eCommerce websites: what are they?
The short answer to the question "what is an online store?", would be: a dynamic website, through which the retailer may submit their products on sale, and visitors or customers may choose the products they wish to purchase and, in most cases, even make the payment through online means.
Short history of eCommerce websites
Although online commerce had a slow start, online stores represent now a large share of the retail market, the online segment with the most spectacular growth in recent years. In Romania, usage of online commerce as a business model has seen a boom in recent years, aligning to the global trend of Internet business development.
Short description of an eCommerce website
Everything, from gifts, books, perfumes, flowers, to home shopping, even pets can be bought from online stores. If you sell a product or service, an online store may be your "window" on the Internet, allowing visitors to your ecommerce website to inspect the products or services directly from their homes at any time of day or night, in any day of the week.
Software solutions on the market, today, are the most diverse being applicable to general purpose stores, to the most specialized shops dedicated to a single product or group of products.
The cost of an ecommerce website may vary from zero to thousands or tens of thousands of dollars, depending on the performance required by the merchant to the software that manages the store, or design services required.
The advantages of running an ecommerce website
The advantages of online stores are numerous and we will mention here only some of the most important:
- online store can be kept "open" 24 hours a day, 7 days a week
- management and maintenance staff needed for an online store is much less numerous than the ones required to maintain a traditional bricks and mortar store
- need a rental shop is tiny compared with that needed to have a classic maazin, the street, or in a mall.
- "shelves" for products of a shop can be rearranged with a few mouse clicks, directly from your desktop without having to close the store, while rearranging classic products in a bricks-and-mortar store can be difficult and time costly.
- to a visitor, the jump from food section to household appliances section is instant, one click appart, without having to walk the "path" of the grocery aisle to the appliances one.
- comparison between different products is easy and can be made for more products simultaneously.
- for previous buyers of popular products, their opinions may cause potential customers to come into your store and purchase onlinethe same products based on existing reviews.
- sort products according to various criteria, most importantly the price, which is practically impossible in a bricks-and-mortar store.
- a buyer in a shop, not only does not have to push the shopping cart over and across the store, but he can leave with full with products and continue shopping after a while.
Shipping products to the buyers
Products marketed in an ecommerce website shop may be the most diverse, some, such as online services or software, no need to be shipped to buyers, while for others, such as clothing or shoes, electronics and appliances, books, DVDs etc., necessary transportation to the buyer may arise as a necessity.
Most online stores have a section dedicated to managing shipping, providing store operator various automation tools for shipping purchased products to the customers.
Prices and special offers
With a online store, prices are manageable directly from the store administration panel, the changes are visible instantly, immediately after their modification. Prices can be choosen to include or not various taxes (VAT, eco tax, etc.). Products' prices in an online store may be variable, depending on various criteria the store operator may choose, such as quantity purchased, color, weight etc.
Special offers are easily added in the admin panel of an online store, they can be, just like a traditional store, placed in plain sight on the front page of the online store can be displayed on every page of the store.