Do you know what’s more daunting than setting up an eCommerce store? The idea of not setting it when your competitors are going global.
Yes, you have to scratch your head, strategizing day in and out to keep up with your competitors’ pace, but every effort is worth the wait.
From finalizing the product list for the website to deciding the design layout, from fixing the on-page and off-page SEO to marketing your brand, a lot of things go into e-commerce website development.
But nothing is possible until you genuinely decide to put your feet out of the comfort boat.
They say— don’t go for eCommerce as you’ve to compete with 20 million eCommerce websites globally. We say— slay on the eCommerce front as you’re competing with infinite brick & mortar businesses.
If you dropped-off the idea of eCommerce website development because an ill-informed, half-baked knowledgeable friend told you to do so— you need to fix your priorities straight.
Yes, the best time to have an eCommerce website was a decade ago, but the second-best time to have it is now.
With more than 20 million e-commerce websites in 2021 and 2.14 billion people expected to make online purchases in 2021— you should chart out an online path so that everyone throngs to your store, and you get to capture a considerable market pie.
And if you have finally decided to take up on your business rivalries with eCommerce website development, we’ll help you develop one with our detailed guide.
So, let’s generate endless business opportunities by setting up an eCommerce website in 2021 from scratch.
Start with defining your eCommerce website type. Know which type is ideal for your business.
Are you a wholesaler or retailer? Whom do you wish to cater business to— end consumers or other businesses? Your objectives decide an ideal eCommerce type for your business! Here’s how we can categorize eCommerce in three varieties:
B2C Online Stores:
Is your product specially streamlined to meet the needs of individual end-consumers? Then you need to dedicate this type of eCommerce website to display, promote, and sell your products. Example: Amazon, Alibaba, Flipkart, etc. to name a few.
B2B Ecommerce Platforms:
Are you eyeing to promote or sell-off your business products and services to other businesses? You should have a B2B eCommerce platform to increase your reach in a particular demographic using other established companies in the locale. Example: Amazon Business, Alibaba Wholesale, IndiaMart, etc.
C2C Ecommerce Stores:
Do you want to offer a platform to a private individual to facilitate commerce with other private individuals? You’ll need a third-party eCommerce website development that allows users to promote and sell their products on your platform while you stuff your pockets with the commission and ad models. Example: eBay.
Take guards before development. Prepare all the necessary data before jumping to implementation.
Don’t mindlessly jump into eCommerce website development. It’s necessary to understand ‘what is eCommerce website development’ before dissecting its how’s and when’s. Here’s the three most important thing to know before diving into development phase:
Your eCommerce website can be over-taxing if you don’t have a budget strategy in hindsight. You should look forward to having an optimal delivery with budget constraints. Not that you always have to spend millions to meet your eCommerce objectives. A smart-budget allocation and investment on astute tools are enough to get you sales, required R.O.I.s, and facilitate growth.
E-commerce trends are volatile. What’s working today turns stale tomorrow. Before you move a step ahead with developing your store, make sure that you study the market, learn about web design trends, understand what works the best for customers, and avoid what might take a toll on their buying health. Organize surveys, meet-ups, events, etc. to have an eCommerce guide right from the customer’s lens.
Aim to reduce the gap between you and your competitor by reading & analyzing their performance, market reach, customer interaction, marketing & SEO techniques, and a lot more. Online tools like SEMrush, M.O.Z., Google AdWords, etc. let you knock into competitors’ doors and take do’s and don’ts lessons from them.
Choose the best suitable platform for building your eCommerce store.
Once you have selected an eCommerce model that fits your business needs and gathered all the necessary data for seamless movement forward— pick the most suitable eCommerce building solution.
Different eCommerce solutions attract different online store nature, needs, and business objectives.
You would want to consider a list of criteria to select the best eCommerce solution and shape up your online store. Here’s what you should look before settling on with any platform:
- The pricing of the builder that sits well with your budget.
- Payment convenience for your customers.
- Ease of integration with other plugins and tools to run your business.
- Seo-friendliness for ranking your store in the search results.
- Mobile-oriented web store to convert 60% of the mobile searchers.
- Customer-service for helping you out of technical hiccups.
- Robust firewall for protecting your site credibility and visitors’ data.
- Ease of scalability when you want to go big.
- Simple to use and deploy.
To mellow down the selecting headaches— we have handpicked some of the best eCommerce building platforms for your store. Here’re the four most popular eCommerce designing platforms:
Perhaps easiest of the lot— Shopify-based eCommerce stores are easy to create and customize. Experts or beginners, it offers an unbiased seamless developing experience to everyone. Currently, there are more than 500,000 Shopify stores, and the numbers are expanding— thanks to its complete eCommerce solution.
