How it works; e-commerce

E commerce, or online shopping, is what many see as the future of retail and the High Street, we’re all still pretty used to popping down the shops and browsing things right in front of us, but more and more people are liking the convenience of shopping from home and the ability to compare prices across a huge number of shops very quickly. Perhaps most importantly to business owners, the costs of an online shop are a fraction of a High Street shop and they offer all kinds of extra benefits, like staying open 24/7!

 

Front ends

An e-commerce store is typically added on to a normal website “front end”; so you have a couple of standard web pages welcoming browsers and offering contact details and so on, then a distinct shopping area listing products with buttons to click to buy and a credit card gathering process. The front end really is just like a regular website so it could quickly be adapted from a current site or put together at quite a low cost by a website designer.

 

Back ends

The back end of the actual store is much more complex requiring a database of regularly updated products, an encrypted and secure link up for credit card information and facilities to incorporate special offers, different delivery options and so on. Many website designers can offer very basic online shopping options using standardised templates but there’s a big risk in using these, they never quite fit the situation or have odd quirks and definitely struggle the more professional you want to get.

 

Bespoke solutions

The ultimate solution has to be a bespoke built site; even with a low cost focused web design company offering package deals, a custom e-commerce site will set you back at least a couple of thousand pounds, but before you discount it as an option, think about what you get and compare that to your standard retail outlet.

 

The incredible benefits

Most e-commerce stores need just one employee to keep things up to date or send out the occasional newsletter, they can live anywhere in the world and work from home. Even with just one employee the shop is always open, and has a branch in just about every country in the world, creating a colossal potential customer base. Even when the shop is out of stock on something, the shelves always appear full and people will still happily buy that product and wait for it to be sent to them when it comes into stock. Most of your customer enquiries can be dealt with by a machine, all monetary transactions are dealt with by a machine, most of your book-keeping is completed by a machine and all of your customers are used to that and perfectly happy about it.

 

The store does the work for you and at a fraction of the cost of a commercial rent; the big pay off is that you don’t get a lot of walk in trade, but you do get to put all your attention into just promoting the shop, almost everything else is getting done for you and you only have your web hosting and a part time employee to pay to keep it that way.