5 Things to Keep in Mind When Building Your First Ecommerce Website
When building your Ecommerce website, you can’t afford to leave anything to chance. It can be overwhelming, but these 5 things will pave the way to success.
Ecommerce sales added up to over $504 billion in the US in 2018. It makes sense that you’d want to get a piece of that action. So you’ve researched your target audience, tested your product ideas, verified demand, and written a comprehensive business plan.
It’s finally time to join all those success stories that you read about online by building your first ecommerce website.
But now that you’re about to do it for yourself, it’s a little scary as well as exciting. There are thousands upon thousands of ecommerce stores on the internet, and most of them simply don’t take off. You want to be one of the ones that do. That’s why we’ve gathered these five things to keep in mind when you set out to build your first ecommerce website.
1. Keep It Easy to Navigate
When building an Ecommerce website — intuitive navigation is the most important thing.
If you have a pretty website, but the “Buy Now” button is lost somewhere in the design, you won’t make many sales. A clean, uncluttered site is much more effective.
Customers want to be able to find their product and make their purchase quickly and smoothly. If there are too many different categories, your customers might find it too confusing to get to the product they want. Organize your products into categories that match your customers’ interests. Write concise, accurate product descriptions. And use high quality, large product images.
Don’t forget to include search functionality! It helps consumers to find the item they need and make a purchase without a hitch.
It’s also important that your payment process is swift and simple. You don’t want your customers to have to click through multiple screens before they can finally make a payment. Ideally, set up a one-screen payment process that doesn’t overwhelm your visitors with questions.
2. Gather Customer Data
In the world of ecommerce, if you can’t measure it, you can’t manage it.
It’s crucial to have a process for gathering customer details, tracking visitor activity, and measuring traffic, sales, and abandonment rates on your site. This data gives you vital information about what is and isn’t working to convert your visitors into loyal customers, where your site needs to be improved, and the most effective areas of your ecommerce store.
It’s best to look for a plugin, or better yet, an ecommerce website builder that includes its own business analytics module.
This way you can integrate the process of collecting and sifting through data into your website from day one.
Tools that gather customer details such as their email address or phone number are also key for your marketing efforts. You’ll need this information so that you can send direct marketing newsletters, special offers, and promotions to turn your buyers into loyal repeat customers.
3. Be Responsive
Responsive website design is fundamental for every successful ecommerce store. You need a website that adapts to every device, whether your visitors are using their smartphones, a tablet, a laptop, or a desktop.
Mobile sales are expected to overtake other online sales by 2021, accounting for 53.9% of online sales.
Google already considers your site’s mobile user experience in its search engine ranking factors, too.
Think about how your product pages, category pages, and payments page appear on a small screen. You need a site that’s easy to use, has a fast checkout process, and presents an intuitive user interface even on a mobile device.
Nowadays, responsive website design should be standard for every website builder, but sadly that’s not quite the case, so look for a platform or website builder that has built-in responsiveness.
4. Prepare to Attract Customers
Building an intuitive, attractive ecommerce website isn’t enough to bring customers through your virtual doors. Every site needs a solid marketing strategy that includes a marketing funnel, social media and email marketing, and interesting, valuable content.
Before you build your site, look for a platform that integrates all the marketing tools you need. That should cover full SEO tools, a built-in blog platform for content marketing, and integrations with email marketing tools like Mailchimp, Constant Contact, or aWeber. The ability to segment customers and target them with customized offers is also critical to make your business stand out.
Ideally, you want a platform that includes tools to create landing pages and generate discounts and promotions for your customers. Check that you can create custom forms, too, so that you can encourage visitors to sign up to your newsletters and leave their email address for special offers.
5. Plan to Succeed and Scale
When you launch your first ecommerce website, don’t just plan for the first 12 months. Think ahead to five or even ten years down the line. Consider how your business will grow and what you’ll need to do to cope with increased volume of sales and web traffic.
Ask questions like:
- Does your server have a limit to the number of visitors it will permit each month?
- Can your payment processor handle so many sales each day?
- Will the amount you pay your webhost or ecommerce provider still be competitive once you’re dealing with hundreds or thousands of daily sales, instead of dozens?
It’s a happy thought, but it still requires planning. You’ll want to look for one of the many ecommerce website builders with tiered pricing, so that you can easily scale up your ecommerce site’s capabilities as your business grows.
Your First Step to Business Success
Building your first ecommerce website on the right foundations is the first, vital step to success. When your website is intuitive and responsive, is accompanied by a strategic marketing plan, allows you to gather and analyze vital customer data, and is flexible enough to scale with you, you know that you’re on the right track.
We’ll be looking out for your booming ecommerce site very soon!