If you’re reading this blog, we’re sure you’ve heard of Amazon, Flipkart, eBay, Aliexpress, and other similar websites. But do you know what these websites are called? These websites, as well as any other website with a similar structure that allows you to buy and sell tangible goods, digital products, or online services, are referred to as ecommerce websites.
The popularity of ecommerce stores has grown significantly with the spread of the Internet, all around the world. As a result, an increasing number of brick-and-mortar businesses are turning to ecommerce platforms. In fact, it is not an exaggeration to say that if any business wants to survive and thrive in this fast-paced, technologically advanced world, they must transition to ecommerce and establish an online presence.
This is a comprehensive ecommerce guide in which we will learn about ecommerce websites and their various types. In the following section, we will also learn how ecommerce sites work and the various types of website ecommerce platforms.
This will be followed by an explanation of what e commerce web development is and a list of the top 5 ecommerce website builders. Finally, we will conclude this ecommerce website development guide by discussing the advantages of ecommerce websites and the future of ecommerce.
Let’s get started!
What Are e Commerce Websites?
Ecommerce, also known as electronic commerce, refers to transactions that take place over the Internet. Individuals and businesses engage in ecommerce whenever they buy or sell products or services online. Other activities covered by the term e-commerce include online auctions, internet banking, payment gateways, and online ticketing.
E-Commerce, also known as e-Business, is simply the sale and purchase of services and goods over an electronic medium, such as the Internet. Or, to put it another way, it is online shopping as we know it.
The majority of businesses that have an ecommerce presence use an ecommerce store and/or an ecommerce platform to manage online marketing, offer services & sales and to handle logistics and fulfilment.
The Brief History of Ecommerce
Michael Aldrich, an English inventor and entrepreneur, invented online shopping in 1979, and it is widely regarded as the foundation of today’s massive electronic commerce industry.
In the years that followed, many milestone events occurred in the ecommerce industry. The following section covers some of the most significant events in the history of ecommerce.
The First Online Purchase
On August 11, 1994, the first legal online transaction was made. On this day, a man sold a CD to a friend via NetMarket, a retail platform.
The Development of Online Marketplaces
Jeff Bezos founded Amazon in 1994 as an online bookstore, later expanding its offerings to include CDs and other media products. The following year, Pierre Omidyar launched AuctionWeb, an auction platform where collectors could bid on and sell various items. Later, the platform was renamed eBay.
The Evolution of Online Payments
Prior to the introduction of digital wallets, internet buying was limited to the use of credit cards. However, with the founding of the Payment Card Industry Security Standards Council in 2004, online payment processing became available and became more secure.
Beginning of Mobile Ecommerce
The popularity of mobile ecommerce was boosted by the invention of modern smartphones, which began with the first iPhone in 2007. Mobile devices now account for more than a third of all ecommerce transactions.
Types of Ecommerce Website
Ecommerce websites are classified into six types based on the entities involved. Let us take a quick look at each of them.
Business to Consumer (B2C)
The most common business model in both physical and online stores is B2C ecommerce. As the name implies, the B2C ecommerce model represents a transaction between businesses and individuals. For example, when you buy a phone from an online retailer, you are engaging in a business-to-consumer transaction.
Business to Business (B2B Ecommerce)
The B2B ecommerce model has two participants: businesses. In this type of transaction, one company provides goods and/or services to another. B2B ecommerce is a business-to-business transaction, not a consumer-to-business transaction. B2B ecommerce sales are usually focused on raw materials or goods that are repackaged before being sold to customers.
Consumer to Business (C2B ECommerce)
C2B e-commerce works in the opposite direction of traditional ecommerce in that individual customers sell their goods or services to business. As a result, in consumer to business (C2B) customers contribute goods and/or services to businesses, collaborate on projects, and ultimately assist businesses in increasing profits.
Consumer to Consumer (C2C Ecommerce)
One of the earliest forms of ecommerce is C2C. The sale of goods or services between individuals is referred to as customer-to-customer. eBay and Amazon are two examples of online stores or online marketplaces where people can buy and sell goods.
Business to Administration (B2A Ecommerce)
Transactions between Internet businesses and government agencies are referred to as B2A. Legal documents, social security, and other similar products and services are some of the products that are usually bought/sold in this type of model.
