E-commerce (or eCommerce) is an abbreviation of ‘Electronic Commerce’ which in simple terms means the selling and buying of products and/or services online via the internet.
There are many advantages in businesses selling via an e-commerce website, none more so than the ability to sell their products or services throughout the world 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
Whilst having an ecommerce website doesn't restrict you to selling in the United Kingdom alone, it's worth mentioning that the UK has the biggest e-commerce market in the world when measured by the amount spent per capita.
Almost any business selling products and/or services can potentially benefit from an e-commerce website. For business with a shop front, or those already running a mail order service, an e-commerce website should simply be treated as an additional outlet to those already in place. The process is essentially no more than a mail order facility where orders are placed over the internet rather than via a phone call, fax or posted order form.
There is a perception that shopping online is simply about finding the cheapest price, however the convenience of online shopping to customers, who can't always find the time to shop during standard opening hours, is the main reason people like to shop online.
As with any business, repeat and recommended business is key to being successful, and so it is equally important to treat your e-commerce customers in the same way as you would any other customer by offering a good service.
For online only businesses, there are many cost savings to running an e-commerce website when compared to setting up a shop. You don't necessarily require any additional premise or staff, and depending on the products you sell and the speed in which your suppliers can meet your orders, you can operate with very low stock levels.
We have many ecommerce customers who run businesses selling services online who don't actually hold any stock as the order is fulfilled by the manufacturer; this is referred to as 'drop shipping', and whilst the profit margins are reduced, so is the risk as there is very little financial investment required.
As with all our websites and systems, our ecommerce solutions are also designed and developed uniquely for each individual customer, ensuring each site meets that clients specific requirements.
Along with a fully bespoke 'responsive' design, each e-commerce website also features a fully bespoke Content Management System, allowing our customers to quickly and easily manage every aspect of the website, from the top level categories and individual products, through to each customer order.
As well as all the standard e-commerce features you'd expect to find, due to the bespoke nature of the development, we are also able to offer numerous additional features that we have added over the years, and can also develop any unique features a customer may require.
This feature will enable you to add various options to your products such as 'colour' and 'size' options. Very useful for selling products that are the same and cost the same but come with different options.
This feature will enable you to add a priced attributes to your products such as different priced 'size' options. Very useful for selling products that are the same but come with different a option at a different price (ie: Small printed T-shirt £15 : Large printed T-shirt £18).
This will enable you to upload multiple image per product and can be used to show the product in different angles, colours, sizes, detail etc.
To encourage customers to spend more money when they are on the site we offer a number of upselling features, such as:
To help promote bestselling products. The system will automatically display a list of the bestselling products on the website. The list can show as many products as you like but usually would promote somewhere between 5 and 10 products.
This feature automatically displays products that customers bought as well as the product they are looking for, and often show trends of buying behaviour which can help to sell more products per customer.
In a similar way to the Also Bought feature, the 'Associated Products' option is designed to 'up sell' products associated with the main product the customer is considering buying. An example would be if you are selling a set of kitchen knives you may want to try and sell them a magnetic knives holder, a knife block or a knife sharpening tool.
The system can also provide a number of features to assist with any additional online and/or offline marketing activities.
This option provides the ability to offer discounts of a fixed price or on a percentage basis. This will help with any additional marketing carried out. For example you may have an advert in a magazine where you can offer a 10% discount to their readers. When a customer enters the discount code 10% would automatically be deducted from their total. As you would be able to add as many discount codes as you like, you are able to have a unique code for any offer you have which will also help you to keep track of which offers work and which don't. Discount codes can also be linked to a specific product or category of products, and can be set for a specific period of time; a day, a week, month etc...
Adds a 'like' and 'share' button to a product which when clicked appears on the visitors own social media account. All of the visitors friends and followers will then see that that person likes or has bought the product.
We have a number of features that our customers can request if required:
For businesses selling products where the customers is likely regularly revisit the website to make further purchase in the future, we would recommend offering them an account facility. This will save them time on checkout as they will not have to enter their personal details every time they make a purchase. Customers who have set up an account would login using their Username and Password which also features a password reminder system.
This system enables accurate records of stock and can also send reminder email when stock levels have reached a set figure.
The bespoke nature of our ecommerce platform allows us to create any kind of report required. The most commonly requested is a sales reports showing which products sell the most during any given period of time, often used to spot market or seasonal trends.
This allows customers to upload individual product reviews and provide an overall star rating for that product.
This allows the site owner to upload product specific PDF documents such as technical specifications that can then be downloaded by the website visitor.
Allowing the uploading of product preview/review video clips for the visitor to watch. This is a very good facility to promote new products or products that are better explained via a video clip.
Registered account holders will automatically receive points each time they make a purchase which are then redeemable against future purchases.
For products that can have or required personalisation such as a name, message or image (photo or logo)
We have many customers that offer various deals such as 'Buy one get one free', '3 for 2', 'Buy 3 get the cheapest free', 'Post free deals' etc. As our system is fully bespoke we can develop any deal(s) facility you like.
As security is always a major consideration, most of the e-commerce websites we design and develop use third party payment providers such as WorldPay, PayPal, SagePay and HSBC to process the credit card transactions.
Whilst there are costs associated with these payment providers, they do take on the role of processing the payment using a secure encryption, and will protect against fraudulent purchases.
There are however exceptions, and often our 'business to business' e-commerce customers will often offer an additional invoicing facility to existing account holders.
As e-commerce website can allow trading throughout the world, if required we can also allow prices and orders to display in different currencies.
When operating an e-commerce website there are a number of legal compliances to consider. Some will be required by contract law, whilst other will be required by the payment provider, and most are in place to protect the consumer.