It is common to find clients who are a bit clueless when it comes to digital, and who think that websites are similar for all projects. So the objective of this article by Maiden Stride is to show how different traditional websites are from sites focused on online sales, mainly showing the specific characteristics of virtual store platforms.
Each project and based on its objectives deserves a site with functionalities that automate processes, for example, if the objective is to share content with our users, the best option is a CMS (Preferably WordPress for positioning issues). If we only want to have a digital presence, without looking for interaction since our marketing focus is elsewhere, an HTML5 page is enough.
But if our project is ambitious and we have products and/or services that we can sell online, the wisest thing will always be an online store based on open source which allows having an international community that leads to constant improvements as well as prevents the project owner from incurring excessive costs.
The characteristics that make these platforms different and that in the long run are essential for electronic commerce are the following:
1. Control of Products
As the sale of products is the crown of the project, we will be able to have a very complete configuration of these, since we will be able to include not only content, but we will also be able to create specific offers, generate combinations, associate products, and other configurations based on weight, size, location, type of clients, etc.
2. Control of clients
Our clients will be able to register on our site and will have access to features such as history, information management, bonuses, vouchers, and gift lists. But even more important, we will be able to have an updated list with all the data to be used both for direct contact and marketing campaigns.
3. Control of orders
When we receive orders, they tend to have different statuses (In the payment process, sent, delivered, returns, etc.) and it is extremely important to have control over them, generating notifications and invoices via email automatically, since doing this manually It is extremely difficult in the face of a large number of orders.
4. Control of deliveries
The value of deliveries varies depending on the city and the weight. Online stores allow a complete configuration covering all incidents in these aspects and where CMS falls short.
5. Control of payment gateways
The means of payment can be different from each other and depend on configurations based on geolocation, it is there where specialized modules are essential to allow a secure, fast payment according to the type of client.
6. Implementation of advanced modules for marketing
Thanks to the specialization in electronic commerce, we can install advanced functionalities that allow us to make sales. For example, modules that detect carts or purchases that did not materialize and where we can send automatic emails to encourage the customer to complete the purchase. Another very useful functionality is the implementation of a module that allows the client to enter the platform by logging in with the data of their social networks.
7. Advanced tax management
Some countries have complex tax systems that vary even based on location, so we must have the ability to create “tax rules” so that our store is by the regulations of the country where the sale is generated.
8. Advanced management based on geolocation
Online stores have a reach that exceeds geographical limits, so we must have tools to block or allow orders and payments based on geolocation.
It is important to clarify that there are plugins such as WooCommerce for WordPress that allow you to manage sales on this platform but their use is limited and they are recommended only when the main activity is NOT online sales but you want to have sales for some products.
The price of online stores is higher than a traditional web page because the number of professionals willing to assume the responsibility that these projects imply is less, as well as the fact that their degree of configuration for developers is high and they require Knowledge and experience in E-commerce.
Before hiring your virtual store, make sure of the developer’s capabilities and evaluate their experience based on a verifiable portfolio. The technical and graphic quality of your store is extremely important and will influence the positive or negative perception of the end user.
Electronic commerce is already a trend, mainly due to the massification of the Internet and the balkanization of society, which allows access to credit cards more simply, therefore it is a good opportunity to enter and exploit this market. There are already many companies that have increased their sales thanks to reaching further digitally as well as people who undertake independently and who benefit from the low costs of digital projects.