Worried about how to convert your offline business to online, or have an e-commerce website that’s not doing well? Read on, to get an explanation of what you should do.
Setting up an e-commerce website or starting a business can be super confusing, as you may not know where to start, and what to sell.
The first step obviously will be to decide on what can be a viable product which customers will buy and you provide effectively. For this understanding e-commerce and types of transactions, businesses and products are extremely crucial.
So, let us cover some basics about what e-commerce is all about. These will help you understand what kind of business you are in and take decisions accordingly.
E-commerce can be broken into e which means electronic and commerce: business and financial activities or transactions and everything connected to it. This means that whenever you buy and sell something using the Internet, you’re involved in e-commerce.
Electronic commerce includes technologies such as mobile commerce, electronic funds transfer, supply chain management, Internet marketing, online transaction processing, electronic data interchange (EDI), inventory management systems, and automated data collection systems.
Typical e-commerce transactions: the purchase of online books (such as Amazon)
There are three types of e-commerce: online retailing, electronic markets, and online auctions.
Since primarily it is business, one of the major components are the merchants.
Types of e-commerce merchants:
- Classifying e-commerce merchants according to what they’re selling:
- Stores selling physical goods
These are online retailers: apparel stores, home-ware businesses, and gift shops, just to name a few.
Some examples of these e-commerce stores include eye wear retailer Warby Parker, and shoe retailer Zappos.
Services are also bought and sold online. Online consultants, educators, and freelancers are usually the ones engaging in e-commerce.
Web design company Blue Fountain Media is one example of a business that does this.
- Digital products:
E-commerce is, highly digital, so it’s no surprise that many merchants sell “e-goods” online. Common types of digital products include eBooks, online courses, software, graphics, and virtual goods.
Examples of merchants that sell digital products are Shutterstock (a site that sells stock photos), Udemy (a platform for online courses), and Slack (a company that provides real-time messaging, archiving and search for teams).
Classifying eCommerce according to the parties involved:
These typically include:
- Business to Consumer (B2C) – In B2C ecommerce, businesses are the ones selling products or services to end-users (i.e. consumers). Examples: Retailers with online stores such as Walmart, Macy’s, and IKEA
- Business to Business (B2B) – As its name states, B2B ecommerce pertains to transactions conducted between two businesses. Examples include Xero, online accounting software for small businesses.
- Consumer to Business (C2B) – Consumer to business ecommerce happens when a consumer sells or contributes monetary value to a business. Crowdsourcing campaigns fall under C2B ecommerce.
- Consumer to Consumer (C2C) – As you might have guessed, C2C ecommerce happens when something is bought and sold between two consumers. Examples: eBay, in which one individual sells a product or service to another.
- Government to Business (G2B) – G2B or G2C transactions take place when a company pays for government goods, services, or fees online. Examples could be a business paying for taxes using the Internet.
- Business to Government (B2G) – When a government entity uses the Internet to purchases goods or services from a business, the transaction may fall under B2G ecommerce.
E-commerce platforms: a look at where and how e-commerce takes place:
This is crucial for everyone as these were the major interactions that happened .This will help each one of you to choose which platform bests suit your business.
1. Online storefronts:
These include examples where a merchant creates a website and uses it to sell products and services using shopping carts and ecommerce solutions. The “right” solution will depend on the merchant and their products. Below is a list of some of the top ecommerce platforms. Check them out and see which one is right for you.
Magento – Considered as one of the most flexible ecommerce solutions in the market, Magento offers powerful features, freedom to customize the look, feel, and implement functionalities of your site according to your own wish.
Magento also has an active community of experts, developers, and agencies allowing merchants to easily connect with others if they need support.
Oracle Commerce – This ecommerce solution can be implemented on-premises, or it can be hosted by Oracle or a third party. It has features that can benefit both B2B and B2C merchants.
Oracle Commerce helps users to easily customize sites and campaigns while giving them the ability to efficiently launch sites for multiple brands and markets.
Shopify – Shopify has features that let you sell online, on social media, and in-person. It lets merchants build and customize their ecommerce site through easy-to-use interfaces and templates. And it has features such as inventory management, reporting, buy buttons and more. It also has social selling functionalities for those who are active on sites like Facebook and Pinterest.
BigCommerce – They are used by big and small brands alike. BigCommerce offers features such as a site builder, shipping options, reporting, and more. It also enables merchants to sell on other sites and platforms, including eBay, Amazon, Facebook, Google Shopping, and Square. Additionally, it has a Buy Button for enabling sales on blogs, emails, and more.
2. Online marketplaces:
Ecommerce transactions also take place in online marketplaces — sites that facilitate transactions between merchants and customers. Most online marketplaces don’t own inventory; rather, they just connect buyers and sellers and give them a platform on which to do business.
Some of the top online marketplaces on the web are:
Amazon –Amazon is one of the world’s largest online marketplaces, offering extensive selections of books, electronics, apparel, accessories, baby products, and more.
As of 2015, there were more than 2 million third-party sellers on the site, and according to Amazon, these sellers sold 2 billion items in 2014.
eBay – eBay is another popular online marketplace that connects merchants and buyers, facilitating B2B, B2C, and C2C ecommerce. eBay offers products in several categories, including electronics, cars, fashion, collectibles, and more.
eBay merchants hold auctions that let buyers bid on products that allow the possibility of selling items above market value.
