It appears that Britons love their online shopping. According to the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), the UK out-shops the US, Germany and France when it comes to online shopping. This is encouraging for businesses starting out in the virtual world on commerce. Whether your business is already established as a bricks and mortar presence or you’re just starting a new business that will be strictly online, knowing that there is a strong customer-base online is one less thing to worry about.
So the e-commerce sector is thriving and you know it’s a good time to set-up your online store but now you have to decide how you’re going to go about choosing the right platform for your needs, The good news is that you don’t have to have any knowledge of HTML, graphics applications or know your Flash from your PNG files, as today e-commerce can be as easy as filling in a few online forms. The hard part is deciding among the many options you have.
There are numerous questions you must ask yourself before jumping into the e-commerce world. Do you want to have your site on your own server or use a hosted application? Many stand by the saying of ‘why reinvent the wheel’. A good point, considering all of the options out there that have been tried and tested. Do you want complete control over every aspect of your online store? If so, you’ll have to be confident in your abilities, or those of someone you hire, to ensure you stay up-to-date while allowing a great shopping experience for your customers.
Security for your customers is very important. Always ensure that your site uses SSL (Secure Socket Layer), which is the industry standard for online payments. You will also want a shopping cart software that is fast and efficient. Security and ease of use is one of the top experiences that online shoppers desire. In this virtual shopping world, your customer can visit another online store with a few clicks of their mouse.
There has been a steady expansion of the packaged e-commerce application over the last few years. Most of the well-know applications now offer a full set of e-commerce tools you can use to construct and manage a professional e-commerce site. Before deciding which route to take, make sure to shop around and ask the right questions of every business you speak with. At the end of the day you want an e-commerce site that is professional, secure, easily updated, and is customer-friendly. Your business is counting on it and so are your customers.