eCommerce – Definition & Tips on Building an Online Store
If you are looking for a definition of eCommerce, an explanation of how it works and what it can do for you, look no further. This article aims to give you an idea of what the subject entails and how it can be used to your company’s advantage.
E Commerce (Electronic Commerce) is the process of selling any goods or services over the internet. The advantages to using the internet as a platform to sell your products are numerous but the pitfalls are just as many. To avoid the traps and make the most of this selling medium, there are a few things to consider.
The E Commerce Website
The E Commerce website is the location where your products can be found. A good way to start taking advantage of the internet as a selling tool is to use an established website to advertise your products such as eBay or Amazon. While this method guarantees your products some exposure, due to the consistent traffic on these sites, whichever company you choose will levy a charge for listing with them and a commission once sold. This method is also limited in terms of forging your company’s online brand. Establishing your own e-commerce website gives you complete control over how your products are listed and how the site looks. You can also use your own website to publicise contact details and allow visitors to make enquiries.
Getting Visitors to Your E Commerce Website
The lure of established auction or sales websites is their consistent traffic. When creating an e commerce website for your own company you will need to ensure people get to see it. This is an ongoing process which is known as SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) which ensures that search engines take away the correct information from your site and rank it as highly as possible. In addition, SEO includes promotion of the site and should be an ongoing process.
E Commerce Software Solutions
This is the system which runs on your website and creates the content for visitors to see. There are numerous e commerce software solutions out there. They can be categorised as follows:
Open Source E Commerce Solution – These solutions are free to download and try but keep in mind that they were developed by a community and as such they cannot provide support for your implementation.
Commercial E Commerce Solution – These solutions are similar to open source packages except they are produced by a company and require a license to be purchased. The advantage to this solution is the company that produced the software can be relied upon to provide support.
Bespoke E Commerce Solution – These solutions are produced specifically for one website by a web design company. This should give you a unique looking online shop and you will be able to agree with the design company the exact features you are after. While this may require the highest initial outlay, it will go a long way towards making a complete online presence for your business.
E Commerce Hosting
This is the service used to host your online shop. There are many different e commerce hosting service providers who supply suitable packages but essentially you will need, web space, server side scripting (ASP or PHP for example), a database (to store your product information) and an SSL certificate. An SSL certificate allows your visitors to encrypt data they send to your site. This is essential to operate a shop securely wherever you require visitors to enter sensitive information such as their credit card details.
Hosting features extend way beyond those mentioned above but they are the essential requirements for setting up an E Commerce online shop.