Change is inevitable, right? But as far as I am concerned, two things (perhaps better call them events/inventions) have paced up the rate of change more than anything else.
Yup, you are right if you just thought of the wheel, but what about the second one? So wise of you if you thought of internet, because this is exactly what I had in mind, and for all the right reasons.
It has literally revolutionized almost everything about present-day lifestyle ……… from sleeping to shopping. Yes, shopping too. Who would have imagined a few decades ago that people would shop around lying in their beds? But this is what’s happening right now.
Despite all insecurities, all scam and all imperfections, ecommerce market prospers at an unprecedented rate, which makes it a trillion dollar market right now; in fact, around $2 Trillion.
That’s why top entrepreneurs around the globe don’t want to miss on it. Thus, any business owner looking to have a website and earn revenue through it should be well aware of how to create a viable ecommerce store.
However, it’s much easier said than done. There are so many things to keep into consideration and so many areas to look into that novices can easily get off-target. So, I have designed this post to help novices get a better idea of how things need to be done.
Where to begin?
It all begins by considering what you want to sell and how.
- Do you want to sell your own product(s) or are you looking to resell products (or services) manufactured by others. Many ecommerce stores nowadays get into collaboration with other businesses and resell their products.
- Another area of concern for ecommerce stores is whether they want to sell physical stuff or digital merchandise, or both. For example, a bookstore can sell the same books or magazines in printed version as well as in online version.
- Opting to sell digital products only helps you save some resources and efforts; for example, you don’t have to worry about physical delivery. Clients are able to instantly download the files from an online destination without waiting for days or paying shipping fees.
Choosing the right platform:
Once you are done with the absolute basics of what to sell and how, you have to choose a platform for your ecommerce store, something that determines the whole look and functionality of your online shop. Basically, there are two ways of doing this:
- If you have the resources, resort to a dedicated studio or a web designer to get a totally customized website from scratch.
- You resort to the convenience and handiness of a CMS (Content Management System).
Both of these options have their own set of benefits. Custom websites offer you highly unique and personalized ecommerce solutions, but the costs involved make them unaffordable for majority of business owners with limited resources.
That’s why majority of ecommerce store owners prefer a CMS. In fact, there are dozens of CMSs loaded with a myriad of features to make life easy for online shop owners. The most popular and functional of them include:
- Magento: According to a survey report published in 2015, Magento Community edition rules the ecommerce world, claiming 23.5% share of the total ecommerce market. Although many people find it really demanding and complex to handle, if mastered, it can work wonders for you, as evident from the stats.
- WooCommerce: According to the same report, catching up fast is the WooCommerce, bettering itself 3 percent from 2014, i.e. 23.7% in 2015 compared to 20.8% in 2014. Its rapid growth in the market means it is offering something that people find great for managing their online stores.
- PrestaShop: PrestaShop is the next best thing, claiming 8.7% of the total ecommerce market share during 2015. It is turning out to be one of the top preferences of online store owners and continues to grow in size and function over time.
- Shopify: At 8.1% of the market share, Shopify is also one of the leading ecommerce CMSs capturing attention from a significant number of people during 2015.
Also make sure to choose a reliable hosting service, so that your ecommerce website remains safe and secure. Did I forget to mention the domain name? Well, you gotta have a catchy and competitive domain name too, to grab attention from web surfers.
Choosing an appropriate design:
With the competition ever rising in ecommerce industry, it is quite imperative to have an online store that not only meets your requirements, but visitors’ expectations as well. Your chances of success are high if you are able to choose an appropriate store design, which is user-centric as well as commercially oriented. These factors must be the integral part of your store design:
- Consistent and convenient: It should be consistent and balanced. The best thing is that your store structure guides your visitors effortlessly from the beginning to the end. Its ultimate goal should be to make users perform a purchase.
- Significant call-to-actions (CTAs): Your ecommerce store shall be ornamented well with clear and engaging call-to-action statements. Your CTSAs (Call-to-action buttons) shall be convincing, but without being obtrusive, or the visitors will divert before converting.
- Product choice: No matter how unlikely it sounds, surveys reveal that the likelihood of visitors turning into customers is increased when they have to choose from a fewer options. Too many options are believed to distract visitors.
- Testimonials and reviews: Testimonials and reviews help visitors develop trust towards what you are offering, thus increasing your sales.
- Convenient buying process and checkout: The easier it is, the likelier visitors are to confirm sales on your store. Make purchasing process easy for them, removing any unnecessary and irritating fields from the checkout stage.
- Get responsive: And last but not least is getting a responsive store, i.e. it should be able to accommodate visitors accessing from different devices and screen sizes. Why? Because more and more people prefer handheld devices like mobiles and tablets nowadays.
Your checkout process should not exceed 2-3 steps, because if it unnecessarily prolongs checking out, most of the visitors will abandon it at the last moment. People should feel convenient as well as secure while giving money to you, it’s as simple as that. Choosing the most popular and trusted services to check out will help your visitors buy from you without much hindrances.
Some of the most popular payment services nowadays include:
- PayPal: Undoubtedly, the best payment solution provider, also compatible with all major ecommerce platforms. It is acceptable in a huge number of countries. Moreover, so many people already have their PayPal account, which makes paying through it even more convenient and preferable for them.
- Google Wallet: Comes with the expertise and trust of Google.
- 2Checkout: Another handy service offering convenient and reliable payment solutions to its users.
Some other points:
Of course, creation of a successful ecommerce cannot be confined to these points only, but they make the most of it, for sure. Some other helpful tips for having a progressive ecommerce store include:
- SEO compatibility: To enjoy top position in SERPs, SEO compatibility is a must for any ecommerce portal looking to succeed. It should be well-indexed in order to be found preferably by search engines. A sound SEO strategy is one of the basic requirements for any ecommerce portal, one featuring not only keywords, but also backed up well with link building and paid solutions like PPC (Pay-per-click) campaigns.
- Daily monitoring: You also need to monitor the performance of your store on a daily basis. Most experts recommend Google Analytics to keep track of traffic, visitors, conversion rates and so forth.
- Online marketing strategy: You cannot think of succeeding in virtual world nowadays with an effective online marketing strategy.
- Social media management: The power of social media has grown beyond measures in recent times, which makes apt social media management one of the most desired skills to succeed for modern ecommerce stores. People will take you seriously only if they see you doing well in major online social platforms. In fact, SMM strategy (Social Media Management) has become as important as SEO strategy.
To be honest, creating and carrying a well managed ecommerce website has become quite a complex task these days, but if you are able to do so with appropriate guidance, the rewards are also mind-blowing. Hope this guide offers you the desired help in that. Best of luck!