Nowadays, it’s impossible to imagine the world without the convenience of online shopping. However, securing purchases with a single click of a button hasn’t always been the norm.
In fact, the current ecommerce industry is a product of more than 20 years of vigorous growth and expansion. The advancement of technology, wisdom gained from past mistakes, and the impact of recent global events have all contributed to a rapid era of progress that shows no signs of slowing down anytime soon.
Below, we’ll track this period of growth, tracing the development of ecommerce from its infancy right up to the present day. Our research will dig deeper into the impact these changes have had, uncovering the vital ways they’ve shaped ecommerce as we know it today. We’ll also explore what is yet to come as the world adjusts to the new status quo in the wake of COVID-19, revealing the trends that will shape digital commerce over the next few years.
Although ecommerce has only taken center stage in the last two decades, the industry is no spring chicken. The concept of digital shopping has been around since the 80s. But it’s only since the early 2000s that we’ve seen it really begin to mature and develop into the commercial empire that we know and love.
However, there’s no such thing as an overnight success. Take a look below at some of the key building blocks that helped elevate the ecommerce industry to the heady heights it enjoys today.
Humble Beginnings: 2000 – 2008
At the dawn of the millennium, ecommerce didn’t occupy the coveted position it does now. The late nineties had seen a surge in internet-based businesses, and investing in these “dotcom” startups was a popular commercial move.
By 1999, ecommerce sales made up 5% of total retail sales. Although small compared to the figures we’re dealing with in now (more on that later), the United States Department of Commerce makes it clear that, at the time, almost every industry was experimenting with ecommerce in some form. Clearly, ecommerce was the industry to watch.
However, this promising start faltered with the bursting of the dotcom bubble in 2000. All of those investments floundered as early ecommerce business models proved insufficient, even with the introduction of self-service advertisement through tools like Google AdWords.
Almost 1,000 businesses were forced to liquidate and declare bankruptcy, putting a firm halt on the steady advancement ecommerce had made in the previous decade. As the world entered the noughties, much of the ecommerce slate had been wiped clean, setting the stage for the rise of new brands and new industry innovation.
The following six years were pivotal in setting the foundations for ecommerce’s long-term success. Out of the ashes of the dotcom bubble, online marketplaces flourished, with Etsy launching in 2005 and eBay acquiring the payment giant PayPal for $1.5 billion in 2002. Although the partnership came to an end in 2021, PayPal still reigns supreme, the only payment processor that is supported by all popular ecommerce platforms.
In addition, the world began to see the democratization of the ecommerce industry. Before, starting an ecommerce business required a particular set of skills that most retailers were lacking. With the launch of ecommerce website builders such as Shopify in 2004 and Wix in 2006, it became easier than ever to take your business online.
Heads up!If you’re looking for an ecommerce builder, Shopify is one of the best platforms on the market today, especially if you run a larger business or have ambitions to scale up.
We carry out thorough research and testing on all the ecommerce platforms we recommend, and Shopify has increased its rank in our ratings by 10% year on year. This is thanks to its incredible features, extensive backend inventory, and multi-channel integrations.
Alternatively, Wix is a great choice for smaller businesses that still want stellar features and growth opportunities. Although better known as a standard website builder, Wix has improved its sales features by a staggering 68%, boosting its score in this category from a measly 2.7 to an astounding 4.4!
The advancement of technology and new operating methods also began to shape the trajectory of ecommerce. The release of the first iPhone in 2007 set off the chain reaction that has led to the type of dynamic ecommerce we’re familiar with today, while the introduction of free shipping in 2008 shifted customer convenience to the forefront of commercial strategy.
Ecommerce was embracing the nouveau noughties and finding its feet again. However, as digital businesses grew, so too did the concern around online security, particularly regarding payment information. As a result, the Payment Card Industry Security Standards Council (PCI) was formed in 2004 as a way to ensure that businesses were ticking all the relevant security boxes.
Of all the ecommerce platforms we recommend, there’s only one that currently isn’t PCI compliant – Big Cartel. Other providers such as BigCommerce and Shopify do everything that’s required of them, and then some, providing third-party apps and fraud analysis, making online security as watertight as possible.
As the end of the decade approached, ecommerce was unrecognizable from the flailing enterprise it had been nine years previously. However, ecommerce now hinged on a tipping point. Would this wave of advancement be enough to bear it up and onto greater things?
