A Guide to Ecommerce
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Imagine you walked down the
high street. You are looking
around. Your mind is
processing all kinds of signs,
signals and products.
You may want something,
need something or impulsively
something just catches your
eye. That's the equivalent of
you using the Google search
engine; searching, scanning
and looking for something.
You spot a shop. On this shop window
you recognise the company name and
see some attractive products and offers
which entice you to come into the shop.
Inside the shop you see the
Since this is written from a
guy’s perspective, you
proceed to the men’s
Inside the men’s clothing you see
So you head off to the shirts.
Inside the shirts section, you see lots of
different coloured shirts.
You start looking at the shirts. You pick
them up, feel them, turn them around.
Then you ask the shop assistant if you
have this one in a neck size 16.
The shop assistant pulls out a number of shirts in a
size 16 similar to the one you were looking at.
You look at the price, you feel the material, look at
the pattern, collar style, cuffs.
You may even want to go try this shirt on.
You are weighing up in your head what does this
shirt go with ? Part of a suit, just on its own ?
You can still head back to the other shirts in the
shirt section if this one isn’t a match for you.
But on this occasion, since you are a guy and view
shopping as a chore, you decide on a shirt to
Just as you are about to head off to the
checkout, the shop assistant suggests this
tie may go well with that shirt. And there
is a deal on.
She is very persuasive !
So with your shirt and tie in hand, you
head along to the checkout where they
ring up your order. You whip out your
credit card, put in your pin number.
In a nanosecond, your credit card details
are sent to your bank, checked and
verified and if the card balance is ok, the
bank approves the transaction and notifies
the girl at the checkout. She is now happy
she will receive your money for her goods.
You can now have your goods as the
exchange of goods and money has been
The sales assistant wraps up your order,
gives you the receipt and thanks you for
shopping with her.
She tells you that she looks forward to you
visiting again and pops in a little incentive
along with your order to persuade you to
come back soon.
You then exit the shop and carry on with
Now let’s look at a shop online. You
spot a shop. On this shop window
you recognise the company name
and see some attractive products
and offers which entice you to come
into the shop.
Inside the shop you see the
You see the Cufflinks section.
You see the Timepiece
You start looking at the
You look at one watch and
decide to find out more.
You look at this one watch. You
click on more views to look at
this one in more detail.
You look at the price. You look at
the details of the watch. What is
it made from , the warranty etc.
The shop assistant shows you
some other ones you may also
If you make up your mind this is
the product you want, you add it
to your shopping cart.
The watch is now in your virtual
The cart reassures you of the
product you wish to order by
displaying the product name,
image, quantity and price.
If you recall the offer, you insert
the promotional code and select
the delivery option. You proceed
to the checkout to pay for the
At the checkout, you enter your
name, email, phone, billing
address, delivery address and card
When the bank confirms your card
and passes the transaction to the
retailer you receive a receipt and are
emailed an order confirmation.
With a physical product, the goods
are picked in the warehouse by the
despatch person and sent by a
delivery company to you.
With a digital product, you would be
sent a link to instantly download the
• Whilst this is a very simplistic view of selling online, virtually every online
retailer follows these key steps :
– Shop window
– Categories or departments
– Product detail
– Receipt of order and delivery
• Each key step is customised according to the needs of the business, the
products and what the customer needs in order to make a purchase.
Things you need
• Product stock file
– A list of all your products, prices, descriptions, weights, measurements, shipping costs, product codes etc
• Merchant account number
– It is going to take you about 30 days to secure a merchant account number from your bank. If you are a start up business or sole
trader, you will most likely be ineligible for a merchant account and have to rely on Google checkout or Paypal.
– When you do have your merchant account, please make sure you have the correct authorities - what currencies you will accept,
which payment cards and types you will accept.
• Payment gateway provider
– People like Sagepay act as the middleman between your online shop and the banks. Make sure you have the account up and
running and you understand which currencies, payment cards and payment types you can accept.
• Product photography
– Photography for the ecommerce and online shops is costly. Don't assume you can just take photographs from your brochure or
from your camera. Photographs do the selling for products online. Get a pro.
• Shipping your goods to customers
– You will need a place to store your products safely, someone to package up the order and put the customers delivery address
details on the order.
– And you will need someone like the Royal Mail, Fedex, UPS or another shipping agent to collect the goods and deliver them to
• Ecommerce Provider
– You are going to need an ecommerce provider, someone like us, to pull this altogether.
It is not that easy
• We live in an ultra competitive world.
• There is so much of everything.
• If you are just getting started in ecommerce, remember your competition
could have a 10 year head start on you.
• So you better have found a gap in the market, a solution that solves a
problem unlike any other or a better offering.
• You need to do your homework into finding out the demand for what you
• If you have an existing customer base or retail presence, you can leverage
that very quickly.
• You will need people resources and a marketing budget.
• Figuring out how to profitably attract customers, convert them into sales
and get them and their friends coming back, that bit requires time,
money, expertise and persistence.
• Platonik are an Adobe Business Catalyst Partner.
• We build, run and grow ecommerce sites and online businesses.
• You can see ecommerce sites we have built here
• You can follow us on Twitter here
• If you have any questions, you can contact us here or just email