What is an eCommerce Website?

February 2021

To put it simply, an eCommerce website is also known as an online store. It is a specialised type of website that allows customers to purchase both physical and digital products online. Customers can visit the website, view all the products and information available, and make purchases once they are happy. These types of websites can sell both physical and digital products. On a very high level, there are 2 types of eCommerce websites that we can consider:

  1. Marketplaces
  2. Dedicated eCommerce Websites

Market Places

These are large websites and platforms that allow various buyers and sellers from different areas to come together. Multiple businesses can register and post their products for sale, and customers can purchase from multiple businesses using one account for the platform as a whole. Some well known examples of marketplace websites are:

  • Amazon
  • eBay
  • Depop
  • Facebook Marketplace
  • Etsy

It’s important to note that each marketplace has its own set of rules and limitations for eCommerce. For example: on Etsy you can only sell products that you produce yourself, making it unsuitable for any type of wholesale or reselling business. Also, some of these platforms have regulations on what sort of products you can sell, so you can get shut down without any warning if your product offering doesn’t meet certain rules (I’ve seen this happen!).

Dedicated eCommerce Websites

These are eCommerce websites that are owned by the brand or company that is selling the products in question. The brand would have full control of the website without limitations. They control the content, branding, product uploads, descriptions, shipping and so on. They can have additional features if they choose e.g. a blog.

There are a variety of platforms available for businesses to use to create their own sites. These include (but are not limited to):

  • Shopify
  • WooCommerce
  • BigCommerce
  • WebFlow
  • Magento

Choosing which eCommerce website platform to go with will depend highly on the nature of your business and your requirements, so it’s important to do some research and speak to a professional eCommerce website designer/developer.

What Type of eCommerce Website is Better?

Deciding whether to use an existing marketplace or build a dedicated eCommerce for your business is a very important decision, and can affect the success of your brand.

If you are extremely tight on cash, or you sell a very low volume of products each month, then using an existing marketplace might help you to save money in the early days. The benefits of this approach are that it is very cheap, and can be done quickly without needing much design or development expertise. However, this approach is very limiting for a number of reasons:

  1. Limited control over your branding as you have to fit everything within the fixed parameters given to you by the platform
  2. Only customers that have accounts on certain platforms can purchase from you, which means that only a portion of your target market can purchase from you
  3. You are subject to the limitations of the marketplace platform you are using (for example, product categories)
  4. Limited on digital marketing methods that can be used, which will limit your reach and ultimately your growth 

On the other hand, having a dedicated eCommerce website that you own is a much better option for most businesses, and you should opt for this if you can make it happen. Consider it an investment in your business that will pay you in the long run. The benefits of this approach include:

  1. Being able to use a wide variety of marketing methods (such as SEO, email marketing and SMS marketing)
  2. Having full control over your brand, look more reputable and have more authority in your space
  3. Having full control over your integrations and operations
  4. You can use a variety of payment gateways
  5. You can integrate with marketplace platforms to significantly widen your reach

Overall, the BEST approach is to have a dedicated eCommerce website that is integrated with other marketplaces (which will be determined by your target customers and their habits). This will give you full control over your platform, significantly strengthen your brand, and widen your reach.

Speak to a Pro for Free

If you would like to speak to a professional about an eCommerce project you have in the works, then book a free discovery call. We’ll have a 15 minute chat about your business to see how I can help you, and if it’s a good fit, we can discuss the next steps: https://nekowebdesign.as.me/discovery-call