E-Commerce has been one of the fastest growing businesses in last few years. Statistics say that e-commerce revenue in 2013 per one shopper in the United States was $1,804, and the annual growth for e-commerce business is more than 15%. All this makes it one of the most innovative and competitive business environments worldwide.
Before starting their first e-commerce store, entrepreneurs need to determine whether this way of sales suits their current business model. Most products can be sold online, but there are certain goods that require special storage and delivery conditions, which are not suitable for online shopping business. Companies that work with these products mostly use their websites as promotional tools and offer post sale support through them.
Many small business entrepreneurs have problems with financing their websites and platforms and that is why we decided share some tips that will help future e-commerce entrepreneurs to start their first online store. In this article we will share some of the basics that will make your e-commerce website more appealing to its future buyers.
Choose the Right Platform
There are several different places where you can build an online shop. eBay and Amazon are the most popular marketplaces that enable users to create their own online stores inside the marketplace structure . This is great way to reach possible buyers and check your product’s online sales potential, before opting for some more independent and costly option, like downloading a platform or making online store from scratch.
Online shopping platforms are another option. They provide online shopping frameworks that are much more customizable than marketplace pages. These usually contain product catalogue, basket, and credit card payment functions and enable entrepreneurs to focus on marketing, while platform administrators deal with all the technicalities. Some of the most famous platforms for online shopping are Volusion and Shopify.
Building an e-commerce website from scratch is the most time-consuming and the most expensive option. It is recommended only for businesses which sell products or services that require lost of customization. We don’t recommend you to build your own e-commerce website, at least not in the beginning of your e-commerce career.
Make Your Online Store User Friendly
User experience is one of the main parameters that determine online stores functionality. These websites should be easy to navigate and should include comprehensive search functions that enable customers to easily find products they are interested in. E-Commerce is very competitive business and that’s why online shops should adapt to the “the eight seconds policy”, which means that if customers can’t locate the desired product in eight seconds, they will go to another website.
Online stores should work well on mobile phones, because mobile e-commerce now takes more than 50% of the whole niche traffic. Recently people are browsing websites and shopping from their smartphones and one of the latest Google algorithm updates, also known as “Mobilegeddon” made responsive websites ranked higher in Google Search.
Offer Many Different Payment Options
Many e-commerce websites offer only credit card payments, although online shopping platforms open many possibilities when it comes to paying for ordered goods. Good stores should enable the use of third party services like PayPal or Google Wallet, plus some other alternative payment gateways. More established e-commerce businesses also include cheques and cash-on-delivery payments. Since different people like paying for ordered goods in different ways, this is one of the most important criteria when running an e-commerce store and few more payment options can drastically increase store’s revenue.
There are several different security measures that every e-commerce website administrator needs to apply. Every online store should use SSL certificate authentication for web and data protection. These protect both website and its customers from hackers. Other than these certificates, that became almost obligatory for this type of websites, administrators should also include: strong password requirements, address and card verification system, well layered website security, tracking numbers for all orders, PCI scans and regular system patching. Although this is a budget guide for e-commerce, when it comes to website and user’s data security, every dime is money well spent, since security breaches can drastically harm your company’s reputation.
E-Commerce website administrators and security specialists are not the only people who should think about this matter. All company employees need to undergo security training and buyers should also be advised to create strong passwords, and to keep their personal and financial data secured.
With e-commerce being such a competitive business, entrepreneurs always need to go one step beyond in providing the best possible service to online shoppers. Other than things we mentioned in this article, there are many more aspects that make one e-commerce business successful and profitable, including: competitive prices, innovative marketing campaigns and good quality products.