What is an eCommerce Website? | Building Your Online Business

Kas Andz

October 5, 2021

Table of Contents

The Definition of an “eCommerce Website.”

An eCommerce website is defined as a website that allows people to buy and sell tangible goods and digital products or services over the internet.

The website is used for people to trade, barter, exchange, and buy or sell goods and services needed by society to thrive.

Banner

Commonly, you build an eCommerce website on an eCommerce platform. Some examples of an eCommerce platform are BigCommerce, Wix, Shopify, WordPress, Magento, Squarespace, etc.

An eCommerce website is merely an upgrade to the centuries-old trade done by societies. When there is a demand for goods, there will be a business owner who must supply them.

The old way was for one to physically travel to a source of logistics, pay in goods or with currency, and return bringing the traded item or get treated with a service. When telephones became available, one could order for deliveries or services.

Phone

With an eCommerce system, people are now able to transact online and have goods or services delivered or enjoy products via digital communication. With mobile technologies, people can now get what they want with one tap of the screen.

Basic Modern Examples of eCommerce

On Amazon, you can find a product you need by shopping on their eCommerce website.

Then, pay for it over the website via credit or debit card, cash on delivery, or alternative digital payment methods like digital wallets.

Amazon

After that transaction, all you have to do is wait for the product to be delivered to your doorstep.

Another example is Netflix, where you pay for a monthly subscription that allows you to stream and watch shows on their app.

Netflix

Their service offered is subscription-based which acts like a ticket that will enable you to come in and watch shows for a month.

One other eCommerce platform is Uber Eats, where you shop for food.

You pick items and checkout. Then, the service will pick up your order from your chosen restaurant or food dealer and deliver it to you.

Uber

What is eCommerce?

eCommerce is also known as eBusiness or electronic business. It involves selling goods or services to consumers buying them over an electronic medium, primarily the internet.

This mode of commerce involves the electronic transfer of data and funds between a customer and a business. It is basically shopping online using your desktop computer or smartphone.

A Brief History of eCommerce

eCommerce traces its beginnings way back to the 1960s. During this time, organizations started using Electronic Data Interchange or EDI. 

Businesses used the then-latest innovation to transfer documents back and forth. 

In the 1990s, the early days of the internet, the business world saw the birth of online shopping.

Netmarket

The first online purchase ever done on the 11th of August 1994 was for a Sting music CD that was sold by NetMarket, a retailer based in the US.

Online shopping has made buying and selling become significantly convenient and easy. Anyone today can shop for anything that exists right from a bed or in a car with just a few taps and swipes.

eCommerce is now significantly more speedy and straightforward with the emergence of smartphones and mobile devices. You can shop from any location at any time of the day with a wireless device and internet connection.

Consumers can conveniently search for any available product or service via the internet without leaving the house or office or even needing a desktop.

Of all internet traffic, 51.3% comes from mobile.

With your smartphone, you can get an Uber ride via an app or buy food through delivery websites. You can book a visit to your dentist or order home service massages.

What is an eCommerce Website?

Consider an eCommerce website as an online portal. This portal is what facilitates online transactions involving goods and services by transferring information and funds over the web.

Buyers and sellers partially did early eCommerce transactions with additional emails and phone calls. Today, you can execute anything and everything needed for business transactions online on a single website or app.

Single Website App

The Different Types of eCommerce Websites

Their function categorises different eCommerce websites. The kind of eCommerce site depends on who is at both ends of the transaction.

Business-to-Business (B2B)

B2B involves electronic transactions of goods and services that are done between two companies.

For example, when you buy our KAMG ticket, we will develop and manage your eCommerce businesses’ email marketing or provide you with other digital marketing services.

Business-to-Consumer (B2C)

B2C involves electronic transactions of products between companies and consumers. 

An example is when you buy hot sauce directly from Tabasco.com.

Consumer-to-Consumer (C2C)

C2C involves electronic transactions between consumers, generally through a third party.

For example, you can buy or sell someone a secondhand laptop via Olx or eBay.

Consumer-to-Business (C2B)

C2B involves electronic transactions of products or services that individuals offer to a business.

For example, if you are a YouTuber, you can offer to promote Raid Shadow Legends or Audible in one or more of your videos and get paid.

What is the process of eCommerce?

Simply put, eCommerce is another type of commerce. It functions pretty similarly to physical retail businesses.

What separates eCommerce from traditional brick-and-mortar is the convenience given by online transactions.

To build an eCommerce business, you have to begin by setting up your eCommerce website on an eCommerce platform. There are tons of platform options, such as WooCommerce, Shopify, or Facebook Business.

Here’s PART 1 of a 2-PART ultimate guide to starting an eCommerce business. But if you already started your business and are looking for advanced tips to increase your revenue, you can skip to PART 2.

Going back, when you have set up your website, you will have to display your products or services along with their details, descriptions, and prices. You will have to include a CTA or call-to-action button like “Buy Now” or “Add-to-Cart” near the items.

If shoppers decide to buy the ticket, they can simply click on the button, go to check out, and finish the transaction.

Shopping App

With eCommerce websites, the usual practice is to ask customers to place their orders by filling up forms. They usually have to provide you with all the necessary details, including the delivery address, as the bare minimum.

There are various payment options on eCommerce websites.

Customers can make payments through payment gateways like PayPal. Buyers can also use their credit or debit cards when shopping online.

For some businesses, COD or cash on delivery works well. Cash is an excellent option, mainly if you deal with food or if your market’s demographic includes the elderly.

