Sometimes starting an Ecommerce business seems so easy. Run your own business from your house; no need for a brick-and-mortar store, large staff, and expensive utility bills. Just sell online!
However, I am here to warn you. If you are serious about selling online, you need to consider all the pros and cons associated with it. I encourage you to think of it as a sales channel. Like any other sales channel, it comes with its own set of challenges and advantages. For example, you may be unfortunate enough to experience a website-breaking bug that puts your online store out of commission for an entire day or more. Or perhaps the data regarding your inventory gets corrupted, leading your products to be understocked or overstocked on your online store, or worst still, the online sale prices for your products are incorrect.
These types of problems are rare, but they have happened before to e-commerce sites. So, it would be best if you were prepared to deal with such disruptions. Here are some other points to consider before going online:
Things to know before starting an Ecommerce store
Starting an online store is a daunting task. With the competition becoming more and more fierce, it’s essential to have SEO in place from day one. You need to know what type of delivery system you’ll be using – will your products be shipped or delivered by courier? And most importantly, how easy will it be for customers to find you? If you can answer these questions before starting your store, the chances are good that you’ll have a successful business on your hands! The crucial point to consider before starting your online business is this:
Have a profitable product
If the product you have isn’t profitable or popular at a brick-and-mortar store, chances are it won’t do too well online. Once you have identified a successful product, you also need to ensure you have enough stock on hand to warrant selling online. Spend money on professional photos and videos of your products that will help people gain trust and confidence in you.
Once you have a successful product or service to take online, you need to plan how to build your store. Here are a few points to get you started:
Choose an Ecommerce platform
The first thing you need is an e-commerce platform. Now, what is an e-commerce platform? If you’re starting an online store, you do not need an in-house team of developers to create a custom-made ecommerce store. You can take advantage of a readymade platform that will give you most of the ecommerce store features at a reasonable price. These platforms range from Ecwid.com with an always-free plan to shopify.com, which has more features and costs $29 a month. Experienced developers like Opel Solutions can easily customize your site on these platforms to meet your specific needs and web design. We are experts in Ecommerce customization and accredited by Design Rush.
Here are some of the most common ecommerce platforms with their lowest available pricing plans-
Shopify – $29 per month
Woocommerce – Free
Weebly – Free
BigCommerce – Less than $30 per month
Wix – Free
Squarespace – $12 per month
Mozello – Free
Ecwid – Free
All of these platforms have easy-to-understand steps that let you set up your store. Please consider that the free plans are typically rudimentary and often place inconvenient restrictions on essential features like the number of items in your store. You will need to pay for additional services to remove restrictions.
Choose a shipping partner
Logistics service providers such as Shipstation and UPS have custom-made packages and rates for small ecommerce stores on a budget. Large shipping companies have economies of scale that they use to drive down shipping costs. If you’re on a limited budget, you may even consider passing on the shipping cost to the customer as well. You can easily integrate your shipping partner with your platform.
Once you’ve chosen your e-commerce platform and shipping partner, you’re done with choosing the foundation of your online business. Now it is time to take this base and make it your own.
The importance of Ecommerce design and development
Ecommerce platforms can offer you a simple, bare-bones Ecommerce site that you can customize yourself manually. However, if you’re looking for a store that represents your business and brand while successfully endearing and converting visitors into customers, you might need some help. Here is why we think you need to hire a design and development team:
- It doesn’t matter whether your business is a start-up, small, medium, or large enterprise. The first impression makes a big difference. Well, design thinking doesn’t stop here. Today’s websites cater to a much broader viewer community, and expectations are getting specific. Whether you are redesigning or creating one, some important design aspects are crucial to consider.
- A good design is a process, not an event. Your website should be designed to change with your business and its needs for the long-term success of both you as well as customers who will visit or buy from it in future years! A beautifully crafted site that evolves over time can build trustworthiness while also contributing greatly toward brand equity – making sure this marketing tool helps thrive long after other efforts might have run their course
Opel Solutions suggests you consider some of these specific ways to approach and improve web design:
Content & Visual Elements:
Content remains king in any brand’s engagement with its customers. However, the next immediate imperative is the font’s choice that is part of your design element besides the succinct and precise expression of the information. This means less clutter, more white space, and a sharp presentation with appropriate visual elements. Content-heavy and complicated visual elements will drive visitors away.
