The e-commerce industry is one of the most booming fields making its way into our lives and our very lifestyle. It’s become more of a trend and growing substantially every year, with people preferring to shop online at the comfort of their homes or their offices. From necessity goods to luxury products, Ecommerce has it all.
It’s not just limited to goods; people are looking towards e-commerce for services and facilities and solutions to make their lives easier. From finding a Yoga instructor to ordering their laundry, e-commerce is where you find everything! The industry has been growing for a while now and is projected to evolve even further.
According to a research study by Statista, sales from online stores are anticipated to reach about 22% of the total retail sales globally by the year 2023 compared to14.1%, which we witnessed in 2019. It just goes to show that e-commerce is the future, and you should capitalize on this trend before it’s too late.
With COVID-19 damaging the retail segment heavily, it didn’t make a dent in the digital retail industry. Why, you may ask? Well, with everyone limiting themselves to their homes with lockdowns and curfews, people choose to shop online rather than going to a store physically and risking their well-being.
E-commerce and e-businesses
Trade as we know it is no longer simply in a physical form; it has gone digital with e-commerce opening the door to a world without any borders and making the whole world your market. Just two decades ago, we saw the arrival of online shopping, which shows how far and how quickly online shopping and e-commerce have come, which is phenomenal, to be honest.
E-businesses have become so convenient and easy today that one can shop for literally anything from anywhere, all with just a few clicks. E-commerce got a massive boost as our phones got more technologically advanced. Smartphones have helped shape e-businesses considerably, especially in the past decade. Club this with the ever-evolving wireless technology, and you have endless opportunities to reach billions across the globe.
Now that you’ve had a brief history lesson on e-commerce and e-businesses let’s see how exactly you can build an e-commerce website.
As we’ve discussed above, e-commerce has multiple benefits, and the prospects are bright. Giving your business an online presence would not just be a significant boost but would also open a world of opportunity, quite literally! It’s like opening your business to the world, and you’re no longer geographically limited when you want to promote your product or service. But before you decide to take your business online, there are a few things you need to consider when you’re building an e-commerce website.
1: Research and study your e-commerce market
The very first step before entering the digital market is to conduct a thorough and extensive research. You must begin with research to understand your market and how your product connects with the audience. Simply starting a website on a ‘hunch’ just doesn’t cut it, especially if you’re a startup or a small business.
Study your market, understand the needs, identify the shortfalls and work out how your product can fill the gap. There isn’t one business plan or strategy that works for everyone. Businesses are diverse, and so are the products and services. Hence it is essential for you to not dive into the e-commerce world on a gut feeling.
Sure, an idea is good, but if you can’t back it up with data and research, it is simply going to fall flat. Even before putting your finger on something and deciding on what product you want to sell online exactly, you need to understand the different business models there are and which one to follow to maximize your reach and revenue.
The e-commerce business model that attracts a lot of attention is a single product category wherein you supplement with allied or connected marketing. It means that you have the reins to control the content marketing and branding on a focused product and focus the rest of your resources on driving sales by monetizing traffic.
2: A unique experience is what everyone is looking for
Don’t be mundane and predictable. Let’s be honest; in most cases, your product is not unique. It would draw similarities with your competitors, or vis-a-vis your competitors might have homogeneous products that might be similar to what you offer. However, to stand apart, you need to give your user a unique and distinctive shopping experience that they would associate with only you!
Businesses online can squarely impact a customer’s journey by giving a shopping experience that they’ve not experienced before. This can be done through stories, videos, and personalized content, or even targeted marketing. When you do something new, it grabs your users’ attention and makes them stay longer on your website.
A digital shopper always remembers his/her choices, and your objective is to be on top of their list so that they keep coming back. Exciting and unique shopping encounters don’t need to end at the checkout either, as you can go the extra mile and reach out to your customers via email marketing or social media posts as well.
These experiences subconsciously convince your customers that online shopping offers inclusive opportunities and that your business is where they should come to.
