E-commerce websites are a solution that both businesses and customers appreciate. They cost less to run, have a substantial geographic reach, and functions that bring efficiency to the sales process. Customers enjoy the lower prices, more options, and ease of transacting that comes with e-commerce businesses.
What is E-commerce?
E-commerce works for most businesses, and you may be thinking of adopting it for your operations. An e-commerce website gives you the ability to sell services along with physical and digital goods online, so by definition, they are versatile. E-commerce websites can vary according to their function and target market.
They can be business-to-business (B2B), business-to-consumer (B2C), consumer-to-consumer (C2C), or consumer-to-business (C2B). To build an e-commerce website, you can either use a platform or build a custom website yourself. If you don’t have the expertise or time to build one yourself, you can outsource the function to a digital marketing company.
E-commerce is now accessible to any user, especially through e-commerce platforms like Shopify or WooCommerce. The platforms make it simple for those without coding skills to build simple e-commerce websites. A user only needs to click and drop modules and fill them with text, images, video, or audio.
The alternative is to build the website yourself or hire a professional firm to do it for you. You can build a custom website from scratch; although it is usually pricier than using e-commerce platforms, you will be able to make a website to your specifications. Although e-commerce platforms are cheaper than creating a custom website, they come with significant restrictions, such as web functions and design, that may not work for you.
Before you build an e-commerce website, you need to determine a few things, namely,
What are the industry norms and best practices? With that as a baseline, you won’t have to reinvent the wheel, and you can present a familiar format to customers. Start by asking these questions:
- What are the characteristics, needs, and preferences of your target audience?
Knowing them will allow you to build a solution that is easy to use and functional.
- What is your branding and content plan?
Your logo, color scheme, and media will form your distinct identity on the internet. Your content strategy will funnel customers to your website through multiple channels.
- What is the budget?
Like any business endeavor, what you can and can’t do will depend on your resources. Be sure not to overspend.
- How will staff use it?
An e-commerce website is a mere tool; it can be leveraged towards success or a dud. How your team understands and uses it will determine its effectiveness.
Then consider the many pros and cons of e-commerce solutions.
The Pros of Custom E-Commerce Solutions
- Your e-commerce website has a target audience that will react well to specific designs and features. A custom site enables you to build it without restrictions so that you can improve your bounce rate and conversion rate.
- It gives you more control over your SEO features to aim your ads and content at your specific audience. So it will perform better than a generic product.
- If the buyer’s journey is unique, then a custom website will be more accommodative. You will have an e-commerce solution that functions according to purpose. That way, you can add or subtract steps as you deem fit.
- Your design will be specific to your brand and target audience. A generic solution will not restrict you, so your website will be more attractive.
- You will have more control over integrations. They can be third-party solutions like including specialized shipping options using e-commerce fulfillment services or programs you build in-house.
The Cons of Custom E-Commerce Solutions
- Custom e-commerce solutions take more time to build and maintain. This is primarily due to being built from scratch and according to specifications that can change.
- Running maintenance on your website is entirely your responsibility. So if it goes down at an inconvenient hour or is due to a complex issue that your staff can’t recognize, then you will experience significant downtime.
- Due to the time it takes to build one and the programming expertise required, custom e-commerce platforms are usually more expensive upfront.
- Another significant expense will come in the form of keeping the website up-to-date. Keeping the code and software updated will require your talent or service provider to run diagnostics and fixes to your unique website.
A Custom Website Improves Your Marketing
If you can find the talent and have the budget, you should consider creating a custom e-commerce website. It will give you more freedom to create a platform that your customers will appreciate. Just be sure to build something functional for every aspect of your business.