Advice From the Experts
Ecommerce software like Shopify and BigCommerce have lowered the barrier to entry for ecommerce businesses greatly. You no longer need to pay a web developer to build and maintain something you don't understand. This was cost-prohibitive for a lot of people and not intuitive. Because of software like website builders, complete beginners can easily walk through the things needed to successfully launch an ecommerce website and build world-changing brands. The impact of this cannot be overstated, especially because of how successfully it allows the masses to get online and sell easily, leading to better outcomes for businesses and consumers.
Further ReadingInterested in exploring ecommerce website builders for yourself? Check out some of our reviews below!
Growth Is the Word: 2009 – 2015
Ecommerce soon proved that it was more than up to the task of keeping pace with new innovations. As early ecommerce forerunners experienced success, the years between 2009 and 2015 saw huge expansion and growth, further embedding ecommerce as a commercial norm. In 2012, worldwide online sales surpassed $1 trillion dollars for the first time.
This acceleration came with new products and brands, while the existing portfolio of accessible ecommerce platforms widened with the launch of household names such as BigCommerce in 2009 and WooCommerce in 2011.
Both of these platforms have seen considerable movement in the last decade, with BigCommerce experiencing a 78% growth in the number of websites created over a two-year period. WooCommerce, on the other hand, has stormed the WordPress ecommerce game, winning hearts with its easy-to-use interface and cost-effectiveness.
Meanwhile, social media began to rear its head and take a more active role in commercial strategy. Platforms started experimenting with different ecommerce features. For example, in 2011, Facebook began to show Sponsored Stories within subscriber feeds. Four years later, in 2015, Pinterest introduced Buyable Pins.
Did You Know...?Pinterest users spend more money per order than users on any other social media platform, with the average transaction costing $50. Plus, two million people pin products every day, which is 20 times the number of daily shoppers at the Mall of America. Crazy, right?
What this means is that, as an ecommerce business, you can’t afford not to be selling your products on Pinterest, especially because users can purchase everything without even having to leave the app!
Advice From the Experts
In the early days of ecommerce, customers were limited to using their credit cards or PayPal accounts to make online purchases. While this was convenient for some, it was a barrier for others who didn't have access to these payment methods. The development of new payment methods, such as Apple Pay and Amazon Pay, has made it easier for everyone to shop online. This has also encouraged more businesses to start selling online. In addition, new payment methods have helped to combat fraud, which is a major issue for online businesses.
2011 also saw the introduction of Google Wallet. This was initially designed as a peer-to-peer payment service, allowing individuals to send and receive money from a mobile device or desktop computer. Similarly, Apple Pay made its first appearance in 2014, launching six years after the first mobile transaction.
These new ways to pay also hinted at a deeper technological shift – the move to mobile. Browsing on the go was becoming more common, and in 2015, Google announced its intention to begin considering mobile-friendliness as a website ranking signal.
Suddenly, mobile optimization was a must-have for any website, something that was only set to grow in importance as the industry moved into 2016.
Unprecedented Times: 2016 – 2021+
As our ecommerce timeline shifts towards more current times, it’s fair to say that these are the years in which ecommerce grew up. Although this accelerated maturity is largely a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, it was already underway beforehand.
By 2016, ecommerce website builders were already trying to find new and innovative ways to help businesses get online. This is exemplified by the introduction of initiatives such as Wix ADI, an artificial intelligence designer that created a website based on users’ answers to a couple of questions.
Did You Know...?Although Wix ADI initially enjoyed a ton of attention, according to BuiltWith, since its launch, it’s steadily decreased in popularity by 80%.
This is partly down to the fact that lots of users want more creative control over their websites nowadays, but it’s also thanks to how easy Wix’s traditional editor is. Lots of businesses find that they’re more than capable of building their own website using the platform and don’t need the extra structure provided by the ADI option.
Similarly, WordPress was seeking ways to boost its ease of use, and by 2019, it had launched Guttenberg. This was a block-based editor that imitated the functionality of website builders and meant that you no longer needed to be a coding expert to build your website with WordPress.
One of the biggest developments in the website builder space was the purchase of Weebly by the payment provider, Square, in 2018. This was significant for a number of reasons, not least that Square brought many “brick and mortar” sellers into the online world for the first time. In total, this resulted in a 94% increase in new customers signing up with Weebly because of the convenient integration between the two.
In this period, it’s clear that there was a real desire for simple ecommerce solutions. Long gone were the days when businesses were willing to invest in designers and developers. The DIY approach fully established itself, evidenced by the fact that collectively Wix and Squarespace owned 47% of the market share by 2021.
