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!

What is the best website builder for ecommerce?

Closeup side portrait of woman using cellphone with laptop to choose website builder Go Sitebuilder for their online ecommerce store

Building a website for an ecommerce store from scratch can take a lot of money and time, and is very difficult to do unless you have all the necessary coding knowledge. Luckily, there are numerous different website builders out there, which make building a website an easy, hassle-free process. 

But how do you know what the best website builder is? In order for your online store to be successful, there are certain must-haves that your ecommerce site should include. But these can be expensive, as some website builders don’t include these features in their package. When looking for the best website builder for ecommerce, look at what each individual package offers: if it is easy to use, and includes all the necessary features of an ecommerce store, then it might just be right for you!

Easy to use ecommerce store 

When visiting your online store, a site user is going to expect to be able to navigate themselves around your ecommerce site. Not only does this mean that they can easily find the products that you’re advertising, but it also means that they will stay on your website for longer. 

As studies show that 76% of customers saying the most important component of a website is ease of use, you don’t want to overcomplicate things. This could cause users to give up and click off your site, meaning they won’t even see the goods you have to offer.

This can also have a negative impact on your search engine ranking: If Google’s algorithms detect that your site has a high bounce rate, then this suggests to Google that your site is of low quality or not relevant to users and thus shouldn’t be ranked highly on its search engine results page. Picking a website builder that lets you set up your ecommerce store in a way that isn’t overly complicated for the site visitor means people are more likely to stay on your site for longer. 

Find a website builder that includes an SSL certificate 

An SSL certificate is paramount when building a website with an ecommerce store: just as you wouldn’t deposit money into a dodgy-looking bank, you wouldn’t put your card details into a website that isn’t protected. If the site user can see your site has an SSL certificate, they know that their details are protected from potential hackers who could steal their personal information. 

Having an SSL certificate also tells Google that your site can be trusted: if it thinks its users are at risk of having their details stolen, it can block visitors from accessing your site. This dramatically reduces your visibility online – the longer users are prevented from accessing your ecommerce store, the longer Google stops indexing your site, pushing you further down its search engine. 

Purchasing an SSL certificate if you’re starting a website from scratch can be pricey, and most website builders will charge extra for this feature. However, Go Sitebuilder believes that it is essential for all ecommerce sites to have an SSL certificate, which is why we include it in our package. 

Is the website builder mobile-friendly?

Nowadays, people can access the internet anywhere, at any time, straight from their mobile phones. In fact, mobile shopping accounts for 50% of online transactions on ecommerce sites. Using a website builder which allows users to access your online store on any device is key: if people can only access your website on a computer, you are essentially limiting your number of potential sales, as many people will now use their phones to make a purchase. 

Not only do you need a website builder that allows users to access your site from any device; you also need to be able to update and edit your site from multiple different devices, whether it be mobile, tablet or laptop. With Go Sitebuilder this is incredibly easy, making us one of the best website builders for those who need the flexibility to access their website builder on the go. 

Special offers

One of the best ways to encourage people to return to your website is by advertising any special offers or discounts via social media. Linking your social media to your website means that people can find a way to stay connected to your website in a way that is slightly more personal than just subscribing to an email list. With sites such as Instagram, you can get creative with your offers: thinking of new ways to advertise any special deals is more likely to generate interest around your website. Find a website builder that lets you link social media to your website, so that you can stay connected to your customers. 

Although the amount of website builders out there might seem daunting, try and pick one that suits your ecommerce site needs the most. At Go Sitebuilder, we believe simplicity is key: we deliver ready to go site designs for you to customise. We’re one of the cheapest website builders for ecommerce, as we don’t charge any extra if you want to sell products online. Try our sitebuilder today – our 14-day free trial gives you all the freedom you could possibly need to create your dream website!