Who needs brick-and-mortar stores when e-commerce websites allow you to reach millions of consumers by paying a small amount of money? The UK e-commerce industry has a revenue total of 408 billion GBP and grows at a rate of nearly 25 per cent per annum. You will certainly find a spot under the sun and start making profit, provided that you have the ideal venue for selling your products and the right online marketing strategy.

All businesses that want to sell products and services on the web require e-commerce websites. There are two ways in which you can set up such a site for your business. You can use a readymade template and do all the work by yourself or the other option is to use professional website design services.

It is true that a template will usually cost you as little as a couple of hundred pounds and that you can even find one for free while a professionally developed site will usually cost in excess of 2,000 GBP. However, the end result will be attractive pages of content, products that are easy to view and evaluate and will have a flawlessly working payment and shipment system.

E-commerce websites have to have a number of components. You must have a home page. Usually, it displays the most popular products and any special deals that the online store currently offers. It should be easy for the visitor to get to the full range of products using the menu bar. In general, it is crucial for an online store to be well organised, categorising products especially if there are a lot of goods on offer.

The shopping cart is the most important component of every e-commerce website. This is the tool that allows the visitor to pick a product and make a purchase so it is essential for it to be easy to use and to work flawlessly. You have to have an integrated payment system that is safe and reliable and your clients should be able to use a variety of credit and debit cards as well as various systems for online payments, the more payment options you offer the better.

Shipping needs to be well organised. This is the part of an e-commerce website, that visitors do not see, but is crucial for the customer service and reputation of the online stores. The shipping system must work adequately. Best practice is for it to be directly integrated with your inventory software.

Each e-commerce website has to provide excellent customer support. If you are using professional services, you will be able to provide not only email and telephone support, but also live online chat support. This will not cost you much in terms of investment, but will improve the quality of your services.

Once configured, e-commerce websites require extensive online marketing for attracting visitors and customers. Again, it is advisable to use professional services at least in the beginning. That way, you can have your online store search engine optimised for the products that you offer. You will be able to use email marketing and social media marketing for promoting your business.

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