Since you have planned to build an e-commerce website, you must know that building an e-commerce site involves its own set of challenges. Industry experts have predicted that e-commerce business will exceed $2 trillion in the coming few years – it is the fastest growing market as of now.
It is a highly complex procedure, to make things simpler for a beginner we would highlight 8 most important factors to consider in order to create a high-quality e-commerce site.
1. Set up your business goals
To begin with, you must have an understanding of your business goals. You must first identify your target market and customers. Identify your customers based on what they like and dislike and their habit while shopping and spending power, etc. This information about your target customers will help you to set up the features in the site and also create a promotional campaign for your business.
2. How to beat the competitors?
To begin with, find out who are your real competitors and in which market they are operating. You can find this easily from the search engines like Google and Yahoo using the relevant keywords. After identifying your competitor, see what features and promotions they are using to attract and sell their products. Try to figure out also what technology and hosting platform they are using to maintain and promote the site. Are they using a good ecommerce hosting platform or optimizing their website regularly?
This knowledge will help you to set the features in your own site. You can figure out by adding what features, you can beat your competitors and give them a tough time. You can get to know some innovative techniques which you can use on your own website.
3. Plan the project requirements
Set a list of the features and extensions you want to add to the site. After this, make a proper plan of the customization and extensions that you are planning to incorporate. Make a comprehensive plan of the requirements and set up a realistic time by which you want these things to be completed.
At the same time, make an SEO plan for your e-commerce website. While making the SEO plan of your website, keep the following things in mind –
a) Keyword analysis
b) Navigational hierarchy
c) URL optimization
d) Appropriate tagging
4. Set up a realistic budget
Once you set up a plan, see that your budget justifies your implementation of the plan. If your budget is $5000, do not expect the developer to build an Amazon for you. Have a discussion with two or three good developers and see which one offers you the maximum features and customization at your specified budget.
5. Figure out the design and technical aspects in detail
See that the technical things are implemented in detail or otherwise, the entire project will lose its goal and momentum, turning it into a loss-making venture.
See the following technical things in detail -
a) Choosing the Perfect E-commerce Platform
To really become successful at e-commerce business, one must choose the right e-commerce platform. Luckily you can find plenty of e-commerce platforms out there. You just need to figure out which one is best suited for your needs. If you are new in this segment and low on budget, maybe pricing would be an important factor while choosing the right platform.
For a start-up company, it is best to try some free platforms, to begin with. But if you have a large inventory, then go for the reputed ones who can handle the large amounts of traffic flow without difficulty. Moreover, give emphasis on the template design as well. When visitors first visit your online store, your site design creates an impact on his mind. If it is poorly designed, you will find it hard to attract more sales. So choose the template that gives your store an elegant, professional look.
b) Create Effective Product Pages
It’s quite easy to add various products and product pages to any e-commerce store in a majority of the e-commerce platforms. It is extremely important to showcase your products by incorporating product pages at the e-commerce store
c) Keep the option of adding various Features to the e-commerce Site
As we can see, electronics e-commerce store more likely demands different features than a custom T-shirt store does. Therefore, majority e-commerce platforms come with a variety of plug-ins which can be used to incorporate special features to any website. You will get almost endless customization options on reputed platforms while cheaper platforms just provide only a few good plug-ins.
d) Keep an active Search button in the e-commerce site
Statistics have shown that almost 30% of visitors use the search option on e-commerce sites to find the products they want to buy. So it is important to add “search” functionality to make the site more user-friendly.
e) Must have Optimized Checkout and Payments
E-commerce sites must enable visitors to create a user account before placing a purchase order. Once a user account is created this can be further used to follow-up future communication to promote newly arrived products. It also helps to analyze customers’ demographic information and improve sales.
However, it’s necessary to understand that not every visitor will be eager to create an account. In case someone wants to place a one-time order without creating user account an option must be given to them as well.
Customers should be given different payment choices on how they want to pay. But the method should be simple and convenient for them. If the customer makes by debit or credit, his secrets need to be kept secret.
f) Install Analytics
Business owners and commercial e-commerce platforms have always considered analytics as an integral part of their success. If you want to compete for the attention of your customers, or want to know how the content marketing of your e-commerce business is doing, track your sales conversions, and understand the audience better, you must opt for effective and comprehensive analytics platforms.
There are Webmaster Tools in Google Analytics, which helps the web developers accurately and successfully calculates the return on investment.
These instruments are widely used both for desktop and mobile versions of e-commerce stores, to monitor traffic, audience engagement, and conversion rates. You can also analyze which marketing campaigns worked best and which campaigns are underperforming.
6. Create a Contingency plan for technical problems
Do you have any backup plan in order to maintain operations during site crash or sudden spike of visitors? This is an important issue since many start-ups e-commerce business fails due to lack of contingency plan for unexpected downtime issues. When customers cannot access your e-commerce store they immediately move on to your nearest competitor’s website. Moreover, slow loading pages also damage your brand perception. Hence when your site has got some traffic and sales it must have specialized staff that deals with the entire backup operations.
7. Must be ready optimizing Your E-commerce Website regularly
Optimizing an e-commerce site is of prime importance in order to ensure a good conversion rate. Normally, a conversion signifies someone has added any product to their shopping cart to purchase later or made a purchase. It is observed that the use of charm pricing i.e. ending in 9 to price items almost doubles the chance of conversions. For example, instead of $30, price them at $29.99.
Since thousands of users will be visiting the site to learn about or purchase various products it is important for the developers to make this process effortless and intuitive. Remember that it is not a piece of cake, but a comprehensive effort of hard work and planning.