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What is an eCommerce Website?

Websites serve many purposes. However, eCommerce websites exist to generate revenue for its owner. An eCommerce website allows customers to buy and sell physical goods, services, and digital products over the internet rather than in or in addition to a brick-and-mortar location. An eCommerce website might be able to process orders, accept payments, manage shipping and logistics, and provide customer service.

The Basics of eCommerce Websites

The eCommerce industry is thriving. Events over the last few years have pushed the transition to online shopping faster than expected. Some experts predict that eCommerce will reach $4.13 trillion this year and that mobile commerce will take a 72.9% market share. As this segment of the market grows, it is important to understand the different eCommerce business models. Usually online business models will fall into one of four categories.

What are the different types of eCommerce business models?

1. Business-to-business (B2B)

The business-to-business eCommerce model is primarily structured to sell products to other companies. These businesses will focus on products and services that enhance another company’s business practices and don’t generally sell to the public at large.

2. Business-to-consumer (B2C)

The business-to-consumer eCommerce model is what most people think of when they imagine business models. It’s when a business sells products online, or via a mobile device, directly to consumers. Business-to-consumer eCommerce companies are the ones you and I visit online each day to purchase things like groceries, clothing, home products, etc.

Often these companies will sell their products both their physical store and online store. The balance of product selection and availability online and at a brick-and-mortar store will be important to the success of the business.

3. Consumer-to-consumer (C2C)

A consumer-to-consumer business model is when one consumer makes and sells a product to another consumer. Common examples of a C2C company would be Etsy or eBay. New tools and technology are making it possible to set up a C2C online store on their personal website.

4. Consumer-to-business (C2B)

The last type of eCommerce business model is consumer-to-business. This type of business will sell products or services to businesses. Good examples of C2B businesses would be a business consultant, a freelance graphic designer, or a social media influencer with a large audience.

 

ecommerce website features

What Should Be Included In An eCommerce Website?

Create a eCommerce website that saves time, effort, and helps your business grow.

In today’s complex retail environment an efficient website is more important than ever. It is commonly said that first impressions are lasting impressions. It doesn’t matter whether most of the sales in your store are made in-person or online, often the first impression a customer has of your business is your website. Customers may be looking for a specific product or your operating hours and that search will begin at your website.

In order to be successful and continue to operate your business it is important you take a look at your website with a critical eye and make sure it is working for you. You should spend a significant amount of time deciding what the goals are for your website and how they align with your business plan. And the goals for your website should be: specific, measurable, achievable, and evaluated regularly.

The goal for any business’s website is to help it to continue to succeed, but there are some specific issues and opportunities that your website can help your shop with. If you address these, you greatly improve the chances of your website being a success with your customers.

Increase Sales

Primarily a website should help you sell more. Generating revenue is the way you stay in business and continue to help you succeed, employ your associates and continue to serve your customers and community. Whether your website helps you connect with your customer or is a full eCommerce sales engine, evaluate how each section of your website will help you increase sales.

Drive Foot Traffic

The lifeblood of any small business is foot traffic. In the current retail environment in-person sales can be challenging. However, most successful businesses have learned to move beyond the mindset of in-real-life transactions and moved to a hybrid model of in-person and an online presence in the retail market. An effective website will help attract customers to your store and inform them of what products and services you offer. Your website should enable your customers to find your locations and your operating hours.

Enable Productivity

Your website and integrated systems should empower you and your employees to be more productive each day. When backend business systems tie directly into your website you can make changes to product information in one place and it will automatically be updated to your website ecommerce store and your physical in-store system.

In addition your website can help answer some of your most common customer questions. Content like a Frequently Asked Questions section or an About Us page that talks about what types of products you sell or services you provide will answer many of the most common questions. Just think about what the most common questions are that you get by phone that are quickly answered. Put that content on your website.

 

ecommerce website productivity

Facilitate Conversation

Today’s online retail environment is more interactive than ever before. Your customers expect to be able to connect to you when and wherever they are. Integrated marketing and communication tools will enable you to connect, drive interactions and enable more sales.

