The e-commerce site is undoubtedly the type of website that is the most popular at the moment. So much so that he is often called the “new king of the Internet”. If this nickname is discussed among experts, the fact remains that this type of site fits perfectly into current web trends and that the subtleties of this discipline are quite fascinating.
The purpose of this article is to contextualize this new king of the Internet, introduce you to its various subtleties, introduce you to some training channels that might interest you and finally give you some advice if you want to get started and if you want to know how to create an e-commerce site for your business.
What is e-commerce?
It is quite simply the sale of products and services via the Internet, which makes it possible to create an online marketplace. E-merchants address their customers via the creation of an online store, an online sales site, a merchant site or more commonly an e-commerce site. Unlike a showcase site that exposes a company’s activities in a generalist way, in e-commerce, consumers can access detailed information on products online and on each service, perform a search, choose, place the order and pay. Payment methods vary according to the sites (online payment platform, card, check, etc.). All this procedure is done from a connected device: computer, tablet or smartphone.
Advantages of an e-commerce site
No less interesting than the old method of traditional in-store purchasing, the e-business solution or distance selling offers multiple advantages for both the seller and the buyer.
- 24-hour product consultation. There are no store opening or closing hours. The e-commerce platform is available at any time and all year round.
- Saves time. At home, in the office, in the subway or elsewhere, from any device as long as it is connected to the Internet, the consumer can see, choose and order his product in real time. It’s faster than going to the store.
- Possibility to give an opinion on the products. Most sites now offer to share a comment on products with other Internet users and even to rate them. This is convenient for those who will come later to get information.
- Reaching consumers outside the catchment area. There is no border with electronic commerce. If you decide to open an online store, your potential customers will have access to your e-commerce site even at the other end of the world.
- Collection of data on your customers. First, you have an email address, ideal for making reminders, personalized offers, etc. through emailing. With the right tools and a few manipulations, it will be easy for you to set up effective marketing strategies based on a study of your customers’ data: where they come from, their age, their tastes.
- Possibility to offer innovative and practical services. There are a multitude of smart, effective and convenient features when you expand your online business to stimulate visitors and encourage them to buy more.
- Develop a customer experience. Images, a detailed presentation, a small audio or video sequence, a comparison, a test… With e-commerce, you have great freedom to sell on the Internet while enriching the customer experience.
Basic features of a merchant site
To be operational, an online store is equipped with these basic features :
- Catalog and product management (price, description, variations, images, stock…)
- Marketing management (promotions, sales…)
- Order and delivery management (validation, invoicing, shipping notification, etc.)
- The payment
- Customer management
- The administration interface
- Analytical and statistical tools
The economic climate lends itself to this: the consumer is increasingly connected
Have you ever heard of the connected consumer? It is an expression increasingly used to describe the contemporary consumer. The web is now so embedded in our daily lives and influences our purchasing decisions that many studies appear to help companies target these new consumers. For example, a recent study by Digitas LBi at the international level provides us with a portrait to help companies see clearly. Here are some results for the Belgian consumer:
- 83% of the Belgian population uses a laptop, 68% a smartphone, 68% a connected television and 54% a tablet
- Facebook is the first social network (78% of Belgians use it)
- 79% of Belgians prefer laptops to search for information on a product
- 54% of e-commerce purchases are made via a laptop computer
- 55% of Belgians have already looked for a product online before buying it in store
E-commerce, a constant quest for optimization
Optimizing your e-commerce site is a real competitive sport! It’s about always being on the lookout for the latest marketing tools and the latest marketing, technical, logistical, analytical and technological trends. If the basis lies initially, when you want to open an online store, in the choice of a theme, a graphic charter, a platform and adapt them to your target, the possibilities are endless and evolve at a frantic pace. It is also important to think about natural and paid referencing (ex:Adwords) to make your ecommerce site known. The optimization of your ecommerce shop thus passes by the optimization of referencing by using various tools and strategies webmarketing. Getting started in e-commerce requires preparation, management and follow-up, do not hesitate to call on a professional (agency or freelance) if you need advice or wish to be accompanied in your approach.
Create an e-commerce with a web agency
Creating your e-commerce with an e-commerce agency can be a trigger for your online success if you don’t have enough technical knowledge. While there are many competent agencies, it is sometimes difficult to see clearly and make sure you are working with the right team. Pay particular attention to your briefing and feel free to be 100% transparent about the description of your company, its challenges and the objective of your e-commerce project. In addition, be sure to carefully analyze the agencies that have submitted quotes to you. Are they appropriate for your situation? What budget are they proposing? What staff will be involved in your project? How important will customer support be? Etc. If you are looking for a specialized service provider to create a sales site, do not hesitate to start a web agency search via Sortlist.
Getting started in e-commerce: where to find good training?
In order to understand how to create an online store, sell online or master this demanding discipline, it is sometimes necessary to register for e-commerce training. Previously, training was (almost) mainly provided in recognised institutions, but this is no longer necessarily the case today. Indeed, thanks to Internet, the format of these trainings is much more varied and more and more accessible, which allows you to create an Internet site of on-line sale much more quickly. To train yourself effectively, don’t hesitate to think about:
- Free online training courses
- Online paid training courses
- Specialized Books
- Blogs of experts on the subject
Drawing inspiration: good examples of online sales sites
There are many recognized e-commerce, do not hesitate to draw inspiration from their good practices and put them to use in your business for the creation of your online store. The adaptation of your e-commerce to your target remains your priority and you must not deviate from it at all. However, is it not said that “good artists copy” and that “great artists steal”? 🙂
10 e-commerce trends for this year
Rather than an advertisement that redirects the user to an e-commerce site, the Buy button makes it possible to buy simply by clicking on the advertising banner or in the results of a search. Twitter, Tumblr, Facebook, Pinterest and of course Google quickly understood the interest of this shortcut.
To further target and personalize the offers, it is now necessary to examine the micro-moments. These are all the times a user logs in during the day. This can last a few minutes or a few hours, can correspond to the visited sites. The research done is all important.
Mixed trade and content
It consists in publishing real articles and contents linked to a product to keep the attention of the surfer. Even Amazon, despite being a proponent of the minimalist product sheet, has got into it.
Innovation for delivery
The faster and more convenient it is, the more consumers will succumb. Much better than the 24 hours, now we aim for delivery in one hour. The latest innovations also include delivery by drone, in collection bins or directly in the boot of the car.
Integration of chat tools
Directing the e-consumer towards the product he is looking for, giving order tracking information… The chat is no longer an act of presence, it is a real tool to convert and retain.
Buying via phones is taking more and more market share at the expense of the tablet. Smartphones being literally present at any time of the day, and their larger screen, the optimization of e-commerce sites for the phone, and the M-commerce customer path are essential.
Personalized marketing and non-intrusive advertising
Advertising campaigns are much more effective when they are more targeted, personalized and respectful of Internet users’ freedom. The choice of non-intrusive formats and the improvement of ad quality are therefore at the heart of all concerns.
These large e-commerce surfaces allow sellers to be visible to potential new buyers and to obtain a better conversion rate without too much investment. Since commissions are proportional to sales, there are only advantages.
The omni channel
Half of consumers go through several types of devices before making a purchase. A large majority also make site visits before going to the store. The omni channel allows to offer more flexibility to the user in his experience whatever the medium he uses.
If Facebook is already a key player in e-commerce. Pinterest and Instagram enter the arena and will probably soon be joined by WhatsApp and Snapchat. Creating attractive content and viral ads on social networks is the current trend.