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Consumer habits are changing and more and more people are turning to the internet for shopping of all sorts, from grocery products to electronic objects, from furniture to jewelry. As brick and mortar stores continue to suffer and to see their sales revenues dropping, e-commerce websites are attracting a growing number of consumers. Therefore, it appears that any retail company hoping to experience growth must have a website where it sells its products.
The different types of e-commerce websites
As an expression “e-commerce website” covers both small e-commerce sites featuring twenty products and large-scaled websites, where thousands of products are being sold.
Here are the 4 main types of e-commerce websites:
- B2B e-commerce (business to business);
- E-commerce between a company and private individuals;
- Intranet (e-commerce between a company and its employees);
- E-commerce between a government and private companies.
The ranges in size and services
For an SME looking to sell six t-shirts, it can be very easy to create an e-commerce website in no time. Admittedly, the pages will not be very elaborate but the site will be functional. We are of course talking about the basic model. In general, a small e-commerce website will contain de following features:
- Online payment;
- The possibility to select elements;
- A shopping cart;
- Security measures for the transaction.
The next level is the mid-range e-commerce website. This type of site will be slightly more sophisticated than the basic model. Moreover, a mid-sized e-commerce site will be able to present between 100 and 500 products, which is double to that of the previous option.
Lastly comes the large-scale site. This level is much broader than the others, as starting from a certain point, there are no limits with regards to how many products are being sold on the site. For example, Amazon sells more than 350 million products on its platform. To be able to support these many sales and this much traffic on the site, it must be well made and the server needs to be very good.
The risks of hiring cheap labour to create an e-commerce website
An increasingly common practice consists in using low-priced services to build and design a website. There are several platforms where you can be referred to people that charge extremely affordable prices, or that live in countries where the dollar is worth more, and can thus ask for low salaries. Although these people are often highly-qualified for website creation and programming, there can be several drawbacks to this money-saving strategy:
For example, in the event of a problem, the person will be harder to reach and will not necessarily be available to solve the problem on time, before you lose sales. Also, when you entrust this type of task, it is always best to be able to meet in person in order to be sure that the person you are hiring understands your expectations and that they are able to offer the type of services you are expecting.
Lastly, there are also instances where these people offer services that are of lesser quality, and which need to be redone afterwards by other, more qualified individuals, which ends up costing a lot more money than planned originally.
How to showcase your products on an e-commerce website
It’s not just about putting your products on a website and waiting for visitors to fill up their shopping carts. You will also need to feature and present the products in a way that is clear and attractive. Make sure that you properly divide the categories, put product descriptions and photos so that the people know exactly what they are buying, which will help you avoid problems down the road.
Marc Lévesque, Co-Founder at Webrunner Media
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Marketing and Communication Director at PMI Montreal
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