WHAT IS AN E-COMMERCE WEBSITE AND HOW DOES IT WORK?

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Since the advent of credit card processing on the internet, eCommerce has permeated throughout society and into our daily lives. Today, just about any product or service imaginable is for sale sold on the web, whether through a dedicated eCommerce website or other means.

In the last several decades, more and more people are buying online and enjoying the benefits that eCommerce provides, such as increased convenience, lower prices, and sales tax exemptions, to name a few.

What is an eCommerce website?

eCommerce websites are the digital portals (i.e. virtual storefronts) that facilitate eCommerce. Remember, eCommerce is a blanket term that includes virtually any transaction that takes place on the internet.

Any website equipped with eCommerce functionality and allows customers to purchase a good or service is an eCommerce website.

Historically, the earliest eCommerce transactions took place via email and phone calls.

Even at the earliest stages of development, effective eCommerce websites must be designed to:

  • Facilitate Revenue via:
    • Maximizing the aggregate quantity of transactions.
    • Maximizing “average order value.”
    • Steering shoppers to the most profitable products and categories.
    • Encouraging brand loyalty, repeat customers, audience engagement.
    • Streamlining checkout and other critical conversion funnels.

eCommerce websites range from template driven plug-and-play shopping carts to complex eCommerce websites that cost millions of naira to develop and maintain.

How Do eCommerce websites work?

eCommerce websites work through a series of steps, utilizing website code, the database, and 3rd party applications such as a payment processor or payment gateway.

eCommerce websites use SSL certificates (read more about those here) to secure and encrypt all transferred data. Sensitive data, including credit card information, should never be stored within the website’s database unless the website adheres to all mandated regulations, including PCI Compliance.

eCommerce Websites Typically Work Like This: 

  1. A potential customer navigates to an eCommerce website, whether via search engines, paid advertisements, referral traffic, etc. 
  2. The eCommerce website connects to its database, which contains tons of data about the website’s categories, products, product dimensions and weight, articles and content, images, etc. The website requests this data to dynamically render any requested web pages.  
  3. After browsing the eCommerce website, a potential customer adds a product or service to their virtual shopping cart and decides to check out.
  4. The shopper completes the checkout process and finalizes the transaction.
  5. The shopper’s credit card information is encrypted and sent to a Payment Gateway(Paypal, for example) to handle the credit card processing securely and remotely.
  6. Once the order is complete, and the payment has gone through, the website typically provides an estimated shipping time, a unique transaction number, postal tracking number, etc. Most of these processes are automated and part of a good eCommerce website’s core functionality.
  7. As transactions take place, orders are stored in the website admin and sent to an order fulfillment team. Order fulfillment can be done in-house or by a third-party company/drop shipper. 

Having gone through this article, and fully understanding what an eCommere website is,as well as how it works, if interested, you can contact FORTRAN HOUSE to provide you with adequate assistance WRT development and maintenance.

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