Ecommerce Basics: 10 Questions to Ask When Creating an Online Store

Author Mae Baars

Posted Mar 19, 2023

Reads 5.9K

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Ecommerce has become an incredible revenue-generating opportunity for companies that sell goods. With online retail sales growing 126 percent since 2020, the importance of launching an online store cannot be overstated. Thanks to Cambridge Mass-based technology and market research company Forrester Research, we now know that small businesses in particular have a lot to gain from entering the world of ecommerce with the right strategies in place.

Before start building an online store, it's important to do some basic initial set-up work. This includes designing your storefront layout, color scheme, product image sizes (Shopify users take note!), and even custom brand logos. Luckily, ecommerce vendors like BigCommerce, Shopify, Goodsie, JumpSeller and many others offer preset theme settings that don't require any HTML or CSS knowledge. You can also add banners and slideshows to your online store for added visual appeal.

Once your storefront is designed and your product catalog is set up, you'll need a way to securely accept payments from customers shopping carts. Many ecommerce services offer secure systems for handling order fulfillment as well as services that securely host your online store. They'll also handle customer service concerns efficiently if you go with a reliable customer relationship management (CRM) tool - many major ecommerce vendors offer CRM options for an added fee ranging from a few dollars per month to several hundred depending on the level of service provided.

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Who are these ecommerce interview questions for?

If you're a job seeker looking to break into the ecommerce industry or a hiring manager looking to fill roles based on ecommerce expertise, these ecommerce interview questions are for you. These questions cover the basics of ecommerce and can be used to vet candidates for roles including brand marketers, content marketers, and other strategic roles.

These questions address fundamental skills earned in an online brand environment that can easily transfer across industries. Don't underestimate the value of real skills developed in this space, as they can be incredibly helpful to an organization looking to retain customers and grow their sales.

Taking an outsider's perspective on your own business can also be illuminating. Whether you're a hiring manager or a job seeker, these ecommerce interview questions will provide insight into what it takes to succeed in this rapidly growing field.

1. Paid search or paid social marketer

Paid search and paid social marketing are two different strategies commonly used in ecommerce. Paid search requires skills such as data analysis, trend management, and campaign planning to target specific keywords and reach a larger audience through platforms like Google Ads or Bing Ads. On the other hand, paid social marketing is more focused on social media platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter. This strategy requires research aptitude, collaboration skills, and budget management to create engaging ads that will resonate with your audience.

While both strategies can be effective for ecommerce businesses, it's important to evaluate your goals and budget before choosing one over the other. Paid search can drive immediate traffic to your website based on user intent, while paid social marketing can help you build brand awareness and engagement by reaching potential customers where they spend most of their time.

Ultimately, the best approach would be to integrate both strategies into your overall digital marketing plan to maximize results. By leveraging the strengths of each tactic and analyzing the data from both campaigns, you can gain valuable insights into your audience behavior and optimize your efforts accordingly.

2. What would you describe as the core features of ecommerce?

When it comes to defining the core features of ecommerce, the question doesn't necessarily have a right or wrong answer. However, as an ecommerce professional in today's current state of the industry, there are certain aspects that can be considered essential. At a sound philosophical level, ecommerce revolves around the exchange of goods and services between businesses and consumers through a digital platform. At its core platform, this involves having a user-friendly website or app where customers can easily browse products, add items to their cart, and make secure transactions.

In terms of commerce marketing funnel including top-of-funnel marketing, lead nurturing, sales conversion, and customer loyalty; each aspect has its own set of tactics and strategies that can help improve online sales. Top-of-funnel marketing refers to attracting visitors to your site through various channels such as social media advertising or search engine optimization. Lead nurturing involves engaging with those visitors through email campaigns or retargeting ads in order to move them further down the funnel towards making a purchase. Sales conversion is all about optimizing the checkout process and reducing abandoned carts. Finally, customer loyalty is built through exceptional customer service and incentives such as rewards programs or personalized recommendations based on past purchases.

3. What are some of the main differences between ecommerce and the more traditional commerce?

One of the core differences between ecommerce and traditional commerce is the mode of transaction. Traditional commerce transactions are manually processed, while ecommerce transactions are automatically processed. A company with retail locations has limited geographical scope for its customer base, whereas an online store can reach worldwide. Additionally, traditional commerce is focused predominantly on the supply side, while ecommerce deals with both supply and demand sides.

