What is e-commerce?

E-commerce is a term that we hear a lot, but what is it? We all know how easy it is to go into a shop and by a product. E-commerce is just that – but online. Instead of handing over your money physically in a shop and having your product right away, an e-commerce website handles all of this online and then sends your product out to you once your order is processed.

It’s likely that you’ve been on quite a few e-commerce websites. Whether it’s been to buy new clothes, household items or just something you can’t seem to find in a shop. Many businesses choose to have their own e-commerce website as it can be cheaper and easier than having their own physical store. 

If you’re thinking about starting your own e-commerce business but don’t know where to start, we’ve got some helpful information coming up. 

Why do I need an e-commerce website?

If you’re a business that sells products or services, having an e-commerce website can make things much easier for both you and your customers. An e-commerce site can have everything about your business, from a contact page to FAQs as well as having an area to sell your products too. This means that your customers will only have to go to one place to find everything they need to know about your business. 

As well as having everything in one place, having an e-commerce website can even help you increase the amount of sales you get. If a potential customer is going onto your site to find out more about you, they may browse around your online shop and find something that they want/need. 

Lastly, if you don’t have a physical shop – you’re going to need somewhere to sell your products. Whilst some individuals resort to places like Amazon or Ebay to sell their products, having your own secure and branded e-commerce website can make customers feel much more at ease and confident about shopping with you.

How do I set up an e-commerce website?

Knowing that you want an e-commerce website is a step in the right direction – but setting one up can feel a little complicated. There are two ways you can build an e-commerce website – doing it yourself or using a web designer. 

If you choose to design your own e-commerce website, there are plenty of easy-to-use platforms to help you do this. However, it can still throw up some challenges. One of the most common e-commerce platforms is Shopify. This platform is perfect for smaller businesses or those who are just starting up their own e-commerce site. 

Even if you’ve never built a website before, Shopify makes it incredibly easy to build your website with clear and simple labels to tell you where things need to go.

The DIY way isn’t for everyone. If you’re not confident in building it yourself or you don’t have the time, using a website designer to do this all for you can be much easier and quicker. You will still be obliged to communicate with your website developer to discuss the design, content and your products, but they will do the hard work for you.

Using a website designer can be more expensive than doing it yourself. The way you build your e-commerce website comes down to three things – your budget, the time you have and your skills. Take a look into your options to find what will work best for you and your business.

What’s important on an e-commerce site?

The main goal from an e-commerce site is getting customers to buy your products. Just setting up a platform doesn’t guarantee that you’ll start getting sales straight away. You need to make your site easy to navigate as well as making your customers feel like they’re safe. Buying products online is something that can make some individuals feel quite nervous, especially those who aren’t as familiar with the internet. 

We’ve made a list of things that we think are important when you have your own e-commerce site. If you already have your own c-commerce website, it’s a great idea to look through what you have to see if you could improve anything.

Types of e-commerce models

An e-commerce model is who your main customer is. Whilst some businesses focus predominantly on selling to consumers, others are only businesses who sell to other businesses. There are 2 main models which are the most popular.

Examples of e-commerce

If you’re still stuck as to what e-commerce is, we have some examples of things that are commonly sold through e-commerce websites. These aren’t just things that you can’t buy in shops, but some are made to only be purchased on the internet.

  1. Subscriptions. This is one that is commonly only sold via e-commerce websites as the subscriptions are online services. Subscriptions are purchased to gain benefit on buying the same products and services on a regular basis. 

 

Benefits of e-commerce

Whether you’re a customer shopping on an e-commerce website or a business thinking about starting your own one up – there are benefits to everyone. If you are still feeling unsure as to if an e-commerce website is for you, we hope these benefits will push you in the right direction.

We hope that we’ve given you a much better understanding on the world of e-commerce. Even if you already have your own physical shop, there’s nothing stopping you from setting up an online one too.

If you require help with building an e-commerce website, please contact us for our advice and assistance.

What Makes A Good Website?

Having your own website is one of the best ways to reach out to new customers and have all company information in one place for people to find. But, what makes a good website? If it’s not clear for your customers or doesn’t provide a good purpose, it makes it less appealing for potential clients and means they are less likely to use it. 

Before we go into more depth, there are 4 very important things that you should consider when you’re building your website or re-designing it. If you follow these 4 points, we think you’re halfway towards having a great website…

If you’re confident that you have completed the points we have discussed, you have made perfect start to making a great website. To make sure your website is the best that it can be, we’re going to discuss the aspects that you may need to touch up on to improve the appearance and functionality of your website.

1.    Improving the appearance of your website

The appearance of your website is one of the most important aspects as this is what your customers will see and experience first. If you were clicking onto a website, you would much rather see one that’s all laid out neatly with clear labelling and pricing rather than jumbled up and difficult to look at.

When your site looks smart, your customers are more likely to trust it, especially if it requires you to add personal information into it like an address or bank details. Even if it’s just a website to showcase what services you offer, it’s important to try and do that in the best way.

Your website should revolve around one big thing – your brand. If it doesn’t look like it belongs to you, your customers may question whether they’re in the right place. This can result in lost customers.


Designing your website around your brand

Part of your brand is the appearance of your business. It’s what people see when they search you up online or come into your store. It’s essential that it all fits together. Consistency is key - not only will it help customers recognise you, it will look smarter.

