What is E-Commerce?
Your E-Commerce website is your virtual ‘shop window’, letting your visitors see your products from the comfort of their own home. So what do you need to make an e-commerce website effective?
How does having an e-commerce website help your business?
Having the right E-commerce platform is all down to how you display your products on your website, this provides a showcase to the millions of visitors on the web who are looking to buy your product online. For example, if you have an Art gallery or shop in one specific city, the visitors would include people from in and around the city. On the contrary, if your products are demonstrated on a website, it attaches you to the numerous people who access the internet all over the world who are looking for similar product the same as yours and hence your profits can be increased because you then have access to a larger customer base to sell your products to.
How does having an e-commerce site increase sales for your business?
The commencement of e-commerce websites has brought upheaval in the method of buying and selling goods. In this regard, it is important to consider websites like E-bay, Amazon, Alibaba, Gumtree etc. They have broadly used the e-commerce process to earn sales & revenue and make a percentage off each sale.
Whether you have an existing business or beginning a new one, whether the size of your business is big or small, you can always generate profit by presenting your products or services online, thereby gaining a large amount of viewer exposure. In a nutshell, any selling/buying business can be benefit by the e-commerce method. Some of the benefits of having an e-commerce website are as follows.
The different types of e-commerce explained.
E-Commerce – M-Commerce – ME-Commerce – S-Commerce – F-Commerce
Since the hard hitting recession began, retail (in general) has been taking a hit on all fronts. Retailers and marketers alike realized that to keep their sales afloat they must appeal to their consumers’ better nature, by approaching them when they are most likely to notice; enter M-commerce, F-commerce, S-commerce and ME-commerce.
We understand that fast paced lives can make keeping up with the latest terms and trends difficult, so here are the most popular e-commerce variations explained –
1. E-Commerce (electronic commerce) – refers to the process of buying and selling online, whether this be through a company’s own e- commerce website, or through multiple channels like eBay, Amazon or Play.com. However, the term does not solely refer to the buying and selling of products, the correct definition of e-commerce states that it encompasses the entire online process, starting at developing, marketing, sales, payment, delivery and services. Recently, as in-store sales have allegedly begun to fall, high-street stores have been asked to stay open longer in order to compete with their convenient e-commerce sites. Consumers like e-commerce, and studies have shown that consumers are happier shopping online, because they can shop whenever they want.
2. M-Commerce (mobile commerce) – the quick to expand market of mobile commerce refers to the process of buying and selling on a mobile website or app. It can occur on any smartphone (iPhone, Android and Blackberry) and again refers to the entire process starting at development and design, and checkout. In fact, development could be considered one of the most important stages as all imagery, font and general website design has to be altered to be appropriate for a mobile screen. A recent research paper, written by the IMRG, shows that Amazon was the most popular m-commerce app/mobile optimized site because it has a “wide range of products” and if “you are in a shop somewhere and scan a bar code, you can see if its cheaper on Amazon”. The IMRG also found that consumers operate on levels of familiarity and preferred mobile optimized sites that were “user–friendly” with a “similar layout to the web page”.
3. ME-commerce – an important term that literally means consumers have the power to shop in whichever way they want. With a range of multiple-channels available to market your products and services on, consumers can buy your products wherever and however they want.
Whether that be on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, a mobile app, a mobile optimized site, an e-commerce site, tablets, smartphones, PCs and Macs ME-commerce is a buzz term that means shopping is about ME and my ability to shop how I want, where I want and when I want.
4. S-Commerce (Social Commerce) – the process of buying, selling, directing users to your site and advertising your products, and services on social networks like Facebook, LinkedIn and (coming soon in the UK) Twitter. Brands can appeal to consumers who use popular social networks in order to drive traffic to their website, whilst other retailers use social networks as a customer service channel, monitoring peoples’ comments and engaging with potential customers.
5. F-Commerce (Facebook Commerce) – this is a very recent development in the world of e-commerce, and is situated under the umbrella term s-commerce. Any of the 750 million world wide users who have ‘Liked’ a brand on Facebook will know that commerce partners use the popular social network to “increase registration, conversions, and basket size; drive referral traffic; and deepen user insights on their site”.
F-commerce being able to link your site to social media
1. Facebook Facilitated On-site Selling: for brands who want to bring the Facebook experience to their site, allowing users to ‘Like’ their brand and communicate with them through Facebook.
2. Facebook Initiated Selling: for brands who want to use Facebook as a store front, using an app called ‘Facebook Payment’ to advertise their products and services on their page, with a link that directs the user to their e-commerce site.
3. Facebook store: for brands who want to sell their products and services on Facebook so users do not have to be directed away from the social networking site.
