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The Ultimate Guide to E-Commerce in 2024

Navigating the Future of E-Commerce with Expert Insights, Practical Tips, and Cutting-Edge Technologies.

When done right, e-commerce is the engine that powers the growth and visibility of your business in the digital marketplace. Yes, even if you’re running a busy operation and need a seamless way to expand your customer base and drive sales.


Harsh truth time: In today’s competitive market, without a robust online presence, your potential to reach new customers is severely limited.


It’s no wonder then, that e-commerce is one of the primary focuses for business owners looking to expand their reach this year. Recent data shows that 52% of companies plan to increase their e-commerce investments, focusing on platforms, customer experience, and digital marketing strategies in 2024​ (HubSpot Blog)​​ (Shogun)​.


(For context, this emphasis on e-commerce is part of a broader trend where businesses are also prioritizing cybersecurity and sustainable practices.)


In this guide, you’ll learn what e-commerce is, discover strategies to build and enhance your online store and understand what you must do to drive traffic and increase sales.


Even if you’re an e-commerce veteran and have the basics down, it’s worth sticking around. “But why?” I hear you ask.


Well, aside from sharing our knowledge based on over a decade of hands-on experience in e-commerce, we’ve also hand-selected some of the most accomplished specialists to share their top e-commerce best practices with you. With insights from industry leaders and data-backed strategies, you’ll be well-equipped to take your online business to the next level.

Keep on reading to understand e-commerce or jump ahead to the section that interests you most.

What is E-Commerce?

Ecommerce stands for electronic commerce. The goal of ecommerce is to facilitate the buying and selling of goods and services over the internet. This digital marketplace allows businesses to reach a global audience, streamline transactions, and operate 24/7 without the limitations of a physical store. As a result, ecommerce efforts drive more sales opportunities, enhance customer convenience, and increase revenue, making it a vital component of modern business strategy.

When asked to explain what ecommerce is, we often choose to call it a way for businesses to sell their products or services online, making them accessible to anyone with an internet connection.


But this simplifies the discipline a bit.


In reality, there are many components to a successful ecommerce operation. Ecommerce encompasses everything from website design and user experience to secure payment processing and efficient order fulfillment. It also includes marketing strategies like email campaigns, social media promotions, and search engine optimization (SEO) to drive traffic to the site. Additionally, data analytics plays a crucial role in understanding customer behavior and improving the overall shopping experience.


With all of these elements taken into account, ecommerce primarily drives two things — sales and customer satisfaction.


But before diving deeper, we want to note that many resources make ecommerce seem complex: they might even overwhelm you. We promise this guide isn’t like that. We’ll break ecommerce down into its most basic parts and show you how to use all of its elements to create a successful ecommerce strategy with your team or partners.

How Does E-Commerce Work?

Ecommerce works by leveraging online platforms to facilitate the buying and selling process, starting with a business setting up an online store. This involves listing products or services with detailed descriptions, images, and prices. Customers browse the store, add items to their cart, and proceed to checkout where they enter payment and shipping information. The ecommerce system processes the payment securely, often through payment gateways, and generates an order for fulfillment. Once the order is received, the business prepares and ships the product to the customer. Throughout this process, ecommerce platforms utilize various technologies such as inventory management, customer relationship management (CRM), and analytics to ensure a seamless transaction and enhance the overall customer experience. While some benefits, like increased sales, can be immediate, building a robust ecommerce operation can take time and continuous optimization.

E-Commerce Development

This refers to the process of building and maintaining an online store.


Ecommerce development encompasses various aspects such as designing the website’s user interface, setting up a secure payment gateway, and integrating inventory management systems. The development process starts with choosing the right platform (e.g., Shopify, WooCommerce, Magento) and includes tasks like customizing the site’s layout, ensuring mobile responsiveness, and optimizing site performance for speed and security.


As time passes, ongoing maintenance is required to update features, fix bugs, and improve the user experience based on customer feedback and technological advancements.


Effective ecommerce development is crucial for providing a seamless shopping experience and supporting the business’s growth and scalability.

E-Commerce Marketing

This term describes the strategies used to drive traffic to an online store and convert visitors into customers.


