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Elements for your e-Commerce website

The Internet is changing the world in more ways than any fiction novelist could have ever imagined. Take for example, commerce. Virtually anyone now can buy or sell a good or service from anywhere on the globe as long as they have a computer and access to the web. This activity is referred to as e-Commerce. 

In this day and age of globalisation, if you're thinking of starting a new business then it’s in your best interest to consider having your own e-Commerce website. It’s among the best ways of managing your own business and staying ahead in the game.

What is e-Commerce?

Basically, e-Commerce is trade done online. It was introduced to the public in the ‘60s as electronic data interchange (EDI) on value-added networks (VAN’s). Now, it involves business-to-consumer (B2C) and business-to-business (B2B) marketing, buying, and selling of products or services (e.g., retail shopping or rental), as well as transmission of data and funds (i.e. banking). 

The means of conducting e-Commerce are mostly web based. They include email, online catalogs, applications, and platforms. As the success of Amazon.com has shown, the most effective way of conducting e-Commerce yourself at present is through your own e-Commerce website.

Do you need an e-Commerce site?

The word is still out between bricks and mortar and online businesses, but what if you have a brick-and-mortar store now? Would you still need your own e-Commerce website? The increasing trend with online retailers is that they are building e-Commerce stores, but don't have all there products on offer at this stage, and the costs to returns are questionable. But you have to be in to win. 

e-Commerce presents numerous opportunities and benefits for the entrepreneur or startup that they can take advantage of in addition to a store.

For starters, overhead will decrease significantly. Unlike a store, a single employee can manage a sizeable e-Commerce website. Your customers will do almost all the work themselves: they will browse your items and offerings, choose the products or services they need, like, or want; order them, and pay. 

Since your customers over time can access your website any time they want from the comfort of their homes using their computers, doing business with you will become easier than ever before. The easier it is, the more customers you’ll gain. Effects of an easier buying process includes:
Increase in your customer base
24/7 availability
Increase in profits and revenue

Things to Consider for Ensuring Your e-Commerce Website’s Success

There are several things related to your e-Commerce website that you should think about carefully before launching it. Here are the most common elements to consider:

Mobile

Think mobile first and ensure you start with a responsive layout, test your initial layout on all mobile devices. Here's a great tool to check how your new or existing site is functioning on mobile - Quirk Tools - go to their website here http://quirktools.com/screenfly/

As the economy continues to shift more and more middle class citizens around the world are gaining access to the internet most if not all of these people are just now getting their first mobile phone and thats the way of the future, so think mobile first when it comes to your e-Commerce site.

Design

If there’s anything Google’s home page has taught us all, it’s that a simple design works. A cluttered website is hard on the eyes. The more untidy a website is, the less likely its visitors would like it, stay long, and visit again. 

It’s best to start with your website’s design. It consists of the images and text you’d use, as well as the number of images, the sizes of the images and text, their colors, and their arrangement. To ensure your website is aesthetically pleasing, remember:

Not only is a website with alot of images hard on the eyes, but it also takes to long to load.
A website that’s too colorful isn’t attractive; choose and make use of a theme instead.
Black text on a white background is easy to read.
Your customers could lose their patience easily with your website if they can’t find what they need with just a few clicks, so make sure they do (e.g. include a sitemap along with easy-to-find order and pay buttons).

Content

Make sure your website’s content is easy to read. Make your content legible by using the right fonts and make it as long as it needs to be. 
•  Avoid using highfalutin words, the text should convey the correct information in the clearest way possible. 
The text should also remain up-to-date. If you don’t, for example, take down an ad for your promo when it’s over, your customers would complain and lose trust in your business or company.
Another way to ensure your trustworthiness in the eyes of your customers is posting information on your business or company. Such information could be in the form of an About Us page, where you could post its history, the identities of your entire staff (including yourself), and your mission and vision. These pieces of information will make your customers feel like they are doing business with actual people and not just some automated software. The other things you could post that could have the same effect are: your company’s or business’ contact information, “trust seals” (e.g., anti-virus seals), awards, reviews, and spaces for your customers’ comments.

Inventory management: Online inventory + brick and mortar inventory

Just because you’ve figured out all the above doesn’t mean you may forget about your store. Your website and your store should work in harmony, not independently. Take for example inventory management. You might have difficulty managing your online inventory and your actual inventory after starting your website. For instance: your website will show you have five boxes of your product in stock even after three were purchased as long as it isn’t updated. An efficient way of managing both your inventories is using a 3rd party inventory system. There are several reputable 3rd party inventory systems available online.

Social Media

If you have no idea how to advertise your company or business, a relatively easy way is through social media. There are millions of users and they could become interested in your company or business if information on it were shared with them. But you don’t have to do it yourself. Your customers could do it themselves if you include social media plug-ins in your website. 

Ensure your customers will find the plug-ins easily. They won’t be encouraged to share if they can’t find the plug-ins right away.

The Internet is such a powerful tool for doing business that you’d be doing yourself a great disservice if you don’t harness its power. There’s no reason for you to doubt your capability: Having explained to you the things you should consider for ensuring your e-Commerce website’s success, you’re now well on your way to gaining better profits than you’ve ever experienced before.

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About the Author

 

Ira Zagala

About Ira Zagala

Ira is a freelance writer-editor. He was the copy editor of a classified ads paper published in the Philippines; one of the technical editors of an independent publishing services firm; and the 'Web content' writer of one of the country's leading publishers of educational textbooks. He has a BA in Journalism from the Lyceum of the Philippines University-Manila.

 


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