Dealing with entrepreneurs and business is what we love most, the joy of what we do is getting to hear the stories behind our client’s businesses and partnering with them to launch their product or service into digital stardom.
Selling while you sleep is particularly appealing and that’s what a great ecommerce website will do for you. The problem however is many people don’t realise quite what is involved in setting up an online store so here are some things for you to research before taking the ecomm leap.
1. Time. Yes the one thing we are all shy on is a big requirement of your online store especially in its infancy. You need to set up your products, shipping, tax, inventory, privacy statements, return policy and more. Make sure you allow yourself a reasonable time frame to get set up.
2. Competitive Analysis. Give yourself time to research the competitors. Look at the ones ranking highly on the organic Google listings. What is great about their site, what is difficult to use about their site? Test out the search, look at the imagery. Look at your competitors and improve on what they have done and improve the user experience with your website.
3. Getting Paid. You will need to set up a merchant account with your banking institution for selling through your website. A merchant account is an account that allows you to process credit cards online. In addition to this you will need to set up a payment gateway which acts as the middle man. A payment gateway is a secure connection between your website and the bank. It is highly secure and PCI compliant
4. Security through an SSL certificate. Your site will need an SSL security certificate to ensure it securely transfers the sensitive credit card data being processed through your cart. You will know if a website has one of these installed as you will see the padlock symbol. Your potential customers will look for this trust mark before purchasing through your online store.
5. Shipping. There are many options out there for shipping so you will want to research which courier you will use, whether or not you will just ship via Australia Post etc. Any professionally produced ecommerce website should have an Australia Post shipping calculator set up with the ability to integrate with your choice of courier. You will also need to work out if you will be charging a flat fee for the complete order, charging based on weight or if you will apply a shipping fee per item.
6. Imagery. Sounds easy, you’ve got your products, you take a few shots and voila you will populate the site with images right? Sure it’s easy to take the photos but you need to ensure they are consistent in rotation, scale and in a reduced file size for the web for fast loading and you should also ensure they are in line with the website design. Drupal (the framework we use her at Neubreed ) has a wonderful in built image editor. You can also use free editors like: http://pixlr.com/
7. Product Search. Think like your customer. When it comes to designing an ecommerce site many people focus on the look and feel of the site however the most important factor in your website design is ease of use for the customer. How easily can your customer search for what they are looking for? If you are a high end fashion house it may be very important for you to have a shop by brand search. If you sell used cars you will need a year, price, make and model filter etc. Most importantly don’t overcomplicate it, and don’t make users click too many times to find what they are looking for.
8. Keep It Fresh. A good ecommerce site should generate a solid base of repeat customers who love your product. This means they will be looking for something new each time they visit. Post video content, interesting articles and helpful info to engage your loyal and new customers.
9. Time to Socialise. Yes social networking is a large part of an ecommerce site so give yourself some time to set up the right social networking sites for your business. Again if you’re not sure where to start look at your competitors, what are they posting about, what posts are engaging customers and getting shared? If you are serious about defining your brand and positioning in the market you may want to engage our comprehensive digital marketing workshops by contacting us today.
10. Getting Seen. Probably the largest part of any website development project. No matter how great the website is, if no one can find it then no one will shop! A professional and comprehensive digital strategy is a must for any business serious about making their business successful online. Talk to us today about what is involved in a comprehensive digital strategy.