Ecommerce marketing involves a mix of digital marketing tactics including search engine optimization (SEO), pay-per-click (PPC) advertising, email marketing, social media campaigns, and content marketing.


The goal is to increase the online store’s visibility, attract potential customers, and encourage repeat purchases. As time passes, ecommerce marketing strategies may evolve due to changing market trends, customer behavior, and updates in digital marketing tools and algorithms.


Both ecommerce development and ecommerce marketing are responsible for achieving the main objectives – driving sales and enhancing the customer experience.

Why is E-Commerce Important?

E-commerce is a critical component of modern business strategies for several compelling reasons. Firstly, it enables businesses to reach a global audience, breaking down geographical barriers and allowing for 24/7 operations. This continuous accessibility can significantly boost sales and customer engagement. Retail ecommerce sales are projected to reach more than eight trillion dollars by 2027. (HubSpot Blog)​​ (Shopify)​.


Secondly, e-commerce meets the evolving consumer behavior and expectations. With more consumers preferring online shopping due to its convenience, businesses must adapt to these changes to remain competitive. For instance, mobile commerce alone is expected to account for $558 billion in sales in 2024, driven by the increasing use of smartphones for shopping​ (Shopify)​. According to Oberlo, the number of online shoppers worldwide is set to rise to 2.71 billion in 2024​ (Shopify)​.


Additionally, e-commerce offers valuable data insights. By analyzing customer behavior and preferences, businesses can tailor their marketing strategies, enhance customer experiences, and improve inventory management. This data-driven approach helps in making informed decisions that can lead to increased sales and customer loyalty.


E-commerce also significantly aligns with modern consumer behavior and expectations. Early in the process, customers use online searches to find information about their needs or problems. Platforms like Google and social media are often the first points of contact. They explore various options, read reviews, and compare prices to make informed decisions. Mobile commerce sales are projected to reach $2.5 trillion in 2024, indicating a strong shift towards mobile shopping due to its convenience​ (Shopify)​.


Customers then evaluate alternatives based on reviews and social media buzz before making a purchase decision. This highlights the importance of having a strong online presence and positive reviews. Social commerce, where consumers buy directly through social media apps, is also gaining traction, with 84% of social media marketers predicting increased consumer purchases through these platforms in 2024​ (HubSpot Blog)​.


Therefore, the only chance for customers to notice and consider your products is by having a well-optimized e-commerce platform that appears in their search results and engages them effectively throughout their buying journey. This comprehensive approach ensures that businesses can capture the attention of potential customers and convert them into loyal buyers.

consumer social media product discovery - Hubspot

How do customers decide to buy?

Customers navigate through a series of steps before making a purchase decision. These steps involve gathering information, evaluating options, and finally, purchasing. Let’s break down this process:

    1. Recognition of Need: The buying journey begins when customers recognize a need or a problem. This might be triggered by internal cues (such as running out of a product) or external stimuli (like advertising or recommendations).

    1. Information Search: Customers then seek information to solve their problems or fulfill their needs. This search often starts online, with 67% of B2B buyers beginning the buying process with a broad web search​ (HubSpot Blog)​. They use search engines to find information about their problem and potential solutions. This phase involves extensive use of resources like search engines, review sites, and social media platforms.

    1. Evaluation of Alternatives: After gathering information, customers compare different products or services. They evaluate alternatives based on various criteria such as features, prices, reviews, and brand reputation. Social proof, like customer reviews and ratings, plays a critical role in this stage. According to HubSpot, 81% of customers trust the advice of family and friends over businesses​ (HubSpot Blog)​.

    1. Decision Making: Once the evaluation is complete, customers make their purchase decision. They might choose a product based on the best combination of price, quality, and convenience. For e-commerce, this decision is often influenced by factors like easy navigation, user-friendly checkout processes, and the availability of payment options.

    1. Purchase: The actual transaction takes place in this step. For e-commerce, ensuring a smooth and secure checkout process is crucial. According to Shopify, the global conversion rate across e-commerce sites was 1.88% as of January 2024, indicating the importance of optimizing this phase to improve sales​ (Shopify)​.

