8 Things You Must Do Right When You’re Building An E-commerce Website

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Ever since Amazon began selling items on the internet back in 1994, the ecommerce industry has been steadily growing — it has now become one of the most popular ways of distributing all kinds of goods.

There are countless benefits that this method of selling offers, and one of the best is that you don’t have to be a tech geek if you want to build your own ecommerce website. This is the reason why so many people decide to start their own online sales business, along with the fact that it’s very cost-effective and relatively easy to start and maintain. Still, don’t let all these positive sides trick you into thinking that this method is foolproof. There are several things that you have to do properly when you’re building your ecommerce website if you want to make it work.

Select a domain name

Nomen est omen is an ancient Latin proverb that sums it all up. Picking, purchasing, and registering a domain name is the first step towards your goal. There are some rules regarding this process, and the first and foremost thing should be using a targeted keyword that fits your niche in your domain name as it’s important to check its availability early in the process, before setting up your website because it the name you want isn’t available you’d have to start setting up your website from scratch.

You can expect that lots of domain names you put on your wish list will be taken, but that doesn’t mean that you should simply accept any random available one. You should think harder, and have a brainstorming session with your team in order to come up with the name that will enable you good rankings. Also, it would be great if you could get the same name across all social media channels, as that can boost your brand recognition and loyalty. Of course, always go for a domain name that is catchy and memorable.

Generally speaking, shorter is always better, and make sure that it’s easily spelled and pronounced. Finally, when it comes to the choice of the extension, .com is considered the most reliable and it makes the best first impression, while .org is not intended for commercial websites but for non-profit organizations. As you can see, picking a domain name requires some research and a complex data-driven decision-making process.

Select a good ecommerce platform

Needless to say, a good, reliable, ecommerce platform plays a very significant role in the success of your business. Luckily, there are lots of solutions that you’ll be able to choose from, which also means that you’ll have to give it some serious thought because the ecommerce platform is definitely among the top make-it-or-break-it factors. Many people try to find a comprehensive solution that has all the functionalities they need in one place, but, unfortunately, something like doesn’t even exist.

Again, you’ll have to do your homework and put down all the pros and cons and decide which one suits you best. There are cloud-based and self-hosted ecommerce platforms, and both solutions have their own strengths and weaknesses, but the main difference lies in the fact that the former is in a way out of the box meaning that you only have to set it up and configure it, while the latter is custom-built and highly customizable. Basically, cloud-based ecommerce platforms are affordable and easy to use, and they require minimum technical skills while providing you with the basic features necessary to have your online shop up and running in no time. However, this ease of use comes with several limitations, one of which can be a fixed number of layouts and design templates that you can select from. There are more serious downsides including a limited number of items that you can display, or a limited number of payment methods, all of which could eventually affect your profit.

On the other hand, self-hosted platforms are custom-made which means that you can ask your developer to add any features that you find useful. Branding functionalities are practically limitless in this case, and you can manage a large number of products and transactions, and enable as many payment methods as you want. As you can guess, all these functionalities come with a certain price, both literally and figuratively speaking, which means that you’ll have to put your hand deep in your pocket as well as be prepared to learn how to make the most of all these advanced options.

Still, you can have the both of best worlds, as the intuitive Quikcliks ecommerce website design offers you a highly-customizable platform at a decent price, and you don’t have to be a rocket scientist in order to make the most of its potential.  

Photos and descriptions make all the difference

When you start adding items that you sell to your online shop, you’ll have to do your best to present them in the best possible light.  As you know, traditional brick-and-mortar stores allow customers to see, touch, and try their items in person which is a big advantage. That is why you need to go the extra mile to help your customers make the best possible choice by providing good photos and detailed descriptions of your goods. In other words, the photos you upload should be of high quality and big in size. Apart from that, it’s a great idea to enable zooming so that your customers can see all the details that they want to know, and you should provide photos of each product from various angles. A survey has shown that 75% of people think that the quality of the image is of critical importance, while 66% of people would like to see products from various angles, and 61% say that the zoom option is crucial.

Don’t forget that people are visual beings, so make sure that your photos capture their attention, which means that hiring a professional photographer is a good investment. When it comes to descriptions, your customers rely on you to give them as much information about the product they’re interested in as possible, so scarce and verbally stingy descriptions are a surefire way to lose your customers.

Provide your customers with helpful resources

And by resources, we mean a lot of content. Your ecommerce website should feature a blog with useful and helpful articles, videos, statistics, and other types of content. Apart from keeping your customers engaged, you can also drive additional traffic with the help of SEO. When it comes to posting frequency, companies that publish their content  11 or more times a month get 4 times as many leads as those that publish blog posts only 4-5 times a month. Quality content is an excellent and highly effective strategy for maintaining and boosting customer engagement. You have to make your prospects spend more time on your ecommerce website.