Administration to Business (B2A Ecommerce)
The A2B e-commerce model emerges when the administration provides goods and services to businesses. Government procurement, data centers, and e-learning all are examples of A2B e-commerce.
Remember that we included all of these categories to give you a general understanding of e-commerce classification, even though models like A2B or B2A are only included in the broad sense of ecommerce. So, when we talk about ecommerce, we’re usually talking about the B2C or B2B model.
Let us now proceed to the next section of the ecommerce business guide: How Does Ecommerce Work?
How Does Electronic Commerce Work?
The ecommerce business operates in a similar manner to the offline business. You place an order, purchase a product, and make a payment; however, all of these activities take place online. A brief step-by-step procedure of an ecommerce transaction is explained below to help you better understand this concept.
- A potential customer finds an ecommerce site through search engines, paid advertising, referral traffic, and other methods.
- The eCommerce site is connected to a database that contains a wealth of information about its categories, items, photos, and so on. The site requests this data in order to display the requested web pages dynamically.
- After perusing the ecommerce site, a potential customer adds products and services to their online shopping cart and opts to check out.
- After adding the products in the shopping cart, the customer completes the purchase by completing the checkout process.
- The shopper’s credit card information is encrypted and sent to a Payment Gateway for secure credit card processing over the internet.
- After a purchase is made and paid for, the website will usually provide information such as estimated delivery date, a unique transaction number, and a postal tracking number, among other things. The majority of these processes are automated and are a necessary part of any decent eCommerce website’s operation.
- Orders are stored in the website admin and sent to an order fulfillment team as transactions occur. Order fulfillment can be handled in-house or outsourced to a third-party drop shipper.
So there you have it: the 7 step-by-step guides to understanding how ecommerce works. Let’s move on to the next section, which discusses the various types of ecommerce platforms.
What Are The Different Types of Ecommerce Platforms?
There are a variety of ecommerce platforms to choose from, and which one is best for your business relies on your budget, preferences, and corporate needs. We’ve put together a list of the best ecommerce website builders available in the market at present.
Shopify Ecommerce Platform
Shopify is a well-known ecommerce platform that debuted in 2004. It is used by over 2,921,565 merchants in a range of industries. This platform has variable shipping rates, automatic taxes, over 150 payment channels, a user-friendly and intuitive interface, and dozens of themes.
Shopify is completely self-hosted, supports social network integrations, and has built-in SEO capabilities. It also has a Shopify Experts team to help with any design, marketing, or development needs.
This ecommerce website builder will be most useful to small businesses looking for an all-in-one ecommerce solution.
Magento Ecommerce Platform
Magento is a highly adaptable ecommerce platform for growing medium-sized businesses. Right out of the box, Magento provides a comprehensive set of advanced ecommerce features, as well as a content management system and consumer segmentation tools.
Many people think of Magento as a difficult ecommerce platform, but in reality, it helps clients by maintaining an active community of Magento developers and professionals who are eager to help newcomers with their online store.
Brands looking for a fully customizable ecommerce solution should consider this option.
BigCommerce Ecommerce Platform
Another popular ecommerce platform among merchants is BigCommerce. While both BigCommerce and Shopify have similar remarkable functionality, BigCommerce has more advanced features.
BigCommerce’s customer service team is available 24X7 to assist merchants who are migrating from other platforms. Merchants can also sell on Amazon and eBay using the platform’s multi-channel ecommerce capabilities.
BigCommerce accepts a variety of payment methods, including PayPal, Google Checkout, Stripe, and Authorize.net, just like Shopify.
Salesforce Ecommerce Platform
With this fully hosted solution, you can run a robust ecommerce store in the cloud. Salesforce merchants also won’t have to worry about platform maintenance or development because Salesforce hosts the platform entirely.
One of Salesforce’s benefits is that it was built with omnichannel retailers in mind, with features that make it simple for merchants to sell in both physical and digital stores.
Large organizations in need of a fully functional and expandable CRM system should use this platform.
WooCommerce Ecommerce Platform
WooCommerce is one of the most popular open-source e-commerce platforms. WooCommerce comes with a number of themes that are designed specifically for WordPress and can help you create a unique online store. In addition, you’ll have access to an unlimited number of products, complete personalization, order management, and free shipping, among other benefits.
This ecommerce platform will be most useful to small businesses with a WordPress-based site.