  1. Post-Purchase Behavior: After the purchase, customers evaluate their satisfaction with the product and the buying experience. Positive experiences can lead to repeat purchases and customer loyalty, while negative experiences might result in returns and negative reviews. Businesses can foster positive post-purchase behavior by providing excellent customer service and follow-up support.

As AI becomes a bigger part of the e-commerce landscape, personalization will become increasingly important for engaging customers and improving their buying experience. AI can help businesses analyze customer data to provide personalized product recommendations, tailored marketing messages, and customized shopping experiences. According to Salesforce, 84% of customers say being treated like a person, not a number, is very important to winning their business​ (Shopify)​.


And although these are not direct factors in customer decision-making, they can enhance the overall shopping experience, leading to higher customer satisfaction and loyalty. For example, integrating AI to streamline customer service through chatbots can provide immediate assistance and answer queries, which can improve the overall customer experience. In fact, 57% of customers are interested in using chatbots for instant communication with businesses​ (Shopify)​.


Additionally, social proof remains a powerful influence on customer decisions. Seeing other customers’ positive experiences through reviews, testimonials, and social media shares can significantly impact a buyer’s trust and confidence in a product. Research from Nielsen shows that 92% of consumers trust recommendations from friends and family over any other type of advertising​ (Shopify)​. This highlights the importance of cultivating a strong, positive presence across various platforms to build credibility and attract new customers.


Lastly, mobile commerce is on the rise, with more consumers preferring to shop using their smartphones. In 2024, mobile commerce sales are projected to reach $2.5 trillion​ (Shopify)​. Ensuring that your e-commerce platform is mobile-friendly and offers a seamless shopping experience on all devices can significantly impact customer buying decisions. Implementing features like mobile payment options, easy navigation, and fast loading times can enhance the user experience and drive more sales.

What is eCommerce strategy?

An eCommerce strategy is a comprehensive plan to achieve business objectives through online sales channels. It involves optimizing your website for a seamless user experience, creating compelling product listings, and securing payment systems. Off-page tactics include digital marketing efforts like social media promotion, email campaigns, and search engine marketing (SEM) to drive traffic and boost conversions. Effective e-commerce strategies, also rely on data analytics to monitor performance and make data-driven adjustments to stay aligned with market trends.

Five Must-Have Features for E-Commerce in 2024

In 2024, e-commerce platforms must offer more than just speed and aesthetics. They need to provide a seamless, personalized, and secure shopping experience to meet evolving consumer expectations.

1. Advanced Search Functionality

For your e-commerce site to provide a seamless shopping experience, advanced search functionality is crucial. Here’s how it works:


First, the search system must index all the product pages on your website. This involves crawling through your site, identifying product titles, descriptions, tags, and other relevant metadata.


Next, the search engine needs to process user queries efficiently. It uses algorithms to understand the search intent and match it with the indexed data, providing relevant results quickly.


Finally, it must present the results in a user-friendly manner, often with filtering options like price range, categories, and product attributes. This helps users refine their search and find exactly what they need with minimal effort.


This might seem straightforward, but it’s more complex than it looks. From the user’s perspective, the search bar is a simple input field. But behind the scenes, it’s a sophisticated system that transforms a basic query into actionable search results, optimizing the user’s journey.


For example, eBay‘s advanced search functionality includes predictive text, voice search, and extensive filters to help users find products efficiently, significantly enhancing the shopping experience. This advanced system ensures that users can quickly locate the items they are looking for, improving satisfaction and increasing the likelihood of purchase.

eBay's e-commerce advanced search functionality

2. Product Reviews

Every time a customer visits an e-commerce site, they seek information — details about a product, its quality, and user experiences.


True, this information might come in different formats. It could be text, like detailed product descriptions or user reviews. But it could also be multimedia content, such as video reviews and testimonials.


It’s all content.


And for e-commerce, product reviews are crucial for building trust and influencing purchase decisions.


Here are two reasons why:


First, product reviews are what customers look for when evaluating a potential purchase. Regardless of the product, reviews provide genuine user feedback and insights. High-quality, detailed reviews that are helpful to other customers increase trust and confidence in the product. The more positive reviews a product has, the higher the likelihood of increased sales.


