What Is eCommerce? A Comprehensive Guide to Selling Online

ecommerce shopping carts

With 28% of American adults online almost constantly, it makes sense that the world is moving toward online shopping.

If you have an awesome idea for a product to sell and have always dreamed about opening a store, there likely have been many insurmountable obstacles in your path. After all, getting a patent, a space to sell, and a buyer base is a daunting task.

Luckily, though, eCommerce is a viable and simple alternative to setting up a brick-and-mortar shop!

But what is eCommerce, exactly? That’s what we’re going to talk about here today. Read on to learn what an eCommerce store is and how you can set one up all by yourself!

What Is eCommerce?

On the simplest level, an eCommerce shop is one where you sell items online. These items can range from clothing and apparel to accessories to handmade coffee mugs to customized Funko pop dolls. The possibilities are literally limitless!

Even if you’ve never heard the term eCommerce before, you’ve almost certainly bought something off of an eCommerce site. If you’ve ever ordered off Etsy or Redbubble, you’ve patronized an eCommerce platform. If you have a brick-and-mortar clothing store near you and have gone to their online Shopify site, you’re an eCommerce user! It’s an incredibly common way to buy and sell.

eCommerce platforms allow you to select the items you want to buy, add them to a digital cart, enter in your shipping information, and pay all in one go. It’s pretty easy to understand once you’ve defined the term!

Why Sell Online?

If you’re considering setting up an eCommerce shop, you may be wondering: why is selling online a good idea?

Turns out, there are a lot of different reasons to do this! First of all, it’s much less expensive than setting up a brick-and-mortar store. You don’t need to invest in an office space or purchase new hardware for your business. You can conduct your shop anywhere that there’s an internet connection and you have access to your products.

Selling online is a simple way to turn your passion into a business. If you enjoy creating handmade jewelry or clay dolls, people are more likely to find and purchase them online than they are at an independent shop. After all, people spend a lot more time on the internet than they do simply browsing small businesses on the street.

Also, because of online advertising and marketing strategies, you can direct traffic to your store by showing ads to those who are most interested in your products.

Finally, selling online allows you to focus your efforts on innovation and creation. While you’ll need to keep your site updated, you won’t need to spend a lot of energy hiring additional workers or maintaining a warehouse space. You can simply keep your products in your home and ship them out at the post office!

How Can You Set Up an eCommerce Site?

At this point, you’re likely thinking: ‘eCommerce sounds pretty cool. But how can I set up a page to sell my stuff?’

That’s what we’re going to talk about here! Read on to learn how you can set up an eCommerce store to sell the products that you’re passionate about creating and selling.

Choose a Platform

After you know what you’ll be selling, you need to choose a platform on which to make these sales.

If you’re an artist that wants to sell your art on various pre-made products, you can also simply upload your art to Redbubble and let them take care of the rest! For a portion of your earnings, they’ll print your art on various products and ship them out. However, this isn’t the appropriate option for most creators, who are making and selling fashion or novelty items rather than digital art or paintings.

Many independent creators choose sites like Etsy to sell their products on. This is an awesome idea, but since Etsy is simply a place that you can upload product images, it usually isn’t enough. There are no options to create and customize your website, post SEO-rich blog posts, and make your website unique and engaging.

That’s why you need to create a site on Shopify, WooCommerce, or any other existing eCommerce template platform. On these pages, you can customize your navigation pages, engage viewers with blog posts and video, and set up payment options on your own. Basically, you’ll be building your own website with an easy-to-use, user-friendly template!

For more information on choosing a platform for your eCommerce shop, check out this article on Best Online Selling Sites from Digital Logic.

Engage Your Audience

No matter what platform you choose, it’s critical that you engage viewers with a well-designed website.

Since most people are visual and respond to images and videos, you’ll want to immediately position some product images and explainer videos on your home page. Make sure that you showcase the products that you’re most proud of at this point- after all, it’s what people will base their first impressions of your shop on!

You also are going to need to have bold, highly-readable text and an easy-to-use navigation page. A search function is also helpful to customers who want a specific product (or type of product). The bottom line is that you need to make sure that people can find the items that they’re looking for without becoming frustrated and clicking away.

Ensure Payment Methods

Finally, when setting up an eCommerce shop, it’s critical that you allow for multiple payment methods. Generally, this means credit/debit payments and services like PayPal and Venmo. You also may want to allow people to use other e-wallet sites when making their payments. The point of this is to give the user as many options as possible so they feel comfortable with your site.

Be careful when linking these payment methods to your site. You don’t want to force people to re-enter information that they already told you! You also don’t want a situation where your site doesn’t accept payments because of a bug or poorly designed payments page.

Get Started

So, what is eCommerce?

At its most basic level, it’s simply selling products online. In a much more real sense, though, it’s a great way to both make money and fulfill your passions.

Now that you know all about selling online (and why it’s a good idea), it’s time to get started! Check out the ‘technology’ tab on our home page for more intel on the platforms and site builders that you can use when setting up your eCommerce shop.

Good luck, entrepreneur!