How do online shopping websites work?

Happy African American family with daughter using laptop at home, shopping online and reading how online shopping websites work

We’ve all thought about selling products online; whether that’s our own handmade gifts or choosing items to sell on for profit, and with website builders you can set up an ecommerce site in minutes! However, there are other things that you need to think about to be able to manage a successful and profitable ecommerce business. Let’s have a look at them here!

What an online shopping website needs

When choosing a website builder for your online store, it’s important to create a checklist to make sure it has all the features you need and that it doesn’t have hidden extra costs. For example, many website builders offer a free ecommerce template, but charge you more if you sell more than a certain number of products. Here’s a list of the basic elements an ecommerce website should have:

Product catalogue

Your customers need to be able to see what you’re selling! A product catalogue includes a list of available products, descriptions, and images. You want to make it as easy as possible for your customers to find what they’re looking for, so make sure you put your products in categories and if possible add a search bar. If your products don’t fit well into categories, then add a “best-selling” or “most popular” section – if others are buying it, that could persuade others to do so as well! 

Online payment processor

This is an absolute must-have. An online payment system is a third party software that handles customer payments, so you don’t have to worry about giving strangers your card details! PayPal and Stripe are popular options, but have a look at our blog on online payment processors to help you choose which one will work best for your site. 

SSL security

If you’re handling online payments and other sensitive information, then you need to make sure you have an SSL certificate. It encrypts the data passing through an online connection, making sure the information and your website are protected from potential hackers. It is the foundation of internet security, and you can tell if a website has one if it has a padlock symbol or https in front of the domain name. Without one, it is very likely that potential customers will not trust your site and buy from one of your competitors instead. SSL certificates can be complicated to get, but thankfully Go Sitebuilder gives you one with every website you create.

Ecommerce template 

You need to make sure the ecommerce template your website builder offers has certain features that make it easy for you to sell and easy for your customers to buy products. This means that each product must clearly state the price and allow the customer to choose different colours and different quantities. An extra feature Go Sitebuilder has is sending you an email when your stock levels start getting low – one more thing you don’t need to worry about! 

Choose your delivery method

One of the things many people forget to think about is how to deliver the products. If you’re selling homemade products that you keep in your house, then this is the easiest method; you just need to find a way to package your product. You can capitalise on this by using it as an opportunity to grow your brand; use your brand colours, stickers or add a handwritten note to make it seem personal. 

If you get your products from a supplier, you will have to decide whether to order the products in bulk and keep them yourself – you’ll have to make sure you have enough space – or dropship your products. Dropshipping is where a supplier holds the stock and sends it straight to the customer – less time intensive for you, but you can’t personalise the brand and returns can be complicated. 

You’ll also have to decide how much delivery will cost and what kind of returns policy you are willing to provide. Returns can be costly for a new ecommerce business, but equally not having one could put potential customers off as they cannot see the physical product – this is why good product photos and descriptions are so important!

Design a good online shopping website

When customers arrive on your website, they want to see a professional-looking site that they can trust. If this sounds like a daunting task, don’t worry! Use a website builder like Go Sitebuilder that gives you thousands of ready to use website templates, so you can have a stylish website up and running in moments. If you want a bit more autonomy, then our web designs are all easily changed to suit your brand colours and company style. 

Unlike many website builders, we have an ecommerce platform integrated into our website builder, so it is incredibly simple to use, whether you’re on a desktop, mobile or tablet. We designed our website to be as quick and easy to use as possible – so you can focus on the important bits of growing your business! Try our 14-day free trial today to see what your ecommerce website could look like!

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