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E-Commerce in 2012

Posted by
David Collidge
14th Feb 2012

Posted in the

E-Commerce in 2012

Whilst the ability to buy products on the internet has been with us for over 15 years, online spending continues to grow steadily and Forrester research points to this upward curve continuing. Amazingly however, online retail spending only accounts for a single digit percentage of total retail sales so the possibility of further growth is real and potentially huge. Businesses who can but choose not to sell their products online are missing out on a lucrative revenue stream.

Building Your E-Commerce Store

Creating a successful E-Commerce operation requires a range of skills. Setting up the initial website, promoting it to attract new and repeat customers, easing the management of your inventory moving forward, and delivering results through the sales monitoring and order fulfilment process require thought and planning.

Of course, with a targeted approach to the build of your web store, you are given the best possible start to succeed online. The internet flattens the playing field with regards to your competition and widens your catchment net, so success can be generated quickly. Indeed, a good product will always sell if promoted well, and the vast global audience that is is possible to connect with make E-Commerce ideally suited to businesses who specialise in selling to niche areas.

Harnessing Growth

One of the key differences between websites that experience successful growth and those that struggle is how they market themselves to potential customers. The web is changing, and with so much time being collectively spent on social media services such as Facebook and Twitter internet retailers are scrambling to these services to encourage customers to spread 'the good word' on their behalf.

Another logical area of growth is online shopping via mobile devices, which we have talked about before. Internet usage via mobile devices is set to surpass traditional desktop computers within the next few years so it is important that online retailers consider their mobile strategies. These may include mobile-friendly versions of their websites and stand-alone applications ('Apps') for the most popular mobile devices.

The Shift to E-Commerce Platforms

In the early days of E-Commerce the retail of products on your website generally required custom development work code coupled to an Internet Payment Provider (to process your customer's payment details). The systems that ran the website, order processing, product editing, sales reporting, etc all had to be developed in-house, and it was only when all this hard work had been completed that you could launch your shop and move onto the next task of promoting it. E-Commerce was proprietary, slow, and expensive. Platforms were available to speed up E-Commerce development but they offered little control or ability to make your site look different to everyone else who used the same solution.

Today, however, a new breed of E-Commerce Platform has emerged that offers SMEs with a fantastic amount of control and customisation 'out of the box' whilst being flexible and much more able to cope with the changes and growth that occur within any business. And because they are online solutions you needn't worry about paying a separate website hosting bill or paying your website developer further server setup costs. The new platforms allow you to create an account, enter your product details and within a few steps be well on the way towards configuring your E-Commerce store.

Of course, we still don't recommend going it alone with E-Commerce. A good development partner will offer an E-Commerce 'tailoring' service that plans and guides you through the initial setup, creates a graphic design that captures your corporate identity and captivates your audience, and builds a store structure that is quick to navigate and simple to use. They will also make themselves available at short notice to help with the ongoing maintenance and management of your web store. It's always good to have a professional on hand when you need them.

E-Commerce Guidance

Source Design has been working with businesses with online retail ambitions since our inception in 2003. We know the available systems well, and can advise on the best solution for your business. Setting up an E-Commerce website requires planning. We will guide you through what can seem like a forest of choices and help you to avoid common pitfalls. Call us today on 01455 614711 and we will help you sell online.


Original image courtesy of 401K on Flickr.

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