What Are E-Commerce Websites?
E-commerce, or electronic commerce, is the buying and selling of goods or services on the internet. E-commerce transactions are conducted through online transfers of money and data.
Any commercial transaction that takes place through the internet is a form of e-commerce, whether it’s ordering a physical product or buying an online subscription.
More than 263 million Americans do their shopping online. That’s 80% of the entire country! Worldwide, that number is closer to 2 billion. With such a massive number of consumers choosing to shop online, it’s clear that e-commerce is here to stay.
Earning Money with E-Commerce Websites
The most obvious way to earn money with an e-commerce website is by selling goods and services. Like normal businesses, your e-commerce site requires similar marketing, sales, and customer service strategies to be effective.
Another great way to earn money with e-commerce websites is by selling advertising space on your website. The best part about it is that ad space on your e-commerce website can passively generate income while you focus on selling your products.
However, due to that fact, e-commerce has quickly grown into one of the most competitive industries out there. To succeed, you'll need to find ways to outperform your competition.
And that's where e-commerce tools come in.
Top 5 Must-Have Features for Your E-Commerce Website
1. E-Commerce Platform
The first and most important tool is the e-commerce platform itself. This tool is a must-have for companies just beginning to develop an online presence.
One of the most famous examples of an e-commerce platform is Shopify. It is easy to use and makes getting started a breeze, as it (and platforms like it) offers all the features you might need, from website development to e-commerce store management.
E-commerce platforms often have built-in marketing tools that help your e-commerce website connect to larger audiences and get your name out there.
Despite being great tools for new businesses or startups, e-commerce platforms are also great for large enterprises. Without them, you would have to create the entire site from scratch, which is a labor and resource-intensive process at the best of times.
Taking this into consideration, choosing an e-commerce platform is a no-brainer.
2. Customer Support Tool
Creating a great customer experience should be a top priority for every business. In e-commerce, it can be the difference between success and total failure. To that end, it is essential you understand what features are vital for your business and your customers.
Customer support tools operate on both the customer and agent-facing sides. For example, both call center software and chatbots are examples of effective customer support tools. So let's have a closer look at both.
Call center software, like CloudTalk, is a customer support tool that provides your customer service agents with many different features to assist your clients better. It makes the lives of your agents easier, so they can focus on the customer.
CloudTalk is a cloud-based telephony software that offers 40+ features to improve the quality and efficiency of call centers. Call statistics, automated callback, and the power dialer are just some examples of features that allow your agents to increase productivity while boosting call volumes.
A Chatbot, on the other hand, is a customer support tool that uses AI to communicate directly with customers and answer simple questions automatically. Chatbots can provide immediate responses to a variety of pre-programmed frequently asked questions.
Chatbots, unlike live agents, are also available to assist customers 24/7. Normal business hours don’t apply to AI, allowing your customers to receive support at any time of the day.
These critical customer support tools are indispensable and should be strongly considered for your e-commerce website. Otherwise, your customer support agents will be stretched thin as they attempt to deal with every customer question or request manually.
This will likely result in overworked employees and unsatisfied customers, both of which can be detrimental to the success of your e-commerce website.
3. Online Payment Tool
The importance of an online payment tool for your e-commerce site should be clear – without it, your customers have no way to pay you! So the best practice is to have several options to accommodate a variety of customers.
The integration of online payment tools into your e-commerce website also allows for a seamless transition from shopping to payment, which helps create a positive experience. PayPal is one of the leading online payment tools that can be easily integrated into your e-commerce website.
Furthermore, without a built-in online payment tool, you will be forced to rely on a third-party website to complete customer transactions. This can be a less secure way to make payments and could cause customers to question the legitimacy of your website. So it is advisable to enable an EV SSL certificate for consumer trust about payment.
In addition, redirecting your customers elsewhere to pay will also cause you to miss out on a great opportunity for data collection.
4. Analytics Tool
The world of e-commerce is driven by data and its analysis. Customer interaction with your website is a key factor that can affect sales. The more you can analyze their behavior, the better you will understand how to increase sales.
E-commerce analytic tools, like Google Analytics, allow you to track various metrics like website views, daily traffic, and time spent on a website. This helps you evaluate your overall site performance and see which parts work as intended and which ones may need some improvement.
Understanding what your customers love about your company is extremely important. Without any analytics tools, your understanding of your customers will be severely minimized.
5. Shipping Service Tool
Logistics and shipping operations can be a headache, especially for small businesses or startups that see an influx of sales. Every e-commerce website that sells physical products needs a shipping service tool to ensure prompt delivery.
Most shipping service tools collaborate with major shipping companies, like USPS, to guarantee your company gets seamless shipping, discounted rates, and professional packaging. That way, you can rest easy, knowing your customers will receive their orders without a hitch.
The shipping service tool is our final must-have feature for every e-commerce website.
Without a shipping service tool, your business would have to figure out the logistics of every individual order and devote labor and time to the delivery process.
This would cost your company more money and increase the likelihood of unfulfilled orders, creating unsatisfied customers.
Adding and managing an e-commerce store is an exciting and fruitful step for any company. However, it does come with a whole new set of challenges. If you want to succeed, you need to perform.
And you can do that with the 5 must-have tools you learned about today. Increase your performance, satisfy your customers, and compete with the best. Don't wait, and equip your website with these tools today!