But growth wasn’t just happening for ecommerce builders. Social media also underwent a time of development. Although a social media profile doesn’t come with the same level of ownership and representation as a website, it’s cemented itself as a must-have supplementary tool.
With Facebook marketplaces launching in 2016, Instagram introducing shoppable posts in 2017, and Pinterest following suit in 2021, social media is an ideal way to spread your reach and maintain an active online presence.
Of course, it’s impossible to talk about ecommerce in these years without mentioning the COVID-19 pandemic. This had a huge impact on the trajectory of ecommerce, accelerating it rapidly as businesses pivoted to meet the challenges the pandemic created.
With almost the entire population consigned to their couches, online shopping boomed. Over two billion people purchased goods or services online and, as a result, the ecommerce industry grew by 44%, with e-retail sales surpassing 4.2 trillion US dollars.
In this period, many brands were forced to branch out into spaces that they might not have previously considered, and those that hadn’t moved into ecommerce found that they had very little choice. But what does this mean for us now?
The rapid growth of the last two years has caused most brands to grow up faster than they might have done originally. Innovations that were a few years off are already well-oiled parts of the selling machine. This means we’re poised at a point where there’s a ton of room for brands to get creative and experiment with the way they sell and deliver services to their customers.
Competition is fierce, ideas are big, and the future holds a lot of promise.
Advice From the Experts
Global shutdowns made ecommerce necessary, and technological advancements made it more efficient. Ecommerce was already a rapidly growing industry before the COVID-19 pandemic. When in-person shopping became extremely difficult, if not impossible, consumers had to look to the internet for their wants and needs. Technology developers and retailers adapted to this new reality by optimizing their mobile websites and social media channels, expanding payment options, and improving privacy and security policies.
Thanks to the development of the past two decades, ecommerce has reached a pinnacle. In 2020 alone, 150 million new shoppers turned to the online market, resulting in an all-time high. The growth across the pandemic has been triple that of 2019’s 15.1% increase.
One of the clearest conclusions to draw from all this is that in-store sales are in decline. Online sales were responsible for 101% of all retail growth in 2020, pushing physical brick and mortar businesses to the wayside. There’s a good chance that this shift was always going to be inevitable, but the impact of the pandemic has accelerated the process by roughly five years.
Because of this, there’s been a clear increase in active online stores. Sites like Shopify have seen 26% more live stores in the past two years, while Wix has seen an increase of 35%.
Interestingly, however, WordPress hasn’t experienced the same kind of growth. Its live sites have only grown by 4% between 2019 and 2021. Although businesses recognize the need to move online, they’re being more selective about how they do it, choosing solutions that prioritize ease of use, rather than the historically more popular open-source platforms.
Of course, creating a site with a website builder like Wix or Shopify doesn’t guarantee a successful and active site. Our own studies show that over a 12-month period, 16% of sites will remain under construction, with a further 41% going completely dormant.
So what does this mean in practice? It’s easy to list off a ton of stats and numbers, but it’s harder to translate that into practical impact.
Below, we’ve highlighted three of the biggest learnings to come out of ecommerce’s formidable growth spurt:
Ecommerce has become more accessible
Creating an ecommerce store is no longer only achievable by professional designers and developers. The emergence of platforms like Shopify, Wix, and BigCommerce makes it much simpler for average business owners to expand out into the online world without breaking the bank.
Taking payments online is now also much easier. Well-established names like PayPal have simplified their integrations, while newer providers such as Stripe have stripped back the whole process. Completing transactions online is no longer a headache.
Technology has made the industry more dynamic
Long gone are the days when perusing the internet meant chaining yourself up to a desktop for hours on end. The era of mobile is truly upon us.
From payments to browsing, going mobile has become the norm. This has only been further solidified by the weight Google now places on mobile-friendliness when judging website rankings. Nowadays, mobile optimization is a must, forcing even the most reluctant of online stores to reevaluate their designs for more compact screens.
Not everything is going to be a success
Although growth often indicates fertile soil for new business ideas, that doesn’t mean everything is going to be an instant success. Although the past two decades have played witness to a lot of victories, there have been some failures and false starts, too.
For example, ecommerce and social media have been intertwined since the early noughties. Yet, we’re only just seeing this channel come into its own and innovate with online selling. Other endeavors such as online subscription boxes and websites like Groupon had promising starts, only to falter further down the line and fail to fulfill their full potential.
