Chances are you’ve heard the term eCommerce website thrown around, and if you own a business, you’ve probably considered having one. But what goes into an eCommerce site? What makes it different than a regular website? And what steps can you take to lead you to success? You’ve come to the right place! Just as with any other aspect of your business, eCommerce sites are an investment, and it’s important to know the basics before getting started.
What exactly is an eCommerce site?
An eCommerce – electronic commerce – website is a website where you sell products and services online.
According to a study by Bigcommerce, 51% of Americans prefer to shop online, and eCommerce is growing 23% year-over-year, yet 46% of American small businesses don’t have a website. Let that sink in for a minute. Online shopping websites are a quickly growing part of the business world. The longer you go without one, the longer you miss out on a lucrative investment and a way to get your products and services seen by individuals who might not have the chance to step into your brick and mortar store.
What should I do before I start building the site?
- Define your audience. Know who you’re selling to and who your target market is. This is absolutely essential. The more you know about your audience, the more easily you’ll be able to reach potential customers. When defining your audience, you should look at your current customers, competition, and who your products/services are made for and answer these questions:
- How old are they?
- Where are they located?
- What do they do?
- What are they interested in?
- What is the best avenue to reach them?
- Decide what to put on your website. Each product needs a price, a detailed description, product number, and good quality photo(s). Remember, customers won’t get to try out your products before they buy them, so the more details the better. It’s important to let them know exactly what to expect from their purchase.
- Determine how products will be organized and categorized on your website. Organization is key for websites. You want to make it as easy as possible for people to find what they’re looking for. Your website is an extension of your business and should be operated with as much care and coordination as your storefront.
- Designate the price of your items and services. Be sure to do your market research on pricing from industry competitors.
What are things I can do to have a successful site?
- Make sure your website is easy to navigate and responsive. According to Bigcommerce, 21% of shoppers find unattractive or hard-to-navigate websites frustrating when buying online.
- Ensure the checkout process is quick, easy, and efficient.
- If people have issues while checking out, they’re likely to abandon the cart and go elsewhere. The less complicated the process, the more likely a customer is to complete a sale. The checkout method will greatly determine the customer experience, as it is the last thing they will do on your site. While we’re on the topic of checking out, you should also make your return/exchange policy clear and easy to find on your website.
- Make sure your website’s performance is optimized. A website’s load time is critical. You have just seconds to get and keep someone’s attention before they abandon your page.
- Invest in SEO. Search Engine Optimization is how to get noticed organically online. When you invest in SEO, your ranking among search engines improves, traffic is driven to your website, and it increases awareness in search engines. Search engines are how most consumers will find your website. And if search engines can’t find you, chances are your consumers can’t either.
Things to remember
- Having an eCommerce site is like adding a whole new aspect to your business. It requires time, dedication, and money just like any other aspect of your business. Online shopping sites can be a great tool to grow your business if done right and maintained, but they can also fail if not utilized well.
- Just like with any other website, eCommerce sites require maintenance and upkeep. It is necessary to leave room in your budget for reoccurring costs and maintenance work. These fees could include merchant transaction fees, hosting fees, annual SSL certificates, and a monthly tax calculation fee.
- Make sure you keep up with your domain, keep your information current on your domain, and keep track of when your domain needs to be renewed. Those who fail to renew their domain on time run the risk of paying higher renewal fees or losing ownership of their site. This is where it pays to have someone to manage your domain for you. It takes the stress away and allows you to concentrate on other aspects of your business.
How we can help
Starting from scratch or updating an existing eCommerce site can be an overwhelming process. For years, we’ve been helping our clients build websites they’re proud to call their own. Working with our team takes the guesswork out of what could be an otherwise tricky process. Our comprehensive services allow for us to not only build a user-friendly, modern website but also to market it to your target audience.