In this article we answer 7 questions that people have about ecommerce.
1. Which e-commerce platform is best for small business?
This very much depends on your requirements and how much capital you wish to dedicate to the ongoing development of the website.
There are multiple e-commerce platforms available.
Magento (now called Adobe Commerce) was once the go-to platform for larger e-commerce stores. However, since its purchase by Adobe this has altered slightly. The Adobe Commerce platform has become more of a SaaS platform and is expensive for SME’s to adopt. The open source (and therefore free) version of Magento is still available to download but caution should be used when adopting this as a platform for your web shop growth.
OpenCart was released in its PHP version in 2009 after being taken over by UK based developer Daniel Kerr. It is currently at version 3 and has an active developer community. The software is available to download for free from the website Opencart
The most popular self-hosted e-commerce platform currently in use is Woocommerce. This is based on the WordPress platform and is downloaded as a plugin. Woocommerce development is ongoing and lead by same team behind both WordPress and Woocommerce. Plugins to extend woocommerce can be either downloaded for free or for a small fee.
A relatively new arrival into e-commerce in the UK, Shopify has become a major player in a short-space of time. It works on a Software-as-a-Service basis where you pay a monthly subscription which covers the platform and the monthly hosting for it. There are no files to download and install, nor any responsibility for security or data updates. As such it is a good solution for getting started in selling online and offers fantastic opportunities to keep your store growing. Apps are available – both for free and paid – in the Shopify marketplace.
2. Which ecommerce platform is best for dropshipping?
Both Woocommerce and Shopify can be used for dropshipping however Shopify features built-in integration with a provider called Oberlo which allows you to list products from the Aliexpress marketplace.
3. Why ecommerce is growing?
Over the past 2 years ecommerce has experienced a massive growth. During the pandemic with customers unable to leave their houses they shopped online in their millions. Many customers experienced shopping online for the first time during the pandemic and many enjoyed it and have continued to buy products and services.
4. Will e commerce continue to grow?
Ecommerce was growing year on year prior to the pandemic. The growth it has undergone since early 2020 has caused a seed-change in customer behaviour. Whilst the market has cooled slightly since lockdowns were eased it is expected to continue to grow.
5. Will e-commerce overtake physical retail?
If ecommerce continues with the growth experienced during the pandemic it is likely that at some point sales of products and services online will outpace those of traditional bricks and mortar establishments.
6. How ecommerce website works?
Ecommerce websites work in basically the same way across all types. The user browses a catalog of products, views product descriptions and adds a quantity of the product to a “shopping basket”. Behind the scenes the system monitors the quantity of products available to be sold, assigns stock to customers and reduces the quantity available on checkout and transfers payment information from the website to a payment service provider. Once paid for an order is picked by staff and dispatched via postal service companies such as Royal Mail or DPD.
7. What about marketplaces such as Amazon and Ebay?
It is an unfortunate truth that selling on your own website will always be harder than selling via a marketplace such as Amazon or Ebay. The number of customers on these platforms are huge and therefore the opportunity for your business is huge as well. However. Amazon and Ebay impose onerous terms on companies selling via their service as well as large fees. A blend of sales which take place on these marketplaces as well as on your own website is the best option to get up and running quickly and profitably. \The best strategy is to try, if you can, to push customers from the marketplaces to purchasing directly on your website in order to reduce fees and avoid their requirements on issues such as refunds.