November 30, 2021 01:30 PM

How to build an effective e-commerce website

With the advent of the internet and a host of new tools that enable the setting up an e-commerce platform, the dream of entrepreneurship is now well within reach for everyone.

Setting up an online business comes with a range of benefits. Let’s take a look at these benefits before we dive into the process of creating an e-commerce platform.

People enjoy spending money online - As the reach of the internet gets deeper and more widespread, and more and more people are accessing the web through their smartphones, we are witnessing a dramatic surge in online spending.

Costs less than a storefront - Operating and maintaining a storefront is an expensive endeavour, with several running costs such as rent, utility bills, permits & licenses, maintenance costs, staff salaries, and more. With an online store, while you will incur costs like web hosting and online marketing, the overall cost is far lesser than operating a physical storefront.

Convenience & safety for customers - The whole process of browsing, selecting, and making the payment is much faster, simpler, and more convenient on online platforms than it is at a store. And all this can be done from the comfort and safety of home.

An eCommerce platform is essentially the central hub of your online business - it is a software application that allows online businesses of all sizes to easily manage their e-commerce website, marketing, sales, and operations.

Here are the basic requirements for setting up an e-commerce website -

  • Domain name
  • Web hosting provider
  • Integrated payment processor
  • Platform or tool to build your store
  • Online marketing

The goal of any e-commerce business is to ensure smooth operations that are effective enough to garner new customers, and also bring return visitors and repeat business.

Here are some common pain points that e-commerce businesses face -

Finding the right e-commerce platform

While choosing the right platform for your e-commerce business, it is important to find the right balance between cost and longevity. In the long run, what matters most is the potential to customize, scalability, and the overall user experience that the platform is able to deliver. Instead of opting for a platform based purely on lower upfront costs, choose an eCommerce platform that has the potential to help generate maximum revenue over time.

Onsite product search performance

To be able to provide a smooth, hassle-free, and efficient customer experience, ensure that your eCommerce platform is SEO-ready. It should be set up in a way that helps increase exposure and allows you to optimize web pages and keywords based on user behaviour. An SEO-optimized website will rank well on search engines, and consequently see more new visitors.

Page loading speed

A website that takes a long time to load is bound to see a lot of visitors giving up and dropping off, which will result in fewer conversions and sales. There are several ways in which the loading speed of a website can be improved and optimized. Speak with us to discover how we can help in this regard.

Guest checkouts

While every e-commerce business thrives on collecting user data, it is important to remember that making it compulsory for a visitor to create an account before making a purchase can deter a lot of customers. Always give the customer the option to Guest checkout - you can give them the option to create an account on the “Thank You” page, after they have completed their purchase.

Hidden charges

Hidden charges tend to put off even the most interested customers. Be upfront and clear about all the charges and costs involved. In case of shipping charges, provide the price breakup component before asking for the customer’s credit card information. Provide as many details about the shipping costs as you can. In case of cart abandonment, you can always send a personalized follow-up email to persuade your customer to resume shopping.

How to choose the right e-commerce platform?

Every e-commerce business has unique needs, and the platform you choose, and how you customize it, should reflect these needs and preferences.

Communicate your needs

Before settling on an e-commerce platform, dive into the details with the sales & support team, and have a list of questions prepared. Insist on a free trial and check out the features yourself before committing.

Here’s what you should look for -

  • Features like drop-down menus or an editor.
  • The platform should be easy to use and customize.
  • Comes with a reliable hosting solution.
  • Offers impeccable customer support.
  • Allows you to sell directly to customers across various platforms, without the need to manage separate inventories.
  • Optimized for mobile devices.
  • Equipped with industry-leading SEO optimization
  • Built with advanced native functionality and UX features.

Make sure that you perform a detailed price comparison between platforms, and strike the right balance between cost-effectiveness and functionality.

Some of the e-commerce platforms that we recommend are:

  1. Shopify
  2. WooCommerce
  3. Magento
  4. OpenCart
  5. Drupal
  6. Sitefinity
  7. Hubspot

Choosing the right theme for your online storefront

Getting the design right for your e-commerce website is a fundamental and highly essential step in taking your business to the next level. Customers are increasingly being drawn towards platforms that offer a smooth and hassle-free browsing experience, backed by excellent web design and UX.

Take the time to find a theme or template that is customizable enough to create a clear differentiation at launch, while also allowing for seamless scalability in the long run.

You can start by taking free trials of your top eCommerce platform choices, uploading placeholder content, and then previewing your e-commerce site on multiple different themes to see what works best for your business. Pay specific attention to device size, ease of use, customizability, and scalability.

Setting up payment options for your online business

In order to operate a successful e-commerce business, you must be able to accept payments through as many mediums as possible. Since there are many different options for accepting online payments, consider adding as many of these as you can on your website to suit each customer’s preferences. While these options will definitely vary in terms of the cost that is required to implement them on your website, in the long run, these fractions of percentages will become insignificant when you weigh them against the revenue that they will generate through sales.

Marketing your website to get visitors and conversions

The internet is constantly brimming with new players and a ton of competition, which means that you need to be making consistent efforts to get people to notice and visit your website before they even decide to make a purchase from you. Invest in a robust marketing plan for your e-commerce store to make yourself visible to the world. Here are some common e-commerce marketing methods:

Content marketing

Content marketing, in the form of blogs, long-form articles, video & audio content, is a valuable marketing method that can be used to boost your website’s search engine optimization (SEO) authority, thereby attracting more relevant traffic to your website, and building and maintaining the trust of your target audience.

Social media marketing

Social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest, to name just a few, are a great way to increase brand awareness, while also generating traffic to your e-commerce site.

Instagram and Pinterest are image-driven platforms, which makes them effective in selling products. Instagram allows you to showcase your products and demonstrate how they are commonly used, while Pinterest makes it easy for you to create and share content that’s relevant to your niche audience, thereby driving targeted traffic back to your site.

Twitter and Facebook are great for growing your online community. They can be used to tap into online communities that are relevant to your industry, connect with the right influencers, and directly reach your audience.

SEO marketing

Search engine optimization (SEO) refers to a collection of several tactics that increase the authority of your website in accordance with the factors valued by search engine algorithms. In simple terms, it just means that SEO optimization is how you can increase your chances of making your website appear on the first page of search engines like Google.

SEO includes tactics like keyword research, onsite optimization, content marketing, and link building.

Email marketing

Reaching out to potential customers via email is a tried and tested marketing tool. Email marketing is a good way to keep driving traffic back to your e-commerce website by promoting new content and sharing important updates. Over time, it gives you a loyal audience to whom you can promote special deals. While getting new customers is definitely an important factor for e-commerce businesses, convincing those customers to come back and make purchases repeatedly is the only way to really build a sustainable and scalable business.

At Web Synergies, we offer a host of digital commerce strategy & solutions for B2B and B2C businesses. We can help you better utilize your existing sales channels to boost revenue. From streamlined ordering, planning and transportation to logistics, our systems automate all business processes end-to-end.

Reach out to our team of experts to get a better understanding of how we can use the power of cutting-edge technology solutions to help you run a more efficient, streamlined, and successful online business.

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