Looking at the current scenario people have created a habit of buying things online by sitting at ease at home and this habit is going to remain permanent.
I am assuming that you already know what is eCommerce and have landed on this page as you have made the decision to join the world of eCommerce by selling something online. It could be your existing products or you may be buying from multiple sources and selling online(What most people do).
Here I will try to explain what are essentials you should work on to start an eCommerce website and what best technological platform will be useful for that.
Let’s see some statistics here so you can make the right decision on if it is wise for you to jump into eCommerce or not.
Worldwide eCommerce sales (Image source: Shopify)
eCommerce Statistics to consider while building a website in 2023
- 61% of eCommerce purchases in the world have been based on recommendations from a blog and influencers. (Content Marketing Institute)
- First online shopping purchase of almost 59% of Millennials is through Amazon, that makes Amazon one of the biggest eCommerce store in the world. (Inviqa)
- Statistics says it is the best time to start an eCommerce right now, by the year 2040 almost 95% of all the purchase made in the world will be through eCommerce. (Nasdaq)
- In 2020, Amazon accounted for 47% of all US eCommerce sales, which will touch 50% in the year 2021. Statista
- There is a very high amount (55%) of customers who buy things online tell friends and family when they are dissatisfied with their eCommerce service or product they consumed. (UPS)
- Out of the total people using the internet, 93.5% of them have purchased have done eCommerce transactions at least once as of now. (OptinMonster)
- The average growth of the eCommerce industry from the last 10 years is at 23% but still, around 50% of businesses in the USA don’t have eCommerce websites. (BigCommerce)
- The Next Boom in the eCommerce industry is going to come in B2B business and 69% of B2B businesses say they are going to stop printing the marketing material in the next 2-5 years. (B2XPartners)
- Only 2.86% of eCommerce website visits convert into a purchase, so if your site is converting more than this than consider yourself very lucky and give a bonus to your digital marketing team (Invesp)
- A survey has found that No. 1 reason people do online shopping as they can shop anytime in the day without any time restrictions. (KPMG)
Now let’s go through the points which you need to consider before you start building an eCommerce website, these points will help you to list features and functionalities required to build your website.
Here I am assuming that you have done good research on what products you want to sell online as without having good products to sell thinking about eCommerce is waste of time.
Initial research and strategies for your eCommerce store:
- Whom to sell – Your Target Audience
It is imperative to define your target audience as per the products you are trying to sell, If you are trying to sell baby products than mothers are the most suitable target audience than fathers. If you are trying to sell gifting products then emotion plays a major role in gifting and women should be your major target. If you are trying to sell Electronic products then men are making a major decision and if they are white goods then women are the decision-maker.
- How to reach your Target audience?
After the advancement of social media like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat reaching your target audience has become very easy. You can create an advertisement and target the exact age, sex, city, marital status, and interest of your target audience. Not only that in these advertisements you can even set on what time you want to showcase your advertisements. It is been known that if you want to get maximum sell then you need to target your advertisement at night time after 8 pm when people are just passing time on social media and have enough time to make a decision and purchase your product.
- Use your competitors to your advantage
Why reinvent the wheel, before you make your marketing plan you need to thoroughly research your competitors and their marketing activities, you need to research the tone of their text, what kind of blogs they are writing, what kind of content they are publishing on social media, now if you go to the Facebook page of your competitor you can even know all the advertisements they are running currently on Facebook. You can analyze their keywords and source of traffic with tools like SpyFu, QuickSprout, and SimilarWeb, and target the people they’re targeting.
- Where and how you are managing the stock or you planning dropshipping?
It is very important to have an effective plan to manage the stock or have a dropshipping model. You have to ensure your business has sufficient stock in hand to meet customer demand. If you are a newbie in the eCommerce industry and want to save money on warehouse and storage then Dropshipping is best for you as you don’t have to handle the product directly.
- How are you going to manage shipping and returns?
Another big part of knowing how to start an online store is deciding how you’ll be shipping your products, AKA where you’ll be doing business. You have to consider various aspects of shipping like methods & rates, packaging, shipping solutions. According to research, every year 30% of orders get returned. Renowned eCommerce stores offer return options with the required flexibility and precautions.
- What are your marketing strategies and if you are going to have a budget to spend on marketing?
Some of the effective marketing strategies are:
– Email Marketing
– Content Marketing
– Social Media Marketing
– Search Engine Optimization
– Influencer Marketing
– Affiliate Marketing
Try and find out which strategy will give you the best impact. Determine your budget, whether it’s based on a fixed income or a percentage of revenue, This way it will be easier for you to allocate resources and measure the results of your campaigns.
- How are your costs and your markups?
When pricing a product for your eCommerce store consider these 4 angles:
Your costs: Your costs will be a prime consideration of your pricing to have a sustainable business.
Your competition: know your competitors’ pricing model.
Psychology of your buyer: Understand your customer and learn what they are looking for (budget option: priced cheaper than your competitor)
The market. Once your business met the costs, how much more do you want to have of surplus
There are multiple points you should consider for products:
- How many different SKU’s you will have?
