Web 2.0 in eCommerce
By Nowshade Kabir ©Rusbiz.com
There has never been a better time to start an online business! According
to Jupiter Research, a market research firm, online retail spending in the
United States will increase to a whopping $95 billion in 2006. In Europe
things are getting even better! In next five years the number of online
shoppers will increase 75 percent and per person average spending will
increase 50 percent. This will push European eCommerce to $335 billion by
If you are planning to start a new online business or upgrade your existing
eCommerce site, you should consider using some of the innovative ideas related
to Web 2.0 concept.Three years ago if you would have searched the phrase “Web
2.0”, you probably would not have found any mention of this term on the
Internet. Now, at the last count, Google showed close to 60 million results
relevant to this search. Amazing! First time this term was coined by O'Reilly
Media to vaguely define a concept of second generation websites which were
emerging after the dot com crush. Since their first use of this phrase to
promote conferences organized by O'Reilly Media and MediaLive International,
the idea of Web 2.0 has become immensely popular in web development sector.
So, what is this Web 2.0 concept any way? There is no exact definition of Web
2.0 available today. If you run a search for a definition of this phrase the
only quotation you will receive is from Wikipedia, which says, ”Web 2.0 is a
term often applied to a perceived ongoing transition of the World Wide Web
from a collection of websites to a full-fledged computing platform serving web
applications to end users. Ultimately Web 2.0 services are expected to replace
desktop computing applications for many purposes.” Tell me if I am wrong, this
definition does not give a slightest clue about what really is Web 2.0.
Tim O'Reilly himself explained the Web 2.0 phenomena in five pages of examples,
abstract terminologies, sketches and jargon in a great article. Unfortunately,
if you are not a very Internet-savvy person, you will have hard time
understanding the concept clearly from this article. To make things worse if
you read other articles on this subject you will be even more confused! The
reason is simple! Being a new concept many ideas related to Web 2.0 are
abstract and still forming. However, there are some fundamental principles and
indicators of Web 2.0 ideology which are true for any Web 2.0 based sites even
if it is an eCommerce one.
The problem with eCommerce is, although in last five years many changes, some
are drastic, have taken place in philosophy, ideology and technology related
to the Web, very few things have changed in eCommerce sites. Now, it all
started to change! Even successful eCommerce sites are experimenting with new
ideas born from Web 2.0 concept. The result is visible! A recent survey shows
adoption of new interactive functionalities, innovative product catalog and
better communication with users have increased online sales for 83 percent of
Earlier online merchants were not very keen to have customer interaction
elements like product review and rating, online surveys, customer blogs, etc.
fearing flames from unsatisfied customers. But a recent poll shows that this
fear is unfounded. It seems that 9 percent shoppers polled wrote a product
review on a store site about a product they liked against 4 percent who posted
a review about a product they did not like. Same goes for surveys! There are
2.5 percent more chances that a satisfied customer will participate in a
survey than an unsatisfied one.
Many eCommerce sites lose a large number of their prospective customers due to
inadequate product information required to take an affirmative buying decision.
Customer reviews and ratings can help merchants in this. More over a positive
review works like a call for action for the people reading it.
Most professional classification systems used in eBusiness are pretty
complicated for daily use. A good way to give users a better method of
finding product is to incorporate user added keywords or “tags”. If a user
likes a product and may buy it now, or may keep a reference of it for
future use, she can add one or several informal keywords as tags and save.
These tags are visible to others and can be displayed two ways: in tag
clouds, where the most popular tags have bigger fonts and most recent tags,
a list of newly added tags. The popularity of tags in numerous Web 2.0
sites proves viability of this device in eCommerce sites as well.
Elements like ability to do side-by-side comparison of several products,
ability to customize products according to buyer’s need, and the ability
to filter and search products without constant page reloading can increase
conversion rate dramatically.
Many eCommerce sites have the functionality of sending email notification
of new listings of products that a user is looking for. A good idea is to
add RSS notification ability to enhance product information request
A staggering 60 percent of online shoppers abandon their carts at some
point in the buying process. The following site functionalities will help
businesses to retain these shoppers:
- Shoppers should have the ability to see thumbnail pictures of the products
inside the shopping cart.
- Editing and adding products to the shopping cart should be done
automatically without reloading.
- Shoppers should be able to save shopping cart anytime and it should be
saved automatically if connection fails.
- Shoppers should be able to drag and drop products to the cart and all
calculation should be done automatically.
Many of the functionalities mentioned in this article were available
long before Web 2.0 concept emerged and these are only a miniscule number
of examples of abilities you can actually add to your Web 2.0 based
eCommerce site, however, if you fail to notice the progress and take
necessary actions, you maybe losing a great opportunity. Transformation in
eCommerce sites is slow, but one thing is for sure, in coming years these
sites will be noticeably different from what we have now.
How to Link to This Page?
To link to this page from your website, simply cut and paste the following code to your web page.
It will look like on your page as:
Web 2.0 in eCommerce