Even with the simple solutions offered by website builders and the ability to reach an audience on the go, there’s still a lot of time and energy needed to create a thriving online venture. Growth doesn’t equal automatic success.
If anything, standing out from the crowd has become even more of a challenge. Imagine you’ve planned a camping trip. You’ve picked the most beautiful spot at the best time of the year, packed up all your gear, and set off – only to arrive and find that everyone else has had the same idea, and there’s simply no room for your tent.
That’s similar to what the ecommerce landscape looks like right now.
But don’t lose hope just yet. A little creative thinking and forethought will make it easier to find a firm foothold. If you know what’s coming, you can get ahead of the curve, so next time, your tent will be one of the first to pitch, whatever the commercial weather.
Luckily, we can help with this! We’ve done our research and have identified a collection of industries and trends that are set to storm the ecommerce scene over the next few years.
1. Growing Industries
New industries are going to be popping up all over the space, attracting new businesses and customers into the ecommerce space. If you’re thinking about starting a new online venture, we’d recommend considering one of these niches:
Health and Fitness
The COVID-19 pandemic took a toll on public health, and as the world gradually begins to open up again, many are eager to rectify that. Whether you run a gym or have created an at-home workout plan, ecommerce is primed for online stores that target our health and wellbeing.
Wix, in particular, is an ideal choice if you’re planning to bring your health and fitness business online. It’s recently released a range of dedicated health and fitness features to help bring your brand to life. This includes online scheduling, onsite video integrations perfect for streaming virtual classes, subscription payments, and membership packages.
It’s even released a host of specific fitness templates, all of which are designed to elevate your business to the next level.
Food and Online Delivery
Who doesn’t love food, right? Well, thanks to months consigned to our couches, we love it even more since the pandemic hit. Where once takeout was restricted to pizza and Chinese, food delivery is now a $150 billion global market, with a myriad of cuisines at our fingertips.
If food is your passion, you’re about to find yourself in a very profitable sector. Online food delivery revenue is predicted to reach a stunning $96.37 billion by the end of 2026.
There’s a real appetite for food-based businesses, particularly those that offer delivery services. Most website builders also support this, with Wix and Square Online offering online menu creators as well as delivery and store pickup. Wix and Shopify also have a range of dedicated restaurant templates to choose from.
In our research, Wix came out on top, achieving an overall score of 4.6 out of 5, with Shopify’s score of 4.5 taking second place. Square Online and Squarespace take third and fourth place, scoring 4.4 and 4.3 out of 5 respectively.
If you’ve been thinking about starting an online food business, using a website builder can simplify the process. The platforms we’ve mentioned above are our favorites for the job.
Further ReadingWant to find out more about setting up an online food business? Check out our articles below:
2. Artificial Intelligence
The concept of artificial intelligence isn’t anything new, but the way it’s being integrated into ecommerce is. New innovations are forcing companies to get more creative than ever, and AI is set to play a huge part in that.
Increased Mobile Usage
What was once used just for making calls and playing the occasional game of Snake now does everything from paying for groceries to ordering takeout on the go.
Consumers expect mobile to be part of their purchasing journey, especially in the wake of the pandemic. In 2021, more than four out of 10 smartphone users in the US used a contactless payment method at least once, with the overall number of contactless payment users in the US hitting 92.3 million.
Apple Pay remains the most popular method of contactless payment, although the market is ripe for a host of new providers to rise up and find their places amongst the fold of our digital wallets.
And it’s not just new providers we can expect to see. According to eMarketer, there could be as many as 6.5 million new mobile wallet users between 2021 and 2025.
If you’re looking to start your online store now and want to be prepared for this inevitable rise, Shopify, BigCommerce, and Square are currently the only builders that directly support digital wallets. However, given their popularity, we don’t think it’ll be too long before other platforms follow suit.
Who doesn’t like to be made to feel a bit special every now and then? With the use of AI in customer journeys, ecommerce merchants have more data at their fingertips to help them target users more effectively and add a shine of finesse to their experiences.
When it comes to personalization, online stores have to work twice as hard to establish a connection with customers because they don’t have the benefit of a physical store and in-person advisors. Analyzing previous shopping habits and other personal data will allow chatboxes, virtual assistants, and intelligent product recommendations to mimic the feel of in-person shopping, but without the hassle of leaving the house.
