E‑commerce websites make money online by selling physical or virtual goods. Virtual products include things like event and appointment bookings, downloadable products, club or site content subscriptions, crowdfunding, directory entries and more. Please contact me about your virtual product sales ideas; for simplicity, this page mostly deals with online sales of physical products.
The basics of e‑commerce are “Buy now” buttons, payment methods and a shopping cart for volume sales. Beyond those, professional e‑commerce systems help you to manage:
- Products — usually in several categories, often with variations
- Taxes and Shipping — at different rates, especially when trading internationally
- Customers and their Orders
These standard features allow sales; to make sales, your marketing must match your market. So, most systems offer lots of optional or plug-in marketing tools like discount coupons. If you need unique order or quotation processing, please ask me about bespoke web development.
Security is vital for online sales. One solution is to build a basic editable site and link that to an external, secure shopping system. This incurs extra third-party service fees, but simplifies the initial setup. Such systems can be quite flexible, though less so than fully “self-hosted” systems. I build Simple Web Shops on my Pro Hosting Plus plan.
More advanced web shops often need to manage stock levels and variations for hundreds or thousands of products. You may also need a shop that can handle special sales, up-sells, cross-sells, feeds to product comparison sites and more. Do you need logins for several staff with different levels of access to the system, or different prices for trade customers? These situations benefit from the extra flexibility of self-hosted solutions.
Such systems also need “SSL” security. This protects your customers’ details and shows the “padlock” icons as a “trust mark”, which increases sales. I build Pro E‑Commerce solutions on my Business Hosting Plus plan, which includes SSL security and other vital features.
Advanced Online Marketing
There are many forms of e‑commerce apart from standard web shops. These include review sites reselling affiliate products, drop-shipping and feeds from your main shop to sell through social media channels. I can even build marketplaces that let you build a community of sellers by offering a sales channel in return for a fee. Please contact me for individual quotations on such projects.