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Looking back, the 90s sounds so obsolete now. Well, it has been two decades since then and it has become a sort of peaceful memory we keep in our treasure chests. It’s just there in sepia colors waiting for us to recall a Saturday filled with cartoons on our chunky TV monitor, an afternoon spent just talking to our best friends on our wired telephones until it’s time for dinner, and random days with our friends outside, just laughing and goofing around. It was very subtle and sweet. There are days when we just stare at our computers wondering what else this machine can do. Is there more to it than just typing our school papers here? Why can’t we use our telephones while we are searching the web? It was the transition period to the modern world where the internet is accessible to almost everyone on the planet. It does not seem as momentous as the times before and after the 90s, but it actually was.

A lot of things happened in this notable era that shaped the world where we are today. Look around you and see how everything is within your reach. Everything is just a click away! Do you need to book a hotel? Do you want a dinner reservation for two? Do you wish to pay your employees without sending a check? Everything is online and the possibilities are endless. One of the many exciting things we can do now is Ecommerce.

We hear of ecommerce being dropped all over the digital world and many people see it as the future of retail. But What is ecommerce website and how does it work? If you have an ecommerce business or if you are planning to build one, here is a quick guide to building ecommerce websites that attract profits and repeat business.

What is ecommerce website?

Ecommerce or electronic commerce refers to a business model that involves sales transactions being done on the web. Virtually every online shopping website - big or small - follows this structure. Any site where you can obtain items for sale over the internet is considered an ecommerce website.

Ebay and Amazon, the grandfathers of ecommerce, paved the way to a newer and more convenient way of shopping. They are actually not that old to be called grandfathers, but the higher level of respect is implied there. Of course online buying and selling were already a thing before, but because of these companies, e-commerce website became an easier and more preferred platform to a lot of consumers.

People were very skeptical to use these sites to purchase their items there because they are prone to fraudulent activities and scamming schemes. It is still evident up to this day, but developers come up with solutions to better people’s shopping experience. Examples of these solutions are reviews, return policy, and cash on delivery. These features help consumers decide if they should purchase items from an e-commerce website or not.

One of the obvious differences between an ecommerce website and an ordinary business or company website is in the features that it supports. A company website may just house information on the brand’s product and services so users will need to contact the company directly if they want to do business with them. Meanwhile, an ecommerce website works pretty much like how a physical store works. Users can purchase items, arrange for delivery and payments on the same site without the need to call a human person to help them with their order. When you start learning how to create ecommerce website content, you’ll find that it’s a bit more complicated to put up an online store compared to an ordinary website because of the features and design elements that the former requires.

There are a lot of ecommerce websites selling a variety of items now. From clothing pieces to food items to gardening materials, one must be creative to make his or her brand more unique than the other. Even social media accounts are becoming ecommerce platforms and are developed to be ecommerce websites nowadays. The only difference is that on an e-commerce website, you don’t have to deal with a human to be able to buy and get your items delivered to your doorstep. An ecommerce website must be as functional as it is with or without the owners or managers monitoring the site and dealing with their customers every second of the day.

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How to build an ecommerce website

There are two ways to build ecommerce websites: one is to plan out what you want to see on your website then get a professional website developer to handle the project for you; the other way is to use a free e-commerce website builder. There is no right or wrong way of building an online store. It all depends on your budget and how much time you are willing to spend on this task.

If you do want to go the do-it-yourself route and use a site builder, the first step is to find the best ecommerce website builder for small business. Building your website on your own might sound intimidating, but one of the best innovations the world of programming shared to us is website builders. If you’re worried about the look of your site, there are ecommerce website templates you can choose from that would fit your branding.

If you want to dip your toes into the world of ecommerce but you are hesitant about making a huge investment, Strikingly can help you set up your online store for free. Its website ecommerce platform called Simple Store is available even for free accounts. Once you’re ready to take the plunge and sell more products, this site builder can help you scale up with even more options on the paid accounts.

Learn more about Strikingly’s ecommerce platform.

Deciding on the product to sell

The next step is to decide on the product that you want to sell. Your choice depends on a lot of factors including what types of products you’re interested in, what is in demand with your chosen market niche, how complicated it is to source the product or make it yourself and how difficult it is to have your items delivered to your customers. As much as you are already certain what products to sell, you still need to do your market research, identify your target audience and find out what their needs and challenges are so you can provide the product that answers their concerns.

Once you have that all set, you can go ahead to designing the ecommerce website and planning the content.

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Building website content

When it comes to building ecommerce websites, there are best practices that you must take note of to ensure the success of your new venture.

  • Photos
    You want to make sure that you are using high quality product images to help users decide whether or not your product is suitable for their needs. If you can add action shots, or photos of the products being used, and different angles for each, it would be really helpful.
  • Description
    You also want to provide detailed product descriptions to help users make informed decisions about your product. This is very crucial for every e-commerce website. As much as possible, add a detailed description of your item’s color, sizes, and functions. This helps you dispute when there are “not as described” comments or reasons of return.
  • Policy
    Terms and conditions are vital for every
    business. This protects both the buyer and the seller from any scamming schemes. Include your return policy and payment method options somewhere where they are seen easily. Some e-commerce website put their policies on their check out page just before the customer pays for an item.
  • Prices
    There are some laws that require retail businesses to post prices on all of their items. This lessens unnecessary interactions between consumers and suppliers thus making it more convenient for customers to buy their products in a few clicks.
  • Live Chat
    As much as it is our goal to lessen consumer-supplier interaction,
    a live chat feature should be in place for them to contact you directly whenever they get stuck while putting in an order on your website or if they have product-related queries.
  • Tracking Number
    Every transaction should generate a code for them to follow. Place a feature on your e-commerce website that could show the status of their orders. This gives your customer proper expectations and better shopping experience.

Always prioritize user experience so make it easy for your potential customers to complete purchases with just a few clicks. The information they are looking for should also be readily available on your website. The information that you will be getting from your customers should only be as minimal and necessary as possible to make it a hassle-free and trust-worthy experience.

Online shopping has gotten better over the years. More and more people are feeling more secured on buying and selling online because of its development. Ready to start selling online? Build your own ecommerce website today.