Shopping online has become increasingly popular among people of all age groups. In fact, billions are spent every year on online shopping.
And, e-retail spending will increase by 62 percent in 2016 (source: Internet Retailer).
Today, e-commerce is not just limited to selling digital products, but is also used for buying services that involves transmitting of funds and data, ticket booking, etc. from a website, and thus save you from contacting brokers.
E-retail is not showing any sign of slowing down, and is only going to increase in distant future. So, if you’re convinced on setting up your own e-commerce site, there are certain aspects that you must consider to make your online venture a success. To begin with, you must know about the e-commerce model that you want to build. In addition to this, you will need to know about some important considerations for creating a successful online shopping website.
A Look at The Various eCcommerce Models
Keep in mind that not all of the e-commerce websites are the same. This is owing to the fact that every site has different requirements. Likewise, there are different e-commerce models that perfectly suit the need of one type of business than others.
So, the first step towards building a successful online shopping site requires deciding which e-commerce model will best suit your business needs. For this purpose, you will need to become familiar with the following key considerations:
- What’s the size of your business?
- For how long have you been operating the business?
- Is your target audience interested in purchasing the products or services you are offering?
- Analyze the popularity of your business branding.
While the aforementioned key points might look simple to you, they can play a crucial role in the success and failure of your online shopping site. After all, you cannot possibly grow your e-commerce site if you don’t know about the exact size of your business or how popular it is.
So, now that you have come to know about a few basic aspects to consider for building your site, next you will have to understand which e-commerce model (i.e. type of online shopping website) will befit your e-retail business needs. Here I’ll be talking about about three of the most important type of e-commerce sites you should consider for setting up your e-shop:
1. Online Auctions Websites
There are online shopping sites that allows users to buy good/services from other customers. Such type of websites are called as online auction sites and cuts out the need of a middlemen. For instance, a person interested in purchasing a item can directly purchase it from its creator instead of going to any seller.
An auction site earns money by charging a fee for each transaction that takes place on the site. Creating such a site puts consumers at complete control and helps them carry out the business on their own terms. One great example of online auction site is QuiBids.
The benefit of this type of e-commerce business is that you won’t have to stock any items or don’t need a location to store the items. Rather, all of the products on your site are being supplied, promoted, and delivered by the end-users.
One big disadvantage of creating an auction site is that it can be misused easily. Though, such websites help avoid fraud from taking place, but there is still a risk to the consumer. For instance, stolen or counterfeited objects can be sold on the site as the genuine article. And so, when choosing to build an auction site it is important that you’re able to develop a high level of trust between you and your customers.
2. Subscription sites
If you aim at selling any particular service online instead of selling physical products, then you can consider creating a subscription site. Such kind of website provide users access to an online service at reasonable prices, and can either be purchased for monthly or at times even yearly basis. You can find many great examples of subscription sites such as Netflix, Match.com and many more.
Many subscription websites also allow consumers to access content for free and let them try out the online service, prior to purchasing a subscription. For example, the Hulu.com website allows a consumer to view popular TV shows, as well as, movies. However, you can only watch certain shows for free if you aren’t a subscribed member of the site. But, you need to pay for having unlimited access or a monthly subscription.
3. Online Catalogue Sites
These sites are just like their paper equivalents but provide a lot more information and isn’t limited to physical space. The best example for this kind of e-commerce site is Amazon. The site allows to buy products directly from retailers.
The biggest advantage of creating an online catalogue site is that it saves money that you otherwise spend on printing catalogues. Plus, you don’t need to waste your time, efforts and money in printing catalogues again after making some edits, since you can directly make the changes to the online catalogue website data though a database.
Important Considerations to Take Into Account For E-commerce Site
Just like every other business, you also need to take into account some important considerations for running your online shopping site. Most importantly, you should make sure that your site is able to stand up to your customers expectations. It’s very important that your consumers feel comfortable while purchasing things from your site.
So, to make sure that online surfers won’t visit and/or purchase from your site only once, here are a few tips that will help you encourage them to revisit your site again:
1. Create a Good First Impression With a Good Visual Design
Your website design is the first thing that users will notice when they visit your site. According to an online study, “first impressions are 96 percent design related.” So, it is suffice to say that visitors won’t even bother visiting your website if it is not visually appealing. Therefore, the very first thing you should pay attention to is the look and feel of your online shopping site. Make sure that your website features a professional, well-structured and captivating design.
2. Earn Trust Of Your Visitors
If people are not sure whether your site offers legitimate products they’re unlikely to make any purchases from it. This happens since often people are skeptical about buying anything online, as they worry becoming targets of fraudulent shopping scams. So, to convince visitors in buying things from your online shopping site, you will have to earn their trust. One great way to do so is to make sure that your site’s checkout area is simple and friendly.
3. Make Your Website Interface Easy to Navigate
Almost every e-commerce site (especially larger size websites) contains plenty of pages, including product pages, about us page, contact page, etc. And, when you are selling something via your e-shop, there’s a lot of information that needs to be shared with potential buyers. And so, ensure that your users can easily navigate from one to another by keeping everything consistent – be it your menus, buttons, and other website components.
4. Add High Quality Images, Videos and Symbols
When purchasing is involved, you need to ensure that the images and videos in your e-shop are of high quality. After all, visitors make purchasing decision only after viewing product images or videos. Even icons used on your site can too help users in making quick decisions about buying something from your site. Remember that users have short attention span, and hence, using high-resolution and captivating images, videos and symbols in your website can influence the users to stay on your online shopping site.
5. Strong Customer Support is a Must
When a user is visiting your site for the first time, they might not be able to understand how to use your website, or what is the best way to make purchases. In order to keep them engaged to your site, it is very important that all their queries regarding your e-commerce site are answered. For this purpose, it is recommended that you must focus on providing a strong customer service.
Based on Forrester Research report, it is projected that the “US Ecommerce annual sales will increase up to USD 370 billion by 2017.” Besides, considering the increasing number of people today prefer shopping online, having an e-commerce site can definitely help you expand your business reach. However, to build a successful e-shop there are several key aspects that you need to take into account, such as the ones discussed in this post.
In this post I’ve covered 3 type of e-commerce sites, namely: online auction website, subscription and online catalogue site. In addition to these sites, there are two more options you can consider for putting your online shopping website such as brochure and reserve and collect sites.