10 Important Considerations for Starting Your E-Commerce Store in 2015
Online stores is an excellent business to get into, but only if you do it the correct way. There’s no magic wand for success, you need to plan, strategize and take various measures to achieve business growth. A lot of aspects are to be considered from user experience to business performance. Many challenges are involved including converting the visitors into buyers, making their buying process easy & intuitive and giving them an enticing experience.
Let’s have a look at some of the important points you must consider and be careful of while building an eCommerce store:
Choosing the Right eCommerce Platform
The first step to achieve success in eCommerce business is to choose the right eCommerce platform that fits your business requirements, goals & vision. Many eCommerce platforms are available in the market like Magento, Virtuemart, Shopify, BigCommerce, WooCommerce, Volusion, ZenCart, 3D Cart and more that will help you to design the look, feel and functionality of your eCommerce store.
They all have a product catalogue, include an efficient search tool, shopping cart, enable easy checkout, accept payments via various payment gateways and manage the whole transaction, including order fulfillment. You can even link your eCommerce store with your company’s website or your custom CRM, ERP and Accounts system.
You will have to select between a hosted platform or a custom build or an open source eCommerce platform which will again depend on your business requirements and volume. You need to spend a lot of time on research and if required seek an expert advice, otherwise you may choose a platform which might not fit for your business or cost you more than your budget. Selecting a user-friendly platform with a strong online support community will reduce your dependency on others in managing your online store.
You can even choose an easy-to-use platform initially and then upgrade to a bigger & complex one later if required.
You can bring customization to your eCommerce store as per your needs. You can even match the overall look and feel of your online store with your existing website. You will get a lot of design templates from the eCommerce vendor, most of them not requiring HTML5 or CSS knowledge for customization.
The color, themes and design of your eCommerce site should represent your brand. You need to lay stress on aesthetics and navigation in the layout of the site. Choosing the right colors can help you to attract visitors and make them purchase from your stores.
Content & Images
Along with the design aspect, content is also important. It plays a significant role in enticing store visitors to make purchases. Online visitors generally have a very short span of attention during which your message should be conveyed to them and they should be convinced to buy your product. Your product descriptions should be short and crisp, yet interesting enough to evoke customers’ interest.
Along with the content, product images should be clear, understandable and attractive. They should be of high-quality and have standard sizes to get evenly displayed. Unlike offline purchase, customers will not be able to see the product live until it is delivered to them. This gives rise to the need of multiple images for each product, to help them see each angle of your product.
Smartphone users have increased at a rapid pace in recent times, leading to a rise in mCommerce. You thus need to ensure that your online store is optimized for smartphones and tablets. Having a responsive eCommerce site will enable visitors to view your products properly in their smartphones, add them in cart and checkout easily.
You should thus select a platform that can run flawlessly across various devices, helping you expand your market reach and drive more traffic to your online store.
An eCommerce site deals with the personal details of the customer, which makes it very important for the store owners to make the purchase transaction safe and secure.
All eCommerce sites should have security protocols to protect buyers’ sensitive information using encryption. SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) is such encryption protocol to protect the personal information of the customers. Make sure you get an SSL Certificate and PCI (Payment Card Industry) compliance for your store.
You need to have a secure online payment gateway in your online stores to receive payments from your customers. For that you will need a Merchant account in a bank that can be linked directly to the payment gateway.
Through payment gateway your customer will be directed to the server which will link your website with the bank. You will be able to accept the credit cards from your eCommerce site and funds will directly be deposited into your merchant account.
Ecommerce sites generally ask users to create an account to make purchases with a purpose of boosting future sales through follow-up communication. Customers who regularly purchase from your site will register for easier checkout through their saved information and for availing discounts in future. All users necessarily don’t wish to go through the whole process of creating an account to buy your product. For such users, it’s important to provide the feature of guests’ checkouts.
It is important for the eCommerce store owners to pursue Search Engine Optimization (SEO) including other organic marketing effort, leading to a higher rate of return. It is better to choose an eCommerce vendor that uses SEO automatically for your store’s content. Along with SEO activities it is important to have strong PPC campaigns to market your products by keeping a right balance between SEO & PPC.
It is essential to monitor and track visitors’ activity for your store. Without web analytics, you will get no idea about your store’s performance and what’s happening in your site. You can use Google Analytics to fetch important data for analysis purpose and Google AdWords to get targeted click results and a large traffic for your products in your online store.
You can carry out email newsletter campaigns to make audience aware about your eCommerce stores. Sending a reminder to customers to write reviews after making purchase is an effective way to make them come to you again. Blogging is another tool for effectively promoting your brand and eCommerce site.
Social Presence is equally important to bring traffic to your eCommerce store. You can build a huge fan base through these social platforms, helping you build and strengthen your brand image. Social platforms will allow you to interact with your customers directly and also help you to create awareness of your new products. Incorporating social media tools into your site will also help you to reach a wider audience.
You should have a feedback mechanism to allow buyers to submit their reviews and feedback easily. This will help you to bring improvements and also serve as a marketing tool. Positive reviews and ratings help to gain more customers. Allow your customers to share their opinions and views.
Many eCommerce services allow you to respond to your customers and even remove undesirable comments.
Selecting a new eCommerce platform and building the whole eCommerce store from the scratch is a tough task. Only selecting the right eCommerce platform will not ensure success, your online store’s success will be determined based on how you plan & strategize its implementation.
The above points provide a precise walkthrough of all the major considerations to build an online store. There are many more elements to consider before starting an eCommerce store as eCommerce design and development is a huge subject that requires in-depth knowledge.
Are you looking to start your own eCommerce store? Feel free to ask us for any help. You can Contact us at email@example.com and connect to our eCommerce experts, providing top-notch eCommerce website development solution across the globe!!