You can sell products, schedule appointments, collect customer information, and more by building an e-commerce website. Selecting an e-commerce website builder to create your site is the first step. From there, you can set up other features, such as integrations with other online marketplaces, and list products.
Why You Must Have Ecommerce Website
Let’s say you don’t have an online store. If so, you might be reluctant to devote your precious time and resources to creating one. This is understandable, as it requires a significant commitment on the part of any organization or individual.There are many good reasons to create an e-commerce website. Ecommerce sites are a wise investment for online retailers as they help them generate revenue and draw in both current and potential customers, according to statistics and market trends.
1. Bring on more clients
The number of people using the internet and electronic devices is limitless. Since their locations restrict their ability to draw customers from around the world, brick-and-mortar stores typically serve a smaller percentage of customers than online stores. However, online shops can draw customers from all over the world. With the right marketing and advertising tools for digital platforms, you can reach hundreds of thousands of potential customers.
2. Increase brand awareness and recognition for your business
When your search engine optimization (SEO) is at its best, more potential customers will view your site and become aware of your brand because it will rank higher in search engine results. Use specific keywords and phrases related to your goods and services to move this along and rank higher on search engines like Google.
Additionally, your brand may not be prominently displayed if your products are sold on popular marketplaces, which means that customers may be less likely to learn about your company and other services. The wording of your products, the design of your user interface, and how people perceive you are all under your control if you have an e-commerce website. This degree of control helps greatly in building brand recognition and awareness that you might not typically get in a marketplace.
3. Increase customer retention
Customer loyalty can be increased by providing exceptional customer service and by using information about customers’ prior purchases to suggest products that are in line with their interests.
4. Utilize email marketing
If you run an online store, you can be sure that all of those clients are yours. Obtain the consent of clients and website visitors before disclosing their contact information, such as email addresses. Because you have direct contact with customers, you can offer them discounts and promotions, let them know about new products, increase website traffic, and boost sales. This action has a significant positive impact on marketing efforts.
Tips to Build Your Ecommerce Website
Here’s a step-by-step guide to building your business’s e-commerce website.
1. Choose your ecommerce platform, host, and solution for your site
You can compare three different platform types with varying benefits and functionalities when choosing an ecommerce platform.
- Open Source
Open-source software is available and cost-free. Although they are simple to customize and are free to install, they call for advanced coding skills. They are also a target of security flaws. This makes them more expensive because, if you choose this course of action, you might need to hire someone to maintain the security.
A platform that utilizes a subscription service is known as SaaS, or software as a service. It is simple to install, secure, and capable of handling logistical operations like payment procedures. The lack of customization is a drawback of SaaS. These platforms make use of pre-built customization templates, which are more practical and available if you don’t know how to code. However, if originality and innovation are important to you, this choice might restrict the amount of creative control you have.
- Headless commerce
When the digital storefront, or the parts of your website that customers interact with—such as the site design, fonts, and images—are distinct from the back end, or the pages where you store data like customer information and orders, headless commerce is taking place. The advantages include increased creative control and quick customer-facing changes for organizations.
2. Ecommerce hosting
Where will you keep all of your data now? Because it will house private data, carefully consider your e-commerce hosting site. To avoid issues like a sluggish website or a lack of security, you’ll be able to choose the best host for your business when you have a better understanding of your options.
- On-premise hosting
You have control over your servers when you host them yourself on-site. Increased security is provided by the fact that no one outside of your network can access your software. Large organizations with physical servers and data centers should consider this option. However, this option might not be the best if your company is smaller or you lack advanced IT skills because it will cost more money and take more work to maintain a secure network.
- Cloud hosting
Platforms for headless commerce and SaaS typically offer cloud hosting. In contrast to on-premise hosting, cloud hosting is managed by a third party, so your business won’t be responsible for the expenses and demands of handling IT issues or maintaining your servers. Because cloud hosting can handle high demands, which are more likely to occur over the holidays when ecommerce sites see an increase in traffic and activity, it is more flexible and scalable.
