Let’s talk about e-commerce. We’ll help you learn what it is, discuss the different ways it’s used for business, and help you choose the best e-commerce option to match your needs.
Sound good? Let’s get started.
So first, what is e-commerce? Well, it’s really just a fancy name for selling things online.
People have been making online purchases on websites and mobile applications for a while now. And all kinds of businesses are finding ways to make use of e-commerce to achieve their sales goals online.
These goals vary, depending on the business. You might start with a simple goal, like “I want to offer customers the ability to send payments through the web.” Or, maybe you want a lot more—a website that allows people to view and search your inventory, create customer accounts, and set up recurring orders.
The sky’s the limit.
So how do you get started with e-commerce for your business?
Your first step might be to simply offer a way for customers to transfer money to your business through the web. You can easily add payment services like PayPal to your website that make online payment easy. In many cases, your customer doesn’t even need to setup a PayPal account and can pay through credit card or direct debit.
If you’re starting to sell online from scratch, you might try an “off-the-shelf” service that includes e-commerce, like Squarespace or Wordpress. These services not only accept payments, but they usually offer templates so you can easily add product pages to your website.
If you’re going for the gold, you might decide on a customised e-commerce service like Magento or Shopify. There are many options available, with feature like product search, inventory management, checkout, customer accounts, order management and more.
E-commerce often brings to mind a sort of retail or shop-like experience. Any business that sells products in a physical shop can also sell their products on a virtual shop online.
Offline customers can walk through the door of your furniture shop and browse the couches, bookcases and beds on display. While online, customers should be able to see those same products by clicking around the pages of your online shop.
Even though customers won’t be able to sit on that couch for sale or feel the fabric, your online shop can bring your products to life. You should include lots of photos, detailed descriptions, customer reviews, and even videos of the products.
This high-quality imagery and well-written content is like your online “product display”. Done well, it can help narrow the gap between a customer’s retail and online shopping experience.
After you’ve sorted out how to sell products on your own website, you want to sell more products, in more places. So, your next step might be to look into other online marketplaces.
For example, you might also sell your furniture through sites like Amazon and eBay. If this is one of your goals, and you haven’t yet selected an e-commerce provider, make sure that they support your multi-channel selling.
To sum up, whether you plan to offer a full-blown virtual version of your physical shop, or you’re just looking to accept payments online, e-commerce can be a really powerful tool for your business.
Next we’ll be helping you take those first steps into e-commerce. We’ll be examining your different options in more detail so you can know which one works best for your business. We’ll also be showing you how to re-engage with customers after their initial connection with you.
So stick with us.
- what e-commerce is
- varying levels of e-commerce used in business
- how to match your needs to the options available.