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September 21, 2013 / Poooooooooonie

#4. eCommerce

This week we are going to talk about eCommerce! What is eCommerce, you may ask. Well, according to Wikipedia (I KNOW, I KNOW):

eCommerce is a type of industry where the buying and selling of products or services is conducted over electronic systems such as the Internet and other computer networks.

Well then, what is the difference between that and eBusiness? It’s very simple, actually; eCommerce is basically the sales aspect of eBusiness!

As I’ve mentioned in my previous post, I do love to go online shopping. Now, what could motivate someone to start their sales business online? There are a lot of reasons. Furthermore, some of the advantages that apply to consumers’ reasons to prefer online shopping could also apply to the sellers as well. Here I’ve compiled some of them:

  1. Convenience for consumers = convenience for the sellers as well: if you were to sell products (instead of services), you’d need somewhere to place your extra stocks (unless your shop is really big enough to accommodate everything, since you need space for the actual store’s decor). Thus you’d have to spend time and energy shifting the stocks to and fro to replenish your supply in the actual store. With an online sale business, you could just leave everything in one location until the product has been ordered online and has to be shipped out.
  2. Lowered cost: in terms of customers’ benefits, lowered cost to them would probably be the use of less energy when shopping online; simply clicking on digital buttons is definitely a lot easier than battling the crowds of ferocious aunties intent on getting to their sales. For sellers, lowered cost means the saving of money spent on renting out a physical space, and probably helpers/salespersons to help sell the products. Instead, they’d just have to shell out money for a personal domain – and of course if they don’t even want to spend on that then they could use a free one like WordPress!
  3. Farther distance reach: with online shopping, consumers can order products from other countries without having to physically travel there to make the purchase. Likewise, sellers can obtain a farther reach of customers by selling their products to those residing overseas without actually going to the respective countries to set stores up there.
Online-Shopping

same, Penny, same.

Obviously there are more reasons for conducting eCommerce, however the three above are those more frequently thought of when eCommerce is mentioned. Now that you’ve got some reasons to conduct your sales online, how do you go about setting your website up?

Firstly, you’d certainly need to choose a domain/domain name. The best would be to choose one that is unique yet easy to remember, for example ASOS, or Taobao. Don’t you feel that these names are easy to read (they sort of roll off the tongue) and they aren’t complicated to remember? If you chose a name like xxxXxxshoppingxxXxxx I can guarantee you no one would bother trying to recall just how many darn X’s you included in there.

After naming your website, you’ll need to design it. Now I don’t mean just making it aesthetically pleasing; you need to have a website that makes customers want to come back, and this means that your website layout should be one that is easy to navigate. For example, F21 and ASOS’ websites have obvious tabs at prominent locations on their pages so customers know clearly where to go for a specific item:

Screen Shot 2013-09-22 at 4.14.53 AM

Screen Shot 2013-09-22 at 4.13.58 AM

Moving on to the content of your page! Not just your products/services to choose from, but also the extra sections of your website that will ultimately make the shopping experience so much more enjoyable for customers. After all, a happy customer = (probably) a regular customer. One of these sections could be an “About Us” page. In this part, you’ll introduce your website and what you’re trying to do with it to your customers. You could also include your mission statement, how you came up with the idea of this website, when you were established/history of your service, etc.

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I’m sorry not sorry, i’m just being incredibly self-indulgent right now.

Another section you should definitely include is a “Contact Us” page; I can’t stress how many times I’ve been frustrated trying to find such a section on many websites. This shouldn’t just be relevant to eCommerce pages, but all websites in general. I can guarantee you that there will definitely be at least one customer/reader/whatever who will want to ask you a question about shipping fees (me). If you ever intend on setting up a website to sell something, please please please PLEASE include this. In your Contact Us page, you can have the emails you can be reached at, and maybe even a telephone number for local customers.

In class, the other types of information we were told to include were a site map, legal information, “why you should buy from us”, and testimonials. I think I sort-of-pretty-much covered site map up there, and I don’t really have an opinion on legal information since I’ve never had to sue anyone (and hopefully not in the future, please please please). Personally, I feel a “why you should buy from us” and a testimonial section is kind of unnecessary, purely because for the first one, I’d like to decide that on my own (aka why are YOU telling me that when you should let your website and service speak for itself and let me come to my own conclusion) and for testimonials, I just tend to believe that a good portion of them are faked/put up by the sellers themselves. If I want to rely on testimonials, I’d go to some other review websites to read customer reviews.

On my end, these are some additions I’d like to see on more websites:

  • “Like” etc buttons so I can link the products to social media –> this is purely for selfish purposes, because a) I can hint to my friends and families what I’d like for my next birthday present, and b) so I can show off my purchases if I’ve made any.
  • On-the-spot shipping calculation –> with many of the more popular websites being situated overseas, shipping can get mighty expensive; this is why I like to know immediately how much it’ll cost to SG. It frustrates me terribly when I have to go through adding the item to cart, checking out, typing in my FULL address, before it can be calculated for me. Amazon already has something like this option (although it’s very hit-and-miss, since it only appears on certain items), and I’d like to see it being implemented in other websites as well.
  • Mobile apps! To be honest, I’m a little divided on this one because I’ve occurred mobile apps that just didn’t measure up to mobile versions (usually because the apps tended to hang on me). However, I do enjoy the ease/convenience that comes with not having to load everything at a go when the apps are done right.
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Just pretend that Dean’s showing you an app for a store. Mmm I’d buy from that store if he’s selling.

Ultimately I feel eCommerce is a very newfangled way of shopping that just takes the whole experience as well as consumerism to a whole new level. With such an increased reach in business customers as well as opportunities, there will be a corresponding increase in information and data that we can gather on the topic in order to better understand its workings and improve it. I do look forward to what eCommerce will bring to us in the (near) future.

Now if you’ll just excuse me, I’ll just be over here looking at shoes on Taobao. 🙂

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2 Comments

Leave a Comment
  1. spacestruck / Sep 25 2013 2:17 PM

    I do feel pretty much the same as you with regards to certain things that are supposedly required on a webpage. But after learning about what’s necessary, I realised that I’ve had this bad habit of scrutinising a webpage to see if they have the necessary information that is needed.

    Though I do agree that pages do need ‘likes’ as well, they should also incorporate ‘pin it’ or ‘tweet’ etc.! Sometimes I get so frustrated when I see a nice photo and I want to pin it but I realise I have to manually copy the link and paste it onto the Pinterest page. (Pardon my excuses for my laziness hehe)

    It is really important though that vital information and good web design go hand in hand. I have seen countless of websites with terrible terrible design that it really puts off the browsing experience. *cough Q100 cough*

  2. Huiwen / Oct 5 2013 3:41 PM

    Man, what you said about competent mobile apps really struck a chord with me (lolwut). In a lot of my friends’ phones, they have typical fashion apps like Forever21, ASOS and the like, but I have none of those. I once downloaded F21’s app and it was awful! They probably might’ve improved it since, but I haven’t been bothered to try… which could be a lot of potential revenue for them to miss out on if I’m not the only one.

    Even sites without competent mobile versions should be shunned.. Forever21 being another example of this. When I see the link of a F21 item on my phone and I click on it, I expect to be lead to the mobile version of that exact product page. Hell, it’s fine even if it isn’t the mobile version. But what really takes the cake is when the link redirects you to the mobile version of the homepage. What on earth would I need that for?!

    P/s: That Penny gif is A+++++.

    Imma go shop on Taobao now hehehe

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