E-commerce, or electronic commerce, is simply the business of buying online products or services. Once viewed as an unsafe avenue of sales, is now a billion dollar industry and one of the most common and practical ways of buying any product. Sites like Ebay and Amazon have changed the way us consumers find products, and have paved the way for many business success stories.

E-commerce websites are the online retail stores of many large, medium and small businesses. Whether you are a clothing store looking to sell thousands of products online, or if you’re a small business selling custom wood carvings, you both can utilize an e-commerce website.

How is a normal website different from an e-commerce site?

An e-commerce site will almost always include the normal pages you would find on a catalogue-based website. These pages traditionally include: Home, Contact, About, etc..

E-commerce sites in comparison, are much more complex due to the extra elements that comprise of the site.

Element #1: Shopping cart

The shopping cart is the heart and soul of any e-commerce website. Simply put, without a shopping cart, customers cannot pay money for your services over your website. There are hundreds of different types of shopping carts being used by online businesses today, but all of them will have the ability to do the same thing. Collect your money, store your order information, allow the website owner to track sales figures, coupon code management, shipping customization, among many other features. When the customer selects the product and clicks “add to cart,” the product is sent to the shopping cart where the customer can now choose to continue shopping, or checkout.

Element #2: Merchant Account and Gateway

Your merchant account and gateway is the online bank portion of any e-commerce transaction. When a customer pays for a product or online service through your shopping cart, the funds get pre-authorized through the payment gateway before the order successfully goes through. The pre-authorization process happens within seconds. Once the funds go through successfully, they will sit in the gateway account awaiting your next move to either deposit the funds to a selected bank account, refund the customer, etc. Like all processing fees, credit card processing fees are between 2-4% per/transaction.

Element #3: Product Pages and Time Involvement

Since many e-commerce sites have hundreds to thousands of products, it’s not uncommon for every product to need it’s own dedicated product page with product specifications, pictures, pricing and menu options. For all of these commonalities, you can see where there is much more time involved building and setting up a custom e-commerce website.

Read more about our boise e-commerce solutions.