How to start your eCommerce website – a step by step guide
How to start your eCommerce website – a step by step guide
Ecommerce have been an integral part of the global retail framework even before the pandemic made us familiarize with the ‘New Normal’ and fuelled our transit to ‘Online Shopping’. In 2019, an estimated 1.92 billion people shopped online, and as per Nasdaq, 95% of purchases will be performed online by 2040. While professional ecommerce services have played a great role in helping businesses going online, self-designed launches are also not rare.
The facility to browse through a range of your favourite products and make a quick purchase through a few finger taps without leaving the comfort of your favourite couch or while standing in the queue or during the daily commute is an entertainment in itself. Saving time and energy comes next.
E-commerce is bound to grow exponentially over time for its sheer efficacy and ability to adapt to the changing customer demands. The pandemic has just given it a push by compelling people to avoid crowded market spaces.
So, if you have been planning to launch your e-commerce business, there has never been a better time than now. If you are already an established brick and mortar business with no web presence, irrespective of your size and field, it is time to go online. Riding the e-commerce tide is not any more a choice rather the way to survive and grow in this highly competitive market.
We have come up with a detailed guide that will help you to launch your e-commerce business online. Read on to know the steps and write to us or call if you need professional assistance.
Start with Market Research
Before you launch your ecommerce site, first you need to know your audience. Keep in mind that you are undertaking the business to serve the needs of your target audience and hence learning more about them is the key to your business success.
Focus on market research. Identify your target audience, learn about their preferences, likes and dislikes. You should have at least the following details about your potential customers before moving forward,
- What’s their background?
- How old are they?
- What’s their income range?
- What type of content and presentation do they like?
- What’re their purchase habits?
The more you know your customers, the better you can tailor your ecommerce website to meet their needs. Also, study your competitors to find out what is working for them. If your resources are insufficient to get all the information, talk to an e commerce development company that can help you with market research.
Find a Domain Name
Start with finding the right domain name for your business. If you already have a brick and mortar establishment, the domain name should match with it. In case you are launching a new business, you need to decide the name carefully because whatever you choose, will be the permanent identity of your business.
- Consider your target audience and find a name that they will like.
- Look for something unique, and it need not be a ‘meaningful’ word always.
- Make sure that the name is brief, easy to spell and remember.
- Do not pick a name that is close to an established business and may create confusion.
Discussing the name with your trusted peers before finalizing is a good option. It will help you gain valuable insights about what your customers might think about the name.
‘.com’ is the most preferred domain extension in e-commerce but you can opt for country-specific extension as per availability if you do not have plans to expand your business outside the country.
Choose the Right Ecommerce Platform to Design your Website
Ecommerce website designing is not difficult unless you are planning to design one from scratch. In which case, you essentially need the assistance of a professional service like Coweso. Using an ecommerce platform to set up your website is convenient and cheaper.
An Ecommerce website is just like any other web platform with some unique functionalities that support integration with online shopping carts and payment gateways, enabling your customers to perform financial transactions safely through the platform.
Choosing the right platform – Shopify, Magento, OpenCart, PrestaShop and WooCommerce are some of the most popular ecommerce platforms today. Each of these platforms has their specific strengths, and you should choose one according to your business goals and needs. Also, consider your budget as well as the frontend and backend features.
Any platform you choose should come with a powerful CMS, customizable shopping cart, editable checkout page and functionality to seamlessly integrate the different payment gateways. If it all looks confusing, consult a reputed web development company.
Before you start designing your webpages, consider the information you have gathered about your target audience as well as your competitors in the market.
Designing an effective website – Focus on creating pages for your target customers, keeping their requirements and choices in mind. A unique design can be compelling, but it should not compromise with the user-friendliness or speed. Keep the design lite and easy to browse.
The two most important and yet often overlooked features about any ecommerce website development are,
- A responsive design and
- Having an efficient ‘Search’ option
Several online purchases are performed through a mobile device, and if your webpages are not small screen friendly, it is sure to lose on customers. A stackable design also enjoys a favourable SEO. The ‘Search’ field works as the ‘Finder’ on the ecommerce website. Instead of browsing through the menus to find a specific product, buyers often prefer to type their requirements in the ‘search’ box and get quick access to whatever they are looking for.
Product images and descriptions – Product images and descriptions are the real treasure of any ecommerce website. Your customers will evaluate a product from the pictures and description you provide. Add multiple views of the same product and a comprehensive description highlighting all essential features to get an advantage.
Choose a Suitable Hosting Account
To launch your website, you need to pick a hosting plan and register with a hosting service. Uptime is a crucial factor. Frequent downtimes can seriously affect your market reputation, sales as well as SEO, negatively. It is important that you host with a reliable hosting service provider offering maximum uptime guarantee with 24×7 tech support available on call or chat.
If you are just starting, your hosting requirements might not be much, but as your business will grow, the provider should have easy options to scale your plan and resources as per your changing needs. Cloud hosting gives your website blazing speed, security as well as maximum scalability. However, again, every cloud hosting is not the same. Look for latest server technology-driven services with robust hardware infrastructure to ensure a smooth transition from a Startup to a big brand.
Create Professional Email Accounts
Having professional email accounts ending with the name of your business domain has more importance in business than you might think. It helps in building online brand credibility. Your hosting plan might come with free professional email accounts, or you might need to buy them separately. Talk to your hosting service provider to know in detail. Create professional email accounts and use the same on your webpages for customer communication.
Manage the Website Content
Once your website is live, it is time to check and update the website content as per requirements. If you have missed out on multiple product images, detailed product descriptions or product videos while designing the pages, now you should amend all the gaps. Apart from the product-related content, you also need to have a content strategy which will shape the information architecture of your webbplats.
Follow a content strategy that can help you communicate your brand goals with your target audience. You need to consider your customers’ needs and preferences to come up with an effective content strategy for your website.
Optimize your website for Search Engines
To get organic traffic, optimizing the webpages by following the best SEO practices is essential. It helps you rank in search results leading to more customers finding your products when they are looking for a product similar to the one sold by your business. To optimize, keep the following basic practices in mind,
- In product descriptions, use terminologies that are commonly used by your target customers to search for similar products.
- Research the keywords with the help of a professional tool and implement them in the long-term content.
- Make sure that the quality of all the content is up to the mark, and they follow proper formatting.
Apart from the above, also ensure, your site is mobile-friendly, easy to browse and loads quickly. SEO is a vast arena and if you are not happy with your website’s performance or if you are looking for quick results, take professional assistance from a reputed digital marketing company.
The next step is marketing your website to your target audience. You can use social media effectively to reach your customers for minimum investment. However, it is always important to follow a well-laid long-term marketing plan to ensure success.