eCommerce For Newbies

22 August of 2014

Before you decide you want to open an ecommerce website you will have to read the article below first. As a start you need to understand that ecommerce has taken off over the last 5 years. A couple of years ago you can upload a shopping cart and you were ready to sell (and most cases you did) but these days you have something we called online competition.

Get to know what eCommerce is

The first step on the path to success with any ecommerce project is an understanding of how an ecommerce site functions. Commerce at its most simple is the exchanging of goods and services for money. Commerce is taking place when you visit the grocery store, it is also taking place if you go to an office every work day and carry out tasks in return for a salary. Common to all of these situations are certain roles:

Buyers – the people who want the good or service. This can be the grocery store visitor, or the employer who is buying labour from the employee

Sellers – the person offering the good or service. This can be the owner of the grocery store or the person selling their labour to their employer

Producers – These are people who produce goods and services to sell. They are generally sellers as well, and they can either sell directly to the public or via a wholesaler.

The first thing you will need to get started in ecommerce is a good or service that you wish to sell, and an idea of who your potential buyers are.

Naming your eCommerce Business

It is important not to simply go with the first idea that comes to you. The name of your ecommerce business will be with you for the long haul so it is vital to ensure that you make the correct choice. It is more than simply your business name, it is your brand and it communicates to your buyers who you are as a business. It needs to be logical and effortlessly memorable, so that buyers can easily recall it when they wish to make a purchase.

  1. When designing your ecommerce website ensure that you make a site map and keep it updated, so that you are always aware of what is on your site and where it is located. Remember to keep your site simple to use for your customers and avoid the temptation to use a large amount of elaborate graphics.
  2. Make sure you include overview of your business including an ‘about us’ section, full detailed product descriptions, an easy to access FAQ section, and a privacy statement to reassure customers that any personal information that they share with you will be kept safe.
  3. Take account of your limitations when planning your ecommerce site. Consider the available budget and time that you have. Also be aware of tasks that you can do and those that you will need outside help for.
  4. You will need to decide if you want to use a hosted ecommerce solution, an off the shelf package or a custom built solution to create your ecommerce site. These all will impact the cost and ease of use of your site so this is a decision to take some time to get right. A professional looking easy to use site will attract more customers and might well offset the initial set up cost by increasing your sales.

As an initial exercise it can be useful to look at ecommerce sites that you use regularly. Identify what it is about them that makes them easy to use. Look at some ecommerce sites you find off putting and note what the negative features are. These notes can then serve as a starter point for your own site.

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