Information technology has opened up many new horizons for the people to make money. These days, digital media poses to be a strong and reliable source of earning. It offers you commercial opportunities from different aspects. You can earn by selling out your products and services online, you can earn by marketing others’ products and services and you can earn by providing technical support like content development, website development and software building.
These all are the parts of e-Commerce which is the most discussed term on all international IT and academic forums. Considering the commercial aspect of internet, more and more tech savvies are putting their investment into it. This is the reason the scoop of digital media is ballooning day by day.
Just a .com is never enough
When we talk about e-Commerce, we need to have a glance at the components that are required to start up an online business. For this purpose, the first and foremost thing you need is a website. However, designing and developing a website is not enough to succeed in the digital world, rather you have to bother about all the technical and professional angles and aspects when you are going to make a website for e-Commerce.
Ingredients of an e-Commerce Website
An e-Commerce website should have a specific structure. Its layout and features should be fully compatible to the niche you have picked up. The basic ingredients of an e-Commerce website include:
1. The website should display goods in symmetry.
2. It should contain information and reviews of the displayed goods.
3. The content over the site should be customizable which means that a user can be able to search and find the thing he/she needs quickly.
4. An e-Commerce website should be properly and safely integrated with some online payment system and that system should function correctly all the time.
5. The website should have a system to accumulate a costumer’s bio including name, place, interests, mail IDs and phone numbers.
6. The website should also contain a support forum where customers can seek after-sale help and make chat to some representatives of the company.
7. The products and contents displayed over the website should contain links and references to the sellers and suppliers.
8. The interface and menus given over it should all be quite user-friendly.
9. The users should be able to buy products directly from homepage as well as product pages.
10. The website should create a dashboard and shopping cart for every user who sings up.
Zazzle is an online store that sells clothing and accessories. They are one of the finest examples of low budget e-Commerce success stories. Their website is following all of the ten pointers that I just mentioned.
There are three basic methods to build up an e-Commerce website:
The first approach is to start the development process from the very scratch. In this process, a developer can use at least five different databases like HTML, Dreamweaver, Expression, CGI Scripts and SQL Database.
The second methodology is to build up a website by using some packaged site building tools like Microsoft Commerce, Server and IBM Websphere. These tools have a number of built-in plug-ins which make the work of a developer quite easy, but at the same time they also have certain limitations.
The third approach is to use ready-made templates that you can get from different forums like BigStep, Yahoo Merchant, Solutions and Amazon Stores.
Out of the three, the first one is the best way to build up a strong, reliable, effective and up to the mark e-Commerce website. By starting everything from scratch, you can design and develop a website exactly according to your needs and expectations. On the other hand, when you purchase some templates and use some specified tools, you have to be bound on some options and features and you have very limited freedom to express your own thoughts and ideas.
The key parts of building up a website for e-Commerce include system development, software development, hardware configuration, telecommunications, content design & development and system maintenance. In you divide your budget among these five parts, the major chunk (40%) goes to system maintenance while system development takes 22%. Content takes 20% and hardware takes 8 % while software and telecommunications share 10% each .
How it works
An e-Commerce website is linked to a web server and a database server at the same time. A user seeking information generates a request that goes to web server which forwards it to database server. Database server sends back the required data to web server which displays it to web pages. The other things that intervene in this process are application server and merchant server.
The main thing that a developer should keep in mind while working on an e-Commerce website is that the website should perform perfectly in all circumstances. There are some cases where websites slow down or crash due to heavy traffic. This is a big bug which can affect a tech entrepreneur’s business to a great extent. In order to avoid this mess, the developer should pass an e-Commerce site through the process of stress testing for multiple times. This will help him/her gauge the quality and durability of the website.
Above all, the design of an e-Commerce website should be simple and user-friendly. It should not contain bulky menus and long texts. The images and descriptions of the products should be precise and catchy. The easier the options are, the more frequently a visitor will come to the site. The more you complicate your stuff, the less are the chances of your site getting the required traffic.
The things that irk the visitors of e-Commerce websites are:
1. Requiring a visitor to view an ad before reaching the desired content.
2. Pop-up ads and windows.
3. Broken links.
4. Outdated content.
5. Requiring a visitor to sing in or sign up for viewing products and placing orders.
A developer should try his/her best to avoid these things while designing an e-Commerce website. The basic focus of such a site should be to facilitate the costumers more and more, enabling them to find out the stuff of their need quickly and effectively. There should necessarily be a hot line and a chat window available on the home page of the website so that customers can seek information and help anytime they want.