Below is a list of things by order of importance that we believe you should consider if you are planning on launching an ecommerce website. It was very hard to narrow down this list to just 10 items but you will be in better shape than most of your competitors if you have these nailed down.
A content management system allows you to edit and manage your website with little or no knowledge of coding. Although there are many platforms out there, we recommend WordPress because it is free and created entirely by volunteers. They are constantly updating it to make it more secure and you will never be a far cry from finding a WordPress developer. There are currently over 60 million WordPress installations all over the world so 60 million people cannot be wrong right? There are tons of cheap and even free themes and plugins that can extend the functionality of your WordPress website. However, you will need some assistance from a web developer to customize these to have them meld perfectly with your website design.
Functionality and aesthetics really go hand in hand in creating a great user experience. Check out your competitors who are successful and take note of what they are doing that may resonate well with your customers. Survey your customers to see what appeals to them. Most importantly, stop being so salesy and fascinate your customers to create brand loyalty.
You would be surprised that many large ecommerce websites like H&M don’t even have a search function, which is just nuts. You should have both a quick search where your visitor can type in keyword and search within a category or department as well as an advanced search where they can specify price, brand, sizes and other relevant categories. In addition, you should filter your products so people can browse and shop by price, style and however else it makes sense to sort your products. If you have any more than a handful of products, you will need some kind of search function.
Take the time to formulate detailed, relevant, unique content that would be helpful to your potential customers. By far, the worst thing you can do is copying the manufacturer’s descriptions. Because all of their distributers have the same information, your website content will never rank in Google.
Most of the time our clients forget to consider functionalities required when registers and logs in after their first purchase. Some typical functions include the ability to update their profile information, track orders, save products for future purchases with wishlists and review their order history. Account registration and profile management will save your customers time and effort on return visits and thus, promoting a better user experience.
SEO is the process of improving the visibility of your website in a search engine’s un-paid or organic search results. Some popular SEO techniques include writing unique and relevant content, meta data and blog posts, keyword based urls, backlinks, directory submissions, optimizing your website code, social media marketing and countless other activities we do to keep you on top of Google. Without SEO, most start-ups will inevitably die from a lack of traffic and sales. Many website owners forgo it because they do not understand the power of a comprehensive SEO strategy. SEO is expensive but if you can stay in it long enough for it work, you will see it is worth every penny.
In efforts to display your best products, you should consider featuring some different products on your homepage and different areas of your website. Best sellers are a good bet since you already know that people like these products.
As people are browsing your website, you may want to have cookies to track their activity so you can recommend products that they may be looking for. If they are looking at one product, you may want to suggest something that complements (cross-selling) that product or perhaps a better version (up-selling) of that product.
Email marketing if done correctly, can help promote your website. However, if you inundate subscribers with useless information or if you overdo it, you can easily find yourself blacklisted. Email marketing is one way you can warm up your visitors and eventually convert them into customers which is also known as lead nurturing. Emails with promo codes can also help encourage return visits. Usually you need to have at least a few touchpoints with a lead before they become a customer and email marketing is one way to do it. MailChimp who preaches a better way to send emails has a pretty good WordPress plugin that integrates their email subscription form with your WordPress website alleviating any data entry.
Over 80% of customers base their purchase decisions on reviews. So if your ecommerce website does solicit customer reviews, this lack of information can really deter potential customers. Also recommendations shared via twitter, Facebook, Pintrest, Google+ and other social networks can also help to generate more traffic and encourage impulse purchases.
Please note that this is very broad overview and we may be able to give better recommendations once we learn a little more about your business.
For those of you who are interested in learning more about building a successful ecommerce website, I found this Step-by-Step Guide for Selling & Marketing Products Online very helpful.
Start your ecommerce website
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Jeanette Kwok Web Design
San Francisco Bay Area, CA
San Jose, CA
jeanette (at) jeanettekwok.com
Refer a new website client to us, and we will pay you 10% of the first invoiced amount we receive from them. New clients must mention who referred them during their initial consultation.