Your website is no exception. Everything from the typefaces to the colours you use can affect what potential customers think about you. Businesses normally build their website from a logo. If you don’t have one of these, it’s a great starting point to gage which colours you will use and what fonts you like. You should have a colour palette of around 3 colours. Once you have these, you should continue to use them across everything you create – including your website.

By choosing three bright and bold colours, it can look excessive. When using your brand colours on your website, try and only use them lightly in sections like headers, footers, icons and image overlays.

Colours aren’t the only aspect that you should be consistent with. The font that you use in your logo should also be used throughout the website. You may choose to use a more simple typeface for your body text to ensure it’s easy to read.


Use high-quality and relevant images

If you have worked hard on getting your design, colours and typefaces just right – you should avoid blurry or pixelated images too. Images are a great visual way of showing your customers what you do. By providing imagery that fits with your content, your customers should have a much easier time understanding your business.

Great, high-quality images add a lot of value to your website and brand. This is especially important if your site is an ecommerce website. An ecommerce website is an online shop used to sell a businesses’ products. If you’re selling an item, a clear image will make this much easier. More than one may also be required – giving a full look of a product will make your customer feel like they have it in their hands. 

If you’re not an ecommerce company, clean images across your website is still crucial. Take a look through your website to identify whether your imagery promotes your services. It’s great opportunity to take some new photos of your team in action and update your site.

A website isn’t just about how it looks, it’s also about how it functions once you are on it. Let’s discuss the technical side.


2.    The technical points.

There’s a lot to do on the front end of a website to make it look attractive to your customers. But, there’s even more to do behind the scenes to ensure it functions properly. These tasks include:


Quick loading time

Around 79% of shoppers have said that if they have trouble with the loading time on a website, they won’t return. If you’re unsure whether your site is slow or not, you can use Google’s page speed test. You simply need to enter your website URL to see your speed score. If you’re in the red, you need to make urgent changes so that customers can access your site easier.

The tool will also tell you what you can do to make your site faster. This could be scaling large images down or adding a plugin that caches your website faster to prevent data build up. 


Making your site secure

When you go onto a website, you may notice a small green lock appear in the search bar. This means that the site you are on is secure – it is called SSL Encryption. SSL is especially important if you require customers to enter their details into your website. This can include anything from an email addresses to their bank details for e-commerce websites. A secure website will tell your customers that their information is safe and protected.


Mobile Friendliness 

It’s very unlikely that all of your customers will use your website on a desktop. Therefore, whilst it looks great on a computer, it should also look like this if you’re on a tablet or phone too. The term is referred to as ‘mobile’ friendly but doesn’t just apply to mobiles. We now have a range of devices like tablets, small and large phones, and a range of laptop/desktop sizes. Whoever is viewing your website, it’s important that they experience the same as all of your other customers.

When your website is developed by a web-designer, they will ensure that your website is easy to use across all devices. However, if you have chosen to design your website on your own, you will need to do these checks yourself. 

Another helpful tool that Google offers is the mobile-friendly test tool. This will tell you whether they consider it as a responsive design. We recommend that you also still do your own checks.

An unresponsive design can cause loss of content. If you cannot see everything on your mobile that you would usually see on a desktop, it’s best to make changes your template so that it will work across all devices.


Search Engine Optimisation (SEO)

Having a website won’t mean you’ll immediately be found by all of your potential customers. To increase your website visibility to new customers, you’ll need to do something called Search Engine Optimisation. 

SEO is when you optimise your website by using target keywords that potential customers would search to find you. It’s best that you choose keywords that match the services you offer. You will then need to use these keyword across your website in your body text, headings, image descriptions, meta information and more. But this is not all you need to do to get your website to rank. There are at least 5 other headline things that need to be in line for your website to rank well. You can find out how your website can be optimised to its full potential by speaking to an SEO specialist.


In conclusion

By completing these things, you can create a website that is visually attractive, easy to use and safe to enter personal details into (if needed). Think of your website as your business card. When previous or potential customers think of using your business, that’s the first thing they will go to. 

You shouldn’t just stop after you make these changes. It’s important that your website is kept up to date. A good idea is to set yourself a reminder for every 3-6 months to go onto your website and review your content and images. In this time, you may have had team members leave or your content might need a refresh. 

If you require a new website or need help with your existing one, we can help. Some of the above recommendations can sound a little bit daunting, but we will do our best to resolve issues that you have with your website or create a new and fresh one. 

Cameron Ventures Group adds The Cedars Hotel

THE ULTIMATE ONLINE PORTFOLIO

When we began developing a home for the Cameron Venture Group online portfolio a year ago, we worked on creating a dynamic custom made hotel template that could be rolled out upon their continued expansion. As we have continued working with the group since, almost a year later we were tasked with adding their latest hotel, The Cedars, to their online home.

Check it out Here.

Call HR Get Social

After the launch of their new website at the start of the year, call hr have become a social media force to be reckoned with. Back when the website launched we produced two graphics for the company to use on their social media feeds to reinforce their new branding. when they had a new job listing or 

SOCIAL MEDIA DEVELOPMENT

Call hr required a series of graphics they could use on their feeds at different times and for various purposes - from a Moody Monday graphic to Call to actions.