4. IFrames and Facebook Apps: for brands who want to customize their products and services content in their Pages. The main advantage of this method is simplicity as brands can easily control added content which is displayed plainly to users. Facebook apps is fundamentally the same, except there is a slightly different layout and increased page width.
F-Commerce is similar to Google, in the sense that you can advertise your products with display ads and re-marketing. However, f-commerce has received a range of criticism from professionals who claim that consumers are just not interested in purchasing off Facebook. However, looking at the Coca-Cola, Starbucks and Disney Facebook pages, which are ranked as the top three f-commerce platforms, it is clear that there is a demand for Facebook as a viable retail platform.
Reasons why f-commerce will help your business:
1. Facebook is where your customers are – of the 28,940,000 users in the UK 50% of them are logging in on a daily basis.
2. Facebook drives traffic to your e-commerce site – Chapter Eight e-commerce retailers have an average 26.4% of new visitors traffic originating from Facebook.
3. Facebook is so popular that the chances of it dying out in the future are very slim indeed.
4. 2.5 million websites have already integrated with Facebook.
5. F-Commerce on mobiles – people using Facebook on their mobile devices are twice as active on Facebook than non-mobile users.
As you can see from these statistics, in spite of the criticism received, there is a reason for the existence of f-commerce and an increasing amount of businesses are signing up to its opportunities every day. For this reason we can create content for f-commerce and also brand your social media pages for a seamless brand campaign across all platforms.
But for a more personal looking E-commerce site you can also create your own hosted Ecommerce site this gives you greater flexibility in how your E-commerce site functions and looks. We create all of our E-commerce websites using WordPress and WooCommerce which is an opensource e-commerce design platform for ease of use and as the CMS backend is easier to use for our clients and not as complex as other platforms so hands down as a standalone platform we provide the following solution.
Most people these days have at least heard of WordPress, and a majority of businesses are already using it. Its flexibility has made it an industry standard, and this is where WooCommerce steps in: rather than outsource every aspect of your online business to a separate piece of software, why not build on what people are already using? There are several Shopping Carts that can tie in to WordPress, but arguably the most popular of the bunch is WooCommerce.
WooCommerce was launched in September of 2011, and at last check has been downloaded nearly 10.2 million times by users across the globe. They also boast an impressive 30% market share for all E-commerce sites, according to their website. This plugin was made and is maintained by WooThemes, and like other open source programs it is free to download, yet it requires free and/or fee-based add-ons to really shine. And while it can be used with any WordPress theme, in order to experience the smoothest styling WooCommerce definitely works best with an optimized template from WooThemes. WooCommerce has a track record of success when it comes to regularly upgrading its features.
Here are some of the most essential features offered out of the box:
Five payment gateways
Geo-location (enabling auto-taxes and auto-shipping calculations, or regional sale restrictions.)
Inventory management (including auto-generated low stock alert emails, show/hide items based on stock level, and more.)
Discount codes and coupons
Optional guest checkout
Product reviews enabled, including user-defined filters
Basic reporting and analytics
Mobile-friendly storefronts and admin
WooCommerce is fairly well-rounded with the above (abridged) feature set. You’ll also find support for digital product downloads, online-only content, and subscriptions. And it’s always a relief to see one-page checkouts with real-time quantity, tax, and shipping calculators.
WooCommerce is an open source platform that is free to download. But since it runs best on WordPress, keep in mind that you also have to pay for an existing E-commerce design template. WooCommerce runs the E-commerce functionality and the theme is what makes the site appear with a certain look. If you are already hosting your own website, that expenditure will greatly reduce the cost of operating WooCommerce. However, be sure to factor in other costs, such as integrating payment processors such as PayPal or Stripe as these are also required to make the site work with processing a payment online. You also have to factor in product variations and a Delivery plugin to work out how much it will cost to be delivered to the customer.
In addition, while WooCommerce comes out of the box with enough tools to get you going, odds are you’ll want to invest in various extras to enhance basic shipping beyond its standard flat or fixed rate options and may choose to buy payment processing and marketing add-ons. It sounds enticing to throw around phrases like “open-source” and “free to download,” yet your add-ons and integration’s can add up. still, WooCommerce is likely to have a much lower operating cost than most cloud-based services on a comparative monthly basis. WooCommerce is an open-source WordPress plugin that is free to download and use with any WordPress account.
Ease of Use:
If you already know your way around the WordPress CMS then WooCommerce should be a fairly straightforward install. The WooCommerce E-commerce platform operates like most any WP plugin: Log in to the admin, click “plugins” and “add new,” then search for WooCommerce, install, and activate. Next, you’ll be ready to integrate WooCommerce pages, including default “cart,” “my account,” and “checkout” tabs, to the front end of your site this is the standard procedure for installing WooCommerce on the WordPress platform.