Also, search engines use product reviews to determine the relevance and quality of a product page. Reviews contribute to the overall content of a page and help search algorithms assess its usefulness. Elements like the number of reviews, the ratings, and the review content itself play a role in how search engines rank the page. This means that well-reviewed products are more likely to appear higher in search results, attracting more potential buyers.


For example, Amazon prominently features customer reviews and ratings on each product page. This not only helps customers make informed decisions but also boosts the product’s visibility and credibility. Analyzing and optimizing product reviews involves encouraging satisfied customers to leave reviews and addressing negative feedback constructively.

Amazon e-commerce customer reviews and ratings

Additionally, product reviews provide social proof, which is essential for influencing new customers. When potential buyers see that others have had positive experiences with a product, they are more likely to feel confident in making a purchase. This social validation can significantly reduce the perceived risk of buying online.


Incorporating product reviews into your e-commerce strategy not only enhances the customer experience but also improves your site’s search engine performance. Encouraging satisfied customers to share their feedback and actively managing reviews can lead to higher conversion rates and increased customer loyalty.

3. Personalized Recommendations

When a customer interacts with your e-commerce site, they leave behind valuable data — their browsing history, previous purchases, and search queries.


This data could be a list of viewed products, items left in the cart, or past order details. However, when analyzed collectively, it paints a clear picture of each customer’s preferences and behavior.


And for e-commerce, personalized recommendations are crucial for enhancing the shopping experience and driving sales.


Here are two reasons why:


First, personalized recommendations are what customers appreciate for a tailored shopping experience. They provide product suggestions based on individual user behavior, making it easier for customers to discover items they are likely to be interested in. This personalized touch not only increases customer satisfaction but also encourages higher engagement and repeat purchases. Research indicates that personalized product recommendations can increase conversion rates by up to 26%​ (Wiser AI)​.


Also, personalized recommendations significantly boost revenue. By showing customers products that align with their preferences, you can increase the likelihood of purchase. A study by Barilliance found that product recommendations account for an average of 31% of e-commerce site revenues​ (Shopify)​. This targeted approach ensures that your marketing efforts are more effective, maximizing return on investment.


For example, Netflix uses sophisticated algorithms to recommend shows and movies based on users’ viewing history and preferences. In e-commerce, similar technology can be applied to suggest products that customers are more likely to buy.


A powerful tool that can help implement personalized recommendations is Clerk.io. Clerk.io uses advanced AI to analyze customer behavior in real-time and deliver personalized product recommendations across your website, email campaigns, and other marketing channels. By integrating Clerk.io, you can enhance the shopping experience, increase customer engagement, and boost sales.


Additionally, personalized recommendations can create a sense of loyalty and connection with your customers. When customers feel understood and valued, they are more likely to return and make repeat purchases. This long-term relationship is essential for building a loyal customer base and sustaining business growth.


Incorporating personalized recommendations into your e-commerce strategy not only enhances the customer experience but also improves your site’s performance and sales. 

4. Mobile Optimization

Mobile optimization is not just about making your website look good on a smartphone. The factors below ensure your site performs well and provides a seamless user experience:

  • Responsive Design: Ensuring your website adjusts smoothly to different screen sizes is crucial. Responsive design enhances user experience by providing easy navigation and readability on mobile devices. This adaptability is vital because a significant portion of web traffic now comes from mobile users.

  • Page Speed: Fast loading times are critical for mobile users who may be on slower networks. Optimizing images, leveraging browser caching, and reducing redirects can significantly improve your mobile page speed. According to Google, 53% of mobile site visits are abandoned if a page takes longer than three seconds to load. This highlights the importance of fast-loading mobile pages to retain users and reduce bounce rates​.

  • Touch-Friendly Navigation: Buttons and links should be easily clickable with a finger, and navigation should be intuitive. Touch-friendly design reduces user frustration and enhances the overall mobile experience.

  • Mobile-Specific Features: Utilizing mobile-specific features such as click-to-call buttons, location-based services, and mobile payment options can improve user engagement and conversion rates. These features cater specifically to the needs and behaviors of mobile users.

  • Optimized Content: Content should be concise and easy to read on smaller screens. Use short paragraphs, bullet points, and clear headings to make your content scannable. Multimedia elements like videos should be optimized for mobile to ensure fast loading and proper display.


