Over the last few years, e-commerce (opens in new tab) has become a significant part of the global retail industry, with this presence boosted even further during the pandemic.
As internet adoption continues to rise, the number of digital buyers is also simultaneously increasing year-on-year, as having a more digitally inclined ecosystem means consumers rely more on online stores over physical ones.
More retailers are focusing on their e-commerce websites as the demand continues to skyrocket across many industries worldwide. One month after Fasthosts launched its ecommerce website builder (opens in new tab), TechRadar Pro spoke to its CEO Simon Yeoman to discuss the pivotal changes that occurred to help push its creation.
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Why was now the time to launch an ecommerce website builder platform?
In the last year there has been a large shift away from the high street. Online retail is now bigger than ever. 2021 has set new record highs in the UK, with online sales growing 74% year-on-year in January 2021. Therefore, it was the perfect time to provide customers with a new ecommerce solution.
Our new solution makes it easier than ever for small business to get set-up online. The new Ecommerce Website Builder (opens in new tab) has simplicity at its core with intuitive features and drag-and-drop designs. It has been created to allow a business of any size flourish online, quickly and easily and, importantly, without a big price tag.
What is the company expecting from the website builder sector?
At Fasthosts we believe the website builder sector will only continue to head towards a do-it-yourself model, where customers will increasingly look for website building tools that make it as easy as possible to establish their online presence.
As such, we expect features such as drag-and-drop designs or set-up wizards to continue to grow in popularity.
What is one thing about Fasthosts that your customers may not know?
Back in 1999, Fasthosts was born out of a school project. While we have moved on from those roots now, it’s still nice to think of our company as potentially one of the most successful A-Level projects of all time.
What key elements stand out to you in regard to how the Fasthosts brand was built?
Our brand is built around reliability and trustworthiness. It runs through everything we do and it’s why we continue to offer 24/7 online as well as phone support to our customers.
We are committed to assisting our customers however we can which is why we are starting to introduce more supplementary services into our products to help our customers best design and manage their web presence.
What else is Fasthosts working on for its customers?
We currently have a few exciting new products that have just released or that are in the pipeline this year. Our latest WordPress hosting packages, for example, allow users to set up a great-looking WordPress site in mere minutes with the new WPAssistant.
Around the business we have even been getting our children to test the product out to show just how easy it is to get set up online.
We’ve ensured that the ease of set-up doesn’t come with any compromises on performance. In fact the improvements allow websites to load more quickly than ever, in just 0.3 seconds on average, which according to benchmark data is much faster than you could expect from similar products.
How does Fasthosts stand out from competitors based on its WordPress hosting and web hosting services?
Fasthosts products focus on simplicity and price transparency. What you see is what you pay, unlike many competitors who charge hidden costs.
Our data centres are also all based in the UK and run exclusively on green energy. Within our centres we ensure there are the right levels of redundancy and reliability to allow our customers to grow or scale-back as and when they need. We are currently building another brand new UK-based data centre to support these efforts even further.
Are there any trends you have witnessed in the web hosting and website builder sector?
With the huge shift to online in recent years, there have been a number of trends in the web hosting and website builder sector.
A focus on ease-of-use is one example – the sector isn’t only for experienced professionals anymore. Increasingly no-code or low-code software is allowing non-tech minded people to get involved in creating and maintaining simple sites. Green practices are also become increasingly important.
In all facets of society, environmentalism is coming to the forefront and it is no different in our sector. Energy efficient software and the use of green energy in data centres are two great examples of how the sector is moving towards a greener future.
What is Fasthosts' 2021 strategy?
In 2021, we have and will continue to focus on investing in our WordPress products, however, another large focus is the upcoming launch of our partner network. This will be a space where web professionals and SMEs can meet.
At Fasthosts we don’t claim to be experts in high-end web design but we do have many customers who are and therefore we want to create an environment which will allow these two groups to meet and work together.
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