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Zyro encyclopedia

Learn about online business

Zyro Glossary Website builder

eCommerce Website

What is an eCommerce website?

An eCommerce website is an online platform that provides the means to exchange goods and services for payment. 

The order fulfillment process, from checkout to shipping, is all automated when you use advanced eCommerce tools. All funds are usually transferred via wire transfers, card payments, or digital wallets.

Business models of eCommerce websites

There are four types of business models for eCommerce, depending on the parties involved in the transaction:

  • Business to business (B2B) – the transactions are conducted between businesses
  • Business to customer (B2C) ‒ businesses sell products and services directly to customers 
  • Customer to customer (C2C) ‒ the transactions are conducted between private individuals
  • Customer to business (C2B) ‒ customers sell products and services to businesses

Types of eCommerce websites

eCommerce websites can be classified according to what they’re selling.

Online stores that sell physical goods

As the virtual version of brick and mortar stores, this type of eCommerce website sells physical goods like clothing items, furniture, and books.

Traditional companies like Apple and Zara that sell their products through their websites belong to this category. Amazon and eBay are other examples of this kind of eCommerce, which sell products from third parties.

Dropshipping eCommerce

Unlike the previous type, dropshipping eliminates the need for merchants to keep physical inventory.

In a dropshipping business, the seller serves as the middleman between buyers and suppliers. They make a profit by selling the products at a markup, so they do not handle logistics and management. 

Orders are redirected to the wholesaler or supplier, who then fulfills and ships the products to the customer.

Dropshipping is very popular on Amazon and AliExpress.

eCommerce aggregators

eCommerce aggregators partner with multiple vendors to sell products or services under one brand. 

In this model, products and services are not owned by the aggregator. Instead, it is only responsible for marketing and maintaining a uniform quality across all of its goods. In return, vendors give a certain percentage of their revenue to the aggregator.

Airbnb is one of the well-known companies that employ this eCommerce model. It collaborates with homeowners, hotels, and villas, allowing individuals to rent their rooms via Airbnb’s website and apps.

eCommerce websites that sell services

This type of eCommerce includes companies and professionals that offer their skills and expertise. It covers anyone from freelancers and gig workers to consulting and photography businesses.

Streaming services also belong to this category, such as Netflix and Spotify.

Online stores that sell digital products

Examples of digital products include ebooks, music files, and eGift cards.

What is a website builder for eCommerce?

A website builder for eCommerce helps you create a professional website with online store features, without needing any design or coding knowledge.

In general, a good eCommerce website builder should support your business by offering store operation features like a product catalog, stock management systems, and payment gateways.

Here are the tools and features that an eCommerce site builder generally provides:

  • Filtering tools ‒ help customers find what they are looking for with product filters, favorites, and wishlist features
  • Catalog management ‒ showcase products along with supporting information, such as product dimensions and weights, images, and ingredients
  • Shipping and tax ‒ calculate shipping and tax for different zones and provide real-time shipment tracking
  • Promotions ‒ hold discounts, sell gift cards, and share products via social media networks
  • Integrations ‒ sell or market products on other eCommerce platforms 
  • Order management ‒ edit or create orders, print invoices, track unfinished orders, and send email notifications to customers
  • Payment gateways ‒ provide multiple payment channels where customers can make a payment

How to start an eCommerce business

1. Research your target market

To start an online business, you have to research the target audience and create a buyer persona.

If you have an existing product or service to sell, research who the most likely buyer is. Getting insights into demographic information such as age and gender helps make your online store more appealing to your target market.

Alternatively, you can look at current trends and see which goods or services are in demand. You might want to focus on trending markets or look for more niche markets to cater to. 

2. Choose products that will satisfy your audience

It is easier to choose a product or service that sells once you identify your target audience.

You can contact several manufacturers and request products to sample. Doing so helps you decide which suppliers you should partner with. Factors to consider include response time, product quality, shipping duration, and cost.

Alternatively, you can check whether they offer drop-ship services. Therefore, you do not have to worry about shipping and handling costs. 

3. Create a brand identity

Brand identity includes your logo, slogan, and main value proposition. It is what makes your brand unique and different from competitors. 

Strong brand identity will lead to a strong brand image, which is how customers perceive your brand. If customers trust your brand, they will be willing to give your eCommerce store a chance.

4. Create your eCommerce store (using a website builder)

Leveraging a website builder is the easiest and quickest way to have an eCommerce site up and running.

Choose an online store template that suits your brand identity and start adding content to the website. Upload your products along with detailed product descriptions for better SEO.

You can also add information about your company, contact details, and images or videos that help market your products or services.

5. Start selling online

Once your store is live, you should promote it on social media platforms. 

Adding discount codes or having an opening sale is one of the ways to gain more traction for your new online store. 

You can also encourage visitors to sign up for newsletters to get special promotions. This is a great way to collect their email address and build your email list.

Don’t forget to set up automatic thank-you emails to make a good first impression.

6. Track your online sales

Tracking your online sales and utilizing website analytics help you understand which products are doing well, and what your customers are looking for. 

Review the numbers, collect feedback, and improve where needed. 

7. Optimize your sales funnel

Acquiring new customers requires advertising and marketing campaigns, which can cost a lot of money. However, you can promote your online store without having to break the bank by improving your sales funnel. 

A sales funnel is a marketing concept that describes how customers typically purchase products:

  • Awareness. In this stage, users are in the process of getting to know you and your products. Make a lasting impression on them by creating informative content. Explain who you are, what you offer, and how they can benefit from your product or service.
  • Interest. Users are considering your offers, so it’s crucial for you to nurture these leads. Ask visitors to join your email list, send them targeted newsletters, or offer free content like ebooks and webinars.
  • Decision. Turning a site visitor into a customer may be challenging, but not impossible. Incorporating testimonials, customer reviews, and user-generated content will further help build trust and credibility.

Action. Whether the goal is to get your audience to purchase an item, follow you on social media, or share the word to their friends, it is vital to place CTA buttons in strategic positions to maximize conversions.

Written by

Author avatar

Olivia

Olivia is a writer for Zyro and an eCommerce know-it-all. Having spent many years as a retail buyer, she loves writing about trend forecasting, brand building, and teaching others how to optimize online stores for success. She lives in London and spends a lot of time exploring the city’s parks with her whippet.

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