It has been said that Ecommerce is one of the fastest-growing industries around, and growing every day, reaching the giddy heights of more than $2 trillion over the next few years.
It is probably safe to assume that each one of us has, at one time or another, shopped online, paid for the product securely on the website and had it delivered to our doorstep. What happens “behind the scenes” goes unnoticed and is probably never thought about.
So, what does it take to build a successful e-commerce website?
Unless you have actually built an Ecommerce Business website from scratch, it is very difficult to fathom how much time and effort it takes. When you look at any online store, you don’t think about the person who sat down in front of a computer screen and designed the content, layout and individually loaded each product to the website.
You may even have to contact your suppliers and request permission to show their products on your website. Although the majority of vendors and suppliers will welcome another avenue to generate sales, it is always best to ask. All this before the actual process begins.
What Steps Are Involved In Building An Ecommerce Business Website?
1. Purchase your domain name.
This is the easy part. You will need a domain name that helps identify your business. Don’t lose any sleep over this part of the process. Several domain resellers can suggest domain names by you simply entering keywords you are considering and they will format them along with various extensions and names. Any that are already registered will be removed from the list, leaving you with a number of keyword-rich domain names that are available to purchase.
2. Contact a good website designer.
This is a vital part of your eCommerce site. Get references from any developer you look at. Have they designed an online store before? Look at examples of their work. Make sure you get a reasonable timeline for how long it will take from start to finish. Ask them how they will make sure the images you provide will fit into your website. There is no point in giving them huge photos if they can’t crop and reduce them down in size. Large images take a long time to load. The website must be user-friendly and easy to navigate. A visitor won’t stay long if they can’t find what they are looking for or it takes a long time for the information to appear.
3. Choose a website host with eCommerce platforms.
To make life easier, choose a web host company who offers a popular eCommerce platform. Also, look for one which has WordPress capabilities. WordPress has the advantage of being simple to edit, add or change items on the website, and many shopping cart plugins are available.
4. Choose a theme to blend in with your business.
Rather than designing your store from the ground up, you can purchase an eCommerce theme from one of the many template vendors. If you have an existing business, and you are branching out into the world of online stores, look for a theme template that integrates with your existing look and build it from there.
5. You will need a payment gateway and a merchant account.
To process online sales, you must have a merchant account and a reliable payment gateway if you are going to accept credit cards on your website. Your bank may be able to offer such services, but there are many 3rd party payment gateways and merchant account providers, which should satisfy your needs. Chose one which will integrate with your website easily and also work with your chosen shopping cart.
6. Select your “Shopping Cart” software.
There are numerous shopping cart programs and software add-ons available, but one you should look at is Magneto which is customizable and will give your business flexibility not found in other platforms. By extending your existing business with an online store, a good shopping cart is essential. To further enhance your store, installing a Store Locator and Pickup extension to your shopping cart will give your customers “a new expedited delivery method — in-store pickup” of the goods they have just bought, using the Store Locator & In-store Pickup facility from Mageworx.
By making use of the Store Locator and Pickup option, shipping costs can be reduced, average order value could increase because there are no shipping charges, and your overall sales can increase with the additional foot traffic coming to your physical location.