Complete Guide To Ecommerce Website Design – Part 1
Ecommerce is growing and it is understandable why. The technology that enables online buying has become robust enough and capable enough that customers feel confident about making a purchase online.
Size of the Ecommerce Marketplace
The size of the U.S. ecommerce business in 2019 is projected to surpass $600 billion from $343 billion in 2015, according to Statista. Similarly, the size of worldwide retail ecommerce sales was 1.55 trillion USD in 2015 and this is projected to grow to 3.4 trillion USD in 2019. No wonder Amazon continues to be such a hot stock despite very little in profits. Wal-Mart is scrambling to master this new online domain and recently acquired Jet.com to better compete with Amazon in the online retail or ecommerce space.
No doubt Amazon is way ahead and must be working hard at improving its algorithms to make even better product suggestions or recommendations to customers based on their past purchase history.
Big data, machine learning, analytics, artificial intelligence-based software tools must be helping the giant online retailers improve their product suggestions, customer service and marketing efforts.
The technology behind the booming ecommerce business
✓ A. The latest high-end Smartphones costing more than $500 from Apple, Samsung, Xiaomi, Lenovo, LG, and many other companies are capable computing devices with more than enough screen resolution to view product images or water product videos. Even $200 Android Smartphones are pretty good at these tasks these days.
✓ B. The 4G networks are growing and expanding around the world. This enables ecommerce business growth as consumers can seamlessly browse and purchase products online while on the move.
✓ C. Online payments have become smooth and trustworthy and the payment options are expanding with the launch of services like Apple Pay, Samsung Pay, and others.
(Apple Pay will soon work on the Web too)
(Apple Pay partner establishments are growing in number)
✓ D. Over time, ecommerce businesses have improved their shipping options and Amazon continues to stretch the envelope with fast delivery options such as the free two-hour delivery option for Amazon Prime subscribers as well as one-hour delivery for a fee.
All in all, the drudgery of the shopping experience that David Foster Wallace referred to in his famous commencement address is giving way to a more convenient shopping option — ecommerce or online shopping.
With online shopping, you can browse products — books or jewelry, baby shower gifts or wedding gifts — and then order what you like. The product is then delivered to your doorstep and you have avoided driving to a supermarket in ‘SUV heavy traffic.’
This works whether it is for the boring types of shopping such as grocery shopping or the more exciting stuff such as flowers or dresses or other gift items for your boyfriends/girlfriends/spouses. Think Valentine’s Day shopping when the search for ‘flower shops’ or ‘florists’ goes through a spike in Google Trends.
(Google Trends clearly shows how the search for ‘florists’ spikes around Valentine’s Day)
How and why to start a new ecommerce business
When you consider that Amazon has been around now for more than 20 years (it started life as Cadabra in 1994 to be precise), setting up a new ecommerce business in 2016 may appear to be a belated decision but there are always niche areas and markets and products and services and specialized markets or verticals or business opportunities.
No wonder lots of new ecommerce businesses are starting even now. So, if you have a winning online business idea, you should give it a try. The barriers to enter into online business have become lower and the online marketplace is growing every year and expanding to newer international marketplaces.
With streamlined international shipping options and multiple online payment options, targeting customers internationally has also become feasible thus expanding the ecommerce marketplace to span the globe. Almost.
At the same time, ecommerce has become local and even hyperlocal. You can set up an online florist shop to serve customers in a specific part of New York City, Los Angeles, or other cities.
(Various online florists in NYC specify where they deliver in NYC)
See this florist in Los Angeles that also specifies the locations, areas, hospitals and zip codes in LA where they deliver.
The same applies to food home delivery businesses. In fact, sites like this show a list of restaurants that deliver in different locations in different cities. And there are more sites like this who list more such restaurants.
(You can see lists of online home delivery restaurants that serve your city and your locality)
Choose your ecommerce platform
One of the factors enabling the growth of the entire ecommerce business is the easy availability of ecommerce website design and development platforms which has lowered the entry barrier for new entrants and aspiring entrepreneurs and startups.
There are several of these for you to choose from and we list the top choices here.
1. Magento. It’s a pretty popular ecommerce platform. It powers about a quarter of a million online marketplaces. There are lots of free and premium Magento extensions available as well as lots of free and premium responsive themes and templates to choose from. So, you can choose your themes and templates based on whether you are opening a women’s clothing online store or jewelry store online or an online bakery store or a shoes or electronics ecommerce website or a wine delivery shop online or a florist or household goods online store and so on. Magento comes in many flavors such as Magento Community Edition, Magento Enterprise Edition, and Magento Enterprise Cloud Edition. Magento’s customer showcase page lists many of the stores who are using Magento.
(Olympus uses Magento)
(stella & dot is powered by Magento)
(Bing Lee is an Australian retailer powered by Magento)
(Fun4Kids sells a variety of stuff in different price bands to engage kids of all types)
(Vizio website is also powered by Magento)
You can find a quality Magento development company with whom you can establish a business partnership to launch your ecommerce website and to perform SEO and digital marketing activities including social media marketing, PPC ads, digital advertising, and content marketing.
2. Shopify It is an effective ecommerce platform for smaller startups. The trial period on Shopify lasts for 14 days after which it is paid. Lots of online stores use Shopify.
There are a range of good quality mobile-friendly Shopify themes — including responsive Shopify themes — available to make your online marketplace look unique and give it unique features. These themes are either free or premium and are designed for various different industries such as fashion, jewelry, electronics, food & drink, home & garden, furniture, health & beauty, sports & recreation, toys & games and so forth.
(Shopify has a wide variety of themes to choose from)
(Beardbrand is powered by Shopify)
(Tessemae’s is powered by Shopify)
(Death Wish Coffee is powered by Shopify)
(Brilliant.co is powered by Shopify)
(Happiness Abscissa is powered by Shopify)
3. WooCommerce. It is one more common ecommerce platform that powers about one-third of ecommerce websites. It works only on WordPress sites but has hundreds of payment gateways.
4. Bigcommerce. It is powering tens of thousands of online stores. There are no transaction fees on any of the different plans.
5. PrestaShop. It’s one more free, open source ecommerce platform.
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