For example, Shopify provides tools and templates designed to ensure that e-commerce stores are fully optimized for mobile devices, enhancing the shopping experience and increasing conversions. By focusing on these mobile optimization strategies, businesses can significantly improve their site performance and user satisfaction on mobile devices.

5. Secure Payment Options

From what you’ve read in this guide so far, you know that enhancing the shopping experience requires multiple factors — usability, personalization, and security.


In their quest to provide the safest and most convenient transactions, e-commerce platforms must prioritize secure payment options to build trust and ensure smooth purchases.


The first four areas — mobile optimization, personalized recommendations, advanced search functionality, and product reviews — focus on enhancing usability and personalization (though we admit, that some of these elements can also help emphasize security).


Payment options, however, are crucial for establishing trust.


Here’s why secure payment options are essential:

  • Variety of Payment Methods: Offering multiple payment methods, such as credit cards, digital wallets (like Apple Pay and Google Pay), and buy-now-pay-later options, caters to diverse customer preferences. This flexibility can reduce cart abandonment rates and increase conversion rates, as customers are more likely to complete a purchase if their preferred payment method is available.

  • Security Measures: Implementing strong security measures, such as SSL certificates, PCI DSS compliance, and two-factor authentication, protects customer data and builds trust. Secure payment processing ensures that sensitive information, like credit card details, is encrypted and safe from potential breaches.

  • Trust Seals and Certifications: Displaying trust seals and certifications on your checkout page can reassure customers about the safety of their transactions. These badges indicate that your site has been verified by a third-party security organization, adding an extra layer of trust.

  • Fraud Detection and Prevention: Utilizing advanced fraud detection and prevention tools helps identify and mitigate fraudulent activities. These tools analyze transaction patterns and flag suspicious activities, protecting both the business and its customers.


For example, Shopify supports a wide range of secure payment methods, including PayPal, Apple Pay, and Klarna, providing secure and flexible options for customers. By ensuring that transactions are safe and convenient, Shopify enhances customer trust and satisfaction, leading to higher conversion rates.

How to prepare for your e-commerce store?

Technical setup, product listings, and marketing strategies are critical to launching a successful e-commerce store. Monitoring your efforts helps refine your approach and boost performance.


Preparing your e-commerce store involves several key steps:


Technical Setup

  • Platform Selection: Choose a reliable e-commerce platform (e.g., Shopify, WooCommerce, Magento) that suits your business needs. Consider factors like scalability, ease of use, and available integrations.

  • Domain and Hosting: Secure a unique domain name and choose a robust hosting solution to ensure your site runs smoothly and can handle traffic spikes.

  • SSL Certificate: Install an SSL certificate to encrypt data and provide a secure browsing experience for your customers.


Product Listings

  • Product Information: Create detailed product descriptions that highlight key features and benefits. Include high-quality images and videos to give customers a clear view of the products.

  • SEO Optimization: Optimize product titles, descriptions, and images with relevant keywords to improve search engine visibility. Use alt tags for images to enhance SEO.


Marketing Strategies

  • Content Marketing: Develop a content marketing plan that includes blog posts, how-to guides, and other valuable content to attract and engage your audience.

  • Email Marketing: Build an email list and send regular newsletters with promotions, new product announcements, and personalized recommendations.

  • Social Media Marketing: Leverage social media platforms to promote your products, engage with customers, and build brand awareness.


Analytics and Monitoring

  • Traffic Analysis: Use tools like Google Analytics to monitor website traffic, user behavior, and conversion rates. Identify top-performing pages and areas for improvement.
  • Customer Feedback: Collect customer reviews and feedback to understand their needs and improve your products and services.
  • Performance Metrics: Track key performance indicators (KPIs) such as sales growth, average order value, and customer retention rates to measure success.

Legal and Compliance

  • Privacy Policy: Develop a clear privacy policy that explains how customer data is collected, used, and protected.
  • Terms and Conditions: Establish terms and conditions that outline the rules for using your website and purchasing products.
  • Compliance: Ensure your store complies with local and international regulations, including data protection laws and consumer rights.

Inventory Management

  • Stock Levels: Implement an inventory management system to keep track of stock levels and avoid over-selling.
  • Supplier Relationships: Build strong relationships with suppliers to ensure timely restocking and high-quality products.