The process of COD allows the buyer to make the payment as the product they ordered is delivered to their address. Even though we call the method COD, payments can be made in cash, through cards, or other alternative options like Google Pay or Apple Pay.

If consumers are not satisfied with the quality of the product or receive something they did not order, they can return it or have it replaced. You can use the reverse logistics system, which is precisely returning the items and getting your money in return.

To do so, notify the company that you want to return what you ordered. The company will respond via a representative who will come to your location and take the item back. 

Then, the company will cash your money back into your account.

eCommerce businesses also use digital means to promote their offerings and brands. 

Two of the best ways to market your business are via ads and email marketing.

Email Marketing

You can place ads on social media platforms, the most preferred by target groups. You can run ads on YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Reddit, TikTok, and others.

For emails, you will have to prepare mailing lists and categorise your subscribers. You will have to prepare a set of custom emails for those who are learning about your brand for the first time, those who have already bought the ticket, those who abandoned carts, and other customer types.

When done correctly, ads and emails are your best tools for getting customers.

However, ads can be expensive at times, especially when you are trying to reach out to specific market demographics.

The reigning marketing strategy is email marketing, but doing so can take too much time and requires high expertise in digital marketing tools and techniques.

Here’s a complete guide to email marketing.

But if you’re looking for the easiest way you can do it, find out more here about how you can make your email marketing easy and effective.

Here are a few prominent examples of eCommerce websites.

  • eBay 
  • Amazon
  • Taobao
  • Alibaba
  • Etsy 
  • Walmart

Building an eCommerce Website 101

When you sell your products through an eCommerce website, you can get excellent returns. It will be easy for you to expose your offerings to a myriad of consumers.

eCommerce websites also have advantages over traditional stores. Because of the benefits, most business owners today are going online.

Ecommerce Site

Here’s what you need to do.

  1. Find a platform like Shopify, WordPress, Wix, etc.
  2. Make sure to protect your intellectual property and not to infringe on anyone else’s work.
  3. Make sure you complete all legal requirements for running your business.
  4. Add pages like Menu or Products, Blogs, About Us, Contact Us, Meet the Team, FAQs, Customer Service, etc.
  5. Make your website’s design acceptable and approved by your target market by A/B testing.
  6. Display your products on the Menu, categorising them efficiently for ease of use for your shoppers.
  7. Add filters if you have multiple versions of the same product.
  8. Add trust badges.
  9. Offer free shipping as much as you can.
  10. Make your checkout process easy and add as many payment options as possible.
  11. Make pop-ups your last resort for leaving users.
  12. Regularly upload blogs that will convince your users that you are an authority on the topics concerning your niche.
  13. Continually update your Conversion Rate Optimization efforts.
  14. Do SEO.
  15. Advertise.
  16. Do your email marketing right.

While creating an eCommerce website can be straightforward, making your eStore stand out is another story.

You will have to do SEO or search engine optimization if you want search engines to make your website a result on searches. It would be best to use CRO or conversion rate optimization to make sure that your website is a pleasure to use, which increases your chances of getting conversions.

Not all business owners are tech-savvy, and most are product-passionate rather than marketing geeks.

If you are someone who doesn’t have the time or expertise to create a website that competes and converts, it would be best to outsource your digital mark

FAQs

Is doing business online a good idea?

If you are asking this question, you must be a business owner looking into the possibility of opening an online version of your store. And the answer is yes, you should go online.

All markets are turning digital and if you don’t follow, you will be left not only by the competition but by the consumers in general.

An online business is like any other business and there will be legal requirements before you can operate one.

First and foremost, you will have to go to your city or municipality hall and file for a business license. Also, you will have to check with intellectual property registrations to ensure that you are not infringing anyone’s copyrights, patents, or trademarks.

If you do your own production, it would be a requirement for you to enlist in accreditations.

Do I need insurance for my eCommerce business?

Yes, you do.

First of all, you will have employees. Whether they are your family members or friends, you will have to take care of them by getting business insurance for health and others.

If you have production, you will have properties that you will have to insure too.

Another thing you have to insure is your intellectual property. With the hundreds of thousands of brands out in the market, you have to protect your intellectual property from benign copied.

What should I do for an international business?

Today’s trend is retail that goes beyond borders and it is simple to create a system by which you can source products from one country and deliver them to another.

What you have to do is follow the same guidelines in this article but, additionally, find a shipping service or system that will allow you to reach your market.

To make things better, you will have to do international search engine optimization because of the keywords in different languages and query styles you will have to consider.

What’s the best way to make an eCommerce website?

It depends on your needs.

If you have a limited budget and expertise, you can opt to use an eCommerce platform like Shopify or Wix which have drag and drop functionality, making web building as simple as Legos. However, these eCommerce platforms will provide you with limited possibilities.

So if you have the right resources and personnel, the best will still be to make a custom, built-from-scratch website. Doing so will allow you to maximize what you can do with your eStore, not being limited by what any platform can provide.

How can I improve my eCommerce website?

eCommerce is a competitive arena and you will need to do marketing strategies in order to get the profits that you want.

The first thing that you have to do is make sure that the content of your website is enough for people to stay and use it and for search engine bots to index. So you will have to apply conversion rate optimization and search engine optimization, CRO and SEO, to your eCommerce store.

By implementing CRO, you will be able to effectively help your users navigate your pages into eventual purchase. And by doing SEO, you will be able to have your website contents show up when potential customers place queries on search engines that are related to your product field.

Additionally, you will have to engage your audiences, including prospective customers and website users via emails. Doing email marketing will allow you to make sure that everyone who gets in touch with your eCommerce brand will become buyers.

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