Different Types of Ecommerce Websites
The ecommerce industry is booming. Global ecommerce sales are expected to reach 5.4 trillion US dollars in 2022.
Online shopping brings flexibility & convenience in purchasing. Customers have more product options and free shipping. You can offer better product pricing and discounts for customers.
As a retailer, there is a vast landscape of ecommerce opportunities. You can opt for specific business models to target your customers.
Technology advances have also made it easier to set up a shop online. There are many tools and types of ecommerce websites to sell products on.
A good place to start would be learning about different ecommerce websites. It will help you choose the website type that works best for your business.
What Is An E-Commerce Website
An ecommerce website allows you to buy and sell products & services online.
Instead of a physical store, you can sell products on the internet via a website. It stores product information, transactions, and order management. Some examples include sites such as Amazon and eBay.
The ecommerce website uses technologies such as:
- Electronic funds transfer
- Mobile commerce
- Online transaction processing
- Electronic data exchange -EDI
- Online marketing
To trade goods & services online, you require a combination of these technologies.
An ecommerce platform is used to set up your shop & accept orders digitally. You accept payments and manage shipping & logistics. It also lets you provide customer service.
An ecommerce website allows you to scale your business globally. You are not limited to trading in a specific city or location. Instead, your online shop is available 24/7 to customers worldwide.
There are many types of ecommerce models such as business to business B2B, B2C, and more. It is based on your target customers and market segments.
B2B ecommerce is where businesses sell to other companies. The B2C ecommerce model sells products directly to the end customers.
The ecommerce sites and revenue models are essential to outline your online business. The revenue models include white labeling, dropshipping and private labeling.
What Should an E-Commerce Site Do
1. Accept Orders
The ecommerce store accepts & processes orders from customers. It stores customer information in the database, such as names & addresses.
The site collects customer order requests & accepts the terms of service.
The site should also create order numbers & track orders. It then processes billing information, delivery details.
2. Process Payments
You add a payment gateway at the end of the purchase funnel to complete the transaction.
It is essential to get secure payment methods for your store. An ecommerce website should offer multiple payment methods for customers.
There has to be a seamless transition between the website & payment gateway. That way, you reduce cart abandonment rates.
The website should have PCI compliance on storing & transferring sensitive credit card data.
3. Handle Shipping and Logistics
The ecommerce website should integrate shipping & logistics solutions easily. Once the order is placed, the delivery process should be smooth & consistent.
Get analytics for orders and delivery tracking. You also get processing for returned items or cancellations. The customers are notified of shipping & delivery dates.
The reverse logistics process also has to be easy. As a result, the refunds & cancellations are quickly sorted. Large amounts of orders should have a streamlined shipping process.
4. Provide Customer Service
The ecommerce website should allow you to communicate with your customers. You can add contact pages, email newsletters, and customer chat service.
Create a customer service that offers:
- Purchase experience
- Customer reviews
- Order information
- Exchange & return assistance
- Refund assistance
- General queries page
You can add a live chat or helpline for customers to connect with you quickly. A website should integrate all the customer service options seamlessly.
Different Types of Ecommerce Websites
1. Individual Brand - Vendor Specific
A single brand or vendor specific ecommerce website allows retailers to manage their storefronts. It is a common type of website for ecommerce.
The owner of the store is the only seller. You can target your specific customers & sell directly to buyers without a middle-man. No one can sell products without the owner’s permission.
A few examples are using Shopify and Magento. Using these platforms, you can build a website to sell your products.
The website offers products & services from one business or vendor. You can add products, set prices, and communicate with customers directly. There is no third-party involved as businesses sell their products.
A vendor specific website gives more control over branding & pricing. You can make decisions based on your target customer behavior.
A brick-and-mortar store may use this option to create an online store. That way, they can sell their products on both physical locations & on digital platforms.
Ecommerce platforms such as Magento make it easy for merchants to set up an online shop. The built-in features ensure that you have all the functionality for selling online.
2. Multi-Vendor Online Retailers
A multi-vendor or online retailer website has many sellers with a single website owner.
The seller can run an independent storefront to sell your products. However, the owner of the website is a different entity.
The overhead costs of hosting & backend development are taken care of by the website owner. You give a small percentage of your revenue earnings to the site owner.
A few good examples of multi-vendor ecommerce websites are Amazon and Etsy. It allows sellers to test customer demands before starting their website.
However, you have less control over the rules & regulations of the website. You adhere to the website policies & any violation of the policy can ban your store.
It may also be difficult to rank higher on website searches, competing with other sellers. The customers may find it hard to find your store amidst all the vendors.
You do benefit from operations services from the website owner. The owners provide orders and shipping. They handle the payment methods and offer inventory managing services.
You can sell more products on a successful multi-vendor website. The buyers find it convenient to get many items from a single website.
They can find household items, electronics, and fashion products on the website.
Marketplace websites connect vendors & buyers under one platform. The marketplace owner processes the customer transactions. The shipment & fulfillment is taken care of by the vendors & wholesalers.
Many individual sellers list their products for sale. The online marketplaces do impose rules & restrictions on what can be sold.
You can add your items to the marketplace to generate profit. Use marketing & promotions to get more customers & improve conversion rates. Amazon & Etsy platforms are examples of marketplaces.
There are also niche marketplaces that separate it from multi-vendor websites. For example, there can be a marketplace that exclusively sells shoes.
4. Affiliate Websites
An affiliate website is where you sell other brands’ products in exchange for a commission.
Your website should already have established traffic. You can use affiliate marketing & sales to generate revenue. The website owner works with brands to add affiliate links.
You can also earn commissions based on user actions taken on the website. The terms are set with the merchants based on their requirements.
Affiliate payouts include the following:
- Direct Sales - Earn a commission from a product or service sale.
- Leads - Earn commissions on actions like social media follows, content downloads, etc.
- Clicks - Get affiliate revenue on a cost-per-click basis.
Which Type of Ecommerce Website is Right For You?
A suitable ecommerce website depends on your business requirements. You can build your website or opt for a marketplace.
An individual brand website gives you more control & flexibility. You can directly sell to end customers. There are no middlemen or website owners.
You also set your own rules & policies while selling. As a single brand store, you can experiment with different store designs & sales funnels.
A multi-vendor website or marketplaces are suitable if you want many suppliers. As a merchant, you can directly add & sell products on an established website.
The website owner takes care of backend and site development. You can focus on marketing your products to rank higher on the site.
Affiliate selling will allow you additional revenue based on a commission. That way, you can generate profits from direct sales or user actions.
Both selling on the marketplaces and your online shop can be profitable.
The kind of ecommerce website will affect how you sell your products online. This article covered the different types of ecommerce websites. You can choose which one works well for your business.
To have more control over business transactions, set up an online shop. A single vendor ecommerce website allows flexibility in storefronts.
Marketplaces will allow you to sell different products as a website owner. As a merchant, you can sell products on the marketplace without taking care of the overhead costs.
Ecommerce platforms like Magento and Shopify help build online stores. You can create storefronts that enhance user experience & increase sales.
To know more, see Magento vs. Shopify article and find a suitable ecommerce platform for your business.