To add a template, select a Theme that’s been optimized for WooCommerce and click “install.” Then, you’ll be set to select shortcodes or widgets to add functionality like category and review displays.
These are familiar processes for those accustomed to WordPress. For users uninitiated in WordPress, fear not. The setup process is logical, if not necessarily intuitive.
WooCommerce gives you a good deal of control over shipping out of the box, including a calculator and options to send free packages, set a flat rate, and offer local pickup, local delivery, and overseas delivery. That said, shipping rate add-ons from Royal Mail, UPS, and FedEx will set you back around £40/£50.
Similar to WordPress posts, WooCommerce product pages can be tagged, categorized, and given various attributes. Since I’m fairly comfortable using WordPress I was able to navigate the WooCommerce admin after a small learning curve. I found that some merchants encountered challenges learning the admin, at least at first, and wanted more access to support for setup help.
Overall, most users won’t have a problem understanding the admin and daily functions within WooCommerce. If you have been selling for any length of time and are moving into the eCommerce space, I suspect you’ll find the learning curve to be quite manageable. I found the organization to fit like a glove with that of WordPress as a whole; pending orders, shipping, product info, and even inventory tracking were all within reach. And while basic reporting is available via your dashboard, integrating Google Analytics is as simple as pasting your Analytics ID under the “Integration” tab in Settings.
We can customize WordPress themes to integrate your business branding we also offer product photography at an hourly rate if you need to get your products on your site. Or we can help source similar product images online or if you already have image and text based content we can import a .CSV or .XML file these can be exported from your existing website.
WooCommerce Custom E-commerce Website Design
If completely matching your branding, a unique layout and look and feel is important to you, Zapptaa can produce a bespoke WooCommerce design and build the website based on your new WooCommerce custom design and layout.
Although WooCommerce custom designs will increase the development cost of your site and will require a meeting and discussion about the functionality, competitors, site designs you like and dislike to fully customize the design effectively and efficiently, you do have the added benefit of making sure that your site fully reflects your brand image and identity and would be a superior solution when you are adding additional bespoke functionality to your website above and beyond an WooCommerce template.
We create customized content for your sites WooCommerce theme such as image galleries,videos, text, graphs and charts, sound.
We would ask the client, if they would like to create a new brand for there company, or for us to match the existing brand. We would require images of products & services. However should the client not have any content we are happy to help create, capture and research at additional cost. We always ask clients to provide a few examples of what they are hoping to achieve. We will ask that all text is proof read and spelling & comprehension is corrected before handing it over to be inserted to the site and marketing material.
We can create custom icons and vector symbols.
We are happy to create customize icons & symbols to be incorporated into your branding and make sure that the continuity flows with your branding.
Can we help you to manage & update your site.
Yes, we can help teach you how to use the CMS WordPress\Woo Commerce back end to your site.
If you would like to be able to change information and products, we will gladly help you to learn and understand how to change the information and guide you in what you should avoid changing, so that you do not pull down any functionality. There is a minimal charge for our time.
Can Zapptaa help you secure your site & help get more traffic to your new site.
We would be happy to help add additional seo (more traffic to your site) and security features so that you can start trading with out having to worry about any technical functionality.
Can Zapptaa help set up Social Network Profiles.
We would be happy to help integrate various social media networks into your site or advice which sites to establish your brand and create a network.
Can Zapptaa help & advise us on how and where to purchase a domain, hosting package and SSL certificate for our new site?
We would gladly help & advise the process to acquire a domain, hosting & a SSL Certificate for you E-Commerce site.We also provide domain searches and recommended hosting companies with packages. Zapptaa creates Responsive sites (Responsive – means to be able to view on all devices, such as a PC\Mac computer as well as on Mobiles & Tablets)
Can Zapptaa creates logo’s, favicon’s & watermarks?
Zapptaa can create custom logos, Favicon’s & watermarks, to be used on images, video’s & sites we can also restrict the ability for people to download images.
We work with the latest of products, updating our framework on a monthly basis,to ensure our designs & Web branding is current and up to date but we specify to all our clients that a manual backup is performed on a regular basis to make sure in the event of any problems that a copy of the site is downloaded as well as a copy of the sites Database. E-commerce sites can grow over time so it’s always beneficial to buy a hosting package that has plenty of space we have a great competitive cloud hosting deal that offers a vast amount of space but the choice of hosting is entirely up to yourself please ask us for assistance with this if you want some help with setting up your E-commerce website.