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eCommerce / Online Shop Explained

What is an eCommerce Website?

An eCommerce website, or online shop, is a web-based retailer. This means that the entire process of buying and selling is digitalized. Customers select goods from a website and pay for them via an online payment method. Once payment is verified, the goods are then shipped to the customer.

The advancement in eCommerce is changing how people buy and how businesses sell their products. Thanks to its robust growth in online sales, Nike recorded a $12.69 billion in revenue for its fiscal year 2023 first quarter ended Aug. 31, 2022 (source).
Malaysian local favorite peanut butter brand, Jobbie, started by doing door-to-door sales and now sell its products online.

The Size of Global eCommerce

In 2021 over $5 trillion in eCommerce sales were registered globally. That number is expected to keep growing to $7 trillion by 2025. With such tempting numbers, it can be hard for sellers to resist jumping on the eCommerce bandwagon.

Before you do, let’s take a look at the process involved.

How eCommerce / Online Store Works?

The basic theories of an online store are very simplistic and no different from owning a traditional brick-and-mortar shop. The customer enters the shop, makes a selection, then pays for it and leaves. Most shops rely on walk-by customers, or returning customers.

In eCommerce, the key difference lies in how the customer enters the shop. Instead of waiting for a visitor to stumble upon your store, you need to rely heavily on search ranking. While there are other means, search ranking is by far the most cost-effective and powerful.

How to Build an eCommerce Website / Online Store?

There are two main ways that first-time users can build their online stores:

  1. Using a web application such as WooCommerce
  2. Using an online store builder like Shopify

Although some eCommerce stores are built through code from the ground up, this isn't’ recommended if it’s your first attempt.

Using Web Applications

WooCommerce enables you to sell products and services to your customers easily online. It gives you the flexibility to be creative with your product offerings. You can add unlimited products and services and take as many orders as you want. Statistics show that companies with 10-50 employees and $1M-$10M revenue often use WooCommerce (source).

Building an online store using a web application involves a few parts. These are a domain name, web host, payment provider, and web application. Each of those works together to complete your eCommerce ecosystem.

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Using Online Store Builder

Shopify is a dedicated eCommerce platform that stands out among the online shop builders market as an industry leader with a comprehensive set of eCommerce features and others. It also comes with many advanced marketing features including a gift-card system, omnichannel sales, social media integration, and blog & mobile app builder.

Website builders are by far the easiest and fastest way to build and deploy online stores. There are service providers who specialize in this, offering complete solutions for your use.

They are also mainly code-free, meaning you won’t need much technical knowledge to make use of them.

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Great Examples of Online Stores


Homepage of Bellroy (visit online)

Bellroy is a popular wallet and bag designer and manufacturing company that sells its own products. Their web store only handles the Bellroy brand and has full eCommerce capabilities, handling everything from catalog display to payment handling.

Jelly Belly

Homepage of Jelly Belly (visit online)

More than simply a digital candy store, Jelly Belly also acts as a round driver for sales and branding. Aside from useful content and sales of its mainstream items, it goes as far as to offer gift cards as well.

Final Thoughts

In truth, this article barely scratches the basics of what you need to know if you want to start an online store. However, it does lay down some of the basics of what you need. There are many ways you can get involved in eCommerce though, so look at your options carefully.

Irrespective of how you decide to pursue your online store establishment, do remember that at the end of the day, performance will always remain vital. Nobody likes a slow, laggy online shopping experience. Do check out our best online store hosting selections if you need some recommendations.

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Article by Jerry Low

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