These are the five most popular ecommerce platforms on the market right now to build the best ecommerce site. All of these have different features, functions, and purposes to meet the business needs of various industries. Let’s move on to the next section, which is Ecommerce Web Development.
What is Ecommerce Website Development? 14 Steps Guide
The ecommerce website development process can be broken down into 14 steps. Each of these steps has its own significance and is required to develop an ideal online store. Let’s take a closer look at each of these steps.
Determine What You Will Sell or Offer
First and foremost, decide what you want to sell or offer. Your business products or services are the foundation for the entire ecommerce site development process that will follow. Make sure your products are unique and superior to what is already on the market because that will not make any difference. It is not enough to simply imitate your neighboring store.
Choose a Business Model
After you’ve decided what products and services you’ll sell or provide, the next step in What is ecommerce Web Development? guide is– to figure out what your e-commerce business model will be. As previously stated, there are various e-commerce business models such as business-to-customer (B2C ecommerce), business-to-business (B2B ecommerce), and so on. Choose the best model based on your infrastructure support, capability, and success rate.
Select the Website Builder That Best Meets Your Requirements
The 3rd step in the next step in What is e commerce Web Development? guide is– to select the website builder that best meets your needs. As previously stated, there are various types of ecommerce website builders available on the market, such as Shopify, WooCommerce, Magento, and Wix. Choose the most affordable builder; however, ensure that the builder has all of the functionalities and features that you will require for your ecommerce site development.
Consider the following factors when selecting a website builder:
- ERP and CRM integration
- Database compatibility
- Scope for customization
- Payment gateway integration
- Robust backend
- Mobile-friendliness & responsiveness
Put the Tool to The Test
The fourth step in the ecommerce website development is to test the tool that you have chosen for your website. Testing before you begin the actual work has several advantages, including determining how easy the ecommerce site builder is to customize and whether the theme or templates offered by the builder are appropriate for your business model.
Furthermore, by using the website builder, you can get ideas for other features, navigation systems, and other necessary technical aspects.
Purchase the Best Plan for Your Business
You are nearly halfway through ecommerce website development. Once you’ve finalized and tested your e-commerce site development platforms, it’s time to make a decision on how to begin the development process. The majority of these tools have a variety of pricing options. Each pricing model includes a unique set of features and functionalities. Choose a model that is appropriate for your business model and products.
Purchase a Domain
The next step in What is e commerce Web Development? guide is– to register the domain name. For the uninitiated, the domain name is the address of your website that people type in the browser URL bar to visit your website. For example, huptechweb.com is the domain name in www.huptechweb.com. A good domain name is essential because it establishes trust and brand recognition with your customers. A good domain name can be purchased for around $15-$25 per year.
Consider the following factors when selecting a host:
- Customer support
Choose a Template for Your Website
The seventh step in the ecommerce website development process is to select a template for your site. A template, also known as a theme, is a predesigned resource that shows the structure of a website’s comprehensive layout and display features.
However, if you are dissatisfied with the pre-installed themes, you can create your own. This feature is available in the majority of ecommerce website builders. But, because customization requires coding, the customized template will be more expensive than the in-built template.
Consider the following when selecting a theme for your ecommerce store.
- Navigation style
- Homepage layout
- Color scheme
- Browser compatibility
Add the Products
After you’ve chosen a template and customized it to your specifications, it’s time to add the products. The majority of these ecommerce website builders have a simple process for adding products and to build an ecommerce site. Along with the product name, you should also include other pertinent information such as HD photos, price, variants, category, description, application, weight or related parameters, installation procedure (if applicable), and so on to enhance user experience.
Keep the product name short but descriptive so that the buyer can get a sense of the product just by reading the name. Next step in What is e commerce Web Development? guide is– Include payment methods.
Include Payment Methods
The ninth step in the ecommerce website development process is to include payment methods. Include as many online payment gateways as possible on your site to ensure that shoppers have the most options and that no shopper has to abandon the cart due to a lack of their preferred payment option.
If the shopper does not find his preferred payment method, there is a good chance he will never return to your website. However, make certain that all of the payment options you provide are highly secure.
The next step is to include the shipping option. During this step, you will enter the pin code for each city or state where you intend to deliver the products. Also, if some of the products’ deliveries are restricted to specific areas of the country or state, you must include a customizable option as well.
