Creating a successful e-commerce website is no easy task, despite the fact that consumers are accustomed to making purchases online, and there is no shortage of web developers willing to take on e-commerce projects.
When designing a website, keeping a few things in mind is essential. It is impossible to succeed without first addressing these concerns. Check off these seven items to see if your company is prepared to reap the benefits of e-commerce.
1. How well-suited are my goods for an online store?
You need to know if people are likely to buy your products directly from a website, as not all things are well-suited for online retailing. Features that make a product suitable tend to cluster together:
Homogenous brands are ideal for an online store because their items are consistent everywhere they are sold. Customers are more likely to purchase from your store if they have no doubts about the product quality they are considering. In the case of books, for instance, the customer knows exactly what they are getting because a novel purchased from one website is similar to another story. On the other hand, products that need to be tried on or tested are not ideal for online sales because of the nature of the transaction. Some products, like shoes and eyeglasses, are challenging to sell online because customers are hesitant to buy without first trying them.
The most common source of frustration for e-commerce store owners is the shipping and delivery of customers’ goods. Online sales are less likely to be hampered by high shipping costs if small and lightweight products are sold. As a result, many online merchants will include the cost of shipping directly into the price of their products to advertise “free shipping,” which often leads to an increase in sales. Website proprietors may encounter difficulties with shipping large or heavy merchandise. Will an extra £10 or £20 for shipping be too much to ask if the goods in question are relatively modest?
Cheap Customers’ tendency to buy online closely correlates with their estimation of the risk involved in online transactions. When faced with a book’s £6.99 price tag, a generally wary buyer may take a “why not?” approach. This same individual’s reluctance to spend thousands of pounds on an electrical gadget is magnified as the price tag approaches four figures. While you can profit from selling high-price items online, you’ll succeed more if you sell things of lower value.
Who exactly are you trying to reach?
As any Internet user will tell you, you can reach clients worldwide with an e-commerce website.
Expanding globally can appeal to business owners whose companies have always served local markets.
However, processing a purchase from a consumer in another country can be time-consuming and complicated. When shipping to the United States, will you be charged excise taxes? How much will shipping to New Zealand be?
This is why, especially in the first stages of an online store’s operation, many proprietors limit sales to customers within the United Kingdom. Sometimes the drawback of selling to a smaller market is worth it.
Thirdly, Online or Offline Payment Processing?
While the customer is still on the website, many businesses now process online transactions instantly. This uses a Payment Service Provider (PSP), an Internet-based company that offers several services in real-time:
A safe place for customers to enter their payment information;
A robotic link to the financial system for instantaneous card verification;
Popular payment service providers include Secure Trading and WorldPay.
If you opt for offline processing, your site will merely capture the customer’s card information and store it safely on the server. The website owner typically uses a PDQ machine (credit card swipe machine) to process the transaction at a later time manually.
Processing in real time doesn’t need any help from you. The website owner will be informed of a successful transaction (albeit they will not be privy to the total credit card number) and will be responsible for filling the order. This is a convenient automated approach, but it can be more expensive because both your bank and the PSP will take a cut of the transaction value.
Off-line processing requires your participation, which might be time-consuming but allows you to verify the legitimacy of orders before accepting payment.
In what ways do you plan to promote your online storefront?
As everyone who has ever managed a traditional store knows, “location, location, location” is the holy trinity of retail success. Every business owner knows that the key to success is a storefront in a high-traffic area.
E-commerce sites rely heavily on both returning customers and new visitors. Even if you have the most well-designed, user-friendly website, you won’t make any money from online sales if nobody sees it. A successful e-commerce site requires a strategic, well-executed plan for increasing internet visitors.
Internet advertising may be the first thing that comes to mind when considering increasing site traffic. A well-optimized website could be crucial to attract visitors from Google, Yahoo, and the other major search engines. Equally effective in bringing potential clients to your website is a Google AdWords(TM)-based advertising campaign.
Just because you have an internet store doesn’t imply you should ignore traditional marketing methods. Your marketing approach should include press releases, word-of-mouth referrals, magazine advertising, and public relations.
When a website fails, its owner often discovers that he or she spent too much time worrying about its features and “look and feel” rather than generating enough visitors. A well-thought-out plan for increasing website traffic is the most crucial aspect of every successful e-commerce strategy.
5. Have You Considered The Legal Consequences?
When you use your website for online commerce, you’ll face legal requirements that wouldn’t be there if you just used it as a brochure.
Owners of e-commerce websites are not able to transact incognito. The business’s and its owner’s physical and mailing addresses should be clearly displayed on the website.
Customers who have received their orders from your website have the legal right to request a refund within seven days of receipt. If a buyer wants to return an item, they can do so without reason, and you have to take it back (unless your products are exempt, such as those sold by grocery stores or companies that make custom things).
If you’re interested in online trading, visit the DTI’s website or consult a lawyer for guidance on data protection, copyright, and accessibility.
Six, what criteria will you use to select a qualified web designer?
There are three main types of web designers:
In addition to making websites, graphic designers often work on print materials.
Multimedia artists produce elaborate visual compositions, frequently incorporating audio and 3D animation.
Online developers are more interested in information technology and are equipped to create websites and online applications.
Because of their technical competence, web developers are ideally qualified to create safe, dynamic e-commerce websites.
It’s not easy, but here are some things to check before committing to a new web designer:
Have they worked on any online storefronts before? Get the addresses of some of your other clients’ websites and ensure they function correctly.
Do they understand fundamental e-commerce concerns like accepting payments and promoting online stores? Inquire about their strategy and hear their recommendations for your website.
Do they appear to have a systematic process for getting things done, or do things move more randomly? You don’t want to settle for less than ideal just because your web designer is rushing to finish your e-commerce site.
7. How Versatile Is Your Site Going to Be?
Verify that your chosen platform will provide you with the following essential e-commerce features:
Making changes to your site’s product information at whim, without contacting your web designer, is essential if you want to feel in charge after your site is built.
Managing inventory Online stores and wholesalers with immediate product turnarounds can sell virtually unlimited quantities of goods to customers. For some companies, having a public record of how many items are in stock at any given time is essential.
It’s possible that you’d like to put some things on sale or provide a special deal on others. Typical discounts and promotions include buying one get one free, a percentage off, and free shipping.
How successfully will your website accommodate international customers if you plan to sell outside the UK? Do you have the option to display product prices in multiple currencies? Could you charge a different amount for shipping to the UK, Europe, or the rest of the world?
Creating an e-commerce site, whether from scratch or as an expansion of an existing brochure-style website, is a huge step forward for your company. It’s easy to be overwhelmed by the sheer complexity of the situation. However, if you can establish yourself as an authority in your field online, you may open up a new revenue channel to help your business expand and stand out from the crowd.
E-commerce is no longer just another IT craze or trendy buzzword. The success of your e-commerce website depends on careful planning, as e-commerce is here to stay.
Iceberg Internet provides successful e-commerce websites for businesses of all kinds. If you have any questions or want to talk about your needs for online business, please visit our website at http://www.iceberginternet.co.uk.
Derby-based web developer Jeremy Flight runs Iceberg Internet, where he assists East Midlands business owners make the most of the internet. Jeremy is a sought-after speaker and writer on website design and search engine optimization, and he routinely publishes articles on the subject. He is an experienced Search Engine Marketer with a first-class honors degree from Brunel University.