E-Commerce, or electronic commerce, refers to the purchase of goods or services online. To simplify the process, let’s break it down into individual elements.
You must have a product or service to offer that someone will want to buy. This product or service can be something you provide yourself, or you may go through a distributor to get them.
You must have a place from which you sell your products. In terms of E-Commerce, that place doesn’t really matter, you can have an actual storefront where people can also come in and purchase your goods or services, or you can sell from someplace like your home. Since all the transactions take place online, it doesn’t really matter.
You must have some type of marketing strategy in place. If no one can find you, then you have no chance of making any sales. This process can be executed in many ways, but again, for online purposes, occurs most frequently through search engine optimization, online advertising and networking or word of mouth.
Once someone comes to your e-commerce website and decides they want to make a purchase, there must be a method in place for you to accept orders. With this, you must be able to track inventory to make sure the product is available and also keep in mind other things like different sizes and colors of the product so that the person can order the exact item they are looking for.
There must be a method for purchase. Since the transactions are taking place online, cash is not an option. Therefore, you must have a payment gateway to accept credit cards or use a platform such as PayPal. If you are going to accept credit cards via your website, you also must have an SSL certificate. This SSL certificate protects the process of credit card purchases online and encrypts the information as it is passed though, that way it cannot be hijacked by spammers.
Your product needs to get shipped from your store location to the consumer. This process usually occurs via FedEx, UPS or the US Postal Service. In order to complete this process, you must have a business account with one of the aforementioned. There are fees associated with this, so you must figure out if the consumer is going to pay extra for shipping, or if you might build it into the price of your product. You must also figure out how the product will get into the hands of the shipping company, will they pick it up from your location or will you drop it off at one of theirs?
If the consumer receives your product and decides they don’t like it, they will need to follow your directions on how to make a return. These directions should be clearly spelled out on your website for your protection.
If a product breaks during the shipping process or if after received, you may want to offer a warranty to the consumer.
You may want to offer technical or customer support for your e-commerce website. Perhaps a customer has a question regarding one of your products or is having a technical issue fulfilling their order; there must be a process in place on how to address this.
As you can see, there are a lot of different aspects to keep in mind when setting up an e-commerce store. At RI Web Gurus, we can walk you through each process one by one so that you understand it and it’s importance. We'll also help facilitate the job of getting them all taken care of.