In addition, include a formula for calculating delivery charges based on city or distance. Furthermore, the formula should assist you in deducting the delivery charge if the order amount reaches a certain amount, indicating that the order is eligible for free delivery.
Configure the Ecommerce Website as Needed
11th step in What is e commerce Web Development? guide is– configuration. You should include as many functionalities as possible to make your website more engaging and user-friendly. For example, add the multi-language option, the different currency option, the different time zone option, the customer service address and contact details, the tax and other charges details to make the process transparent, and any other details that are required.
You cannot simply launch the site without first performing SEO for your website. Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is a critical practice for the ecommerce industry. It will help your website rank higher in Search Engine Result Pages (SERP), target audience, resulting in more traffic and revenue for your online store. SEO will also ensure that your online business store has all of the necessary details to attract customers.
- Things to do for eCommerce SEO include:
- Optimize title and headers
- Optimize videos and images
- Improve page load time
- Keep the online store structure engaging
- Don’t forget HTTPs
- Make your online store mobile-friendly
Carry Out Thorough Quality Analysis
The 13th step in the ecommerce website development process is to conduct quality assurance testing. The Quality Analysis (QA) will undoubtedly assist you in determining whether or not your website has any loopholes or flaws.
For example, if a customer adds two different products from two different categories, the ecommerce store should apply the different taxes that apply to both of those products rather than the same one. QA will assist you in identifying all of these flaws and loopholes to ensure that your website is completely robust and reliable.
This is the final step of What is e commerce Web Development? guide.
After you have completed all of the preceding tasks, it is time to publish the website. If you are completely confident in the website’s reliability, you can launch it for all of the states and cities you have decided to serve, or you can launch it in phases.
For example, you can launch it for a specific state or city, then check the stats and monitor performance for a week before launching it for another city if everything goes as planned. Continue in this manner until you cover every region you intended to cover.
So these are the 14 steps you should follow during the ecommerce website development process. Remember, as previously stated, that each of these steps is important in its own right and is required in order to create an effective website.
Let us now proceed to the next section of the ecommerce website development guide–ecommerce business advantages.
7 Advantages Of Ecommerce Business
Nobody can deny that the ecommerce industry provides numerous benefits to both customers and businesses. This industry’s astounding popularity is the ultimate proof. Although there are numerous ecommerce advantages, we have focused on the top 7 in this blog. So let’s take a closer look at each one.
Quick And Simple Purchasing Process
Without a doubt, ecommerce provides users with a simple and quick shopping experience. You don’t have to travel 10 kilometers in the scorching heat to a shopping market. All you have to do is log in, browse the products, compare them, and make the best purchase.
At a time when people’s time is becoming increasingly scarce in this fast-paced world, ecommerce provides them with the ideal shopping experience and market that they seek. With ecommerce, an offline purchase that would normally take an hour or two can be completed in 5 minutes.
Lower Operational Costs
Another significant advantage of running an ecommerce business is the low operational costs. You don’t need to build a lavish showroom to start an e-commerce business. All you need is a large enough warehouse to house your products, as well as a good ecommerce system and tech support.
Furthermore, when compared to offline stores, you will undoubtedly require less workforce. Besides that, there would be no recurring fees or charges, as there are in offline businesses. For all of these reasons, e-commerce businesses have lower operational costs than traditional businesses.
Extensive Product Line
When you start a local business, you can only display or accommodate products based on the area of the premise; however, there is a limit to the number of products you can add. However, in the case of an ecommerce business, you can add as many products as you want simply by scaling the virtual infrastructure.
Eventually, as the product range expands, so will the customer base, as they will be able to easily get the product they desire. As a result, one of the key benefits of an e-commerce business is its ability to accommodate a large number of products as and when required.
Secure And Convenient
Visiting shopping malls or even going outside is not a sane choice at this time when social distancing has become very necessary to save oneself from the coronavirus. However, you can go to the ecommerce store and make online purchases.
eCommerce stores are completely secure because there will be no physical contact. You are not required to go outside or to the store. Instead, you can make the purchase by simply pressing a button on your touch-screen mobile device or laptop. For this reason, shopping at online stores is both safe and convenient.
Better-Informed Purchasing Decisions
Ecommerce stores provide all of the information about their products, including photos, videos, installation instructions, limitations, and so on. This data will assist you in comparing the number of shortlisted products and selecting the best.