Layout & Engagement:
Your web design layout needs to be organized enough to attract roving human eyes. A great engagement starts with a pleasing and logically structured or placed design. This means, to build a good engagement, the design factor needs to be carefully measured in terms of the number of words per content block and brilliance in the placement of elements. Remember, visual elements draw greater attention, and concise content affirms the engagement.
Intelligent design directly impacts how your users or visitors find what they want from your website. 86% of your visitors expect to find your products/services information easily. Make your design simple and easy to help prospects quickly gather such information and help drive possible business decisions. Adding a call to action upfront from the landing pages can reduce the latency of searching for a contact page. Research shows that 65% of visitors look for contact information. Your website functionality and design must converge for an ultimate user experience. Good aesthetics impact perception and usability.
Every visitor comes with certain expectations; the psychology is simple. If you clutter their view with choices spread all over, you show them the exit door right away. The design method here is to create interest and then let them logically view more comprehensive options and navigate as their minds wills. This is typically the ‘Hick’s Law’ – “keep it simple, stupid”. Help them do one act at a time by category and navigate easily into more choices. Keep them engrossed and win them. Design of navigation is of utmost importance as it is the moment of make or break.
Good web design removes any form of distraction. Let your clean page design focus on your product or service and create an instant relationship with your customer. A page design that is clean, with abundant white space and a stunning piece of your product or service description builds on all the significant steps towards conversion. Time is of the essence, and suspense doesn’t work; we are not running a crime thriller. Customers look for a call-to-action button, view their options, and move to a decision or inquiry. Even if you were to add additional information, make sure your call to action is at least a button to the cart option. The display of your offer needs more emphasis here to motivate the prospect towards a purchase or ‘add to cart’ action. You are in business, do it in style with a scientific design.
Brand Professionalism & Trust:
Your web design encompasses holistically building your brand. Make your design clean and professionally engaging to help create visitor trust. A good presentation is a great first impression and a lasting one too. Lack of good design can decrease your brand legitimacy and make you uncompetitive. Focus on exciting design is not about hanging flowers and garlands; it’s about a clean display of your offering and an immediate call to action. A good web design brings about strong brand consistency. Whether you are a new brand or a well-established one, name, logo, and color scheme help build the brand recall and reassurance to help viewers feel that they are in the right place. Consistency across your website creates a solid brand emotion with your customers.
The world of business is now on your customer’s palms, specifically their smartphones. Considering Google’s ‘mobile-first approach, a mobile-friendly website is a must to stay relevant and online. Your website needs to be specifically designed for an equal if not better experience on mobile. By 2024, mobile commerce is expected to control 73% of the global ecommerce market share. Wouldn’t you want to be part of this massive growth (m-commerce is expected to hit $488.0 billion, or 44% of e-commerce, in 2024)?
Search Engine Optimization (SEO):
A great website is like the harmony of a great orchestra. Design, content, and visuals do their bit, but it is crucial to make them work in tandem with a great SEO strategy. Make sure your ‘on page’ SEO fundamentals are in place; else, you will be trekking up a slippery slope of challenges driving in murky visibility of your website. The way you publish your content and the diligence of your code establishes an SEO-friendly website.
When your design ensures that all the above eight elements are considered, you spend less time and investments in maintaining your site; Elevating your design experience, evolving navigation, and other experiences are made simpler. Investing in a web design with these critical steps is important to bring higher visitor traffic and get them to stay and come back often towards higher business conversions over the years.
Begin Marketing your site
Once your site is ready and complete, it’s time to invest in marketing. Marketing for an ecommerce site involves SEO, Social media, and paid online advertising. We have a great article on SEO basics here. It is a good idea to engage a marketing agency to promote your product online. We at Opel Solutions handle marketing and SEO Services for Ecommerce brands. Please take a look at our services here.