
Electronic commerce, or e-commerce in English, is the buying and selling of goods or services over the Internet and the transfer of money and data to complete the sales. It is also known as internet commerce.
Do I really need an eCommerce site?
The answer is a resounding “yes” . E-commerce is a fantastic way to grow your business, reach new customers, and increase your profits.
However, we occasionally come across clients for whom an eCommerce website just wouldn't make sense. Sometimes it's better to have a simple website that generates a lot of inquiries than to have a clunky eCommerce website that makes life difficult for potential customers.
Why do I need an e-commerce site?
An e- commerce website is ideal if your business does the following activities.
You sell a wide range of products
Websites are capable of displaying many more products than a physical store. And if you have a lot of different products on sale, an eCommerce site is probably the most efficient way to sell.
You want to market to a wider audience
If you're only selling from one physical location right now, you're only reaching a small percentage of the market. That is, those that are within walking distance of your store.
Even if you have multiple stores, that's nothing compared to the reach of an eCommerce website. Imagine what could happen if you made your products available to the entire country, or even the entire world!
You already have a non-ecommerce website that gets a lot of traffic
If you have a website that doesn't allow people to buy your products, you are likely missing out on a lot of sales.
Many Internet users now expect the option to shop online, and if your website doesn't offer this, they will lose their customers to a website that does.
The solution, of course, is to upgrade your site with eCommerce functionality. This will improve the user experience. And since your website already has some history with search engines, it will likely rank much higher than a new website.
In fact you can have an e-commerce site ready in two weeks .
“ Electronic commerce is a sales channel that today you are obliged to have if you sell products or services ”
What should you consider to start with electronic commerce?
For your eCommerce website to be successful, it needs to be well integrated.
This means that it must be properly developed, designed and managed to work effectively over time.
Integration is often a complicated process and there are many unforeseen issues that can arise if all the correct information is not considered. There are five integration concerns that eCommerce businesses often face and how to properly prepare and plan a website project to avoid problems.
Choose the right platform
Different types of businesses require different platforms. A product-heavy, conversion-focused eCommerce SME has very different needs than a blogger.
This should be taken into account immediately, as choosing the wrong platform could cause big problems in the future. The website might crash, the server might not be robust enough, pages might take too long to load, etc.
These issues could lead to lost conversions and customers, or the need for a complete redesign, or other costly consequences.
To avoid these issues, eCommerce retailers need to research platforms and consider all factors. These include your budget, the nature of your business, the purpose and goals of your website, and the potential for growth. You must choose the platform that best suits your needs and support your website over time.
Build your eCommerce site on a solid foundation
It's important for eCommerce businesses to have a good website foundation to build on, and to create that foundation with your business purpose, goals, and demographics in mind.
The concern is that, in many cases, companies don't even know what they need to make their site attractive and functional. Or they lose sight of this big picture over time. A B2B website , for example, may need a highly developed and functional back-end. On the other hand, a B2C eCommerce business needs a well-thought-out front-end with features like effective navigation, marketing, and a design that drives interest and conversions.
Whatever the case, the bottom line is that businesses should always understand these broader goals and keep them in mind as they develop their website and focus their efforts.
Making these critical decisions right will prevent immediate integration problems and ensure long-term success.
Reinforcement and evolution of e-commerce goals
Your eCommerce business should be open-minded and allow your website, and your vision, to change as you get feedback from customers and your business grows.
This might seem like a fact, but it is not. Such a dynamic approach requires your e-commerce company to maintain a dialogue with the developers and constantly evaluate the performance of your website. And consequently make the necessary modifications or redesigns along the way.
Why is this so important?
Evolution, change and growth are always necessary for success, especially in the technological world and a static vision could be detrimental to the success of a website. Therefore, you should take an evolutionary approach when creating all aspects of your eCommerce website to keep it fresh, interesting, and relevant.
Experience in web design for e-commerce
Design is an integral part of your website's overall appeal and success.
For your website to be successful, its design must reflect and support the goals, tone, and purpose of your business. While this seems like a no-brainer, it's very easy for an eCommerce business to get lost in things like aesthetics and trends. This can lead to a website design that is simply not functional.
It's extremely important for your business to keep the big picture in mind, ignoring these self-defeating distractions and making functional and long-lasting design decisions.
What are the steps to create your e-commerce channel?
Like any business or strategy to be implemented in a business, it is necessary to do it methodically. In the case of an e-commerce site, I recommend you follow these steps.
