What is e-Commerce? What are e-Commerce Websites?

What is e-Commerce? What are e-Commerce Websites?

E-Commerce Website Definition

Trade, be it barter exchange or buying and selling of goods and services has been prevalent for centuries. No one can be self-sufficient. And this brings out the need for demand and supply of goods and services. Transactions have been going on all over the world for centuries, locally, and across locations. Keeping the same concept in mind, now think electronic.

What is e-Commerce?

e-Commerce, also known as e-Business, or electronic business, is simply the sale and purchase of services and goods over an electronic medium, like the Internet. It also involves electronically transferring data and funds between two or more parties. Simply put, it is online shopping as we commonly know it.

e-Commerce started way back in the 1960s when organizations began to use Electronic Data Interchange (EDI) to transfer documents of their business back and forth. The 1990s saw the emergence of online shopping businesses, which is quite a phenomenon today.

It has become so convenient and easy, that anyone can shop for anything right from a living room, with just a few clicks. This has evolved more with the emergence of smartphones, where now, you can shop from anywhere and anytime, with a wireless device connected to the Internet. Now you can search for almost any product or service online, without having to go anywhere physically.

What is an eCommerce website?

eCommerce websites are online portals that facilitate online transactions of goods and services through means of the transfer of information and funds over the Internet. In the early days, e-Commerce was done partially through emails and phone calls. Now, with a single website, anything and everything that a transaction needs, can be executed online.

There are different e-Commerce websites for every field. The most common type is retail selling, but there are many others too, like auction websites, business-to-business services, music portals, consultancy websites, finance management websites, and the like. You can build such websites by hiring dedicated developers.

What is Mobile Commerce?

Mobile Commerce simply means buying and selling of goods, done by customers using their mobile devices.
With mobile devices taking over the planet, quite literally everyone uses their mobile devices more often than their laptops or desktops – to browse the internet. There has been a huge increase in transactions done via mobile devices in the last few years – so the benefits of mobile commerce are significant.

Different Types of eCommerce Websites

Different e-commerce websites are labeled or referred to differently, based on the function they fulfill.

  • Business-to-Business (B2B): Electronic transactions of goods and services between companies.
  • Business-to-Consumer (B2C): Electronic transactions of goods and services between companies and consumers.
  • Consumer-to-Consumer (C2C): Electronic transactions of goods and services between consumers, mostly through a third party.
  • Consumer-to-Business (C2B): Electronic transactions of goods and services where individuals offer products or services to companies.
  • Business-to-Administration (B2A): Electronic transactions of goods and services between companies and public administrations.
  • Consumer-to-Administration (C2A): Electronic transactions of goods and services between individuals and public administrations.

Importance of e-Commerce

With the use of mobile devices and laptops increasing every day, there are a lot of advantages of e-commerce like –

  • Global market reach
  • A global choice for consumers
  • Short product/service distribution chain
  • Lesser costs and pricing

Disadvantages of e-Commerce

And there are some risks too with e-commerce –

  • Fraud and online insecurity
  • Data privacy issues
  • No testing or checking of services or goods
  • Dependence on electronic technologies

What Makes a Good e-Commerce Website?

If you are looking to start and e-Commerce website, there are a few things that you need to understand and keep in mind to be successful in the game. Make no mistake, there are many online shopping websites out there, and the top few are such great brands that they control most of the market share.

Top e-commerce websites

These are some of the most popular examples of e-commerce websites across the world (in no particular order) –
Amazon
eBay
Alibaba
Walmart
Taobao
Etsy

How to promote my e-commerce website?

Now, this does not mean other players don’t stand a chance. If you have a small business, you can concentrate on your location, like a city or state. You could also specialize in a particular line of products that sets you apart. Whatever the reason, you need to keep these pointers in mind to run your online store efficiently and successfully.

However, one of the most important steps when promoting your e-commerce website is having flawless site performance and design in the first place. Naturally, your website should have a neat, clutter-free, and user-friendly interface. Users should be able to find whatever they are looking for easily, be it pricing, images, carts, copy, etc.

Additionally, your website loading time should be as little as possible. Many performance issues, such as slow speed and frequent downtime could be avoided by picking a designated website hosting pack. If your e-commerce website is built on WordPress and WooCommerce, for example, choosing specialized WooCommerce hosting will ensure your site is as optimized as it could be.

If you have many photos, address a background removal service and ask them to place your products on a white background, add natural shadows, reflections or crop it to the proper size. People love to see what they are getting, and what they see is what makes them decide. If possible, include videos for important products.

Services-Background-Removal-1

As far as possible, if you are selling a product(s), do not charge for shipping, because, in most cases, that is a deal breaker. Always display the number of items in stock. You do not want to keep your customers guessing, or disappointed. Regularly conduct limited time deals, sales, and special offers. These things have attracted people before, and will always continue to do so. Recommend related products when a purchase has been made. A bundle offer is great and should turn out to be cheaper than buying different products separately.

How do I track the success of my e-commerce website?

Make sure you’ve got accounting software that works with your particular site.

There’s an ongoing debate between Xero vs Quickbooks or another alternative. The best way to figure out which accounting app will work best for you is to sign up for a trial and see which one fits your needs; you’ll also want to look for integrations with other apps that form essential parts of your e-commerce setup.

What important metrics should I measure on my e-commerce website?

Now that we’ve talked about what makes a good e-commerce website, how do you measure growth?

Are you performing well? What should be the key metrics you should be tracking?

