If you are thinking of having an ecommerce website designed and developed and are wandering where to start then please read on – If you have an existing ecommerce website that’s letting you down and not generating sales, then please read on as this article will help you identify potential issues.
Before you have your ecommerce website designed & developed its worth doing some proper planning to understand what’s available to you, the specialist ecommerce web designers out there and to also understand the potential highs and lows that you could experience.
Before you start let’s look at the platforms out there and what they are suited for.
Shopify – is an opensource platform that is very popular with ecommerce store owners with smaller budgets who want to get something online out of the box, quickly & cheaply.
Shopify has a built-in content management system and is driven by plugins that are created by developers to enhance the basic Shopify platform.
You can do most of the things that other ecommerce platforms do, a number of plugins are on a monthly subscription, but you often need an ecommerce developer if you want to go outside the basic templates.
WooCommerce – One of the most common open source ecommerce platforms on the market. WooCommerce allows you a bit more flexibility than Shopify and allows you to create and integrate pretty much and template/design that you wish.
With WooCommerce you can reach an open source market of millions and millions of plugins that can take your ecommerce website to the next level with a huge bulk of them available for free.
WooCommerce makes it super simple to add new products, view orders and manage your website through a simple easy to use visual editor.
Magento – The biggest ecommerce platform out there and perfect for bigger businesses who want more control in their backend, especially with reports.
Magento is a very big platform and can be overwhelming if you jump straight to it from a simple platform such as WooCommerce.
Some of the great things about Magento include: the ability to run detailed reports, ability to synch in with warehouse and stock itinerary software and its ability to create product relationships to sell bundles of products at special prices.
Is best that you research each of the above 3 platforms and find which one works for you. There are demos available plus lots of reviews and videos that review the platforms to help you get a better understanding of their pros and cons.
Once you have reviewed the platforms available it’s time to start planning and seeing which platform fits your plan the best.
When planning your ecommerce websites its best to draw up a list of all the functionality that you would like from your website. Things such as “checkout with PayPal” “add products and multiple images” “set international & UK pricing” “allow customers to create an account” “SEO friendly urls” “ability to set featured products on my homepage”.
Make a list of everything that you would like from your website so that you have an idea to discuss with your website.
You’ll also need to research common payment gateways such as PayPal, SagePay, Stripe, WorldPay and the other alternatives on the market to see which one suits your needs best as they all have different sales commissions and monthly charging with Stripe also being very optimised for mobile transactions.
Functionality is only a small part of what you need to include in your website. You will also need to include a plan as to what your websites overall goal is.
There are different goals for different ecommerce websites. You will need to think about your visitor: where are they coming from and why are they coming to your website? Have they seen a product in a shop and now coming online to buy it cheaper? Are they looking for delivery costs & convenient delivery times to suit them? Are they looking to research your product? Are you selling a high-priced product and looking to nurture your visitors before they make a purpose?
It is best to sit down with an ecommerce web designer to work these parts out. Your website designer will have an input into your plan and tell you how to execute things best based on their years of experience.
Jumping forward to when your ecommerce website launches the real work starts.
You may be expecting an influx of sales and see your newly built ecommerce website performing very poorly.
Now that your ecommerce website has launched its time to start thinking as a user, especially if you have little to no conversions.
Firstly, check your Google analytics and see what they tell you. Do you have a high bounce rate? Do you have lots of mobile traffic? By looking at your analytics you can see if your website has any issues with specific browsers or screen sizes or if your traffic is mostly mobile then it could be that your shopping experience eon your mobile website isn’t great.
After checking your analytics its likely you will need your web develop to also take a look and make a list of suggestions – Once you have made the suggested fixes leave it another few weeks (depending on how much traffic you have) and see if your conversions have improved.
You can get outside opinion from places such as usertetsing.com where you can set tasks for your website, get real people to carry them out and report back via video their feedback. This can give you an insight into how others away from your close inner circle see and view your website and open your eyes to issues you may not have been aware of.
If your website is still not converting as well as it could it would be a great idea to install some software called inspectlet. This allows you to record visitors to your website and playback the videos too see if you can find any friction points, display issues or any other issues that could be putting them off from converting.
An ecommerce website can be a highly complex beast, there is always opportunity to improve and get more conversions – so it’s always best to think of your ecommerce website as work in progress and run lots of small tests in isolation to see if you can improve your conversion rate.