What is the Purpose of an Ecommerce Website?

What is the Purpose of an Ecommerce Website?

There are a variety of purposes that a website can serve, but most of them can be traced back to one common goal: generating a profit. Some of them do this more subtly, choosing to highlight the quality of a craft or to showcase one’s expertise in a particular field. Others, namely the ecommerce site, act as a virtual store in which visitors become customers walking down the digital aisles of your business, filling up their carts with your products. But what makes some ecommerce sites more successful than others? Which companies have the best sites? Does ecommerce web design differ from the elements of traditional website design? What about a responsive version?

If you are reading this article, chances are that you are a professional who is interested in using his website to generate an income stream for his business, or maybe a designer seeking to master the methods that make a website sell. Regardless of the reasons that brought you here, our goal is to break down the many purposes of an ecommerce website and answer the common questions that surround the topic.

Read on. Learn. Make money.

Business in a New Era: Retail is Dying

The notoriously large “Red K’s” that typified the once sprawling retail giant Kmart are quickly becoming a thing of the past. But the retail decay spans much wider than simply Kmart. Stores like Sears, Macy’s, Radio Shack, JCPenney, and American Apparel are closing more and more of their locations with each year that passes. It’s not that there is no demand for the items that these stores once sold, it’s that the methods by which consumers prefer to buy them have drastically changed. Yes, your train of thought is correct: people now buy the same goods online.

Big stores that closed because people prefer other shops

The convenience of the ecommerce trend benefits buyers and sellers alike. Take me for example. A larger than average guy, I need to buy a size 14 shoe. You can imagine how frustrating it once was for me to browse aisle after aisle of department store shoe sections searching for anything in my size. When I did find something, it was clear that I would only have a very limited selection from which to choose. Now I can go online and have four different pairs shipped right to my house (all in the popular styles once reserved for those of average shoe sizes) within 48 hours of me visiting the initial page online. What’s more is that I can try them on, choose one or two pairs, and ship the rest back free of charge! This is exactly what Jeff Bezos had in mind when he pioneered Amazon.com. He wanted to give shoppers are variety of options to choose from and in one convenient location. It is the future, and it is awesome!

Small businesses also have the opportunity to penetrate the market with their products thanks to the developers who brought us the ecommerce site design scheme. Think of that little boutique shop in a place like Philadelphia, for example, who was largely dependent on word-of-mouth recommendations and advertising in local papers. With a little help from professional website designers, they can now reach an audience who previously had never even heard of them, and they can do so at an affordable cost.

Let’s be honest with ourselves, within the next five to ten years, we can expect traditional retail to be almost entirely supplanted by online shopping sites.

Comparing Traditional Retail to Ecommerce from a Buyer’s Perspective

Traditional RetaileCommerce
  • If you find what you need in the store, you can grab it right away without having to wait for the time it takes to ship
  • Depending on what it is you intend to buy, you can try the goods on before making your purchase
  • Some people take pleasure in browsing and shopping (but not me!)
  • The time investment is much smaller. You can browse several sites and options within minutes without having to drive from place to place
  • There is a broader range of products, especially when exploring a particular brand, size, color, feature, etc.
  • You can buy from almost any country in the world. There are no borders in the online world (at least not yet).
  • You can often find products at cheaper prices than you would by visiting the traditional stores because websites don’t require building upkeep, hundreds of sales personnel, etc.
  • You can read customer reviews from blogs and websites before making any final decisions.
  • Product presentations come with greater depth and immersive experience (sound, video, detailed descriptions, live Q&A).
  • An ever-increasing trend, more and more shops will allow for free returns should a product not fit properly or meet the standards they claimed online.

The way we see it, traditional retail loses on all fronts. Ecommerce is simply the better method that has evolved from increased innovation and better customer understanding. I personally believe it is not long before retail will be doomed to its inevitable extinction.

What is the Difference Between an Ecommerce Website and a Regular Site?

Much can be said about what differentiates the best sites from those of standard quality, but what is the difference between a traditional website and an ecommerce site? Essentially, an ecommerce website is one that allows a business to function almost entirely online, supplanting the need for a home office equipped with a sales and managerial staff. The process is automatic, and this is what makes it stand apart from other sites that still have business development as the main goal. Obviously, the simpler the product, the easier it is to automate the transaction process, but even if part of the sale must take place beyond the confines your website, you can then redirect buyers back to the site to complete their purchase.

For example, take our business, Direct Line Development. Material by Web Design and DevelopmentOnline Marketing in Web DevelopmentOnline Marketing in Web DevelopmentHow To Create a Good Business WebsiteHow To Create a Good Business Website We are a website design and development firm in Philadelphia. Our customers come to us from all over the world using our website, directlinedev.com. The website serves as an incredibly helpful tool as we conduct our work for a variety of reasons. It allows our potential clients to browse our site, get a feel for the development skills we employ and the design techniques we incorporate into our work, and then provides a convenient avenue to get in contact with one of our sales executives should the client find themselves interested in exploring an opportunity to work with us. This saves everyone time and money.

It is essential to understand that ecommerce is not limited to strictly the buying and selling of goods on a website. It is the technique by which a website aids the business processes of a company or firm in a way that expedites the process and makes the entire exchange between the buyer and seller convenient and easy. Our website even provides a secure payment portal for our clients to use to buy our services. As expected, it is how almost all of our clients choose to complete their transactions with us.

Direct Line Development e-commerce website with packages and prices

For Whom is the Ecommerce Website Best Suited?

Let’s be clear: these sites are not for everyone. As we previously mentioned, the simpler the good or product you are selling, the easier it will be to construct an ecommerce platform around it. It is much easier to sell a plain hat than it is to sell a handmade quilt custom-made for your grandparents’ 50th anniversary. It is for this reason that Amazon chose to start by selling books. They are simple, compact, all relatively the same size, ship well, do not spoil, and reach a broad audience. If you are selling something like t-shirts, cosmetics, or even homemade jerky, then an ecommerce website is definitely for you! If your goods are not so simple and require custom modifications or multiple conversations between the buyer and seller, then you may want to instead explore ways that you can automate some parts of the sales process with your website without having to scrap the important parts from which the needed details will be gleaned. Automation is key, and when possible, should definitely be utilized, but sometimes there are no substitutions for real people.

The importance of loading speed should be on e-commerce website

How to Build an Ecommerce Website From Scratch

The most important thing you must understand when looking to develop a custom ecommerce website isn’t whether or not you can can code for responsive capabilities or whether you should be outsourcing your back-end work, it is knowing how your potential customers will behave and make purchases on your site. If you know the best methods by which you can allow your customers to see prices and make comparisons, read reviews online and watch them on YouTube, incorporate website design techniques that are psychologically related to a customer’s greater likelihood of making a purchase, and so on and so on, then by all means go for it and make the site yourself.

Make sure you also show you are flexible and try not to overdo it with the amount of content you put on the site, but you should be ready to start selling.

We also want to emphasize that the quality of your development will be very important. If you have all of the right visual factors and resources necessary for your customer to make his purchasing decisions but the site takes an eternity to load, you are going to lose that customer. Not too long ago we conducted a study that detailed the development quality of several Philadelphia website developers and showed just how much poor coding can affect the amount of customers a company actually converts into buyers.

Go ahead and give it a shot if you are one of the bold and brave. Feel free to write in and ask questions as you go. We here at Direct Line Development have vast experience in creating the best ecommerce websites for optimal profit, and we would be glad to help!

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