Once you’ve decided what the goals of your website should be there are general guidelines or best practices for building your website. Website designers and industry experts agree on some of these common principles and features.

Simplicity

Try to keep your eCommerce website clean and uncluttered. You are passionate about your business and want to tell the whole world about everything you can do or provide. However most visitors can only hold a small number of ideas top of mind. Focus on the most important things that will make the visitors experience better. Feature what makes your business unique-how you differentiate yourself-and what you do best.

The other benefit of simplicity is that your website will load faster and get the most important information to your customers quicker. With the wide adoption of browsing on mobile devices it is also important that you take into consideration the experience of mobile visitors to your website. Simple design elements and concise information make for a better mobile experience.

Remember that the primary goal of your website is to initiate a connection with your customer. On each page ask yourself the question, “What do I want my customer to do after visiting this page?” This will help you focus on the goal of the page and walk your customers toward your ultimate goal.

Long term a simple website will make it much easier to maintain. Your time is valuable and the more efficiently you run your business the better for you. You’ll be able to spend more time on important tasks and not worry about how much time you are spending on website maintenance.

Search

Visitors have come to your website because they want to find something. Despite best practices, people often are looking for many different things. Your website should help them find what they are looking for. If you provide a search bar in the header of your website, customers will be able to quickly find what they are looking for.

Navigation

The other most important feature that will enable your customers to find what they are looking for is the navigation. Keep navigation concise and restricted to the most important sections of your eCommerce website. Decide what the most important drivers of your shop’s business are and put them at the front of your navigation. Try to prioritize consistency in your navigation by creating commonly used and recognizable labels for your navigation. When you do this you will create clear interactions that visitors have come to expect when they visit your website.

Make sure that you either design for or work with a quality eCommerce website provider that has taken into account responsive design. Responsive ecommerce website design will automatically adjust the layout of your website to accommodate different devices visitors view your website on. Each visitor on a phone, tablet or computer will see a website and navigation that is dynamically generated for their device.

Images

Good product images are vital to the impression visitors make when they visit your site. Images can catch visitors’ attention and sell your products. Photos and images can quickly communicate concepts that may take more text than is desirable for your website. Quality images will engage your visitors and keep them on the site longer. Pay close attention to how you name the image files and Alt Text associated with your photos. If the photos are relevant to your text it will improve your search engine optimization (SEO).

 

ecommerce website images

Product Description

Having a strong, well-written product description for each item listed in your ecommerce platform can also help a search engine find your product more easily. Put yourself in the shoes of your ideal buyer and think about what they want. What appeals to them? Focus on benefits and discuss the user experience when you write the descriptions on each product page. Your website builder can assist in creating a website template so that the each page is consistent.

Color

Color is such a fundamental part of the way we perceive the world. Color is a key factor in engaging your visitor or driving them away. The key to the use of color on your website is to keep it simple. Keep the majority of the website neutral. Consider the amount of white space that makes sense for your website. Use colors as an accent; too much color can be distracting and take away from images. Try to pick a palette that compliments your branding. Your website provider may be a good source for working color palettes. There are also many online resources for color suggestions.

Call to Action

Perhaps the most important function your website can fulfill is to help customers to take action. You need to create clear and concise “calls to action” on each page of your website. Think about what you want the visitor to do after seeing each page on your website. Create a clear call to action for each page and tell the visitor exactly what you want them to do. These include direct instructions like: Shop Now, View All, Learn More, or Sign Up. These phrases encourage visitors to your site to stay engaged with your website and complete transactions of your most important website goals.

Payment Gateway

When you consider the ecommerce functionality of your online store, consider you payment gateway options. If you want to accept the credit card of a potential customer, you’ll need work with a company that can process purchases. This will require a small transaction fee on each purchase in order to accept cards.