Advice From the Experts
As computers get better at mimicking human interactions, consumers will become more accustomed to getting their help from bots instead of humans. This trend has been going on for years, but it is only now beginning to have a noticeable impact on consumer habits and purchasing decisions. Research indicates that the retail AI market will realize an annual increase of 35% between 2020 and 2027. Companies that will reap the most gains from this growth will be those that can integrate AI into their business models, without trying to use it to replace human labor.
Use of Augmented Reality
If the mention of augmented reality is giving you Matrix vibes, don’t worry – you won’t need to choose between a red pill and a blue pill to implement this new tech into your ecommerce practice.
When we talk about augmented reality in ecommerce, we’re really just talking about using computer-generated images to make it easier for your customers to make a purchase. Think virtual try-before-you-buy, product recognition, and 360 browsing.
Rather than just looking at pictures, customers are able to experience products from their own homes before committing to a sale.
Not only will this make your overall shopping experience more immersive, but there’s a higher chance that customers will be satisfied with their purchases the first time around.
Advice From the Experts
One major ecommerce trend we’ll witness in the next five years or so will be the dramatic increase in virtual and augmented reality-based shopping experiences. Some of the bigger retailers are already offering such experiences, but we should expect to see even small-scale retailers being able to provide VR/AR shopping experiences to their customers. Studies also indicate that 70% of ecommerce customers would prefer these types of shopping experiences, further driving up their demand and provision across the ecommerce landscape.
3. Use of Video
With the rise of TikTok and Instagram reels, it should come as no surprise that video is set to take a starring role in ecommerce over the coming years. More and more, consumers are expecting video as the norm, and this new medium brings some benefits for merchants, too.
Diversification of Content Types
No one wants to see the same thing over and over again, which is why video is such a breath of fresh air. Aside from its obvious aesthetic appeal, it’ll also energize old content and show your products in action.
Plus, not everyone digests information in the same way. Readers all have different learning styles, and for those visual and auditory learners out there, video is the perfect way of hooking them in.
Video Boosts Conversions
Did you know that using video on your website can improve your conversions by up to 85%? This isn’t just because it looks pretty, either. Video content has a ton of benefits that go alongside its more dynamic format.
On a practical level, users are naturally more drawn to information presented in an easy-to-digest way. Video means they don’t have to scroll through endless reams of text, but instead can be guided through the process by a charismatic presenter.
Plus, search engines love videos that engage users. A well-placed video is more likely to keep visitors on your page for longer, something that Google likes to see. Not only this, but 92% of consumers share a video once they’ve used it. This encourages backlinks to your site, which in turn can help boost your search engine ranking.
Increasing your email click-through rates, reducing your product returns – video is more than just a pretty face and it’s a trend that isn’t set to go anywhere. With 27.2% of viewers watching more than 10 hours of online video per week, it’s not to be overlooked.
Advice From the Experts
Four years ago, our company started doing videos on YouTube to educate consumers. We now have over 80,000 followers and 20% of our sales originate from our YouTube channel.</p>
<p>Two years ago during COVID, our business started doing live streams through Facebook and YouTube to our local and online customers due to fewer people wanting to shop in person – a big issue during the pandemic that actually still continues. These live streams were both educational and commercial in nature. The live shows allowed visitors to view our items, buy online and ask questions.</p>
<p>We are now getting about 2,000+ viewers watching our show each month. Not only has it helped to stay connected with our customers via social media and YouTube, but it has also generated a ton of sales ($30,000 from our last month's show) for our business.
Further ReadingAre you interested in using video marketing as part of your future ecommerce strategy? Check out our guide on How To Create a Video Marketing Strategy to get started.
4. Different Ways to Pay
We’ve already seen the impact of digital wallets like Apple Pay, but this area of ecommerce is still going through a time of growth and discovery. In the coming years, we’re likely to see even more diverse payment methods that put the consumer’s convenience first.
Below, we’ve outlined just a couple of the developments we could see over the coming years.
Subscription Payment Plans
Subscriptions aren’t a new idea. Think Netflix and Shopify, both of whom have successfully been running a subscription model for years. The difference is that, now, other brands are sitting up and paying attention, attracted by the prospect of keeping their customers coming back for more each month.
Recently, the subscription model has seen a surge in popularity, with consumers being able to sign up for monthly deliveries of everything from clothes to razors.
These “sticky” products lend themselves well to a system whereby they’re automatically replenished. Each month, consumers get their fix of items or services, whilst merchants receive a regular payment.
