E-commerce. How to sell on the internet?
An increasing part of the economy is related to e-commerce. More and more transactions take place over the Internet. The Internet user can order goods sitting in his own home, although in reality the shipping warehouse may be located in China, the United States or anywhere else in the world. Thanks to e-commerce, both buying and selling becomes much easier.
What is e-commerce?
E-commerce can be translated as online commerce or e-commerce. Although it is primarily associated with various online stores, it actually includes other forms of commerce as well: banking, exchange and currency exchange, betting, gambling, auctions and many others.
Different levels of e-commerce activity can also be distinguished:
- B2B (business-to-business transactions),
- B2C (business-to-consumer),
- C2B (various types of auctions, where the entrepreneur becomes the buyer),
- C2C (auctions with the possibility of bidding by individuals).
As you can see, e-commerce is a huge industry that covers the most diverse areas and branches of the economy.
Online stores are the trend of the future
With the proliferation of the internet, stores have slowly started to move online. This allowed them to gain more reach. In turn, it was a convenient way for customers to shop without leaving home.
Every year more and more people were buying a product with the help of a website. Currently, this process is accelerating, mainly due to the proliferation of electronic devices and high-speed Internet. Also the structure of society is changing. More and more consumers have no problem with using electronic devices, which might have been a problem a dozen or so years ago (it was more difficult for older people to learn how to use computers, but their ubiquity forced many workers to use electronic devices).
It is difficult to expect that e-commerce will be limited in the future. Rather, the industry is expected to continue to grow. This has also been noticed by large chain stores, which increasingly also allow online shopping.
Benefits for customers of an online store
E-commerce brings many benefits to customers. Some of the most important ones include:
larger product offer in the online store,
more competitive prices (it is easy to check the offer of other stores and choose the product of competition),
convenience (online stores can be visited while sitting in a chair at home),
control over the value of purchases (the cart counts the value of transactions on an ongoing basis),
the possibility to reflect and check relevant information on the Internet,
Purchased products are usually delivered to your home within two or three days.
E-commerce is gaining popularity, which causes the development of this industry. This makes it even more attractive for customers.
Benefits for e-business owners
Also from the entrepreneur’s side, there are many benefits of running an online store compared to a stationary one.
First of all, it is the issue of delivery and storage. More and more often such solutions are used, which allow only to mediate in the conclusion of transactions. However, the product itself is sent from the manufacturer’s warehouses directly to the end customer. This allows the online store to offer an even greater range of products. It also facilitates more business transactions.
With the growing popularity of e-commerce, the number of tools available to manage sales and run an e-shop is increasing. This way a lot of work is done automatically by the software. More efficiency also means more profits from online sales.
Basic tools for e-commerce success
Building an online store and the reputation of your business requires effort and time. There are many tools at the entrepreneur’s disposal, with the help of which he can more effectively conduct sales over the Internet. Some of them are designed for customer service, others support marketing, and others help to run the business, control the amount of goods and supervise the conduct of transactions on the site. From the entrepreneur’s point of view, it is supporting the business and increasing productivity.
Building pages for an online store
The primary tool any online retailer uses is a well-crafted website. The more intuitive it is, the more people will not only complete their purchases, but also return in the future. Graphic design and proper categorization are also important. The layout of products should support users in searching for needed goods.
Attractive assortment is easier to present through extensive product descriptions. Tables with parameters and a photo gallery positively affect the presentation of the offer. The possibility to choose the product version is not without significance. Internet user can choose the color or size with one click.
Offer tailored to customer needs
Researching the market and knowing the needs of potential customers is the most important step when opening your own business. The better your offer reflects the needs of your users, the more of them will make a payment.
Analytical tools for market research allow you to determine what products are currently in greatest demand. They make it easier to find the right niche that will give you the best chance of success and big profits from sales.
In addition, today goods do not have to be stored in a warehouse, which makes it easier to create an even more varied assortment. On the other hand, specialist stores, focusing on a narrow section of e-commerce, inspire more confidence.
Good organization and preparation
Beginning entrepreneurs get a dozen or so orders a day. This is not a big challenge. However, over time, as the online store grows, the number of orders also grows quickly.
