What is eCommerce?

January, 26, 2022

There has been a lot of hype around eCommerce in the last two years but what exactly is eCommerce, and how can it help you in your business?

What Does eCommerce Stand For?

eCommerce stands for Electronic Commerce, which, simply put, means selling products on the internet (an eCommerce shop). The most common way to do this is by creating an online store: a virtual version of a brick-and-mortar store on the internet. Your clients purchase your products from your online store, after which you arrange delivery of the product.

How Are Payments Handled?

Payments are handled electronically using payment gateways built into your online store. Payment gateways will allow you to accept different methods of payments; for example credit cards, EFTs and often other methods. The payment gateway company processes the payment and deposits the purchase amount (normally less a commission) into your bank account. Some online store platforms (like Letha) will have these payment gateways already built in, while for others you will need to register an account with the payment gateway company before you can open your online store.

Expand Your Reach With An Online Store

Your online store does not have to replace your physical store, but can be a way of expanding your reach to new clients. Given the pandemic over the last couple of years, some experts recommend that your ecommerce shop should be your flagship store. With a physical store, you are bound to the amount of foot traffic that you’ll get; with an online store, you can create traffic to the store on a much bigger scale, and you won’t be constrained by lockdown rules.

Having an online store doesn’t mean that there will be no work managing the store, for example:

  • There is some preparation and work needed to set up your online store. You’ll need to add logos, website images, brand colours; all of these done well will make an inviting experience for your customers and will encourage them to buy from you.
  • You’ll need to upload your products with high-quality photos and good product descriptions. Keep in mind that as your client won’t be in a store where a store assistant is available for any queries, and the client can’t see and touch your product, the higher quality the photos, and the more descriptive the product description, the better.
  • You’ll need to keep the products on your store up to date – when products are out of stock, you should remove them or flag them as out of stock. Also, any new products will need to be uploaded as soon as they are available for sale.
  • You’ll need to market your online store to let people know that it exists. This can be done with social media posts, paid advertising with Google or social media (or both), email campaigns, and SEO (Search Engine Optimisation).
  • You’ll also need to keep an eye on any orders that come through – any good eCommerce platform should notify you (By email or other types of notifications) when new orders have been placed. You’ll then need to arrange delivery or collection of the products ordered, and update the order status accordingly.

What Are The Advantages To Having An eCommerce Shop?

There are many advantages to having an online store:

  • You won’t only be reliant on foot traffic
  • Your customers can buy from you from the comfort and safety of their homes
  • You can still operate during lockdown periods (hopefully we have seen the last of those!)
  • Your store will be open 24/7 for taking orders
  • You’ll be able to see which products people view, which they add to cart, and of course which ones they eventually purchase. This information is collected electronically and can give you some great insights into what products people are interested in.

Letha – Fast, Easy Online Stores.

We hope that this has given you some helpful information regarding what eCommerce is. We’ll be posting more articles in the future on the different aspects of eCommerce. If you’d like to find out more, or would like to open an eCommerce shop with our online shop builder, please visit us at www.letha-local.co.za or contact us at info@letha-local.com.

Nicky Nielsen

Nicky Nielsen