E-Commerce After-Costs

The final aspect of e-commerce I want to highlight is something that often catches new business owners by surprise: the ongoing costs after launching your store.


For context, many new e-commerce entrepreneurs focus heavily on initial setup costs — domain registration, web hosting, platform fees, and initial inventory. However, several recurring expenses are crucial to the sustained success of your business.


Let’s break down these after-costs:


Marketing and Advertising: To drive traffic and sales, consistent investment in marketing is essential. This includes costs for social media advertising, pay-per-click (PPC) campaigns, email marketing services, and content marketing. For example, maintaining a Google Ads campaign or promoting products on Facebook can incur significant monthly expenses.


Website Maintenance: Just like a physical store needs upkeep, your e-commerce site requires regular maintenance. This includes updates to your e-commerce platform, security patches, bug fixes, and possibly hiring developers for custom changes. The cost can vary depending on the complexity of your site and the frequency of updates.


Payment Processing Fees: Each time a customer makes a purchase, payment processors (like PayPal, Stripe, or credit card companies) charge a transaction fee. These fees can range from 1.5% to 3% per transaction, and while they might seem small individually, they add up significantly over time.


Shipping and Fulfillment: Managing logistics is another ongoing cost. This includes shipping fees, packaging materials, and potentially fulfillment services if you outsource order processing and shipping. Companies like Amazon FBA or third-party logistics (3PL) providers charge for their services, which can impact your profit margins.


Customer Service: Providing excellent customer service is vital for retention and brand reputation. This can involve hiring customer service representatives, using customer service software, and managing returns and refunds. All these elements contribute to operational costs.


Inventory Management: Maintaining adequate stock levels requires regular investment. This includes the cost of replenishing inventory, storage fees if you’re using a warehouse or fulfillment center, and managing unsold stock. Efficient inventory management software can help, but it also adds to the ongoing expenses.


Legal and Compliance: Staying compliant with local and international regulations involves costs. This might include legal fees, GDPR compliance for data protection, and any other industry-specific regulations. Regular audits and updates to privacy policies are necessary to avoid legal pitfalls.


These after-costs are essential for the smooth operation and growth of your e-commerce business. While they might seem daunting, being aware of them and planning your budget accordingly will help you manage your business more effectively and ensure long-term success. There are no shortcuts, and being prepared for these expenses is key to sustaining and scaling your e-commerce venture.

Should you outsource e-commerce or keep it in-house?

With all the tools and builders available today, it’s not so hard for a business owner to build an e-commerce site on their own, delegate it to their team, or outsource it entirely for better results. Let’s explore some facts for each of these decisions:

1. Doing E-Commerce Yourself

Reality check — are you willing to dive deep into the e-commerce world? Do you have the time to understand and utilize the necessary tools and platforms effectively? Can you manage potential technical issues that may arise?


If your answer to any of these questions is “no,” then taking on the responsibility of e-commerce management yourself might not be the best choice.


Managing an e-commerce site requires continuous effort and dedication. It’s similar to nurturing a plant; you need to consistently care for it to see growth. This can be a significant commitment of your time and energy. If you’re unsure about your ability to handle this, it might be worth considering delegating the tasks to your team or outsourcing them to experts.


However, getting involved in the process yourself can provide valuable insights and control over your business operations. There are numerous tools available that make this process more manageable.


For instance, platforms like Shopify and WooCommerce are designed to be user-friendly, offering extensive guides and support to help you set up and manage your store. These platforms come equipped with features such as product management, secure payment processing, and detailed analytics, making it easier to handle various aspects of your e-commerce business.


Furthermore, specialized e-commerce tools can enhance your store’s functionality. Google Analytics allows you to track customer behavior and make data-driven decisions, while Mailchimp helps streamline your email marketing efforts. For SEO, tools like Ahrefs and SEMrush can optimize your website to improve visibility and attract organic traffic.


According to Shopify, 70% of small business owners who used their platform reported that it was easy to use and they could set up their online store within a few days​ (Think with Google)​. However, remember that running an e-commerce store involves ongoing tasks such as marketing, customer service, and regular updates.


