Your new e-commerce site has to compete for attention on a crowded internet. How are you going to ensure that your website is easy to find? How will you get people to buy from you instead of your competitors?
To help you prepare, we've put together a checklist of the building blocks you'll need to build a ecommerce website. The list is designed to be used in any case where you need to choose between competing websites before starting eCommerce web development and designing tasks.
To start, you'll have to figure out what your purpose is. Is this a public website for customers to see and use? Or is it a private one for your business.
Will you need a simple site to get the word out and put up an e-commerce store, or do you need to manage many different sites related to each other? Get everything out onto the table.
Are you selling a product or service to businesses, to consumers, or both? Do you know what they want?
Large e-commerce websites have different needs than smaller ones. The checklist for a large company that already has an established brand might be very different from one for a small e-commerce startup. What kind of business are you building? Do you have an existing customer base to support your new website, or are you starting from scratch?
It would be great if you will create a target persona. A persona can be based on an existing customer, but it is relatively easy to create a new one based on your research.
For instance, you are planning to build a new ecommerce website to sell baseball bats. Find out what type of people are interested in buying baseball bats and choose one brand over another.
Check your target persona's age, sex, nationality, and buying and usage habits. What are their interest? What about their frustrations? What are their favorite hobbies? Are they the sort of people who shop for things online or prefer to buy in person?
What is your budget? Is there a specific platform that's best for your business, or do you have more freedom to choose.
What can you build yourself, and what will you need specific expertise for? Do a quick cost breakdown, and don't forget about hidden costs.
There are many ways to build a ecommerce website. Do a quick search for “website development companies” and see what comes up. Get an idea of how different types of e-commerce websites are built.
If you plan to build a ecommerce website yourself, you will need to choose the platform for it. Long-time industry leader Magento is a great option for advanced users. You can craft a site in no time, and Magento has excellent support if you get stuck.
If you want an easier option, Shopify lite is worth checking out. It's very quick to set up and use, and it includes many valuable features like inventory management, email marketing, and third-party integration with other platforms such as Google Analytics.
Meanwhile, if you know exactly what you want to build and are ready to make the most of your web skills, WordPress will get the job done.
Other options include OS Commerce, Wix WooCommerce, VirtueMart, and many advanced custom platforms. Do your homework and find the one that suits your business needs.
Don't invest too much money in the development phase before you're sure that you've got a winner. Never skip testing and research!
The best way to test your e-commerce site is to have users test it for you. Start with a small number of real customers and see how they use your website.
Pay attention to what they like about your site and how they respond to the visual design, navigation, mobile view, and overall quality of your product pages. Ask them what parts they find hard to use and what is confusing or unnecessary.
For example, you want your customers to be able to start buying within a minute of logging in, but how long does it take them? Test various ways of authenticating users with one another and with other services on the Internet. Try to fix all bugs as you go along.
Remember that you can change many of these details at any time to adjust to your needs, so be sure to have a plan in case something unexpected happens. Don't forget about the price plan either. Decide what type of pricing model you want to use before you start the development process.
After you have all your features and functionality set up, a great way to make people buy is by enticing them with deals and discounts (to put it bluntly).
To make the shopping experience as convenient as possible, it's important to offer the customer multiple ways to pay.
If you're selling physical products, you'll want to provide a shipping method (and perhaps tracking information) for each product. If you're dealing in digital products, there are numerous e-commerce payment options like credit cards and PayPal. Consider the features, benefits, and drawbacks of both. Try to create an easy interface for your customers to get everything they need from one place.
This step is easy, but it's often ignored. You need to have a unique and functional domain name before you start building your website.
If another marketing firm using the domain, you will have no choice but to search for an alternative or contact them about the possibility of buying the domain from them. It is not always worth purchasing a domain if it means that you cannot use that particular name in any other future businesses or ventures that you might have.
Hosting is a service that offers a server to temporarily store and transfer information on the Internet using HTTP or FTP protocols.
A web host is a business that offers you with server space, connects that space to the Internet, and handles requests from computers (usually through HTTP) on how to display your content.
There you have it -- developing and setting up your e-commerce website is not as complicated as you might think.
Make sure that your plan is safe against risks and legal requirements to avoid losing money.
To successfully do an online business, it's always good to choose a website builder with planned success. Having a solid team is crucial, especially when it comes to quality assurance.
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