E-commerce is essentially commerce done electronically. It is anything and everything that deals with the purchase and trade of goods and services online. It has many aspects. It is not limited to the buying and selling of these goods, but also include online retail, auctioning, legal music downloading and many more.
Like any regular business venture, it requires many tools of commerce. First, a place where customers can view and purchase the products must be needed. For the regular business, this is called the store. For e-commerce, this is called the e-store.
E-stores can vary in design and features. Typically though, it contains the following basic features:
1.) A product catalog
This is where customers choose their products. This is the e-store counterpart of a regular store’s shelves and racks.
2.) A Shopping cart software
This is where the user “carts” or puts in the chosen product. Many internet marketing tools like shopping carts software are being offered by a variety of hosting services nowadays.
3.) A secure transaction mechanism
It is important for online stores to protect their customer’s credit information against online thieves. This adds credibility to the store and assurance to the customer. Payment transactions must be included in this feature.
This feature involves the last step for online purchasing. This feature must include the due step-by-step mechanism for incorporating tax, inventory, shipping costs and many more.
These basic features compose a typical e-store. However, e-stores may differ in template, tone and it may have different programs for each of these features. Some combine transaction mechanisms with the processing.
Building an E-store
While the earlier mentioned features comprise a basic outline of what an e-store looks like, having these features still don’t guarantee success. Much like the ordinary business, half the trick comes from designing the store itself. For the online store, this means choosing the right e-store software.
E-store softwares come in different designs. Many hosting services are being offered on the web, some with built-in shopping carts, internet marketing tools, and otherfeatures, and others without. Deciding on what e-store software to use is crucial for a company as it will greatly affect consumer activity within your online store. Usually, the simplicity of navigating through your e-store is what most customers go for. If they want to buy a product but find it too complicated to purchase it online, then they may opt to buy it from a regular store instead-or worse, not buy it at all.
Clarity and organization of product information is also part of the criteria. An online store holds the advantage of being able to provide more information about the product, thus companies must make use of this advantage wisely. They could first provide catchy phrases coupled with video and photo features for a product, and they may link these products to other internet marketing websites for more information. The more information placed on a product, the more likely the customer will buy it. However, it is important to note that customers do not like to be overwhelmed with too many facts, thus keep the information concise but informative.