SC header logo

Getting started with E-Commerce

What seemed like a distant future decades ago has become a reality today. 

No one could have expected that online stores would replace classic physical stores, but the statistics do not lie. Since the first day that e-commerce became popular, online stores have been slowly and steadily displacing physical stores. According to the latest research, more than 50% of consumers prefer online shopping to visiting traditional physical stores. And the fact is that this number only grows, year after year.

With this in mind, no retailer should ignore the e-commerce aspect of their business.



A man looking at his credit card while using a laptop

Advantages of online stores

At first you may wonder why online shopping has become so popular, but things become clearer when you dive deeper into the matter. Given our times and the way we live, online shopping makes sense.

Here are just a few of the many advantages of online stores:

1. Accessibility

In contrast to physical stores that are accessible mainly to customers living close to them, online stores can usually be accessed from anywhere in the world and at any time of the day. All you need to start shopping online is a computer or a smartphone and access to the internet.

2. Time- and money-saving
Consumers often spend time and money getting to physical stores only to find out that stores don’t have what they are looking for. Having the ability to access online stores from almost any place in the world, all it takes to check out availability when shopping online is a minute of your time.

3. Convenience

Online shopping is more convenient than shopping in physical stores. You can order products from an online store and have them delivered to your doorstep without ever having to leave your home. It is the same if you have to return any of these products. Even that can be done from the comfort of your home.

4. Informative shopping

Online stores provide much more information about products than traditional physical stores. Product descriptions, customer reviews, related products, etc. are all at your fingertips if you visit a store online instead of going to its physical location.

5. Flexible policies

Online stores are known for their flexible return policies. In contrast to classic stores that are often strict about returning products, online stores are quite flexible here. If you don’t like something you ordered, you can return it without specifying any reason and get your money refunded. And the whole process of returning products is quite straightforward.

This list could have been much longer, but these few points already show why online stores are so popular lately. However, they would hardly have reached this level of popularity if their owners had not learned how to use e-commerce to increase their profits.

Check out the list below to find out why online stores are so popular among retailers as well:

1. Wider reach

The pool of potential customers of online stores is significantly larger than that of traditional physical stores. The main reason is that online stores can be accessed from anywhere in the world and at any time of the day.

2. Cost-efficient stores

Online stores can save significant amounts of money that would be spent on some overhead costs if their owners ran a physical store instead. Reducing costs such as rent and employee wages allows owners to spend more on marketing or expanding into new markets.

3. Scalability 

Unlike classic stores which require significant investments when expanding to new markets, online stores usually have negligible scaling costs. That is because online stores don’t need extra space or people to operate in new markets. All it takes to expand to a neighboring market is to translate the online store into its language.

4. Detailed analytics

While classic stores give insight into various sales figures, online stores provide a comprehensive insight into customer behavior. Utilizing analytics tools (Google Analytics for example), online stores can give insight into sales figures and data like the total number of unique visitors or the conversion rate.

5. Better sales results

One of the main advantages of online stores is that they are open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. In contrast to physical stores which limit sales to their working hours, online stores allow customers to place their orders at any time of the day on any day of the week. This means customers can shop online even on Christmas, Easter, or any other holiday resulting in better sales results.

A shopping cart full of packaged boxes

Things to consider when starting

A well-established retail business is no guarantee that its online version will be equally successful. 

The principles that apply in physical stores will not necessarily apply to online stores. E-commerce is specific and there are several things that everyone must adhere to in order to maintain a profitable online store. So, if you're wondering what these things are, read on so you don't miss them when starting your online store:

1. User experience and user interface

User experience and user interface are two things that should always be taken care of, regardless of the price. No matter how competitive the prices, an online store is unlikely to attract significant customer attention if its design and user experience are not up to the latest standards. It is a fact that customers are much easier to accept new trends than they are ready to adapt to something they consider outdated. 

2. Responsiveness and optimization

Even the most attractive design will not help much if the online store is not responsive and does not display correctly on all devices. It's the same if it takes forever to load. Customers are usually not interested in spending a lot of time ordering in an online store if they can do it faster in another. Therefore, constant optimizations are necessary.

3. Informativeness

The more informative the online store is, the better. Although today more and more online stores offer live support via phone or chat, users rarely use it. This is probably because no one wants to spend time waiting for a support agent to respond to their request. The solution is to provide as much information as possible on all trade-related topics and make it accessible without spending a lot of time searching. Information refers to things like:

  • product description (weight, height, width, product images, customer reviews, etc.)

  • Related products

  • list of discounted products and current promotions

  • terms of delivery

  • return policy

4. Online shopping standards 

With online stores becoming more and more popular every day, almost everyone today is familiar with the generally accepted standards of online shopping. Customers are used to this standard and expect to find it in any online store. Therefore, when starting an online store, special attention should be paid to how the order and return process works. Anything that differs significantly from what is considered the standard today can be a serious problem for an online store.

5. Third Party Integrations

Online stores use different applications for different purposes just like any other business. These applications are usually used to work with the same data. Updating data in one application often requires updating it in another. This is where integrations come in handy. Some of the most popular eCommerce integrations include the following:

  • online store - ERP

  • online store - CRM

  • online store - Newsletter provider

  • online store - delivery service

  • online store - payment gateway

Selecting a platform for an online store

There are dozens of platforms on which online stores can be built. 

Some platforms are more popular than others. Some are more suitable for smaller stores and some for larger online stores. Some require payment, while others are free. Some are adaptable, others are not. Anyway, the point is that they are all somewhat different because they usually don't cover the same features. 

Therefore, choosing the right platform is mandatory.

But with all that said so far, choosing an online trading platform can be challenging. To be able to do this, you need to be familiar with the available platforms and the latest trends in e-commerce. 

If you are wondering which platform to choose, looking for an e-commerce expert to guide you through the process can be a good idea. 

At the Simple Code agency, we have many years of experience on various WooCommerce and custom e-commerce projects. Creating custom blocks and integrating online stores with third-party applications is our expertise. We'd love to hear more about your e-commerce project, so feel free to get in touch via email or our contact form.

A clothing webstore displayed on a laptop screen


Internet stores are the present and the future of retail. 

Sellers who lack this aspect of their business should not wait any longer, but starting an online store can be a challenging experience. Things can easily go wrong if you are not familiar with e-commerce and the available e-commerce platforms. They all have their ups and downs and not all are suitable for different online stores. Therefore, choosing the platform that best suits your store is a must.

Articles You Might Like

Client CTA background image

A new project on the way? We’ve got you covered.