What is Small Business Ecommerce?

Sheri Cyprus

Small business ecommerce can be as simple as one person selling his or her products on a website. Shopping websites run by small business owners may stand alone or be part of a traditional on-site store to expand customer reach. For many individual-owned companies today, an ecommerce website represents the entire small business. The popularity of online shopping coupled with the typically low cost to run a website allows almost anyone to use the Internet as a marketplace. Small business ecommerce websites display products or advertise services for sale.

Customers have the convenience of shopping during any time of the day at ecommerce stores.
Customers have the convenience of shopping during any time of the day at ecommerce stores.

The basic components of a small business ecommerce website are product display catalog pages, an “about us” page, policy information and a shopping cart system. For example, a jewelry designer who sells her own creations online is likely to have a short bio about her design background on an “about us” web page as well as pages that display and describe her products. A shopping cart system is software that most ecommerce sites use because it is easily recognizable by online shoppers and typically easy for them to navigate to order products.

When a customer is ready to order from a small business ecommerce site, he or she often clicks on a shopping cart graphic that usually says “add to cart.” The item is then moved to the order form. When the ordering is completed, taxes and other fees are added onto the form and the customer clicks it to send to the small business to place the order. A great benefit for small businesses is that a person doesn't have to be standing by to take the order. The business doesn't even have to be open, as customers may order anytime of night or day in online ecommerce stores.

Although small business ecommerce models are typically easy for owners to operate, work is needed to prepare the online store. Like any other small business, a plan must be in place with research completed on customers, competition and expected profits when starting an ecommerce store. Products are distributed and purchased by customers through a website, but the site must be promoted for clients to find it.

The small business online store owner must ensure that clients searching for the types of products his or her company sells is directed to the website by the Internet search engines. This is done through the use of relevant keywords for which people interested in a subject are likely to search. These search terms could include something like “handmade necklace” or “beaded earrings,” to use the jewelry example above. When potential customers visit the small business ecommerce site, the text and graphics should compel the customer to place an order.

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