Opening an eCommerce site is not the extensive hoop-jumping experience it used to be. Online payment sites like Paypal, Google Checkout and advances in the online commerce environment have standardized web shopping. Now anyone with a dollar and a dream can set up an eCommerce business and be competitive. If you’re looking for your slice of the pie, here are a few items every web vendor should know about the business.
Clean web design
Make sure your site has a good look to it. Not only is good web design a good idea for any site, but it usually makes the user experience better. If anyone is having a hard time navigating your store, you can’t expect him or her to want to stay there. A clean, accessible easy-to-navigate site is more likely to increase conversion and reflect highly on your brand. If you need to contract a web design company to achieve this, spare no expense. A slapdash effort will yield poor results. There are many places for people to shop on the web; your store doesn’t have to be the one they choose.
Building relationships with other businesses is paramount to developing your online store. More often than not, you will need to hire in another company to handle at least one aspect of your business, whether it’s partnering with an order fulfillment company, or interfacing with a server manager to ensure usability of the website. Look at it like being part of a team; you all help each other out. They can’t do it alone either.
Planning your Catalog
The best eStores look like they were effortlessly put together, however, that is usually an indicator that countless hours were put into the design and execution. Before you launch your store, plan your catalog, separating items out into categories and subcategories. This entails knowing what you’ll be selling in the first place. The success of your store depends heavily on the quality of your product catalog. Creative and logical linking from one item to others is also important (i.e. “Other suggestions” or “People who looked at this also bought…”)
Ensure that the title tags of each item to match up with terms that people search for. If you sell black boots and the title tag reads “Black Boots,”it is more likely your item will show up in a search for (you guessed it) “black boots” than if you titled the tag, “combat footwear”, though you may receive a whole different demographic of web searchers who are into combat footwear.
Opt for Off the Shelf Rather than Custom Development
It’s easy to get really excited about opening your first eStore and it’s only natural to want to do it right. Oftentimes, in order to stand out, vendors will want to contract custom development of the store, adding commodity functions (shopping cart management tools, product merchandising, etc.), but unless you are a huge retailer (Amazon, eBay, etc.) these tools will cost you lots of money and add very little to the user experience. There are a number of ecommerce applications you can purchase on the web. Many are open source, which allows you to have a element of control over the final product rather than submitting completely to a template.