3. Social media:
Social media paves the way for e-commerce in two ways:
Marketing Your Ecommerce Store
In many cases, social networks such as Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Pinterest aren’t used as ecommerce platforms. Rather, merchants use these sites to showcase their merchandise. And when shoppers come across an item that they like on social; they are directed to the merchant’s ecommerce site.
Conducting ecommerce transactions on social sites
Social networks are also exploring ways to let consumers complete purchases without having to leave the site.
Speaking of Shopify, the ecommerce platform also offers a fully integrated Facebook store that allows shoppers to purchase products without having to leave the site
Now that you know in detail what platform to use, what kind of business you would want to start, etc. we can now venture into the steps to take to start and maintain a successful business. Let me try to explain how this works:
A complete end to end solutions is not only about technology but consists of all the physical operational components like:
A good process involves collecting requirements from the business stakeholders, prioritized them and on the back of them creates a website design and architecture which is usable and creative leading to excellent customer service.
The platform should be modern, taking into account changes in the way people now use the internet i.e. different devices at different locations and has all the basic integrations like shopping cart, product catalog, secure payment gateway and hosting.
Partner with us for creating customized E-commerce websites that will convert visitors into sales.
Once the store is set up online, your next big challenge is to drive relevant traffic/visitors to your sites. By relevant we mean that these visitors are genuinely interested in your products and will consider making a purchase now or in the future.
To market online there are various ways depending on where your target traffic is online e.g. if you are targeting parents then LinkedIn is not the right channel and you may consider Facebook or Google as your marketing channel.
Here Fleapo can be a one-stop solution for all your digital marketing needs. Believe in us and we will help you effectively create your brand online.
Search Engine Marketing [SEO]
Most of the online journeys start with the search engine like Google. You will need to be ranked high on page one of the search engines, especially Google, SEO requires specialized expertise in keywords and content optimization.
At Fleapo, we aim to achieve this in several ways, we start by ensuring that your site is accessible by leading search engines and contain all the well-written content related to your business and industry, we then link your website with another website who are interested in the content available on your website. Over time this build authority for your website as more people visit which generate more traffic and ultimately more business.
Online Advertising/PPC (Pay Per Click)
When searching via google or any other search engine you will often see an advertisement on the top or on the right-hand side of the page. This is just one form of PPC advertisement. These ads are run against relevant keywords that people are searching on search engines. The other types include PPC using banners and social media channels like Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube.
You can outsource this to any online company, as this feature is now so common, that you will get numerous companies ready to do it for you.
Interesting and engaging content should be written to drive traffic to credible sites e.g. by BuzzFeed and other reputable sites in your industry. This requires using blogs, videos, ebooks, newsletters, etc. This form of marketing complements search engine optimization as well.
Creating your own blog, videos, content, etc. facilitates your brand building as well.
Facebook, WhatsApp, WeChat and Twitter, etc. has opened new ways to access customers in several different ways. Using social media as part of your marketing strategy can allow you to increase customer outreach, gain a wider audience and interact with customers both old and new.
Email marketing requires specialist skills in the way content is written, subject lines are crafted, call to actions inserted and emails are tracked.
It’s crucial to outsource marketing through emails if specialists cannot be employed for this. It is important for you to contact your existing customer base regularly, that’s why they use of strategic content, call to actions and social emphasis to create email marketing campaigns is crucial in bringing customers to your online shop.
In the digital age, we are now in, for something good or bad to go viral can only take seconds and business reputation can be ruined in no time. This is the reason it is vitally important to do brand protection online for reputation and sentiments. This requires regular tracking and converting negative perception to positive ones.
You can take the help of online sites like onewood for the same.
A recent study by Bizrate said that 34% of respondents say they hesitate to buy online because of fear of data theft.
While designing your website make sure that you show the symbols that your suppliers have provided to you along with this it is important to seamlessly integrate payment solutions with your website without visitors feel that they have to leave your site to make the payments.
In the age of data theft visitors are increasingly concerned about data security of their credit cards.
The best payment methods for a fast and secure checkout process in 2019 are:
- Apple Pay
- American Express
- Visa Checkout
- Google Pay
Warehousing and Order Fulfillment
It is important to cover three major areas when considering warehousing and fulfillment.
- Managed facility – deals with managing orders, packing and returns.
- Integration – with the website for orders, customer service, status, processing, returns & security of customer data.
III. Shipping – carrier integration, rates negotiations, packaging, and branding.
In today’s common-channel experience, customers or visitors want service no matter which channel they are on. When thinking about customer service for your online store consider facilities like self-service, live chat, search, a comprehensive FAQ, and call center support. This should be backed with a CRM where you can maintain customer history so customer queries, complaints, and issues are recorded, tracked and monitored to closure.
We guide so can achieve End-to-End Solutions
From above it is clear that running an online e-commerce business is a complex operation with multiple parts where all these parts need to work together.
We not only provide you a good-looking website, but we also take care of the back-end applications, without which your website will lack speed and will show errors on and off. We will do the programming, look at the numbers and design and develop a website that not only looks amazing but works amazingly well also. We couple this with Digital Marketing and Social Media marketing. For all other aspects, we can guide or assist you so that you can achieve effective results in all your e-commerce ventures.
Contact Us Now @ Fleapo.com