For example, let’s say you’re going to buy a phone from the ecommerce store. You can compare various brands and models, as well as their features, prices, delivery charges, warranty period, compatible accessories, and so on. This information will assist you in making an informed decision and purchasing the best product.
Scalability is defined as the ease with which or the extent to which you can expand or retract your business. For example, if your company grows, you will need to expand to meet the demands of your customers. At the same time, if your company suffers a setback, you will be required to ground the resources.
In the case of offline businesses, scaling is difficult because many factors must be considered, such as land price, construction cost, workforce requirement, and so on. On the other hand, scalability is very simple in the case of an e-commerce business. As a result, you can easily and affordably expand your business.
Keeping offline businesses open 24 hours a day, seven days a week, is a difficult task because it requires more workforce, infrastructure, and so on. However, in the case of an ecommerce business, you can keep it open 24X7 without adding any additional resources or capital.
Because ecommerce is a virtual store, there is no need to close or reopen it. There are no business hours. Customers will be able to visit your store and place orders at any time of day or night because it is open 24X7. This will also help you because more shopping hours equal more orders, and more orders equal more revenue. As a result, it’s a win-win situation for both you and your customers.
These are the top 7 advantages of an ecommerce business. Let us now proceed to the final stage of this ecommerce website development process: What does the future of ecommerce hold?
The Future of Ecommerce
Nobody can deny that the future of ecommerce looks bright. But what trends or developments can we anticipate in the coming years? Let us find out.
Emphasis On Personalization
We have arrived at a point in history where simple marketing has become outdated and personalized marketing has taken center stage. Personalization simply means providing services or products that are tailored to customers’ personal preferences rather than providing them with generic, identical services or products.
Personalization of this type is accomplished by analyzing customers’ browsing behavior and purchase history, as well as a variety of other relevant data points.
We will witness a growth in the number of ecommerce sites that offer personalized ecommerce services to help customers have a better purchasing experience. However, in order to provide personalized services, the ecommerce industry must embrace technological advancement and new technologies such as AI and machine learning languages.
Voice search is widely regarded as the most important invention in the history of the internet. Users are shifting from type-search to voice-search as search engines, apps, and websites become more voice-search friendly. Voice-search technology is simple to use and has several advantages over type-search.
Voice-search commerce significantly speeds up the process, provides immediate query results, and allows you to use the device without picking up the phone. In fact, customers are already benefiting from voice shopping, with 25% saying they are more likely to use voice search when purchasing everyday household items.
The Evolution Of Recommerce
The evolution of recommerce is the third potential development in the ecommerce industry that we will see in 2021. For those who are unfamiliar with the term, recommerce is a business model that aims to buy or sell used or second-hand products.
The concept has grown in popularity in recent years and is expected to enter the mainstream business as soon as possible. This is because customers in the twenty-first century have become more concerned with price and affordability when shopping.
According to a survey, millennial and Gen Z shoppers are adopting second-hand shopping faster than other demographics. With more and more customers opting for recommerce, we can confidently predict that it will grow significantly in the coming years.
The Rise of AR And VR
The popularity of augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) is growing. Both of these technologies enable ecommerce businesses to provide their customers with more realistic and immersive shopping experiences. Brands like IKEA have already embraced these technologies, inspiring many other ecommerce giants to do the same.
Thanks to AR and VR, customers can virtually try out products in the comfort of their own homes. They can also explore brand-created virtual showrooms and get an in-store experience without leaving their couch.
Although both of these technologies have a long way to go before becoming mainstream, we are confident that they will be around for a long time. With the rate at which AR and VR are developing, we can expect to see even more advanced applications of these technologies, as well as wider adoption in ecommerce.
So these are the top 4 ecommerce industry trends that we would see in the coming years.
With this, we are concluding the ecommerce website development guide. We are confident that all of this information, including what ecommerce stores are, the history of ecommerce, different ecommerce website models, different ecommerce website builders, what is e commerce web development?, the benefits of e-commerce business, and the future of ecommerce business, will help you better understand this industry.
The Bottom Line:
In recent years, the e-commerce industry has grown at a breakneck pace. As a result, more and more brick-and-mortar businesses are migrating to online platforms. It is not an exaggeration to say that if you want your business to thrive and survive, you must have an ecommerce or online presence. Ecommerce business will empower you to outperform your competitors, expand your customer base, and generate more revenue.