Create a plan for your e-commerce
Regardless of your timeline for launch, you still need to have an organized and detailed plan. Measure twice and cut once, as the expert says. You should take the time to plan now so you don't waste your efforts later.
This plan should include the resources you will need, including technology resources and human capital, and your overall investment.
You need to know who will manage both the construction of your site and the day-to-day systems. You also need to know what those systems will be, as we discussed earlier.
Rest assured, with a detailed plan, you can turn your physical store into an e-commerce environment in a quick process.
Choose your right eCommerce platform
If you're new to eCommerce, you may not have given much thought to which platform you'll use to provide shopping cart functionality for your store.
If you're trying to get up and running quickly, you'll likely need a SaaS (software as a service) platform like BigCommerce. These may provide many of the necessary features you'll need, but you'll be locked into their options for life. Any additional functionality particular to your business will be almost impossible or very expensive to implement.
Some of the most common features to consider are:
- Communication with your POS (point of sale terminal)
- Platform Developer Support
- Mobile adaptability
- Scaling to grow with your business
- Friendly design and ease of navigation
Create a monthly e-commerce expense budget
As we mentioned earlier, one of the advantages of starting an online store is that the costs are significantly lower than starting a physical store.
However, that does not mean that opening an online store is free. And if you're not careful, the associated costs can add up.
Make sure you understand the fees and monthly expenses associated with your online business.
Create a budget specifically for your eCommerce. Here are some monthly costs to consider:
- Platform maintenance costs, security certificate and reliable hosting
- Design and development costs and monthly updates
- Commissions from the payment provider such as PayPal, Stripe or Mercado Pago (these are the most common in Mexico)
- Integrations and third-party applications such as shipping, email marketing, CRM, etc.
Choose an eCommerce domain name
Your domain name is the part of your store's URL that identifies you. For example, in the web address:
qined.net is the domain name.
Think of it as the online business equivalent of your physical store. You should give customers an idea of what you sell and tell them something about your brand.
If available, you can make your domain name the same as your physical store or business. However, you may also want to choose a different name. Keep your domain original, but also make it clear what you're selling.
Add a keyword to improve your search engine ranking. This will help more people find you. Avoid using any trademarks or registered trademarks if it is not your own.
Choose .com if you are in the US or the country code where your business is located, or both.
Define and customize the visual aspect of your e-commerce
When we talk about choosing an eCommerce platform, we mention the value of having pre-built templates available.
Now that you have chosen your platform, you can choose or design the theme of your site.
Your developer will surely include an editor to facilitate the content and product management of your e-commerce site.
Drag and drop editors like Elementor can make it even easier to get the look you want without coding.
This functionality makes it easy and intuitive to build and update a beautiful custom website. Especially if you as the owner want to update some content or descriptions of products or prices.
When designing your home page and product pages, there are a few questions to consider.
- How do you want your store to look?
- How do you think your customers will buy?
- What features do you need?
Determine your product selection
Due to time constraints, you may not want to start your physical store's full inventory right away.
If you have too many products, choose the products that are the best sellers or have the potential to work best in an e-commerce environment.
Over time you can add the products you want.
"The most important thing about e- commerce is to deliver on your sales promise ."
Select shipping and delivery partners
If you already have a physical store, chances are you already have suppliers that you order from and have an ongoing relationship with.
However, with an online store, you now have the added aspects of shipping and fulfillment to get your products into the hands of customers.
There are two ways to go through the fulfillment process depending on what works best for you. You do the packing and shipping from your warehouse or your supplier or manufacturer does it for you from their warehouse.
This decision depends on your business model and needs.
Set up payment providers
In addition to actually fulfilling your customers' orders, you need to set up payment gateways so they can pay you.
Especially at a time when flexibility and convenience are top of mind, make sure you offer multiple payment methods (for example, credit card, debit cards, and bank deposit).
Most eCommerce website builders will make it easy to sync with various payment platforms like PayPal , Stripe , Apple Pay, and Mercado Pago. Each of which can handle credit card payments.
Choose payment methods that you think your customers are likely to use and connect them to your store.
If you have specific business concerns, such as selling high-risk products or wanting to sell in other countries, you'll want to make sure your payment providers support those requirements.
Add products to your eCommerce store
Now that you have a well-designed site, a fulfillment plan outlined, and you've chosen the products you plan to sell, you're ready to add products to your store.
