FAQ – Ecommerce

What is ecommerce?

The term is an information systems abbreviation for “electronic commerce.”  Other colloquial synonyms for this classification of website are “online store” or “online shopping cart.” This type of Internet business covers a broad spectrum of industries.  Retail stores, auctioneers, multimedia companies, and various business-to-business trading entities frequently use shopping carts to transact their value production.

Online stores are rapidly gaining popularity because they afford the customer the convenience of purchasing products or services instantly without the barriers of space or time.   They are also, arguably, the most popular line of business for “niche market” products and services for a specific target market.

 What kind of website is necessary for an ecommerce site?

A shopping cart, also known as an online store, is essential for operating this type of business.  A shopping cart is a database driven operating system (series of interrelated programs) that facilitate online procurement, customer security, and customer tracking.

Anyone can purchase a pre-programmed shopping cart and have their web hosting company put it up.  However, it is always better to have an Internet marketing savvy web developer custom build a turnkey site.  Custom built online stores are typically easier to update, manage securely, and market online in the search engines.

The most important feature of any online store is the ability to securely process online payments.  This requires the company to have some sort of merchant account, or to process payments through a third-party merchant service. 

 How does a business guarantee security for ecommerce customers?

Security provides three benefits to both vendors and clients alike.  First, it maintains confidentiality.  Persons transacting through an online portal can rest assured that their payment card and personal information will not be stolen by identity thieves.  It also protects the client list from competing entities who would attempt to steal customers from the online store.

While keeping unauthorized persons out of the system, a secure online store simultaneously facilitates and expedites authorized access.  Company personnel can quickly retrieve orders, customer data, and customer service emails.  Customers can quickly find and purchase what they are looking for without delays or complications.

Lastly, the shopping cart must ensure the integrity of the transaction by making sure that the customer pays no more than he or she is legitimately charged and that the product or service is delivered according to the terms of the transaction.

Where should a business buy ecommerce software?

A secure site that features all of the above benefits is not typically found in download sites.  As previously noted, it is best to have it custom designed by an organization that offers both web design and web marketing services.  It is paramount that this organization also follow PCI compliance, and it is preferable that the developing company also provide website hosting services as well.

Won’t an ecommerce site market itself?

No.  Search engines do not give special preference to online stores.  The same Internet marketing methodologies used to rank other types of websites in the search engines must also be followed to rank shopping carts.  The most effective method of doing this is to write application-oriented content that is organically optimized with highly searched for keywords.


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