Ecommerce 101 – The Basics
Ecommerce…you’ve heard it mentioned in business and social circles, but you have no idea what it is or how it works. Luckily we’re here to help you with that!
What is Ecommerce?
In a nutshell, ecommerce is a way for customers to search, view, and buy your products and services online. Whether it’s more along the lines of an online catalog, or a full-blown online store such as amazon.com or ebay.com, they all work in the same way. They have a way for you to upload products, a section for customers to search and view the products, separate product pages, and a shopping cart section to buy the products.
How does it work?
As mentioned above, the ecommerce sections on sites can be divided into three sections, the server-side product sections, client-side products, and payment section. Each of these provide a crucial role in making sure that all the pieces connect seamlessly to create an online store. The client loads your site, searches your products, and selects what they want. Next they go to the checkout screen, where they pay for the goods, and you send the package to them. Seems simple right? But there’s more involved than meets the eye. It’s not as simple as “products” and “orders”…or is it?
The largest segment that makes up ecommerce is the products section. Both the back-end, and front-end are needed to make the clients happy.
The back end is where all the data goes. If you were wanting to upload a “tasty green apple” to your store, you’d need to add the product title, description, and searchable attributes (such as “Color = green, fruit = apple), as well as stock levels and price. Once you’ve added it, then you can move on to designing the front-end of your store.
The front-end is what the client sees. Some ecommerce store have a main store page, where clients can search through products by name, or attribute (such as searching for only “fruits” or items that are “green”). Once they find a product they like, they click on it and are directed to the product page. This page gives them more information about the product, and the option to buy it if they so desire.
The third side of commerce is orders and payments. Payments is either automated, through plugins connected to companies such as Paygate or Paypal, or through automatically-generated invoices. Once an order has been made, it gets emailed to your company, and you can get the invoice ready, along with the product(s) the client wants. If you attach the added benefit of providing shipping as well, then your client base will grow substantially.
Why is it beneficial?
Many people ask us “why should I get ecommerce?”. The main benefit, is distance. If you have a local store, then your largest client base will be those in the neighbourhood, as people in another city won’t want to drive all that way to get products from you, if someone closer to them can sell it for a reasonable price. However, with an online ecommerce store, that’s no longer a problem. Whether someone’s next door to you, or on the other side of the country, it doesn’t matter. All they need to do is open your site on their computer or smartphone, browse your products, select what they want, and order it. They might have to wait a day or two for the product to arrive, but that’s instantly another customer for you!
In short, ecommerce opens a second nation-wide store for you, effectively doubling, tripling, and increasing exponentially your client base. That’s the real benefit of ecommerce, functionality and availability.