3. Things to consider
The goods and services that support the success of ecommerce businesses include website builder tools, ecommerce platforms, mobile app builders, and more. When choosing an ecommerce solution, there are a number of factors to take into account in order to provide your customers with the best and most seamless experience possible.
Your e-commerce platform must always be secure, or customers may become hesitant to enter their credit card numbers or other private information. If your platform isn’t safe, customers might choose to buy from a rival. The data of your company must also be secure. A certificate ensuring the security of an e-commerce platform, HTTPS/SSL, should be supported by your platform.
- Mobile friendly
More people are making purchases online using their mobile devices. You might lose out on customers if your platform isn’t mobile-friendly or mobile-optimized. Look for e-commerce platforms that make it simple for customers to browse and shop using their mobile devices to avoid losing out on potential customers.
Imagine that at first there aren’t many customers on your e-commerce site, but that number grows over time. Your platform must be scalable and equipped to handle an increase in traffic. Excess features aren’t necessary in the early stages because you probably won’t use the services, but as your business expands, find platforms that can handle rising demands.
4. Purchase and choose your hosting provider
Your website’s address is its domain name, or URL. It’s crucial to pick a memorable domain name for your overall brand identity and recognition because that’s how customers will find your website in search results. Here are few tips to choose your domain name:
- Make it relevant: Make sure the domain name you choose is appropriate for your products. It will most likely have the same name as your company. This eliminates confusion, and your customers will be aware of what you sell right away based solely on your domain name. Avoid using names that are too general because people may forget them and visit a website with a similar name instead of yours.
- Make it short and memorable: Aim for a 6–14 character domain name that is short and memorable. Customers are more likely to remember and can type a short web address.
- Avoid hyphens and numbers: Avoid adding numbers or hyphens to your name because doing so might make it more difficult for users to share your domain. Customers find it much harder to say your website address without sounding confused, especially when speaking.
- Check for trademark infringement: Verify that no other company has trademarked the chosen domain name or a name that is similar before deciding on it.
5. Components that you must have on your ecommerce website
Now that you’ve decided on a platform and a name, here are the components you need for the next steps.
- Logo and brand imagery: Most ecommerce platforms, if not all of them, come with built-in templates for creating brand logos. You can use third-party tools like Canva or Adobe Illustrator if you decide to design your own logo instead of using a template. Keep in mind that your logo represents your company and typically gives users their first impression of it. Make certain that your logo is easily recognizable and well-made.
- Detailed product descriptions: Informing your customers about your product and its benefits is the first step in marketing it. Give specifics about your product, such as its size, weight, and composition. To take things a step further, include answers to frequently asked questions, incorporate SEO-boosting keywords into your descriptions, and promote customer reviews (whether favorable or unfavorable).
- Provide product photos and videos: Film and photograph your product from various perspectives. You might not have professional photography, which is fine! It depends on the size of your company and your budget. On a smart device, you can try taking creative photos of a high caliber.
- About us section: Create a thorough “About Us” section that invites visitors to support and discover more about your online store. Think about explaining your company’s history and motivations. Add pictures and videos to the page to help tell your brand’s story.
- Detailed customer service pages: Any customer who buys from a business is drawn in by excellent customer service. Make sure it’s simple for customers to find any customer service email addresses or phone numbers you create. On these pages, you should also include precise shipping costs and schedules. Include your return and privacy policies to increase transparency and reduce customer confusion.
6. Customize and choose your website template
A key component of your e-commerce site’s development is perfecting the web design and layout. Although the items you sell are necessary, your website must be easy to use and attractive to the eye otherwise you risk losing a potential customer.
Utilize templates to build a fantastic website. Pre-made pages called templates can be customized to match your brand. Additionally, templates let you create a website without the need for coding or design expertise, which is helpful if you’re just starting out. The following considerations should be made when choosing a template:
- Customization options: Select templates that offer a wide range of customization options. You can alter the font, image size, colors, and other elements of some templates. When changing components to match your brand’s identity, this range of options is ideal.