3: Build a platform perfect for your business
Building the perfect platform for your e-commerce business is crucial. It’s going to take careful planning and ideating to develop your website; make sure not to rush this process. Now there are primarily three e-commerce platforms which are:
Open source platforms are readymade platforms that are open to everyone. As the name suggests, open-source offers their source code freely to everyone and anyone who wants to use it and is usually free of cost. It’s free to install and endlessly customizable.
Software as a service, or SaaS as it is more commonly known, is a platform service that’s offered based on a subscription. SaaS are usually easy to use, scalable, and have robust security. However, since it’s not a free service, you would have to pay to use the services.
This platform type keeps the shopping cart and display layer of the sites discrete, which means you are free to use any content management system (CMS) or digital experience platform (DXP).
4: Work out a domain name and get building
Once you’ve decided which platform to go ahead with, it’s advisable to finalize your domain name. Ideally, your domain name should be in sync with your brand identity and brand name. Try not to overthink this process and make sure to finalize and buy your domain name before it is too late and someone else picks it up.
Once you have your domain name finalized, you can now proceed with the next step of building your website. You need to understand that this is a very crucial step in launching your e-commerce website. If you are short of time and want to launch your site quickly but professionally, make sure to do your vetting when you’re choosing or hiring a web developer. Also, try getting references and sharing them with your developer as it’ll give them a better idea of how exactly you want your site to be and bring them on the same page as you.
5: Your website security should be the top priority
Merely building an ecommerce website isn’t enough; it’s essential to keep your users and your data safe and secure. The boom of e-commerce has also led to a sharp rise in digital frauds, attacks, and hacking compromising confidential data. If you shy away from web security, it could lead to disastrous results and possibly doom your business. Hence your website must be able to protect your data and your customer’s data.
Your website must be secure and reliable from external and internal threats so that your users can trust your platform and keep coming back. To build a secure website, you have to install an SSL certificate on your website it makes difficult for anyone who trying to access your data without your permission. SSL certificates establisha secure transfer layer between your website and the server. It works as a double authenticator watching over the communication between your website and the server and ensuring that it is safe from any attack or unwarranted activity.
For an e-commerce business, one that dabbles in large volumes of financial transactions, installing an EV SSL certificate is the best option for the data security. It offers the highest validation level and keeps your customers’ PII (Personally Identifiable Information) such as credit card, debit card details safe. So, make web security your top priority and buy an SSL Certificate for your website from trusted SSL Providers to keep user data secure.
6: SEO’s are your best friend
Apart from all the work, it takes to build your website, it can be frustrating to work out a perfect business strategy or model that would drive traffic. But Search Engine Optimization or SEO helps plan a strategy to bring in organic traffic to your website. Understanding SEO is crucial and implementing it to work in your favor could lead to your website’s healthy growth.
Many people running sites have a limited understanding of SEO, so you often only need to get the basics right to succeed. Start with figuring out what your customers are searching for and how you can optimize your web pages by targeting the keywords. Once you’ve done that, make sure your website is accessible to both search engines and users. After that, all you have to do is measure your SEO success.
7: Reviewing and bug tracking of e-Commerce websites
Nobody likes a buggy website, especially if it’s an e-commerce website. Users want a smooth and problem-free shopping experience, so you must test your website thoroughly and get rid of any bugs or errors that you encounter. Remember that this is not just a one-time thing but a continuous process that’ll make your website only better. It would also reveal any loopholes in the platform that might be taken advantage of by some unwanted elements such as hackers or bots.
8: Launch your e-commerce site
So, all the hard work is done, now is the moment of truth. You are making your website live! But before your launch, your website keeps a few things you need to sort out, like shipping and payments. It is also advisable to define your key performance indicators before the launch so that once you launch, you know what to measure to track the progress.
To conclude, building a successful e-commerce website is not that complicated, but it does require a lot of insight and hard work. But the rewards would speak for themselves. So, get ready to ride the digital wave with the tips and steps shared above.