WordPress & WooCommerce:
A self-hosted and open-source platform where WordPress gives you control over the eCommerce design and WooCommerce over the payment. Arguably the platform with the highest numbers of themes and plugins fancy an excellent eCommerce website development opportunity. With over 3.3 million WooCommerce live websites, WordPress has converted many business dreams into reality. You’ll need a little technical background to have a fully-functional store.
Unlike Shopify and WooCommerce— Magento needs technical expertise and skills to build a site from scratch. The open-source Magento is a little challenging if you want to update or manage something; however, it allows an ocean of customization if you’re going to structure and tailor a very customer-centric store. Magento upwards 250,000 live stores on the internet. Go for it if you have the skills to create anything you imagine.
Easily one of the most feature-rich open-source e-Commerce solutions, Prestashop boasts free online store development. It offers complex-modules in the ‘freemium’ version while you have to spend quite a bit on other premium platforms. Powering over 300,000 eCommerce stores on the internet— you’ll love it if you want to go up and running in a short time and budget.
Select the eCommerce hosting platform to make your website accessible.
Now that you have chosen a suitable eCommerce platform to build your store, make your store accessible to the customers or other businesses on the internet. The process of publishing your store online or going live is called eCommerce web hosting.
Again, you’ll have to go through the selection headache from the pool of hosting platforms. Checkmark these criteria to select the best web host:
- Cost is probably the most apparent criteria. Most web hosting platforms provide their services at reasonable prices.
- Pick the one with low-performance woes and better page load speed. Non-responsive pages cost 500 billion dollars to the U.S. e-Commerce industry every year.
- Host on the platform that gives an easy option to scale when you want to go big nationally or internationally.
- Select the one which allows high uptime so that you get to access your store 99.99% of times.
- Go with a reliable customer-support hosting option.
- Choose the platform based on high volume receivable data or the bandwidth that it can handle.
- Opt the host, which gives high storage, requested domain name, mobile capabilities, and security compliance.
Famous eCommerce hosting platforms: GoDaddy, SiteGround, iPage, Bluehost, etc
Give a strong first impression by designing a visually-appealing e-Commerce layout.
Customers barely care about your eCommerce building solutions & hosting platforms— they have nothing to do with your business profile’s abstract data.
They want visually-arresting designs, ease of navigation, psychologically-triggering elements, actionable placements, & most importantly— hassle-free purchase experience.
All these faucets are quite vital when they visit your store for the first time. You want to behave as a good host by producing a lasting experience. And that comes with responsive web design.
Here’s what you need to build an eye-catching e-commerce design:
- Every single detail in your eCommerce affects the user’s buying decision. Keep them in mind while designing.
- Don’t overwhelm users by blasting designs to their eyes. Make a minimalist website design to solve paradoxes of choice.
- Have minimal yet effective branding of your business across all the webpages. Don’t distract users with over-bombing logos and color pallets.
- Simplify purchase journeys and personalize customers at each step of the buying cycle.
- Use breadcrumbs so that users don’t feel lost on your website. Display the home button clearly when they want to get back to the homepage.
- Blurry images and themes are the biggest pain point. Allow the customers to see the fine details.
- Add a 360-degree panoramic view of the product image and video for tangibility.
- Allot a designing section for reviews and testimonials.
- Use brief and compelling copies on the homepage and product description.
- Keep a concise and straightforward navigation menu. Avoid cluttered and confusing menu bars to minimize sensory overload.
- Organize your products into different structures and categories.
- Take away decision-making pain using product filters, sorting, and search bars.
- Stick to grid-layouts as they have been quite successful with online stores.
- Easy cart view and frictionless checkout at the final stage of the buying cycle.
- Contact, shipping & billing details, etc. for clearing last-minute doubts.
Don’t miss these essential elements. They will define perfection in your store.
Some tried and trusted eCommerce website elements enhance the shopping experience and play a key indicator for bringing high-sales. You need to use these factors to up your sales and receive quick R.O.I.s. Don’t miss out on these aspects of the store:
Perfect Site Search:
Allow your users to go through relevant content or product catalog and ease-up their buying decision with fast, proper, and customizable search.
Categorize products & services:
Categorize goods and services for quick and relevant data searches.
Use searchable tags:
Assign useful keywords and phrases to products. Use the ones with high search volume.
Optimize to rank:
optimize your store for better search-engine discoverability and ranking on S.E.R.P.s.
Apply eCommerce rich snippets:
Rich snippets are smart ways to beat your competitors in search results. Add a bit of code and help search engines organize & display your product on the top.
Use secure firewalls:
Implement proper security protocols and PCI-compliance to save your brand image and customer’s interest.
Page and speed optimization:
Several product pages on eCommerce can leave customers in the split. Try optimizing the speed of your website for faster response and hassle-free purchase experience.
Test your eCommerce store before you go live. Rate yourself with honest feedback.
There’s hardly any second opinion in the industry— the better the site, the better the business. Testing facilitates you to screen your website from the customer’s perspective and lets you make measurable changes.