When adding products, you should make sure that your product descriptions are clear and optimized for SEO (search engine optimization). This will make it easier for people to find them when searching online.
Here's some key information to include in your product descriptions:
- Article name
- Weight and measurements
- Variants such as color and sizes available
- A clear description of the item.
- High-resolution photos and videos of your products, so customers know what they're getting
By providing detailed product descriptions, you'll help limit the number of returns you need to process and improve the customer experience.
Test, test and return your eCommerce store
You're almost ready to launch your eCommerce store, but there's one more crucial step to take.
You'll need to preview and test all the essential features to make sure everything works as it should.
This should include confirmation of all of the following across various web browsers and mobile platforms:
- Does your site work correctly?
- Do the photos and descriptions look good?
- Are the products added to the cart correctly?
- Are shipping costs calculated correctly?
- Were discounts and promotions applied correctly?
- Is the payment processed correctly?
- Do you receive the confirmation emails with a copy of your order and all the correct data?
- Do all the steps above also work on mobile devices?
Essential integrations for your eCommerce website
Think of your eCommerce platform as the home base of your eCommerce website.
However, it's probably not the only part of your tech arsenal. Making sure all parts of your system integrate with your eCommerce platform will save you headaches in the long run.
Some of the most common integrations can be:
- Point of sale
- payment platforms
- shipping platform
- Analytics Platform
- Email and marketing automation platform
- Store support platform
- Social media
What does a successful e-commerce look like?
Different eCommerce businesses face different challenges.
However, long-term successful e-commerce businesses tend to have a few characteristics in common. Let's see what they are.
Differentiate your e-commerce business
Why should a client visit you? Do you sell exclusive products? Do you offer the lowest price? Does your customer service set you apart?
The answers to these business questions without "examination of conscience" and will lead you to develop your USP or "Unique Selling Proposition". Every company needs to differentiate itself. As an eCommerce company, you can't expect to sell everything to everyone.
At this point, you may be hesitating and point to Amazon.com. He sells everything from used books to fresh shrimp. If you think it can make you the next Amazon, go for it. But before you do, keep in mind that when Amazon started, it was selling books and nothing else.
Most likely, your business depends on your ability to represent something specific in the minds of consumers.
One way to set your business apart is to solve at least one problem customers are facing, especially one problem that no one else is solving. Start by being specific and grow as the market demands it.
Don't make customers walk around
Common sense dictates that a business should make shopping convenient.
Surprisingly, some e-commerce websites complicate the purchase. Instead of simplifying the process, they have first-time visitors fill out a registration form, verify registration via an email link. They must then log in to the site with registration credentials and then click through a series of sell attempts before reaching the purchase page.
Even successful eCommerce businesses can find that half of their customers (or more!) abandon their shopping carts before paying.
When an eCommerce business isn't customer friendly, that conversion rate plummets even further. The message is clear: many or all customers refuse to make unnecessary turns.
Secure your supply chain
Order fulfillment takes place behind the scenes, but when a part of the supply chain breaks, customers will feel it. Incorrect, damaged, delayed, or missing merchandise can ensure that the customer never returns to your eCommerce site.
Supply chain management predates e-commerce, and there are many trusted service providers that can oversee sourcing, compliance, and other aspects of supply. All e-commerce companies outsource a part of their supply chain, but you can't outsource your responsibility to the customer.
Any outsourcing partnership should be a strategic choice: when something goes wrong, the customer will blame your company, not the supply chain. Choose well with whom you associate and always have control or supervision of EVERYTHING.
In an attempt to increase sales, e-commerce companies are tempted to cut gross margins into the single digits. This is not sustainable. All e-commerce companies feel pressure to lower prices. The history of e-commerce is littered with price wars, some of which led to the demise of big players.
Some companies opt for high prices, while others offer deep discounts. But when it comes to cost management, there can be divergent opinions.
Only eCommerce businesses with effective cost control processes will survive. Know your product, know your customer and set prices based on a detailed business plan. Don't let your desire for sales volume drive your decisions. In a price war no one wins, including the customer.
Charge fair and add value to your prices with excellent customer service and get creative with details and ways to delight your customers.
It's time to take the step towards e-commerce
I hope that with these lines you have a clearer idea about electronic commerce. We have several success stories are electrical trading sites developed by Do It Marketing. We look forward to helping you take this step.
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