What is an E-commerce Website? What it is and How To Make One

what is an e-commerce website

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If you’ve ever asked “What is an e-commerce website?”, you’re in the right place. Here, we’ll be discussing what it is and how to build one.

Did you know that 61.6% of internet users have bought products or services online?  Since its inception in the 60s, a growing number of people have flocked to use the internet.  From a very basic vantage point, I could answer the question, “What is an e-commerce website?” by explaining that it’s a place consumers can go to purchase products and services online.  However, if you’d like more of an explanation, that’s what this post is for.

what is an ecommerce websiteThe Exponential Growth of the E-Commerce Space

In the 90s, a ban was lifted allowing the internet to be used for commercial purposes, and people like Jeff Bezos (founder of Amazon) and Pierre Omidyar (founder of Ebay) led a huge growth movement in the ecommerce space.  With the growing number of internet users, and the growing supply from e-commerce stores, has come a growing number of e-commerce enthusiasts.

Consumers see the convenience of purchasing things online, then having them arrive on their doorsteps moments or just a few days later as a huge convenience, and if you want to, you can tap into this growth!

The Obvious Ecommerce Players

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There are obvious players in the e-commerce space like Amazon and Ebay.  These companies have seen exponential growth since the early 2000s when they started.  In less than 30 years, Jeff Bezos has outpaced Bill Gates as the richest man in the world!

what is an ecommerce website

That’s alot of proof that the e-commerce space is growing in interest.  Statistics show an expected rise of $523 billion by 2020!

While Amazon and Ebay are huge, the growing demand makes more and more room for e-commerce startups to have great opportunities online.

Some startup entrepreneurs are choosing to do business with Amazon by using Amazon FBA or Amazon Affiliate program.  Others are buying items and selling them on Ebay.  Being sellers on Amazon or Ebay is a viable business model for many people.

what is an ecommerce websiteWordPress and The Self-Hosted Alternatives

In addition to selling thru Amazon or Ebay, you can also set up an e-commerce store on “your own land”.  Using Amazon or Ebay can make you money, but it’s like rented land.

When you sell thru your own website, people would become accustomed to your brand distinct from Amazon or Ebay, and you could create a longstanding relationship with customers thru your email list or direct mailing unparalleled to what you’d be able to do on someone else’s site.

While Amazon and Ebay are good opportunities, you won’t own the customer relationship like you could if you start an e-commerce store on your own website.  In order to create a fully sustainable business, you want to guard and nurture your customer relationships.  For this reason, some companies start out on Amazon or Ebay, then diversify or completely switch to their own self-hosted stores.

How To Create an E-Commerce Website

If you decide to create an e-commerce website, here are the steps I’d recommend…

Step 1: Choose an Interest

After you’ve decided on starting an e-commerce website, then you want to choose an interest.  You can create a niche e-commerce website or an authority site, but you want to choose an interest.

I recommend analyzing the demand of the product and niche you are interested in selling, and verifying it will meet your financial goals before going further to set up a website, and attempt to sell anything.  You can read my article How To Decide What to Sell to Make Money Online for help.

Step 2: Build a Website

I recommend setting up a website using WordPress and hosting the website with Siterubix.  If you’re on a tight budget, you can start off on a free website, but if you want people to take your business seriously, you want to upgrade to a paid domain name and hosting as soon as you can.  However, you set up a free website here:

After your site is set up, you want to install the plugin “Woocommerce”.  Although it’s free, Woocommerce powers 42% of all e-commerce websites online–leaving it’s competitors (Magento and Shopify) behind by tripling their market share.  The numbers speak for themselves, and solidify that Woocommerce is a good option to add to power your e-commerce store.

Step 3: Load Products

You can source the products from Amazon or Alibaba (the manufacturer of many private label agreements).  After you’ve chosen where to source the products, you want to load images, and sales content into your Woocommerce product pages.  Make sure the sales content describes the product clearly and the benefits it offers the customers.

Some good examples of good sales pages using Woocommerce include Port & York:

what is an ecommerce website

You can see they’ve added several product images and a description of the product, shipping methods, and where they source their fish.

You want to be detailed as they have and provide sufficient information for the customer to make a buying decision.

In his book Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion, Robert Cialdini says to include:

  • Scarcity
  • Reciprocity
  • Authority
  • Liking
  • Consensus
  • and, Consistency

Therefore, you want to include as many ethical proofs as you can to help the buyer make the best buying decision.  If you have testimonials, proof of credibility, a sample, or time constraints, include them on your sales page.  Over time, with consistent effort, you’ll be able to get traction and sales on your e-commerce website.

what is an ecommerce websiteStep 4: Attract Visitors

After you’re site is set up, it’s time to get people to stop by your site.  You want to do a mix of traffic generation techniques (especially if you have a budget).

Content marketing, Search Engine Optimization, PPC, Social Media Marketing, Social Media Advertising, Live Networking, and Direct Sales can get people to your site.  You can learn more about how to market your e-commerce website by beginning your free training towards an Internet Marketing Certification HERE.

Step 5: Get Revenue

After you’ve chosen your niche, built your website, decided where to source your products, loaded them onto your site, and continually attract visitors to your website, it will only be a matter of time before you’ll see conversions.  You want to make sure you’ve chosen a payment processing service, and have it setup to deposit the cash into your account.  CHA-CHING!

Final Words answering, “What is an E-Commerce Website?”

The goal of this article was to answer the question, “What is an e-commerce website?”.  Hopefully, you can see that e-commerce is a great opportunity to make money online, and you’ve gotten clear directions for getting started. If you have questions or concerns about this, don’t hesitate to leave them in the comments section.  I’d love to help you out!

If you’d like to get further direction or support as you create your e-commerce business, check out Wealthy Affiliate my #1 recommended Internet Marketing Training and Tool Suite.  You’ll get two free websites, 10 free training lessons towards an Internet Marketing Certification, access to a huge community of 1 million+ entrepreneurs, and our ongoing newsletter on starting and scaling a business leveraging the internet. Check out my full Wealthy Affiliate Review and Demo or visit Wealthy Affiliate now.

Now, it’s Your Turn…

Have you created an e-commerce site before?  What was your experience?  How would you answer the question, “What is an e-commerce website?”  Leave your comments, questions, and concerns below.

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2 thoughts on “What is an E-commerce Website? What it is and How To Make One”

  1. Derek Marshall

    Hi Tiffany,

    Thank you kindly for creating and sharing this rather excellent and informative article with us, it is really appreciated.

    As an intelligent and rather diligent business woman what are your thought about creating our own brands and selling them on our sites and on massive sites like amazon and ebay also?

    Those sites, (we could use or leverage amazon FBA for example) are too large to ignore in terms of potential sales and people, customers who like our products could become more aware of our brand due to greater exposure.

    Amazon FBA does allow for an easy cross platform integration with Amazon, ebay and our own sites.

    your thoughts are appreciated.

    Thanks in advance.

    1. Tiffany Domena

      Hello Derek! Youre right that Amazon FBA and Ebay are good opportunities. I think those considering a start in the ecommerce space should start with a focus. Regardless of where you choose to start, you’ll have to put in considerable effort to create a brand. I think its best to start with your own site and expand distribution rather than starting with all of the sites.

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