Fixing a few things— here and there— could play a quintessential role in delivering a top-notch customer-centric online store. You will need testers to generate test cases and check your website performance at the good, bad, and worst cases. Here’s what you should be testing:
- See that all the links work. There’s no broken link.
- Mute down all the website bugs.
- Make web usability a top priority.
- Test what factors could lead to cart abandonment.
- Look for user-convenience across the channel.
- Spell-check all the website content.
- Check if visitors can navigate forward and backward freely & all-devices compatibility.
Choose an eCommerce online payment solution. Solution(s) for offering choices.
Like any other procedure— eCommerce allows you to choose between dozens of online payment solutions. Go for the ones that meet your business criteria and please your customers. Tick out these criteria to have the best of eCommerce online payment solution:
- Check the online payment solution’s credibility & reputation. A non-trusted payment solution will bring a bad name to your brand.
- Some payment solutions can behave tricky with your customers and apply hidden charges only to repel them. Fix on any solution by reading all the terms and conditions.
- The service that you decide on should be able to adapt future scaling, development, and changes.
- Hold on to the payment services that your customers-prefer.
- Settle with the online payment facilities that protect the financial data of the customers.
- Give your users a choice between selecting multiple online payment solutions.
Launch your store, and go live.
Once you’re satisfied with all the steps mentioned above, you can start the deployment phase. Don’t wait for it to make it perfect. You can make changes while running your website. Deploy as early as you can to know the buyer’s mood and attract potential customers. Here’s what you should do to avoid deployment disaster:
- Prepare a rollback strategy if something goes unexpected or beyond your understanding.
- If you have refurbished your store, think about deployment time. Choose the worst time slot when the least number of customers engage with your website.
- Break up one big release into small parts and analyze if any problem arises.
- Deploy on weekdays. You want to avoid weekend traffic if launching goes wrong.
Market your brand. Use digital marketing to announce your arrival.
After you have launched your product— you’d like to announce your arrival to your customers and competitors. Fully-integrated digital marketing services promote your brand across as many digital slacks you want and generate desirable sales and revenues. Focus on these consistent profit-making techniques:
Release press reports piquing the interest of your existence in media and journalists’ headlines and stories. It’s a great start to declare your eCommerce launch.
Social media marketing:
Use social media and their respective analytics to cater to relevant content to your niche audience and build online rapport steadily. Showcase your brand identity with paid social media ad tools like Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn ads.
Target your contact list and subscribing ids with personalized marketing tactics like email marketing. Use ultimate individualized targeting to serve dynamic content and shoot up your conversion rate.
Create online content such as blogs, graphics, videos, etc. to educate and persuade your customers and market them organically and through paid campaigns.
Make and post controversial content to spread out your words to people. Allow users to share your content organically like viruses and enhance underlying word-of-mouth advocacy.
Set-up effective return and exchange policies. They are doors to customers’ hearts.
For the lack of immersive and non-tangible experience, you should give your customers a chance to see your product in person.
It’s the reason why many companies set-up effective return or exchange policies. If you can’t give a lifetime warranty on your product, you can still win your customer’s attention by paying for their shipping cost. Take a look at building an effective return policy:
- A return or exchange policy can be confusing in nature. K.I.S.S.— Keep it simple, stupid!
- Have a human to human interaction to build trust and gather return insight to improve your products and services.
- Make your return or refund policy easily accessible.
- Don’t make complex demands on return policies. Customers may never return.
- Make sure you and your staff are clear about return and exchange policies.
- Give examples and photos to assist customers in returning their ordered products.
Grab customers’ eyeballs with jaw-dropping sales and discounts.
Okay, you’ve managed to drive massive traffic on your store & plenty of followers on social media— but are you getting enough conversion? Let’s be frank— your marketing efforts are of no use if you aren’t getting the sale numbers.
Bring your marketing efforts in fruition— serve offers, discount coupons, and promo codes on the platter and grab your visitor’s eyeballs. Here’re some promo ideas that you can implement to convert them:
- Arrange contests and sweepstakes for giveaways to the winners.
- Organize short time-bound flash sales.
- Give free samples of your products for the price of the shipping.
- Offer multi-purchase deals to upsell or get higher average order value.
- Display complementary cross-sell products for convincing buy-ready customers.
- Proffer limited-time coupons and discounts for arising scarcity and urging customers.
- Get personal with recommendations and up-sell or bundle offers.
- Free giveaways from the hands of the social media influencers.
The final words— doing the said!
With the cut-throat competition around— you have to nail on every aspect of eCommerce. To fit into all the eCommerce rage today, you have to start with deciding your products, plan all the strategies to take calculated risks, and nail each one.
You should have a thoughtful move even in as small a task as selecting your business and domain name. Every minor step plays a vital role in giving your customers the culminating shopping experience.