Ecommerce websites let you make money online through direct sales. This can either mean selling and shipping physical goods, or virtual goods like tickets, appointment bookings and downloadable products.
The basics of ecommerce are “Buy now” buttons, payment methods and a shopping cart for volume sales. Beyond those, professional ecommerce 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
Many also offer lots of optional or plug-in marketing tools like discount coupons, or flexible shipping and gift-wrap options. Whilst not all such extensions are free, they can usually cover almost any common ecommerce requirement. If you need unique order or quotation processing, please ask me about bespoke web development.
Security is vital for online sales, so whilst “SSL” security helps to build trust for any site, no ecommerce site can be without it. SSL protects your customers’ details and shows the “padlock” icons as a “trust mark”, which improves SEO and increases sales.
All my hosting plans now include SSL security. Still, ecommerce sites are obvious targets for hackers, and need regular security updates to keep up with the latest threats. So I build smaller ecommerce sites on my Pro Hosting Plus plan to ensure they get these updates. My Business Hosting Plus plan offers more resources and stability, making it a better match for larger, more complex or higher-traffic sites.
Still, actually processing card payments directly on your own site is regulated, and can be costly. The common small business solution for this is to use a payment gateway service like PayPal to process payments. In this case, merchants never even see their customers’ card details, as the payments occur on the processor’s secure site. This incurs extra third-party service fees, but simplifies the initial setup and reduces risk. So PayPal is the default online payment option for most ecommerce sites, though I can integrate other solutions if needed, too.
Advanced web shops often need to manage stock levels and product variations for many hundreds or thousands of products. They may also handle special sales, up-sells, cross-sells, feeds to product comparison sites, multiple staff logins, trade pricing, and more
There are many forms of ecommerce 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.