Some of the metrics that most people track are:

  • Product Sales
  • Category Performance
  • E-commerce Orders
  • Average Order Value
  • Bounce Rate
  • Average Time on Page

But even in these metrics, what do you think is the best metric to track growth? Something with which you can definitely say, “my store is growing?”

Sales data, right?

It is the conversions – how many people visited your website versus how many people actually bought from you – that defines your growth.

If you have a high conversion rate, you’re selling more and in turn making more profit.

ECommerce Conversion Tool

It is very important to learn about how users engage with and experience your site. HumCommerce – A CRO tool with Visitor’s Recordings, Heatmaps, and User’s Flow features can help produce insights on user experience.

For instance, heatmaps tell you where your clients typically spend the most or the least time on. It indicates whether visitors spend time reading a product description, focus more on the features, do not click on the links or the call-to-action buttons. HumCommerce will give you proper insights on why the visitors are not buying your products or the reason behind the purchase.

These CRO strategies will help improve the shopping experience of your clients. This is different from making hefty investments on driving traffic to your website. With HumCommerce CRO tool, your focus will be more on quality of experience than high traffic.

HumCommerce also features some powerful and cost-effective features to allow Ecommerce websites to optimize the website at each stage to convert your visitors into buyers.

  • Viewing visitors activity on how they browse your website
  • Understanding which part of the page they spend more time.
  • Knowing where your users are dropping out.
  • Setting up E-Commerce Funnels to push potential customers along the funnel which ultimately results in higher sales.

HumCommerce Tool

Make sure you are in control of your analytics and know exactly what is working, and what is not. Demographics also play an important part as far as target consumers are concerned. You want to display the right things to the right people. An FAQ section is necessary to answer all common queries that may arise. Do not leave any room for doubt, as that breaks a sale even before it is done. Your contact information should be clear, complete, and up-to-date. Trust plays a very important role in online shopping.

Have multiple payment options available. Every individual customer has his preferences. Make sure you cater to everyone. You return policy should be properly in place and one that suits your customers. Most people decide on buying after looking at the return policy of an e-Commerce website.

Make sure you design your checkout page properly too – that is the final hurdle or step in the entire purchase workflow – and is often underestimated. Haven’t you yourself added products to the cart but stopped short of actually completing the purchase? Yes? So make sure you pay attention and read up about how to design a checkout page carefully.

Last but not least! Post a lot of reviews and testimonials on your website. People love to read other customers’ experiences before becoming a customer themselves. Post a few negative ones too. This section should not look all made up to suit your business. If you are thinking of setting up your online store on WordPress, then search free or premium e-Commerce WordPress themes which allow you to customize your website for various elements like display latest products, best sellers, highlight products, showcase testimonials, etc. Or simply design one for yourself using a free e-commerce UI kit.

While you are managing an eCommerce website there are mountains of tasks to manage. You could be hassle-free if you hire eCommerce Virtual Assistants.
A virtual eCommerce assistant could do verities of works such as Product research. Product description writing. Image editing. Product listing and optimization. Managing inventory. Handling order processing.

e-Commerce has made the world a much smaller place, thanks to the Internet. It is convenient, fast, and easy. The number of people turning to e-Shopping is only going to rise as time goes by. So make your business go online, choose a good e-commerce WordPress theme and set up a clutter-free and easy to use e-Commerce website, and see your sales and profits rise.

About

Susmita is an engineer, a writer and a dancer - not necessarily in that order ! Ever since she discovered WordPress, she has not ceased to be amazed by how this community-driven platform brings people together - in more ways than one. And yes, she loves binge-watching movies !

8 comments on “What is e-Commerce? What are e-Commerce Websites?
  1. Hi Pooja,
    Thanks for great idea explanation about e-commerce!
    i define e-commerce like this: Transacting or facilitating business on the Internet is called eCommerce.Buying and selling good on the internet is a very common example of eCommerce.
    :)
    Again thanks for sharing this helpful article!

  2. Alex Hales says:

    Hey Pooja Thanks for sharing great article on ecommerce.
    Just a definition of ecommerce is not enough. The word ecommerce has changed in many ways in recent years and whole thesis can be written on it.
    As you mentioned perfectly, making good ecommerce is now more important than having just online store.

  3. I am very interested in B2B eCommerce. Your definition is very elaborate. We are a photo editing company and most of our clients are B2B based. Thanks for your efforts on the proper eCommerce definition.

  4. nishantotarget says:

    Hey, Pooja.

    Accidentally I landed on your website. As you mentioned in the article eCommerce comes with diverse challenges and opportunities. Most often the challenges are quite extreme that small B2C eCommerce companies will not be able to compete with the international brands.

    The consumers affinity towards freebies and discounts are extreme. They fall for high volume discounted sales. Where as a startup with limited budget needs to strive a lot, to identify their KPI and to differentiate their USP.

  5. Derek says:

    Hi Pooja,

    Great article, I especially liked the “What Makes a Good e-Commerce Website?” section. However, like the comment above me mentioned, it can be hard compete with the big brands. With that said, one of the thing people can do is do niche specific stores.

    Most of us are aware that being the next Amazon, eBay or even Etsy is nearly impossible. But niche sites are wide open and they seem to resonant with people. For example I’m in the process of starting an all cat store :)

  6. Peeyush says:

    Big Thanks. Its really Going to help me for my project on E-commerce and its details. Thanks Again

  7. Steven says:

    Now a Days Without E-Commerce Concept we can not get leads to our business.Big Companies are always interested in B2B eCommerce companies.Really Great Article Post,it will really help me to run out my business.

  8. Hi Pooja,
    Hey Pooja Thanks for sharing great article on ecommerce. *Thanks Again*

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