With millions of people having access to the Internet, a lot of businesses have also adopted a new way to make a profit and sell their items or services, and that is through e-commerce. In case you are interested in putting up your business in an e-commerce site, you need to know that no matter how well you planned things, problems are bound to happen, especially when you are still new. Today, we will be discussing everything you need to know about managing an e-commerce site, including the most common mistakes and risks you will encounter from time to time.
What is an E-commerce Site?
E-commerce (electronic commerce) refers to the trading of products or services with the use of computer networks like the Internet or social networking sites. The first form of e-commerce was believed to have been developed in 1971 or 1972. The Advanced Research Projects Agency Network, commonly known as ARPANET, which was considered as the early form of the packet switching network, was used to arrange cannabis sale between the students of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the Stanford Artificial Intelligence Laboratory. Today, millions of people from all parts of the world are engaged in e-commerce, selling almost every item you can imagine.
An e-commerce business can be defined as:
– An online shopping website that offers direct retail sales to consumers
– A shopping store participating in online marketplaces such as Amazon and Alibaba
– B2B (business to business) buying and selling trade
– Online stocks exchange for trading or currency exchanges
– Online marketing (SEO, e-mail marketing, etc.)
How to Start an E-Commerce Business
A lot of people think that opening an e-commerce business is easy, but all businesses, whether a traditional one or an online one, requires hard work in order for it to become successful. When it comes to building an e-commerce business, the first thing you need to do is to find a product or service that you want to retail. The reason why you’re starting your business is because you want to gain profit from selling, so it only makes sense that you need to find a product or service that people would buy.
Once you’ve listed at least ten prospective products to trade, you need to evaluate each one of them and see which of these products would really sell. After that, you also need to know how you will obtain your product—where to find your manufacturer or supplier, how much you should spend per item, etc. Apart from that, you also have to study your competition carefully. It is important that you are aware of exactly what or who your competitors are, and what they are capable of doing. Make sure to also start writing your business plan, find a name for your business, and register it. When building an e-commerce business, there are also plenty of e-commerce platforms you can choose from; read below to help you know your options.
Examples of E-commerce Platforms
In case you want to build an e-commerce business, here are some hosting platforms you can use:
Without the need to register your products on online marketplaces such as Amazon, Alibaba, and EBay, Shopify makes shopping easier for both merchants and consumers. Shopify is considered as one of the most popular online shopping cart tools. Using this e-commerce platform, customers and shoppers can instantly checkout the items they want to buy, process their payment method, and wait for the item to be delivered to their doorsteps.
BigCommerce started out as a software system created and sold by Interspire, but later on, after it became a hit among merchants, it was transformed into a hosted shopping cart. Currently, it is among the most famous online shopping carts featuring gift cards, real-time shopping quotes, chat support, and much more.
Among all the hosted shopping carts for SMEs today, Yahoo Store is the one with the largest market share in the top 100,000 and top 10,000 sites. Not only that, Yahoo was the first to provide an online e-commerce solution to merchants and business starters. Being a well-known brand trusted by online users, Yahoo Store is definitely a well-hosted e-commerce platform choice. However, Yahoo’s popularity is slowly declining nowadays.
Wix is basically a free website builder, which has been gaining popularity nowadays. And while it is promoted as a website builder, not all people are aware that it also offers e-Commerce features. Although Wix does not have the powerful features of Shopify and BigCommerce, it is still a great choice for hosted e-commerce platforms. Wix also does not require merchants to pay for transaction costs, only a monthly fee.
Chargebacks and Other Risks in an E-commerce Business
Just like any other type of business, an e-commerce business also has risks and potential threats that can ruin your sales performance and even your reputation. With hackers, computer criminals, script kiddies, hacktivists, and cyber terrorists lurking everywhere, your main concern as a merchant is to make sure that your site is secure all the time.
Security is such an important feature in an e-commerce site; apart from protecting your data, you also need to keep your customers’ information and transactions confidential, as they are at risk of identity theft and fraudulent activities. Identity theft is one of the most common reasons why customers would dispute for chargebacks, and that is why aside from securing your site, you should also make sure that your purchasing process is protected from fraudulent purchases.
E-commerce sites are also vulnerable to viruses, high shipping costs, fraudulent customers, information risk, copy infringement, and a lot more.
Many entrepreneurs from all parts of the world have found success with e-commerce, and with more people going online and using the Internet in their daily lives, it is even expected that e-commerce stores and sites will become more in demand than ever. For those who want to start an e-commerce business, make sure to read everything in this article as this can really help you manage your store.