Each company assigns its own SKU numbers. SKU’s are used to uniquely identify inventory (“What is it?”), track inventory (“Where is it?”), replenish inventory (“Do I have enough of it?”) and manage inventory in terms of turnover rates and profitability (“Do I have enough of it to keep selling or is it just wasting my money?”)
- Is your product consumable and can you offer a subscription service?
Consumable products offer a better opportunity and also generate repeat business from your previous one. Offer subscription service to build your lifetime customer value and keep easing them towards that buy button.
- What is your product weight and size?
Sales are greatly affected by the size and weight of your product. Your potential buyer may abundant the cart as shipping expense increases due to oversized and heavy product Size.
- The durability of your product
A durable product is always more ideal. Product durability will reduce your overall shipping costs and prevent breakage during shipping. It is important to design the package for durability, safe transport, cost savings, and attractiveness. If your packaging is not done correctly then it’s prone to damage during transit which may undo all the efforts that you put into the product before then.
- Is your product a Luxury or a Need?
Customers’ wants, needs, and motivations are very different from the standard retail shopper. There is a huge difference in how these kinds of products are marketed and sold through a website. The customer may be looking either for the basic necessities products or luxurious products. For example, as per the latest trends, the needy products will be sanitizers, masks, gloves, blankets, and other such items. On the other hand, the luxurious products will include fashion apparel such as clothes, jewelry, branded mobile phones, etc.
Now once you do initial research your actual eCommerce building should start.
Steps to be taken for building an eCommerce website
- Book a domain
Secure your business domain name as early as you can. It will lead to avoiding being forced to adopt a moniker or web address that is similar to a competitor. Pick a domain name that customers can relate to the nature of your venture. Give priority to the .com extension as it’s good for SEO, if you don’t get the .com extension to try for your country extension like if you are in the UK try for .co.UK and in Australia try for .co.au
- Select an eCommerce platform (Shopify, WooCommerce, Magento)
If you are a start-up and with a very limited budget and want to sell simple non-complicated products and you don’t want customizations in your eCommerce then Shopify is a good option to start with. You can connect with http://www.shopysquad.com/ to build your Shopify eCommerce site, they have cost-effective solutions for start-ups and are expert in the field.
If you are a start-up with some budget than WooCommerce from WordPress is one good option, creating a site in WooCommerce will not only help you with eCommerce but it has a good CMS platform which will help you to publish good SEO friendly content. You can connect with http://www.wordpresswolves.com/ to build your WooCommerce eCommerce site, they are a leader in giving the solution on WordPress and have good experience in building WooCommerce based eCommerce websites.
If you are an existing merchant and want to start selling goods online and have proper plans of making a successful eCommerce store then Magento is the best solution, being an open-source software you can own the store and it has a wide range of plugins available in the market to make any kind of customizations in your store easy to implement. If you are going for Magento based solution then there is no better company than www.magemonkeys.com they have a dedicated pool of expert certified Magento developers who can launch your store successfully
- List the features you want in your eCommerce website
Create a spreadsheet and make a list of the features and capabilities that you want in your eCommerce store. Examples of features :
- Do you want integration of your website with third-party software?
- Do you want to manage inventory on the website?
- Do you want a multicurrency Multilanguage website?
- Do you want a module to manage the return of the goods?
- Do you want abandon cart automated email
There are such 100’s of features that are not default in eCommerce but are of prime importance in your category of products and you must study these features beforehand and let your developer know about these features.
- Register for your payment gateway
To operate independently, it is crucial to integrate multiple payment options (net banking, credit/debit card, mobile wallets, PayPal, etc.) into your online website that can provide a smooth transaction experience to the customers. Take all necessary steps to ensure the entire payment process is completely secure and compliant with the relevant information security policies.
- Register your shipping partner
Get in touch with various shipping services nationally and internationally to meet the different needs of shipping as per the products/goods to deliver. Most of the eCommerce platforms are integrated with shipping calculators which confer the shipping rates before generating a final invoice for payment.
- Look for a professional agency who Is master in your selected platform
A professional agency will help you with the challenges ahead and overcome any existing problems. While you focus on increasing your business, they will handle the technical challenges aiding that growth. So, find a professional agency that is best suited for your business needs. The success of your eCommerce website is largely dependent on your agency partner. Choose wisely.
- Create social media channels
Social media is the most influential tool for eCommerce websites. It can connect with direct shoppers and also attract them towards the new product. It can engage with them and create a sense of community which is incredibly useful. eCommerce websites can create brand awareness and can also bring traffic to your site.
- Hire a marketing agency
The eCommerce marketing agency will create untapped revenue from PPC campaigns, SEO, email marketing campaigns, and more. The top-notched marketing agencies are updated with the latest tools and technologies to assist their clients to boost up their marketing efforts. They know what works and what doesn’t and can provide custom-made recommendations that meet your business needs. This will enhance your marketing productivity and save your time.
Here are the certain features for specific categories which should be essential If you want to make your eCommerce site successful