Building a successful e-commerce: 5 things to think about
We asked our e-commerce partner, bPol to share some of their technical e-commerce knowledge with us, we hope you’ll enjoy this guest post!
Creating an online store involves hundreds of variables and thousands of decisions that can affect sales results, customer experience and further brand building. Have a read of what is worth paying attention to at the design and planning stage in order to get the most benefits from your project right after opening your store and at the next stages of development.
Nowadays, more and more people are choosing to sell products online. This applies not only to physical items, but also to courses, guides and digital products. For some, online selling is the main channel for building a successful business, while others treat e-commerce simply as a source of additional income. However one thing is certain – a well-designed online store tailored to the respective needs of both the entrepreneur and the customer is the core of the entire project and is what will ensure us an appropriate conversion into sales.
Let’s assume that you already know what you want to sell, you have set out a business plan, you already have your company name, logo, hosting and Internet domain. Here are the 5 most important elements that should be considered at the initial stage of building an online store, which will certainly affect the reception of your e-commerce business and help you avoid mistakes at the start.
Choose the right software
One of the first decisions you will have to make is choosing the right sales platform. Remember that software should be your ally, not something that limits your development. The Internet today offers many hosted e-commerce platforms and some of them are based on free licenses that can certainly be tempting to people who are just starting to explore the world of online store business.
However, it often turns out that not paying for some of the services can quickly become a curse for further development. After a few weeks of keeping a store based on free software, we may come across obstacles that cannot be avoided. At this point, changing the platform can be an unnecessary complication for our business, so at the beginning it is worth carefully analyzing the needs and, if necessary, using a ready-made e-commerce paid platform that will provide the personalization options that are right for us.
An alternative to this solution may be e-commerce software, designed for us from scratch. Professionals who deal with it will be able to create software that meets the current needs and allows the development of certain elements of the online store in the future. By using such services, you can always count on professional technical support and help related to the current problems and the implementation of new solutions.
Keep it simple and attractive
75% of people form their opinion of a website based on its aesthetics. So, it seems that for online stores it works exactly as with stationary points of sale.
Appropriate design increases the credibility of the online store and plays an important role in attracting the right target group of customers. An illegible and ill-considered interface of the website will prevent the customer from paying attention to even the most attractive assortment.
When planning the interface layout, always ask yourself whether you would be satisfied with the chosen shopping path, the convenience of completing forms, the method of presenting the products and the facilities related to placing an order. Think carefully about whether a horizontal or vertical menu would be better for your store.
The first of these guarantees its visibility immediately after entering the website. On the other hand, its layout requires a limited number of categories, and their names should be short and concise.
A vertical menu offers more possibilities in the context of building subsequent levels of navigation. However, it should be remembered that with a large number of categories in the vertical menu, it is more difficult to distinguish the most important sections or products. Also, remember to include a “breadcrumbs” section in your store design. It’s a navigation path that allows the user to easily determine where he is and return to a specific section.
Fast checkout and payment process is the key
It’s obvious that no store can exist without payments. We have many different ways of finalizing transactions on the Internet and it is worth ensuring that the customer has the largest possible choice of solutions.
According to reports, 56% of respondents expect a variety of payment options on the checkout page in online stores. A traditional bank transfer is not only a blast from the past, but also an extremely inconvenient solution. Be sure to implement the fastest and least demanding payment methods in your online store.
Use solutions such as BLIK, PayPal, PayU, Apple Pay or Google Pay, which are constantly gaining popularity. Also, don’t forget about the appropriate checkout page optimization. Requiring a user to create an account is akin to suicide these days. Reward people who want to leave you their contact details, but also remember about guests who care about quick purchases and their privacy.
Remember that less is better when it comes to filling out forms and redirecting to subsequent subpages. Keeping things simple will surely pay off in the conversion.
Don’t waste data mining potential
According to McKinsey & Company, 50 percent of companies who master the art of customer analytics are likely to have sales significantly above their competitors. Moreover, their research says that companies championing the use of customer analytics are 6.5 times more likely to retain customers, 7.4 times more likely to outperform their competitors on making sales to existing customers, and nearly 19 times more likely to achieve above-average profitability.
That is why you should know how you intend to track your site traffic and conversions right at the stage of planning your e-commerce business. Google Analytics will be the primary tool for you. After you enter a short snippet of code on your website, you will need to set up relevant sales targets and set up tracking. If you have any problems with it, Google has prepared very detailed tutorials. It may take some time to get through them, but knowledge of analytics and data mining can prove invaluable later.
The analysis of statistics is something that cannot be underestimated. Combined with good products, user experience and a clear website interface, digging into numbers can bring fantastic sales results. Appropriate analysis and interpretation of data will allow you to answer questions related to the seasonal increase in sales of specific products or the range of products that are not very popular.
Researching the data that you obtain thanks to your online store also allows you to get acquainted with the purchasing habits of customers and a buyer’s complete journey.
Search engine optimization (SEO) is another key element you need to think about in order to effectively generate traffic to your online store. Even the best-designed interface won’t help you sell effectively if you don’t take proper care of the right content on your website. When preparing the texts that will appear in your online store, you need to take care of the right headers, meta tags, keywords, website map, image optimization or proper link building.
If you want to take care of proper SEO, you can hire an expert that deals with positioning or you can use dedicated software solutions. You need to find out what keywords your customers use when they are looking for products and services you sell. Use them in your descriptions, blog articles, or any other content you have to boost the traffic and get higher positions in the search engine.
bPol is a software house based in the heart of Poland with over 20 years of experience in delivering custom solutions for international clients. Over the years bPol has successfully completed a number of projects across multiple industries located in various countries. With a clear aim of delivering the highest value to clients, bPol creates innovative solutions for international businesses.
Together, we created the E-Commerce One-Stop-Shop, a service that will take you from your online business idea to a fully functioning e-commerce with your marketing strategy planned and your campaigns launched. Do you think it’s something for you? Then fill out the form below!