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What is e-commerce and why is it important

Covid-19 has really tested the survivability of traditional stores. As quarantines get imposed, people are starting to move their businesses online. If you are that person then I am sure you’ve come across the term ‘E-commerce’ before. ‘What is e-commerce?’ you might be wondering.

In this short piece, I aim to address some of the questions you probably have about it and give you some direction on how to get your retail business online and start selling again.

The term e-commerce is just a generic term to describe the conduct of buying and selling of services or products online. So what you are looking for is most likely an e-commerce website or platform.

what is e-commerce?
Wonder what is e-commerce? This is the basic process of it!

Why move your business online?

If you’re stuck deciding whether or not to move your business online or whether it’s worth it then I suggest you take a look at the following stats. Here are some interesting figures from 99 firms’ e-commerce study:

  • There are expected to be over 2B digital buyers in the world in 2020.
  • By 2040, around 95% of all purchases are expected to be via e-commerce.
  • 80% of Internet users in the US have made at least one purchase online.
  • There are between 12M to 24M e-commerce sites in the world.
  • The share of m-commerce in all e-commerce is expected to rise to 72.9% by 2021.
  • 85% of consumers conduct online research before making a purchase online.
  • 52% of online stores have omnichannel capabilities.

These stats are showing a trend towards digitisation of retail services. Without thinking too much about the numbers, you can probably guess some of the reasons why consumers are buying online. Let’s see… 

  • The younger demographic tends to be on their phone and social media a lot more often and they will repeatedly be served ads and conditioned to buy items online.
  • It is a lot more convenient in some respects because you won’t need to leave your house. 
  • It’s a lot easier to find out more about the products when all the specifications and details are uploaded.
  • Finally, there is a huge amount of social proof online in the form of reviews which improves buyer’s confidence in their purchasing decision

Are you convinced yet? if not, then you should probably stop here while I teach the 1000s of others, who might be your competitors, tricks to take their business to the next level. If you are I am about to give you some killer tips on moving your retail store online.

Things to consider when moving your business to E-commerce

There are several areas you have to think about when moving your business online. The website may be a key component of the operation but more importantly, whether you have the correct logistical components in place to get things going. Some of the questions you should be asking are:

  • Do I have a postage system in place to deliver on my orders?
  • How much is it going to cost to deliver to people who can order online?
  • Where am I setting my delivery boundaries? Who am I not delivering to?

After you work out these logistical components then you can start thinking about the website. Depending on if you have a website currently or not, you may want to take a different path. Sometimes directly integrating a shop function onto your website is not possible because of the way it was built. The two platforms that I recommend you use to sell online or to build your website with is through either WordPress with WooCommerce or alternatively Shopify. Through those websites, there are thousands of templates that you can use and customise to build your online store.

If you are short on time, it is about now that you would consider hiring us or other web developers to build out your store for you. The cost is not cheap but a reliable web developer or designer will be able to build and iron out all the kinks in your website without you having to worry about the annoying tech issues you may come across.

If you are tech-savvy and you have time to do it, then stay tuned. I will have a series of guides coming out to teach you how to do it. If you are here from the E-commerce Master guide page, go back and navigate to the ‘begin the process’ tutorial pages. For those who are willing to learn, I am happy to provide the free resources to make it happen.

In terms of the website, you will need a domain name and a web hosting server both of which will not cost more than $100 a year to begin.

After establishing your store, you would want to look into getting control of your ‘Google my business’ account or registering, so your business will appear on google search. you would also want a healthy amount of analytics to help you determine how many people are visiting your websites and which pages are the most popular.

I have more guides on how to improve the design of your e-commerce website so please check the blog section of the website. From here, you should look to polish your descriptions and copywriting for your website to improve the conversion rates.

That’s all for an introduction into e-commerce, we will continue to publish content into our definitive e-commerce guide so stay tuned. If you have any questions, feel free to message us.

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Written By Sam Tu

Web Designer and Digital Marketing Expert

@IKM Strategy

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