For this reason it is worth building a simple store organization from the very beginning. Using dedicated programs for this purpose can significantly facilitate further functioning of the website. Management of warehouse, goods, databases and parcel shipment will be much easier and thus also faster. This will increase the capacity of the store, which will positively affect the potential profits.
Templates for creating online stores
With the growing popularity of the e-commerce industry, more and more solutions are being developed to help you build your own e-store. Advanced templates make it easier to:
- adding new products,
- grouping them into categories,
- creating descriptions and technical data,
- setting up an account and managing it by users,
- collecting orders,
- control over your store.
You can find free templates, with a simple layout, as well as more advanced, but paid ones. It is a huge simplification of running an online store, which makes it easier for new entrepreneurs to enter the e-commerce industry.
Tags in e-commerce
Tags that are placed on the page will also be very helpful. They allow for collecting data, but also for triggering windows or redirecting the user accordingly.
Their diversified functions mean that on one website even a few dozen tags can be installed. To manage them quickly and easily, you can use Google Tag Manager.
Content and SEO principles for reach
Popularity of an e-shop depends mainly on its position in the search engine. That is why it is worth putting some effort into creating content on the website. On the one hand, it should be specialist, so that it builds trust of users. On the other hand, it is also worth taking care of SEO aspects. This will allow you to get a better rating from Google, which will result in a higher position in the search engine.
Advertisements and online store
Promotion is the cornerstone in attracting new customers. It is also a powerful tool for online store owners. The e-commerce industry is characterized by advertising campaigns based on links and references.
However, creating the right promotion requires proper preparation and experience. Ads should be diverse to reach a wide range of potential customers. At the same time, it is worth narrowing down the group of recipients to people who may be interested in the store’s offer at all.
Social Media is the best place to advertise
Social Media are also perfect for promotion. Increasingly, various companies conducting more or less extensive advertising campaigns find their way there. Frequent commenting, posting trivia and creating small contests allows you to effectively build store recognition.
This potential is appreciated by many entrepreneurs, which is why the services of running such fanpage and issuing relevant posts are created.
Identifying competition and fighting for users
No company operates in isolation from the market. Even if you find a niche or create a new product, there will quickly be competitors trying to pick up customers.
A good entrepreneur always keeps his hand on the pulse. Therefore, he keeps a close eye on his competitors. As soon as he notices any actions that weaken his position on the market, he immediately introduces a counter-campaign.
After all, there is a constant battle for users in e-commerce. Because of easier access to websites, this fight is even more fierce. Portals such as Brand24 allow you to track new information appearing on the Internet and social networks. Everything about the selected keywords will be collected in one place. Thanks to this you will not miss any news introduced by your competitors.
Analyze your portal
There are also quite a few tools to help you analyze the data you collect. The most recognizable is Google Analytics. Thanks to it you can check what on the portal works properly and what needs some improvement.
However, the tools only allow calculating certain indicators or creating graphs of changes. Their assessment, and then synthesis ending with drawing conclusions, belongs to the owner. On this basis, he must also decide what improvements should be made.
Development and self-improvement of an online store
Creating an online store is just the first step in the e-commerce industry. You must not stop there. The website should be developed all the time. The content contained on it should be expanded. And the data analyzed in order to make corrections.
There are several interesting ways of introducing and testing changes on the website. A simple and effective way are A/B tests, which allow you to check one variable in different configurations. Changing the font typeface or different titles of a given category are excellent examples of conducting such tests. They consist in redirecting the customer traffic to two subpages that differ in only one parameter. Then, it is enough to compare statistics on both solutions in order to determine which one is more effective.
In order to gain an advantage over the competition, small changes are not enough. You need to carefully analyze all the data to draw correct conclusions and implement changes in the operation of the site.
E-commerce is still growing
The e-commerce industry is still growing and entrepreneurs still have many chances and opportunities to create a recognizable brand with high profits. In many industries, there is still a shortage of well-functioning e-commerce sites. In others, the potential demand exceeds the supply capacity of existing sales websites.
On the other hand, there are more and more tools that make it easier to enter the e-commerce market. This will result in increased competition. Only those who will devote enough effort and time to develop their business will manage to stay afloat. Otherwise, they will quickly be overtaken by entrepreneurs who care about SEO-compliant content and creating friendly websites.
E-commerce is a huge opportunity that still has not been exhausted.