An eCommerce business is any enterprise that buys and sells goods or services over the Internet. Building an ecommerce site requires planning and skill. Although it can be a do-it-yourself endeavor, for most people, professional assistance can be a prudent step to consider.
Ecommerce services can be utilized to ensure that the site is better than the competitor sites in the business niche. Keep in mind that you will be competing with an estimated 12 million to 24 million other active e-commerce sites around the world
Building a Successful eCommerce Site
In the initial part of the planning process, it is important to understand which subset of eCommerce the site is intended to occupy. Here are the four main types:
- Business to Consumer (B2C)
- Business to Business (B2B).
- Consumer to Consumer (C2C).
- Consumer to Business (C2B).
These business models are largely self-explanatory. Additionally, most eCommerce sites focus on only one of these business models on any given domain.
Functionality To Consider When Developing An eCommerce Website
It is absolutely critical to ensure that certain aspects of functionality are operating optimally on your eCommerce site in order to make it as user-friendly as possible. These aspects include:
This refers to the design and development of the site with the customers’ and visitors’ behavior in mind. You need to account for your intended customers’ preferences in the overall look-and-feel of sites they like to visit, the screen sizes and devices they normally use, and other online cyber-environments that they tend the want.
Without effective search engine optimization (SEO), your website may not rank highly in the search results listings. If that happens, you will essentially be invisible in cyberspace.
Clunky websites are a big turn-off. The attention span of a typical web user is short. If your site isn’t zippy, they’ll leave quickly.
You’ll need a good content management system (CMS). This generally refers to software tools that assist in the creation, management, and modification of all content on the eCommerce site. For many, if not most website business people, outsourcing this to an eCommerce development company is the best bet.
Thousands, perhaps hundreds of thousands of visitors may come to your site, each bringing their own perspective and life experience to the situation. Product management is the art of intertwining the eCommerce site’s content and strategy, with the customers’ user experience. It is key for keeping repeat customers and planning for new product lines.
Payment and Checkout Functionality
Make it easy for your customers to pay you. It should be clear where your visitors can “check out” after the desired action has occurred. If you only accept certain payment methods, be clear about that.
Scammers, phishers, and other types of cyber predators are becoming increasingly common. It is important that your site is secure. This not only protects you but your customers as well.
It may make good sense to integrate third-party functionality to your site that enhances the user experience and promotes more sales for your business. For example, Shopify Plus integrations allow online businesses to create and manage their cyber stores with ease. It includes a built-in shopping cart, product and order management functionalities, and other handy features.
Six Steps For Developing a Custom eCommerce Platform
As you develop and build out your site, here are the six steps that are considered best practices as you go forward:
- Keep Your Business Goals in Mind. Know well your business’s goals. Don’t deviate from your objectives
- Map out the Customer Shopping Experience. Design the site accordingly with pre-warmed visitors in mind.
- Include Key Platform Options. Leave nothing out so that the customer is led on a path to easily make a purchase or ask a business-related question.
- Effectively Incorporate Your Products and Services. You want to ‘Get the Click.” This may seem obvious, but it must be explicitly obvious to the visitor what you want them to do.
- Set Payment and Shipping Parameters. Make sure that the buyer knows how to pay, and how the item or service will be delivered.
- Add a Q&A Section as Necessary. On most eCommerce sites, the Q&A section is very useful. It not only addresses commonly asked questions but can also act as a subtle way to increase sales.
Once these six items are well designed and put in place, it’s time to launch your site.
Effective eCommerce sites don’t just happen. They are well thought out, designed with key functionality components, and incorporate six key best practices. You can do this yourself if you have the skill sets and time. Otherwise, the assistance of an eCommerce solutions provider is a prudent step to take.