Internet Marketing | E-commerce site

Building and setting up an e-commerce site is very different from an ordinary website . Before we dwell too  much into this , let’s understand some basic about e-commerce . In our case , we primarily interested in setting up an on-line store to sell our products , which is a form of e-commerce .

E-commerce site | What is E-commerce ?

E-commerce basically means electronic commerce . It refers to any form of  business transaction or business facilitation or activities  on the internet . One of the most common form of e-commerce is buying and selling products on-line  . Of course there are many other types of business activities that we perform on-line other than buying and selling , but buying and selling is the most common form of e-commerce

E-commerce site | Virtual store

Unlike an ordinary website , the e-commerce  site which support  buying and selling  will have to function like a virtual store . The virtual store therefore must have the following

  • photographs and image of the products
  • Product description
  • support multiple types and categories of products
  • grouping of certain product types (such as printers and its associated accessories for each printer type)
  • cost of the products
  • type of currencies
  • inventory control and management
  • product dimension and weight
  • support sales , promotions including the use of coupons
  • Featured and new products including product on sales and discount
  • Product searches

E-commerce site | Customer’s information and tracking of goods

As a merchant , we will need to ensure that our e-commerce site is able to capture customer’s information and at the same time provide easy , fuss free  navigation on our on-line store . To do this , the e-commerce site  will need the following features

e-commerce site

  • customer’s information (will have ability to capture a customer’s information by setting up an  account or registration)
  • management of customer’s account – password edit , customer’s billing and shipping address
  • shopping cart for easy purchase of goods
  • tracking of goods – view order and track order
  • Checkout
  • Thank-you page

E-commerce site | Electronic Payment

Electronic payment  is a very important part of e-commerce .  As the payment module may require customer’s to input his/her credit card information , it is of great importance that this information is “protected” to prevent fraud . To protect this vital data or  information , web sites that support e-commerce , or e-commerce sites are required to have SSL (Secured socket layer) certificates to ensure added security and safety on customers’ data . For more information about the type of SSL certificate required , visit this site for [more information]

As a merchant , you will need to setup a PayPal account which is relatively simple . Interestingly , Paypal accepts merchant eventhough they may not have an official  business registration number  which is good for many new internet marketers . You will need a valid bank account or credit cards though .  Val.idity of the bank account is through  verification by paypal when paypal makes 2 small deposits into the merchant bank account which requires the merchant to have access and then verified at his/her paypal account .

Paypal commission charges are different across different regions . In the case of Singapore , Paypal commissions are 3.4% + SGD$0.50 . There is another administration fees that the merchant will have to take note of which is when he/she transfer fund from his/her paypal account to his/her bank account . In Singapore Paypal charges SGD$1.00 for every SGD$200.00 transferred  . When initiating a transfer , it make take 4~6 days before the fund appears in the merchant bank account .

E-commerce site | Shipping

If the purchase involve a  physical  product that require shipment , then shipping charges needs to be computed during payment . To allow this , a shipping module is required so that the customer knows how much to pay for shipping , prior to making the final payment

E-commerce site | How to setup one quickly

There are many e-commerce plugins but majority of them would require some code modifications in order to fit with the selected wordpress themes . So in short , e-commerce plugins must match the selected wordpress themes for it to work well .  I have used Jigoshop e-commerce plugin , and it works well with wordpress themes “twenty ten” and “twenty eleven” . So the quickest way to setup an e-commerce site would be to use jigoshop with either of these 2 wordpress themes . This is will ensure minimum problems during setup

This jigoshop e-commerce plugins comes with the PayPal  payment module  . In this case , when customer make data entries about his/her credit card , the entire credit card transaction is done over at paypal and not on your website . Technically this means that you really don’t have to have a SSL certificate . But nevertheless , its always a good practise to have an SSL certificate if you are capturing customer’s information as a form of protection of this information . You will need to setup an account with PayPal and perform some tests to ensure that the system and setup is done correctly

Next is the shipping module . The sad thing is jigoshop does not come with a shipment module , but you can buy one . They support Fedex and UPS in their extensions . You will need to setup an account with either Fedex or UPS . Once you have the shipping module “extension” incorporated into your website , you will need to test them out to ensure that all the integrated modules are functioning and pulling data correctly .

For Fedex and UPS , shipping charges are base on

  • shipment types (priority , economy , etc)
  • shipping locations (USA , Russia , Greece , etc)
  • physical weight , or
  • volumetric weight

Now for weight , Fedex or UPS will take the higher of these 2 weights (physical or volumetric)  . Supposedly , the physical item weights 0.5kg and we store it in a container measuring 10cm x 10xcm x 150cm . Its volumetric weight is then 10x10x150/5000 which is 3kg . In this case , Fedex/UPS will take 3kgs (not physical weights) as its shipping weight .

In the case of the Fedex plugins that we tested , the plugin only support the physical weight as shipping weight ONLY . Eventhough  Jigoshop support the volumetric weight information , the plugins ignores it . So one needs to be extra careful with this .

Other than some minors issues , the Jigoshop and the plugins works fine on the twenty-ten or twenty-eleven wordpress e-commerce site


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