- Responsive ecommerce templates: With the help of these templates, you can change how your website is laid out to fit various screen sizes and gadgets. It is wise to avoid alienating mobile users by having an unresponsive mobile site since they make up a significant portion of website traffic.
- Customer navigation: Can users of your website easily navigate it? Customers will leave your website if they can’t easily find what they’re looking for. To make it simple for users to find what they’re looking for, make sure your website has a search bar, categories, and subcategories. For customers to leave your site satisfied and with their needs met, a user-friendly website navigation experience is essential.
7. Add your products and also payment methods, tax, shipping, etc
Product pages tell new and current customers what you sell, why they should buy it, and why they need it. An effective product page with a stellar design and explanation entices customers to purchase products from your store.
- Product descriptions: Product descriptions go into detail about your product’s features, including its size, color, materials, usefulness, etc. To improve search engine rankings and persuade customers to buy your product, use specific keywords and phrases. To improve customer understanding, steer clear of complex sentences and keep descriptions straightforward.
- Product images: Images portray products to customers and entice them to learn more about your product. Your image is the customer’s first impression of your product, so take high-quality images that show your product from different angles. If you can, show your product in use to provide variety for customers and to boost customer engagement.
There are three different categories of e-commerce payment gateways. Consider each option’s benefits, drawbacks, and level of security when handling payment information.
- Redirects: Redirects send users to another website where they can finish their transactions. Payment gateways like PayPal and Klarna are two examples. For business owners, the process is easier because they know their customers are processing their payments on a safe and convenient platform. Customers must take an additional step and leave the current website, which may discourage visitors.
- Checkout on-site, payment off-site: You process checkout information, such as your customer’s name and address, in this gateway, and the transaction is then completed off-site. The best illustration of this strategy is Stripe. Similar to redirects, this gateway makes it easier for you to process payments, but you have limited control over how the user interacts with it. Make sure your website is correctly encrypted for a safe and secure information transfer.
- On-site payments: On-site payments take place at your location. Because they can afford to maintain a secure network and process more payments, larger organizations are more likely to use this gateway.
Configure sales tax rates to collect from customers after setting up payment processing and a gateway approach. Depending on your state and overall sales tax volume, your sales tax rate will vary. All e-commerce platforms allow you to apply taxes to all orders and products, and they all support the collection of sales taxes.
Customers want quick, hassle-free delivery of their orders. Integrate shipping software with your e-commerce platform to speed up the order fulfillment process. By connecting orders to shipping software automatically, you can choose shipping options, print labels, and inform customers when their orders are shipped. Make sure to tweak your shipping options to ensure that customers have a smooth experience from the time they place an order until they receive their package.
- Shipping policy: Which shipping companies are you planning to use to ship your customers’ orders? Choose whether you will ship orders for no charge, a fixed fee, or a variable fee. Likewise, decide if you provide international shipping. Be honest if you don’t provide it to prevent upsetting or perplexing international customers at the checkout.
- Decide shipping solutions: Choose whether you want to pack and ship orders yourself or if you want to dropship. Dropshipping is a method of order fulfillment where you sell your products to a third party supplier rather than keeping them in stock. They save you some time and stress by shipping your products to the customer after that.
Email and social media marketing setup
In order to send promotions, increase user engagement, and boost sales, email marketing is a marketing strategy. While doing so, updating your social media accounts with information about current and upcoming product offerings can increase reach and raise consumer awareness.
8. Publish Your Online Store
This is time to publish your online store. Make sure your website’s components are all usable and intuitive for a positive user experience. The last thing you want is for a broken button or link to turn off users.
Customers have higher expectations than ever thanks to the almost infinite variety of e-commerce websites available for purchases. To offer an exceptional customer experience that meets them where they are, it’s essential to continuously test and optimize your website. Customer-centric design decisions are more likely to be made if customer feedback is regularly gathered prior to, during, and after site construction. Putting the needs of your customers first will increase conversions, foster trust, and give you the confidence to make design choices.
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