Tips and tricks, together with various how-to guides relevant to your target audience, as well as, personal experiences should definitely be featured on your website. The power of social proof is immense, and that’s why you can greatly benefit from customer testimonies, as long as they’re authentic and sincere. Make sure to organize contests from time to time and reward your customers for their loyalty. However, we’re living in a fast-paced world in which people often don’t have time to sit down and actually read something, and that’s the reason why many companies and websites decided to resort to video as an extremely effective way of providing their prospects with time-efficient, easily digestible content that they can watch.

Recommend similar products

According to Amazon, as much as 30% of its sales come from recommendations. The company utilizes personalized recommendation service which relies on the algorithm based on previously viewed or purchased products. Many companies have adopted this revolutionary technology so that now many ecommerce websites display similar products and all kinds of recommendations to their visitors. This sophisticated technology tracks everything that a particular customer browses or puts into their shopping cart, and it shows them complementary products. Upselling and cross-selling can be pretty powerful as, psychologically speaking, people are exposed to products that they aren’t even aware they need or want.

People are extremely susceptible to suggestion, which is what makes Amazon’s recommendation engine an extremely useful and effective tool, and it’s one of the first uses of artificial intelligence in sales. If you implement this technology you can be sure that it will positively affect your bottom line.

Improve your shopping cart experience

Global online shopping cart abandonment rate is 69.23%, which means that only about 30% of people actually complete their order. There are several various reasons that 27% of US online shoppers abandon their order due to a too long or too complicated checkout process. This basically means that having a simple checkout process is a must if you don’t want your potential customers to bounce. Another issue that’s greatly responsible for shopping cart abandonment lies in the fact that customers can’t precisely calculate the total cost of their order up-front, which is why you need to make sure that the whole ordering process is completely transparent.

Some companies offer free shipping which is one of the best tactics for increasing conversion rates. In order to illustrate the proportions of this issue, it’s worth mentioning that $260 billion can be recovered through the optimization of the checkout process.

SEO

Although many ecommerce websites neglect SEO, this strategy is essential for reaching target audiences. The success of your online business heavily relies on your search engine rankings, and if your business isn’t among the results on the first page, the likelihood that your potential customers will locate you tremendously diminishes. For example, the top result in Google search gets 33% of the traffic, while the second result receives 18%. In other words, the first page gets 92% of the total traffic, which leaves meager 8% for all the other pages.

Using relevant keywords in your copy and content can significantly boost your exposure and expand your reach, but be careful not to use too many of them because Google’s algorithms aren’t forgiving and you’ll end up at the bottom of search results. The content itself plays an important role, and you should encourage your audience to write reviews and comments, as user generated content is great for SEO, since Google perceives it as fresh, relevant, and unique which can boost your rankings.

Use chatbots

When it comes to making a purchasing decision, people tend to procrastinate, especially when they have some questions or issues.  That’s why having 24/7 customer support that will be able to answer some common questions or perform some basic troubleshooting is a must. What you should do is remove any obstacles on your customers’ way to the checkout, and since your sales and customer service reps aren’t always available, chatbots can be of great help in providing at least some of the information that potential shoppers need in order to make their purchasing decision.

These automated personal assistants can also memorize all kinds of personalized data, including customers’ sizes and preferences, meaning that they can also help shoppers with their future purchases and speed up the decision-making process. 37% of online shoppers say they are willing to receive purchasing recommendations by chatbots according to a survey. The same percentage of Americans would make a purchase through a chatbot and spend more than $55 per order on the average.  Although chatbots are currently only capable of interacting with customers within a limited, predefined range of questions and answers, machine learning is being developed at the moment that will allow more seamless and advanced communication.

Rob Kurzweil, an engineer and a futurist who works for Google on developing AI and machine learning estimates that by 2029, it would be almost impossible to tell whether you’re having a conversation with a human or with a chatbot. So, if you want to keep up with the latest industry trends, your ecommerce website should feature this functionality.

If you want your ecommerce business to success, you need to build a well-optimized, user-friendly ecommerce website that will be intuitive and fun to use.

 

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Ilmoitettu 6 syyskuuta, 2017

Nate Vickery

Marketing manager and business consultant

I am a marketing manager and a business consultant mostly focused on latest tech trends and practices applicable to startup and SMB marketing. I also edit a business-oriented website Bizzmarkblog.com and write for some top-tier online publications such as TheNextWeb.com and MarketingInsidergroup.com.

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