In conclusion, while managing e-commerce yourself can be rewarding and give you complete control over your business, it requires a significant investment of time and effort. If you are ready to commit, the available tools can support you in building and maintaining a successful online store. If not, consider delegating or outsourcing these tasks to ensure your business thrives.

2. Delegate E-Commerce to In-House

If managing e-commerce yourself feels overwhelming, consider delegating the work to your team. If you have at least two team members interested in growth marketing, development, or web design, this can be an excellent opportunity for them to develop valuable skills that can advance their careers.


Delegating e-commerce tasks in-house can distribute the workload and leverage the diverse talents within your team. For instance, different aspects of e-commerce management can be assigned based on team members’ strengths and interests, such as product listing, customer service, or digital marketing.


Additionally, consider hiring two full-time specialists if your budget allows. This could include an e-commerce manager and a digital marketing specialist. The e-commerce manager can oversee daily operations, inventory management, and customer service, while the digital marketing specialist can focus on driving traffic, SEO, and social media engagement. These roles can report to various departments, such as marketing, development, or design, depending on your business structure and needs.


E-commerce management involves multiple facets, from technical maintenance to customer interaction, which requires a blend of skills. By delegating these roles, you ensure that dedicated professionals are always focused on optimizing e-commerce operations, leading to better performance and growth.


Moreover, having dedicated roles for e-commerce can contribute cross-functionally, often collaborating with different departments to align marketing strategies, streamline operations, and enhance the overall customer experience. This cross-functional contribution ensures that e-commerce aspects of your business remain robust and integrated with other business functions.


In summary, delegating e-commerce tasks to team members or hiring two full-time specialists can significantly relieve the burden from you, ensure a more focused approach, and potentially lead to better business outcomes. This strategy not only helps in managing your e-commerce effectively but also fosters skill development and career growth within your team.

3. Outsource E-Commerce to an Agency

You don’t have the time to manage e-commerce yourself, your team is at full capacity, and you can’t spare the budget to fill a full-time e-commerce role. Now what? The best bang for your buck is to outsource e-commerce to an e-commerce agency. Why?


First, an e-commerce agency is highly skilled in managing online stores, optimizing user experiences, and driving sales. They do this day in and day out, so they won’t need the ramp-up time that you or a member of your team would need to learn the basics.


Second, outsourcing to an agency can be more cost-effective than hiring full-time staff because you avoid costs associated with salaries, benefits, and payroll taxes. Agencies offer flexible pricing models, allowing you to scale services up or down based on your needs.


But how much exactly would you be looking at for outsourcing your e-commerce management?


Outsourcing costs can vary widely depending on the level of service you require. For basic e-commerce management, you might spend between $500 and $1,500 per month. More comprehensive services, including advanced SEO, digital marketing, and full-scale store management, can cost between $2,000 and $10,000 per month.


Small businesses generally spend less on e-commerce services than larger brands, so be sure to take your specific needs into account. Here’s a breakdown of potential costs:


    • Basic E-Commerce Management: $500 – $1,500 per month


    • Advanced SEO and Marketing Services: $2,000 – $5,000 per month
    • Full-Service E-Commerce Growth: $5,000 – $10,000 per month


Incurring these costs can be seen as an investment in your business’s growth and efficiency. Outsourcing to an agency allows you to leverage specialized expertise, ensuring that your e-commerce operations are optimized for success without overburdening your in-house team.


By choosing a reputable agency, you gain access to a team of experts who can handle everything from website design and development to marketing and customer service, allowing you to focus on other critical aspects of your business. This strategic move can lead to better performance, increased sales, and a more scalable e-commerce operation.

7 E-Commerce Best Practices from World-Class Brands

We researched 20 world-class brands from seven different markets to get the inside scoop on their e-commerce best practices. Each brand is a leader in its market or has a significant competitive advantage.


We analyzed the most important elements from their strategies. So, for this section, we wanted to a) inspire you with some adaptable ideas for your company and b) highlight the importance of user experience strategy in successful e-commerce.


Here are the best practices that stood out for each market:

1. Fashion

2. WorkWear

3. Furniture

4. Petshop

5. B2B

6. Sport & Nutrition

7. Travel Agency

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