Almost each offline business can start online sales. There are many ways to do it through large special web sites, or shopping and trade leads portals where ads and listings can be posted, however one of the most popular and effective ways is to have own e-commerce web site. It also can be called e-shop, online shop, online store, shopping cart site, etc.
When a small business owners starts thinking of having his own e-commerce web site he starts looking for reliable, handful and affordable e-commerce solution. What features he may need to run the e-commerce business successfully?
The golden rule of every business – no matter online or offline – is to decide BEFORE its start how people will know about it and how, why, and when they will buy exactly here. So marketing and advertising also work here but have some specific and used web promotion and SEO tactics. At the very beginning of its life each e-commerce web site can be compared to an unknown shop in a desolate place and it’s a hard work to make it popular e-commerce resource where people want and like to buy. There are many companies that offer web promotion services so it’s always possible to find one which will be the happy medium in aspect of professionalism and affordable cost.
When this part is clear it’s time to think about technical side of e-commerce business.
There are 2 main features it must have.
- Shopping cart system that allows buying products. It must have user-friendly interface, be reliable, compatible with major payment and shipping systems. There are many providers, developers, or resellers of shopping carts so they can be free, free-ware and paid.
- Online catalogue of products that can be divided into categories. The catalogue must have administration ability, so site owner can edit each product’s title, price, description, image, position in the catalogue.
Also it’s great to have ability of managing pricing policy – create “hot prices”, specials offers, discounts, etc. A great plus is to have all stats for the e-commerce website active operations, i.e. info about the customers, orders, payments, etc. and ability to manage it.
Also the site may contain simple information pages such as Contact us, About us, History, Team, etc. and if the site owner is not a web designer he will need a Content management system (CMS) integrated into the pages to be able to edit and update their content without hiring a webmaster or paying his web design company for each small change.
All the viewed above was about the technical side of the e-commerce website, however interface design also plays great role as it creates appropriate mood for site visitors that helps to turn them into customers and buyers. That’s why e-commerce site design must be made by professionals, who take into consideration many important design, marketing, and psychological aspects, and able to create a great selling solution.
Successfully selected domain name is also a plus for e-commerce web site as it not only brings visual information to the site visitors and must be easy to remember and type, but also plays great role in search engines rankings. So before buying a domain name for e-commerce web site it’s recommended to make some research on this topic or ask advice of professionals.
And finally, the professionally made e-commerce website must be easily and quickly accessible from each place of the world so it’s very important to choose a reliable hosting provider which can guarantee stable work of the web site 24x7x365 at affordable price.
These are main features that an average e-commerce web site must have. Of course there are many specific details that are unique for each web site however having the above-mentioned things can give some warranties that the e-commerce website will do its main job – sell.