Not only does this guarantee a revenue stream for the store, but plays on customer convenience. After all, no one wants to find themselves short of sunscreen on a summer’s day, right?
One-Click Payment Options
We’re all busy people and no one has the time (or patience) to work their way through a long, drawn-out checkout process. The rise of one-click payment options answers our need for instant gratification and does exactly what it says on the tin – allows you to pay with one click!
This has been a common sight on some of the larger online stores in recent years, with Apple and Google Pay acting as the main vehicles for one-click payments. In the coming years, however, this is set to become more widespread as more and more consumers turn towards digital wallets.
Once the mainstay of the more technologically articulate amongst us, bitcoin is entering the mainstream ecommerce industry. Although still not a firm payment norm, platforms such as Wix, Squarespace, and Shopify all allow merchants to accept bitcoin as a legitimate form of payment.
In the future, bitcoin is set to work seamlessly with digital wallets, giving merchants the chance to broaden their market, take advantage of low processing fees, and offer a payment option that is known for speed and security.
5. The Rise of Social Commerce
Social media has taken over every other part of our lives, so why not ecommerce, too? Mobile usage is on the rise – here at Website Builder Expert, we’ve seen a 9% year-on-year growth in our mobile-only traffic – and people are spending an average of 2 hours and 27 minutes on social media each day.
Although it’s occasionally dipped its toes into the ecommerce pool, social media has yet to fully establish itself as a powerhouse within the industry. But that’s set to change soon. In the wake of the pandemic, social media and ecommerce have become even further entwined and the next few years will prove pivotal as the relationship between the two develops and changes.
We’re not saying that social media should trump a traditional online store, but we do think it should be a key part of your selling strategy. Any business with an online presence should look to take advantage of what social media can offer.
Social commerce’s power lies in the fact that users can make purchases in-app rather than being redirected to a third-party website. Product tagging is key to this, allowing merchants to directly link related products to their posts on social media.
Facebook AI is also set to take this trend and develop it further. It has plans to build the world’s largest shoppable media platform, where users can buy and sell at the drop of a hat. This would also include the use of technology that enables consumers not only to buy the products they see but to browse and match similar products, too.
Social Commerce and Video
Since its launch in 2016, Instagram Stories has proved to be one of the platform’s most popular additions. It allows users to show video snapshots of their lives, but it’s also a powerful ecommerce tool perfect for marketing products.
According to Instagram, 58% of users claim that they’re more interested in a product if they’ve seen it in Instagram Stories, and a further 50% say that they’ve visited a website to buy a product or service as a result of having seen it in a story. Impressive, huh?
From a commercial perspective, brand stories don’t skimp on profit. They have an 86% completion rate and are predicted to bring in a total of $20 billion in 2023.
Advice From the Experts
The digital world has been constantly evolving over the last two decades, however, I believe we are seeing the most impactful change right now with the merging of ecommerce and social media platforms. Previously, social media outlets such as Instagram and Facebook, were solely a place to drive traffic to your business website or other platforms to sell your products.</p>
<p>However, over the past two years, particularly with Facebook, there has been a concerted effort to merge ecommerce stores with these platforms that makes them nearly interchangeable, creating a subsidiary point of purchase which expands a business’s reach. This has led to dramatic improvements in our sales, especially to our Gen X customers, who represent over 60% of users of the Facebook platform. This trend will continue, as the line between social media and ecommerce stores continues to blur.
There’s no question that the development of ecommerce has been a rollercoaster of ups and downs. However, the ride isn’t over just yet.
Although massive strides have been made in the past few years, ecommerce is just reaching a zenith of development that will unlock the next stage of online buying and selling.
It’s a particularly exciting time to be an ecommerce merchant, with the next few years set to bring tons of selling innovations that will transform how online businesses operate forevermore.
It’s also key that your ecommerce website is mobile-friendly because many visitors will browse on the go. We’d also recommend offering multiple payment options as well as little extras such as ratings and reviews to help persuade your customers to make a purchase.
There are two main ways to fulfill your orders. Firstly, you can do it yourself, packaging and shipping your products off, or, secondly, you can outsource the job to a fulfillment center, who will do it all for you. This latter option is a particularly good idea if your business has grown too large for you to manage on your own.
To make sure your online store is well-protected, make sure to use a website builder that is PCI compliant, like Wix or Shopify (but not Big Cartel). It’s also important to make sure you have an SSL certificate, change your passwords regularly, and don’t hold any of your customers’ personal data.