12 Steps to Building a Successful Ecommerce Site in 12 Months
When you can shop online, seamlessly checkout, and then conveniently have your favorite pair of jeans, a nice new watch, or even a customized computer shipped directly to your doorstep, you might think the process isn’t that complicated.
As a digital marketer, I have helped a lot of brands grow sales through e-commerce. This got me wanting to start my own e-commerce site, so I could truly understand the process and what it takes to launch an online store from scratch.
Below are tips and tricks that I learned during the one year it took my sister and I to launch DermWarehouse, an e-commerce website selling skincare and beauty products. The steps outlined below will not only ensure you take the quickest and most professional route to get your site up and running, it will also set your marketing and SEO up for future success, which will increase your bottom line.
One Year SEO Strategy.
If you’ve never started an e-commerce store from scratch, it’s impossible to understand how time consuming and detailed the process is. When looking at any ecommerce site, you never think about the fact that someone had to craft content and individually load each and every product. Not only that, you also have to negotiate with each manufacturer to be able to list their products online, before the actual listing process even begins.
Aside from all the work it takes to actually build the site, from my marketing agency experience, I understood how frustrating it could be to have this functioning site and business model that you’ve worked so hard on, but not generate organic traffic. So, we kicked off our SEO strategy early, a year prior to site launch, while simultaneously building our website. We needed this time anyway for development, so why not make the most of it and kill two birds with one stone.
Ecommerce Selling Statistics
Ecommerce is growing every day and offers businesses unique opportunities to connect with their target audience. A well-designed ecommerce store can benefit from providing convenient shopping options for consumers.
1. Ecommerce will make up 22% of global retail sales by 2023.
While some of this growth is driven by more ecommerce sites being created, most of it is due to a shift in shopping trends. Business owners can take advantage of this global phenomenon by giving customers opportunities to buy as soon as they decide on a product and also reaching overseas consumers with international sites and shipping.
2. Ecommerce sales in Q1 of 2020 accounted for 11.5% of total sales.
It’s estimated that 11.5% of sales in the first quarter of 2020 were ecommerce sales. The impact of COVID-19 means more people are shopping online, and ecommerce sales have continued to grow throughout the year. As more consumers buy on the internet, opportunities exist for business owners to prove that the best ecommerce sites offer excellent online services, building loyalty for the post-COVID-19 world.
Why Create an Ecommerce Website?
It’s clear that the growth in ecommerce brings many benefits for a business’s bottom line, but there are more reasons to create an ecommerce business. An online presence gives businesses ample opportunities to create connections that lead to growth.
1. New market acquisitions.
For many companies, especially small businesses and startups, it can be hard to reach customers in new markets with just a storefront. An ecommerce site enables you to reach new customers online that you couldn’t reach with only brick-and-mortar sales.
2. Create unique shopping experiences.
Online businesses are also able to directly impact the customer journey by creating a unique shopping experience through videos, stories, and personalized services . These shopping encounters don’t need to end at the checkout either, as you can reach customers via email marketing or social media. These extraordinary experiences have a way of convincing customers that online shopping offers inclusive opportunities that a brick-and-mortar store typically doesn’t provide.
3. Strengthen your brand.
If you sell on an online marketplace, like eBay or Amazon , your products are listed generically and often use the marketplace’s brandings. Some customers may not even realize they’re purchasing from you and consequently won’t learn about your brand. Building your own ecommerce site ensures control of how your products are presented. Your customers remember you, not the marketplace.
How to build an e-Commerce website from scratch: Costs & Timeline
A total cost strikingly varies (usually $50k to $240k) as it takes approximately four to six months to develop a basic version, six to nine months for a medium project, and more than nine mos for a large complicated one. Planning your budget and timing, you should take into consideration such factors as:
Obviously, the first phase would be market research so you could pick a lucrative niche. If you have already determined what type of goods to sell and who your precious target audience is, you still have to perform basic marketing assessments like SWOT analysis, pick a convenient business model, set an optimal budget, etc. as your marketing strategy would become a basis for further steps. Let’s imagine this phase is complete, so we move to website creation. Firstly, decide if it is going to be a custom-built store or a website DIY builder is your cost-efficient choice for now. Evaluate both variants carefully!
Pros and cons of website builders
Such giants as Shopify, Magento, Wix have achieved popularity among startups globally due to their simplicity and user-friendly approach. If you don’t require sophisticated made-to-order features and extensive scalability, here is plenty of already existing templates plus you receive proper web hosting! Furthermore, there is an ability to acquire a free domain or create your own custom domain, utilize SEO tools, etc.
If you have spare time to test new instruments, you might try to do everything by yourself. But there are many developers who specialize in Magento/Wix development, so it would be faster and more efficient to work with them.
Wix lets you choose among many available templates
When it comes to a domain name, your desired variant may be already unavailable. In this case, look for instruments like Shopify’s Business Name Generator to pick an available name.
Pros and cons of custom-built solutions
Many projects, especially big enterprises, select custom-built solutions with preferred technical stack, unique features, faster bug elimination, further technical support, etc. Other advantages of such choice include:
Design of eCommerce website
Here at Ein-des-ein we believe that good web design often becomes crucial when it comes to customer decisions. Even such small details as fonts, colors, chosen pics greatly convince people to make a purchase or not, it is all about your image. Good web design should solve several issues when it comes to e-commerce projects.
Try to avoid adding any additional elements which can distract users from buying your items. Bright, “screaming” colors, annoying pop-ups, constant noises, etc. only cause people to leave your website forever. Choose references you like and study the concepts created by your design company. There are great studios out there that keep up with the latest trends and know which solution may be the most convenient for your type of business.
Be unique when it comes to branding
Stand out amongst your competitors so potential customers would 100% remember where they shopped from. Plus, good branding is crucial nowadays when there are scammers creating similar platforms—people should trust your shop and know that their privacy and card information is safe.
Try walking in visitor’s shoes
Try to behave as your potential consumer (focus groups would be an awesome selection too!), always analyze every new feature from your audience position. Would the layout be comfortable to navigate? How to arrange items in the most practical way? Is the checkout stage simple and quick enough? Constantly asking these questions and improving features, you would simplify an ordering process and optimize a sales funnel drastically.
Study a color scheme
Discuss color options with a design team so they may recommend good variations on every stage. Check out surveys on how a particular color impacts consumer decisions. Even the wrong combo of red/green colors may change consumers’ minds so pick colors carefully.
Use HQ pictures
When people are not able to see a product with their own eyes, you should provide high-resolution images so all the details and angles would be clearly visible. It would be an even better option to create 3D models as well. But if not, at least have good quality product photos or/and videos. Bad image quality equals a scam in users’ perception!
Avoid long descriptions
In the modern world, people don’t have time to read a lot, especially when it comes to online shopping. It is great if users would be able to read it “diagonally” in seconds. Avoid long introductions, “watery” descriptions, unnecessary or obvious details which only take extra space. Keep phrases short and simple, highlight the most important information, break large text blocks into smaller ones. Do everything to make your audience get all the necessary info and add an item to a basket faster!