E-Commerce - What is ecommerce?

E-commerce (or electronic commerce) is a term used to describe commercial transactions conducted electronically. Typically this is the buying and selling of goods and services involving the transfer of funds and data over the internet. Although the roots of e-commerce can be traced back to the 1960s, when businesses started using Electronic Data Interchange (EDI) to share documents with other companies, it wasn’t until the 1990s when the rise of Amazon and Ebay revolutionised the e-commerce industry into what it is today.

Setting up an online store

Online shopping allows consumers to directly buy goods or services from a seller over the Internet using a web browser. Potential customers can now shop online using a range of different devices including desktop computers, laptops, tablets and smartphones.

The simplest method of selling online is to use an established sales platform like Amazon or Ebay which requires minimal setup and knowledge. Several of our clients started that way but they soon discovered that there are limitations on what can be done because these are not bespoke solutions. Selling via your own ecommerce shop on your own domain offers the potential for a bespoke solution tailored specifically to your business.

What we offer is a custom web solution based on your unique requirements, because we are primarily programmers rather than designers which means that we can code any functionality specific to an individual client’s requirements that would not be be available in an “off the shelf solution”.

What we have discovered over time is that our clients don’t just want a website designed and setup for them where they pay the web designer for the work and then left to manage it all themselves. What our clients want is the peace of mind of someone handling the ongoing maintenance (e.g. security updates) and the knowledge that should anything go wrong there is someone at the end of a phone that will fix it. If there is a problem that prevents orders from being placed, that means no revenue from sales until the problem is resolved.

An online store is a very complex setup compared to a simple website that just has a couple of information pages that rarely change. As a result of this they typically require ongoing maintenance to ensure performance and security is maintained. Because ecommerce websites need to integrate with a payment provider to take secure (an SSL certificate is usually required) online payments (e.g. PayPal, Stripe, Worldpay etc.) sometimes changes may be required to the website to keep up with the latest requirements stipulated by those payment providers. Failure to do say could mean you can no longer process payments and this is something of show stopper for a website that relies on selling goods!

Because of the complexity of ecommerce websites, they tend to evolve over time and additional features may be required as a business grows. It is for these reasons that we offer a complete package of developing and maintainance of the online store and an ongoing close relationship with the store owner leaving them to concentrate on their own business and ship the orders whilst we ensure everything related to the website runs smoothly and when it doesn’t we fix it before anyone (hopefully) notices it due to our extensive monitoring procedures.

Whether you wish to use our services or not, the procedure is broadly the same and we have listed below the steps involved in setting up an online store. We hope you find it useful

Step 1 - Domain Name

To sell via your own online store, you will first need a domain name. A domain name is what your customers will type into a browser to find your online store.

You should spend time choosing a domain name for your business as it is an important step that could cause problems (and additional costs) at a later date if you later decide you made the wrong choice. Choosing the right name is crucial for your online success
Choosing a domain name - More info

Step 2 - Web Hosting

In order for your domain name to be accessible to your customers it will require a hosting package. This essentially connects your domain to the internet so that it is accessible to anyone with internet access 24 hours a day. Click the link below to see our guide on how to choose suitable web hosting for your domain.
Choosing web hosting - More info

Step 3 - Web Design

Once you have your domain name and web hosting, the final stage is to set up your actual website. This could be a very simple one page site that just has information about your business, or a full ecommerce website selling your products. The two are worlds apart and we explain in more detail on the link below.
Web design - More info

Step 4 - What next?

Once you have your website up and running there are many things that need to be done to keep everything running smoothly. See below our guide to running a successful ecommerce store.
Our Guide to selling Online