There are a number of benefits to E-commerce websites, including; global reach, reduced costs, and reliable service.
Firstly, it’s best to consider E-commerce websites as shop fronts. Your shop front needs to include everything a customer would expect from physically walking through your door. For starters, a well thought through design will attract customers to your shop. It’s important to pay particular attention to the fundamentals involved in the purchasing process, from showcasing your products effectively, ease of purchase and ultimately the sale.
E-commerce platforms and CMS
An E-commerce platform is the software application which allows you to manage your website sales and operations. It is likely you will want more to your website than simply products. Most E-commerce stores have a page about the company, a contact page, news/blog etc. For this, you will need a CMS (Content Management System). The CMS you choose will be the most important decision when setting up your E-commerce store. It is essential your website has the correct functionality for your needs.
In order to display your products to your customers, you will need to consider how you are going to categorise them. For example, will you simply just have products? Will there be variations of colour and sizes for different products? Are you going to group your products? Do you have downloadable or virtual products? Your responses will depend on your business and the products you are selling, but require detailed consideration. Display each product with: an image, a description, and a price.
Taxes and Shipping
Of all the E-commerce areas for consideration, taxes and shipping is one of the most important. Click here to find out the requirements for the UK.
Shipping costs can be relatively straight forward if you set a flat rate. Table rates are available through ROYAL MAIL, YODEL etc. However please note, some companies may base their table rates on weight and shipping box dimensions.
One Page Check-out
In order to make the shopping process as straightforward as possible for your customer, we would recommend that you opt for a One Page Check-out. Most customers will abandon their cart if they feel the purchasing process is too lengthy or complicated. To provide a good overall shopping experience, your customer can: view their cart total, view their product listings at all times and access the checkout from any page.
An important part of running your E-commerce website is to track and review how successful it is at reaching clients and securing a sale. Google offers website statistic software, which will give you direct access to information about how your customers use your website, and where they drop off.
Payment Gateways and SSL (Security Socket Layer)
A payment gateway is an E-commerce service provider, which processes the payment, and issues the money into a merchants account. Not all payment gateways require a merchant account, but it is important to know that some do – The fee for this will vary.
There are a number of options to chose from, so when making this decision, consider which one fits your budget based on your expected income. Some options which you may have heard of include PayPal and Sage Pay.
PayPal – There is no monthly fee to register with PayPal and they do not require an SSL Certificate.
Customers are directed away from your website to their server for the payment to be processed. We recommend that you opt for this higher level of security to gain the trust of your customers, and allow them a history of their transactions.
SagePay – An internet payment gateway provider which works alongside a merchant account; normally provided by your bank. With this option, your transaction fees will be with your bank, and SagePay will charge a flat fee per month. SagePay allows you to customise every stage of the customer’s process, either by using a ‘frame’ of the SagePay form in your own website or customising the pages on their website to match your brand. All transaction information passed between merchant sites and Sage Pay’s systems is encrypted using 128-bit SSL certificates.