5 Steps to Planning an E-Commerce Website
With Online sales in the United States expected to reach $523 billion in the next five years, up 56% from $335 billion in 2015, it’s little wonder why many retailers are planning an E-Commerce website launch right now.
So, you’re thinking about starting your own e-commerce website? There’s no denying the fact that more consumers are choosing to shop online instead of traditional brick-and-mortar stores. But making the transition online isn’t always easy, which is why it’s important to plan ahead.
The first step in planning an e-commerce website is to choose a domain name. You may already have a domain name, in which case you can skip this step. But if you don’t, you’ll need to carefully choose an appropriate domain for your site. A good domain should be unique, brandable, short, and contain only letters (no hyphens or numbers). It’s also recommended that you stick with a .com, as consumers are more likely to remember a .com domain over other extensions.
Content Management System
You’ll also need to consider the content management system (CMS) used in your e-commerce site. Using the right CMS will facilitate creating and managing your site’s content. There are both free and paid CMS platforms available, with the most popular being the free and open-sourced WordPress. Other CMS platforms to consider, however, are BigCommerce, Shopify, HubSpot and Magento.
How do you intend to accept payments from your site’s customers? There are several different payment gateways from which to choose, including both Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) and self-hosted solutions. Shopify and BigCommerce, for instance, have their own SaaS payment gateways that site owners pay to use. WooCommerce and Magneto, on the other hand, are self-hosted payment gateways. Regardless, you’ll need to choose a payment gateway for use on your e-commerce site.
Formstack has published a great comparison chart of the leading E-commerce payment gateways for your reference, here.
Don’t underestimate the importance of security when planning your e-commerce site. Statistics show that roughly 30,000 websites are hacked each day. Unfortunately, e-commerce sites are often targeted by hackers because of their valuable data. If a hacker gains access, he or she may acquire customers’ names, credit card numbers, street addresses and other personal information. The bottom line is that you need to protect your e-commerce site from hacking by implementing the appropriate security measures, including HTTPS encryption.
The final step in planning an e-commerce website is marketing and advertising. In other words, how do you plan on driving traffic to your site? Without visitors, you’ll have a difficult time selling products. Search engine optimization (SEO) is a low-cost way to promote an e-commerce website, relying on high search rankings for traffic. Paid solutions, however, like Google Adwords and Facebook Ads, are also effective.