The stream of commerce has fueled economies and advanced societies all over the world. Commerce has arguably been and still is, in many ways, the most significant driving force to influence human history. It has brought forth new technologies and established nations as world leaders.
Combined with the power of technology, commerce continues to evolve and reshape the global marketplace as we know it.
A New Form of Commerce: E-commerce
Recently, the exciting technological evolution of the internet has launched a new form of commerce never seen before: e-commerce. Predominantly the buying and selling of products or services over the internet, e-commerce has transformed consumer behaviors and business models across the board.
E-commerce powers the ability for businesses to satisfy humanity’s desire for immediate gratification.
E-commerce websites are virtual retail stores that are not limited by place and manner restrictions, which is what truly sets them apart from traditional brick and mortar locations.
Businesses that were once limited to their location and geographical reach are no longer constrained by such factors. Businesses that utilize e-commerce are able to reach more customers and in turn sell more products than ever before because the internet is a 24/7/365 real-time connection to the entire world.
More active customers
The combination of more active customers that have access to a wider selection of products propagates a highly competitive online marketplace. Customers and clients routinely research products online for better deals, higher quality products and to discover products that fully meet their needs. Businesses that were able to operate profitably in niche regions now have national and even global competitors targeting their historical client base as never before.
Sell to the World!
The end-goal for all e-commerce websites is to sell products online at a profit. However, merely having a website on the internet does not guarantee that it will be visible to your targeted audience.
Specific steps must be taken to accomplish online visibility in the pursuit of profit, such as advanced advertising and marketing strategies.
Once such measures have been properly implemented to position a business’ products, pages and site authoritatively in search engine results, the benefits of online visibility will be quite evident. For both established and new e-commerce websites, online visibility will determine the success or failure of that business’ online efforts.
The process of setting up e-commerce websites can be very complicated. From a high level it entails:
- selection of a URL,
- selection and development of a website & platform,
- populating products to the website,
- marketing the products online,
- advertising to prospective clients/customers and building brand awareness,
- content writing,
- website conversion optimization,
- analytics tracking, and
A true online marketing professional will be able to assist you with these daunting tasks. Professional online assistance makes all the difference whether a site is marketable and well suited to the needs of a business. To avoid potential costly pitfalls and to make the best of online marketing efforts, it is a wise decision for site owners to hire online consultants or agencies to not only lay the groundwork for a long term online strategy, but also to provide ongoing valuable industry consultative insight as needed.
E-commerce Software Platforms
Businesses can choose from either open source or proprietary ecommerce platforms. Open source platforms are often free to install and use, but a business is responsible for website hosting, setup and maintenance. Further, businesses that chose open source platforms are extremely limited in their initial online capabilities and often wind up spending more for additional developments of advanced customizations that are unfortunately not pre-packaged and have significant costs associated to them.
Proprietary ecommerce solutions are managed by the companies that create them. These proprietary systems come with many advanced features and pre-built designs to pick from. For a business this equates to a faster and easier setup, since all that must be done after setup is to add content, products, and billing information.
A fitting analogy to sum up open source vs. proprietary systems is:
“An open source website is akin to owning a custom built house designed to chosen specifications, whereas, proprietary systems are similar to renting a fully built cookie-cutter home with quality assurance from the builder.”
Professional help makes all the difference – CHEGO
Whether you choose an open source or proprietary solution, all e-commerce websites are built on advanced content management systems that are linked to databases with many options to pick from. The predominant feature that defines CMS as an ecommerce platform is the shopping cart.
E-commerce websitescan have any number of additional features that enrich the users experience and aid in the sale of additional products such as: cross-sells, up-sells, coupons & discount codes, customer review management, advanced internal search features, SEO readiness, pre-set product feed link-ups and more.
For help setting up an e-commerce platform or to get your existing online store up to par, contact us at CHEGO, we will be happy to assist you.