Get Help

Building an eCommerce website is a lot like many aspects of your business. It can be as simple or as complex as you want it to be, and the complexity of the website is directly proportional to the investment that should be made in creating it. There are many options for building a website. As you make the decisions to design it carefully consider the features you want or need for your website.

When choosing a partner to help create your website it helps to find a provider with experience and tools that are specific to your business. Software providers that have solutions for assembling kits, fractional yards, fat quarters, various sizes, product details, serialized parts, and rentals integrated into inventory management processes will be extremely helpful. In addition tools for adding features to your website like classes and block of the month subscriptions will quickly enable you to increase your shop’s revenue.

 

ecommerce website web design

 

As a retailer you know how important it is for your customers to come to you early in the process when creating a project to get your expert advice. The same goes for creating a website. Find a trusted partner to help build your website. A website developer that understands your industry can help you overcome many of the challenges you will face as you redesign or launch your website.

Websites Give Small Businesses An Online Presence

Having a compelling online presence plays an essential role in small business marketing. This can be accomplished, in part, by maintaining a professional-looking, up-to-date and mobile-friendly website.The following small business website statistics from ESPRESSO.digital indicate why:

  • 91% of customers have visited a store because of an online experience
  • 37% use a internet search engine to find a store at least once per month
  • According to Google’s 2015 data, 50% of consumers who conduct local searches on their smartphone go to a store within 24 hours, and nearly 20% make a purchase within a day
  • Of the small businesses that have websites, 69% of them are having annual sales of $1,000,000 – $2,490,000

A business website will help you connect to Internet users, establish credibility for your brand, and give you a place to showcase your products and services. Simply put, having a strong online presence is an essential part of your marketing strategy.

It’s Not Enough for Small Businesses to Just “Have” a Website

“It’s easy to have a website rather than have a great website,” says The Retail Doctor. But content goes out of date and consumers develop new demands, so unless you’re thinking like an up-to-the-minute shopper, your website will often be out of date, like many of the small business websites included in these ESPRESSO.digital statistics:

  • 97% of all small business websites are ineffective
  • 23% of small business websites get updated less than once a year
  • 70% of small business websites have no call to action
  • 68% don’t have an email address on the homepage
  • 82% of small business websites don’t have social media accounts

Your website design should focus on the needs of each potential customer. To achieve this, it must be easy to access, simple to navigate, and it must contain engaging content that consumers will find useful. Additionally, as online trends and shopping behaviors change, you’ll need to adapt your website accordingly to meet the needs of modern consumers.

 

ecommerce website mobile

Small Business Websites Need to Be Optimized for Mobile

In an age of Snapchats and Tweets, successful companies will need to build and maintain user-friendly and engaging websites that are mobile friendly in order to attract and keep customers. That being said, many small businesses aren’t taking advantage of mobile. Check out these surprising statistics from ESPRESSO.digital:

  • 94% of all small business websites are NOT mobile-friendly and will not render successfully on mobile devices or smartphones
  • According to Google, the majority of searches come from mobile devices, even if a desktop is available
  • According to Google’s 2015 data, 50% of consumers who conduct local searches on their smartphone go to a store within 24 hours, and nearly 20% make a purchase within a day

Today’s consumers rely on cell phones, tablets, or mobile broadband connections to access the internet. To ensure that you don’t lose out on traffic and sales, make sure you optimize your website with a responsive web design that will properly display your content on mobile devices.

Focus on brief decisions for your visitors

When visitors wander looking for their options, chances are they will leave without making a decision. That doesn’t benefit your business. An intuitive interface helps your visitors make choices.

You don’t need too many calls-to-action (CTAs) to provoke a reaction from your visitors. In fact, it can lead to an opposite effect. When your call-to-action buttons are clear and concise, people are more likely to click!

The fewer decisions a visitor has to make, the better. There’s a higher chance they will follow through with conversion. Moreover, minimizing their choices helps them focus on the action you want them to take.


Create an eCommerce website for your business with Jewel360.