Another fundamental difference between these two modes of commerce is the level of instant gratification. Traditional commerce requires customers to visit specific hours and locations to make purchases, whereas ecommerce allows customers to buy items at any time from anywhere in the world. This presents both opportunities and challenges for businesses selling online versus brick-and-mortar stores. For example, an ecommerce professional must focus on retaining customers through excellent customer service and building a strong ecommerce brand since they don't have the same face-to-face interaction as traditional commerce sales. These additional points should be considered when discussing your specific experience with a hiring manager during an interview regarding ecommerce basics 10 questions.

4. Can you mention and describe a few ecommerce models?

Direct-to-consumer (DTC) models are some of the most popular ecommerce models in the industry. These models involve selling products directly to customers without intermediaries such as wholesalers or retailers. Hypothetical statement: For instance, if you're an ecommerce marketer with b2c online retailer or b2b SaaS experience and you're applying for a job in the DTC space, here's what you need to know: DTC models provide a great opportunity to create a direct relationship with your customers. Personal experience: In my time as an ecommerce marketer, I've read online that hiring managers understand the importance of this model when it comes to creating effective marketing strategies.

Another popular ecommerce model is the marketplace model. This involves building a platform where buyers and sellers can connect and conduct transactions. The marketplace owner earns revenue by charging commissions on sales made through the platform. It's important for hiring managers to understand how marketing strategies differ in this type of model compared to DTC models, as they will need to focus on attracting both buyers and sellers to the platform. Overall, understanding different ecommerce models is crucial for anyone looking to enter or grow within the ecommerce industry.

5. What are some key metrics to track in any ecommerce model?

When you're running an ecommerce business, there are several metrics you need to keep track of to make sure you're hitting your numbers. If metrics like AOV (average order value), customer lifetime value, and repeat customer rate are familiar to you, then you already have experience measuring some of the important metrics in ecommerce. Other popular terms in the ecommerce marketing role include CAC (customer acquisition cost), ROAS (return on advertising spend), and channel metrics like click-through rates and CPC (cost per click).

But it's not just about optimizing email click-throughs and open rates or list segmentation. Social media marketing talk also plays a big role in reach, engagement, and selling products online. In fact, the term "omnichannel" has become more and more popular as businesses try to set KPIs that take into account all the different ways customers might interact with their brand.

Ultimately, the metrics directly related to selling product are going to be your most important ones - AOV, customer lifetime value, repeat customer rate - but don't forget about customer retention either. If you have advanced knowledge of advertising spend and can calculate ROAS effectively, you'll be able to maximize your budget to drive higher sales. And if you can combine that with a solid understanding of social media marketing channels and other email marketer speak, you'll be well on your way to mastering ecommerce basics.

6. What do you think are some of the disadvantages of ecommerce as a business model?

One of the disadvantages of ecommerce as a business model is the lack of brand-centric in-person buying experience. Customers may not be able to physically touch or see the product before making a purchase, which can affect their thought process and ultimately lead to dissatisfaction. Challenges include maintaining purchasing privacy and addressing security concerns.

Another challenge is making an online-only platform work for certain products, such as mattresses. For instance, popular ecommerce brands like Casper offer a 100-night sleep test and money-back guarantee, but some customers may still prefer to test out the mattress in person before committing to buy. Ecommerce doesn't always allow for this simple transaction, leading to customer hesitation and potential loss of sales.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is it better to build an ecommerce site that converts?

Yes, it is better to build an ecommerce site that converts as it will drive more sales and revenue for your business. A site that is optimized for conversions will provide a better user experience, increase customer satisfaction, and ultimately lead to higher profits.

What are ecommerce interview questions?

Ecommerce interview questions are questions that employers ask during interviews to assess a candidate's knowledge, skills, and experience in the ecommerce industry. These questions can range from technical and operational to strategic and creative.

How does ecommerce help companies save money?

Ecommerce helps companies save money by reducing overhead costs associated with traditional brick-and-mortar stores such as rent, utilities, and staffing. Additionally, it allows for more efficient inventory management and eliminates the need for costly printed materials.

Who should you hire to build your ecommerce website?

You should hire an experienced ecommerce web developer who specializes in creating user-friendly, secure and scalable online stores that can boost your business revenue.

How to start an eCommerce store?

To start an eCommerce store, first choose a niche and create a business plan. Then, select an eCommerce platform and design your website. Finally, add products and market your store to attract customers.

Mae Baars

Mae Baars

Writer at Inside Business

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Mae Baars is a passionate writer and blogger who has a knack for storytelling. She started writing at a young age and has never looked back since then. Mae's writing style is characterized by its ability to touch hearts, inspire minds, and provoke thoughts.

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