e-commerce sites - WebsiteNI

What is e-commerce?

E-commerce (or electronic commerce) is the process of selling products and/or services on the internet through a website.

Many people are swapping going to physical stores in the high street to buying online. They love it because it is a convenient way to shop and it’s usually more socially acceptable to shop online in your pj’s than a physical store.

An e-commerce website works best when it is easy to use. This makes for a good user experience that will make people want to come back again and again.

With Google’s recent mobile friendly updates to their algorithm along with the fact that over 45% of UK smartphone owners are making purchases online, it is worth considering the amount of e-commerce activity that will take place on mobile devices.

There are some things you have to consider when setting up your e-commerce site:


1. Product images

Image is important. Professional, high quality photos of your products are vital when it comes to online promotion as well as print advertising. Whether it’s a dress or a vertical baler; unique, high quality photos will help you stand out from your competitors.

professional product images - WebsiteNI
Professional product photography can make all the difference

Multiple images that give different angles and variations of your product, such as different colours, will help your customers make a more informed choice when shopping online. The images should be high enough quality for customer to zoom in and inspect product detail.


2. Number of products
The more products you have, the more challenging it gets to manage them all. It is worth thinking about the categories or types of products you have and dividing them up into their own unique filtered pages where people can easily browse specific products. For example, shirts may be a category and formal shirts may be a subcategory.

multiple products for e-commerce sites - WebsiteNI
Large product volumes and multiple manufacturers need careful management

Multiple manufacturer partnerships are important to manage as well when it comes to building trusted relationships with them and testing the product quality before including it in your product offering.


3. Currency
It is worth considering what currencies you want to handle and deal with as this can influence how you will set up your business bank account. Exchange rates are an important factor in how you price your products to suit your target market – whether it’s selling into the UK and Ireland or something more global.

currencies - selling online from northern ireland to other countries - WebsiteNI
It’s important to think of what currencies you can process in your business when selling online

Online merchant accounts and payment gateways for processing transactions online provide options for handling multiple currencies. There are quite a few out there and it is something we have looked at before in this blog post.


4. Shipping
Like the online payment systems, there are many options to consider for shipping your products. Being based in Northern Ireland, costs can often be higher than shipping from the UK mainland. There are alternative options such as drop shopping and order fulfilment that you could partner with to ship your products within certain countries that you are selling into.

shipping northern ireland - WebsiteNI
There are many options for shipping in NI

Again, like the online payment systems, online shipping options in Northern Ireland is something we have looked into recently.


5. Online marketplace
Amazon and eBay are two of the most popular services for selling online. Using a service like this for selling your products can give you the benefit of an already huge online presence for your products to be listed. It’s unlikely that people will know to search for your store, but they may well discover your products.

Amazon Marketplace and eBay for e-commerce - WebsiteNI

eBay is a good for a beginner in selling online before you set up your e-commerce site. You can see what products might sell well before confirming what products you want to list on your e-commerce site. Amazon’s Marketplace comes with features to help integrate your e-commerce site into a seamless experience for customers shopping online.


6. Content
Images are definitely vital for e-commerce success, though test and video are 2 additional formats that can’t be ignored.

A lot of product descriptions online are sourced from the manufacturer’s description. However, when it comes to SEO and people being able to find your website, having duplicate content is not a good thing.

Writing unique product descriptions in your own unique style will be helpful for ranking in the search engines as well as giving customers something more interesting to find out about your product. Writing content can be tough as businesses are often challenged for time to do it. However, there are great content writing services available to help you manage this more effectively.

Video is seriously popular right now for content marketing, but it still hasn’t fully taken off in the e-commerce world. Video is ideal for getting customer attention, showing off product capabilities and even teaching customers how to use your product.

video marketing for e-commerce - WebsiteNI
You can use video to teach customers how to use or maintain your products
Read The promise of ecommerce (Part 2): The Push here…

Hope you found this post useful! The next part of this series will be about how to get more from your e-commerce site.

If you would like to get your e-commerce site set up, you can send us an email or give us a call at Dungannon 028 3754 9025 or Belfast 028 9002 5050 to get you up and running.