Extending the Reach of Your Online Store

Use of Shopping Widgets to extend the reach of your Online Store

One of the biggest challenges in both physical and online retail is enticing customers to visit your store.

In order to attract the attention of these potential customers you need to extend the reach of your store over multiple channels.

One technique is by planting "Shopping Widgets" in as many places as you can find where your future customers spend time.  In the past "Shopping Widgets" have comprised little more than a product image and a link back to the online store.   Technology allows you to do so much more.

Nowadays "Shopping Widgets" can have almost limitless functionality but designers need to be mindful of space constraints in the environments they are targeting.

What better example nowadays than a shopping widget for Facebook...   A working example can be seen at http://www.facebook.com/konakart/app_190322544333196

Note that this is quite a powerful little widget created with just a few lines of JavaScript..   It allows the customer to add the product to a cart, modify quantity and options, then when ready to purchase, he clicks on the Buy button to take him off to your online store with only the final steps in the process to complete.

So how can such powerful functionality be created with such a small amount of code?   In the above case with KonaKart there is a lot of technology provided in the underlying framework that makes it so easy to build Shopping Widgets in multiple channels.   The critical enabling technology is the availability of a complete API that can be accessed using supplied JavaScript libraries.

The Industry is evolving rapidly and new ideas are being developed every week.  The technology is enabling the creation of ever more sophisticated shopping widgets.  Time will tell how these will evolve over the forthcoming months but extending online stores into social networks looks set to be an important opportunity not to be overlooked.

Comments/Questions welcomed.

More Stories By John Hornsby

John Hornsby is a Co-founder of DS Data Systems UK Ltd who produce KonaKart, the leading Java eCommerce / shopping cart platform. 25 years in a variety of fields of Computing and across 3 continents. Senior IT positions with Rockwell, Barclays, JP Morgan and others before setting up DS Data Systems UK Ltd in 1999.

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