Get the Real Deal About How E-commerce can Boost Your Business

E-commerce – Browse Hookson’s One-stop Shop and Discover the Business Benefits

E-commerce pop quiz: what was the first thing sold over the internet? And when did it happen?

There are two answers. And which one you go for depends on your definition of the internet.

One surprising response is: a tiny amount of marijuana. And in 1971. Or ’72. Those involved, perhaps understandably, are a bit fuzzy on the specifics. What is clear is that a bunch of Stanford University students brokered the transaction. And it was handled via Arpanet, a pre-cursor to the internet that today we can’t live without.

For the less surprising answer, we fast-forward to August 1994, and to the buying, of a Sting CD, on Here, every step the buyer took was secure and encrypted: the financial exchange handled 100% online (and not in the digs of a student). The disc, by the way, the poetically named Ten Summoner’s Tales, cost the buyer $12.48 (plus shipping).

Today, on Music Magpie, it’s yours for £2.99 (or £2.50 via the site’s two-for-a-fiver offer). Shipping included.

E-commerce is Fantastic News for Businesses of all Sizes and Sectors

That was a fun bite of internet history, and maybe one day it’ll help you out on Who Wants to be a Millionaire? But e-commerce – the buying and selling of goods and services online – is serious stuff.

And it’s fantastic news for business.

Whilst the juggernaut that is Amazon has become synonymous for what is now an everyday miracle, selling online is also the great leveller. E-commerce is batting for the little guy too.

Thanks to both consumer appetite and the technology that’s responded to it, a business of any scale – from SMEs to one-person-in-their-garage setups – can take a shot at territories and shoppers that were, not so long ago, way out of reach.

E-commerce: the Busy, Exciting Landscape

Websites have become windows to the world. And leaps in what they offer and how they operate have made short work of showcasing products and services.

On the technical side, simple-but-powerful content management systems (CMS) have empowered business owners to take control of their own sites. And smart transaction/payment solutions, and innovations like click and collect, have made buying a snap.

Promotion-wise, online video – another technology that’s now firmly within the reach of all businesses – allows for engaging demonstrations and explainers. And social media, as ever, is there backing up the bigger picture.

E-commerce is a busy landscape. It’s exciting. And it’s rammed to the rafters with opportunity. So in this post we’ll look at the amazing benefits e-commerce brings businesses of all shapes and sizes.

Our e-commerce website for fine-art auctioneers Toomey & Co combined great looks with seamless UX

E-commerce is Personal

Strange, eh? But true. A mix of landing pages, targeted offers and welcome messages make the e-commerce experience one-to-one, warm and friendly. Powered by the data gathered via services like Google Analytics, finely tuned landing pages target specific audiences. Online ads can target shoppers who almost crossed the line last visit. And, for logged-in visitors, inviting welcome messages can pitch offers and recommendations. The take-out is that it’s the sale that’s remote, but never the experience.

When it comes to e-commerce, it’s the sale that’s remote, but never the experience.

E-commerce Puts You in Charge of UX

The e-commerce user experience is yours to refine. As we highlighted in our post on UX, user experience delivers a bucketload of tangible business benefits, including:

Increased engagement and sales

More satisfaction and less frustration

Five-star reviews

Improved SEO

So by taking care of UX across your e-commerce website, you’ll be in great shape for more visits, rocketing sales and fewer bounce rates.

It’s a Perfect Fit for Content

Content, the slightly clinical word for personality-packed media like videos and blogs, infographics and images, is a must for the e-commerce business. It drives organic traffic, enquiries, shares and sales. For the e-commerce business, content also builds brand and grows relationships. Here’s your chance to demonstrate knowledge, personality, range and special offers. So grab it.

E-commerce is Open all Hours

Your website delivers a true 24/7-we-never-close experience. That opens your enterprise up to both shoppers from all over the world as well as those at home whose work schedule doesn’t chime with the 9-5. After all, online browsing and buying doesn’t stick to old-fashioned business hours. It happens on the sofa. At the train station. In bed. So make sure your business is there to take advantage. Of course, although e-commerce is working flat-out in the small hours, you don’t have to. Automation takes care of transactions, confirmations and receipts. Then, when you wake up to a screen of orders to process, it’s like every day is Christmas morning. Sort of.

It Gathers Data

E-commerce is a whiz for gathering customer data. Its connections with info-flows like social media, analytics, even form fields and surveys, deliver opportunities to harvest and act on information. The result? Targeted campaigns and promotions. Customers who receive messaging and offers they’ll actively welcome. And a more cost-effective use of advertising – including powerful retargeting ads: a tactic Hookson can help you refine. It’s a real win-win and another major e-commerce business benefit.

Online browsing and buying doesn’t stick to old-fashioned business hours. So make sure your business is there to take advantage.

It’s a Go-to for Start-ups…

For a new business, one of the most compelling e-commerce benefits is its low start-up costs. At Hookson, we power e-commerce sites with trusted solutions like WooCommerce and Shopify.

Alongside our website designs themselves, these tools allow internet start-ups – or the online component of bricks-and-mortar businesses – to hit the ground running. What does that mean for your business? A store – on desktop or app – that looks amazing, runs like a dream and is a cinch to manage. And when it comes to transaction time, Hookson has you covered from the moment your browser becomes a buyer. Our e-commerce websites are all set up for cart options, shipping rates and secure payments from top-rated players like PayPal and Stripe.

…and Essential for Established Businesses Too

For established businesses selling products or services, an e-commerce site brings an exciting new dimension. It helps retain customers and attracts new prospects. Why risk losing years of hard-won brand-building and loyalty to tech-savvy new players?

It Rewards Promotional Activities

It’s worth knowing too that for both new and established businesses, e-commerce websites are cost-effective to promote and drive traffic towards. At Hookson, as well as advising on all aspects of site design, we’re on the ball with targeted digital marketing strategies. This includes SEO-optimisation, pay-per-click campaigns and social media marketing.

So whether you’re looking to build your e-commerce website from the ground up, or you have a site and want clicks converted to sales, we’ll be in your corner.