Going online is nowadays extremely tempting, but many entrepreneurs that could be successful in e-commerce are anxious about the costs and time they would have to spend on preparing an actual website. Will that involve extra stuff, developers, designers? In order to answer the questions we tried to gather all the necessary issues you should know about.
A little bit of creativity for a start!
Firstly you need a catchy and original domain name. It should preferably have something to do with your business. The domain will be your website's address and thus it will establish your identity on the Internet. Remember that it should be rather short and easy to remember! To come up with it you can organize a brainstorming and/or use some online dictionaries and word maps, like http://visuwords.com/ , http://dictionary.reference.com/ , http://thesaurus.com/ to inspire you.
There are also name generators available online to help you combine the most important keywords into a good brand or product name.
Host Your Online Store
To exist successfully online you’ll need hosting. There are professional companies taking care of hosting 24/7 and their services are rather very cheap. Thanks to hosting you can use your domain name and get a necessary storage place for your shop on a server. Of course if you plan on having a bigger business you can consider having your own server but that’s expensive and requires extra stuff.
Successful start of the webshop
Before you start thinking about the sales, it’s good to think about the features that you and your clients will need when using your webshop. By that I mean, security issues, shopping cart software mobile readiness, social media integration and the way to get analytics from your sales, etc. You will also need an access to the backend of your e-commerce platform/solution. That can all be provided by developers that you may want to hire. But it’s also available as a set of ready solutions, called e-commerce platforms, for example our web commerce solution 21webmerce.com.
Don’t be like a kid in a candy store!
Generally speaking there are three ways of implementing your webshop. You can choose from: package solutions, a solution delivered by a full service agency and on demand e-commerce solutions.
Package solutions are webshop solutions which are licensed to you. That off the shelve software can be turned into a custom solution by an agency or your own IT team. Also an agency or your IT team has to take care of the implementation and with this solution you need to arrange for the hosting infrastructure (to check how, go back to the previous paragraph) or ask the software provider. You will also need to determine when it needs to be scaled and what to do to create additional capacity.
With a full-service agency solution you either own the source code of your solution outright or the solution is licensed to you. The solution is then based on a packaged application and the provider owns the platform. You don’t need to worry about the implementation here, it’s done by the agency. With hosting you have a choice whether to choose your own infrastructure or use the agency’s hosting service. The scalability issues are just about the same as in case of the before mentioned package solution.
Finally, you can choose an on-demand e-commerce service that is meant especially for mid-sized and big enterprises. In this case, you are renting the service and all of the technical implementations are undertaken by the on-demand service provider. However, the front-end and design can be arranged by you or your agency. You don’t have to bother with hosting, it’s included. Moreover it’s the service provider to ensure performance targets for you.
The choice depends mainly on the size of your webshop and the number of webshops that you own.
Play with the looks
In case of e-commerce, next to good functionality, performance and usability, the look and feel is the thing that influences the shopper most. It should be professional, connected to the main idea of the shop and clear. Aren’t the flashing pictures on websites a sore to your eyes? Try to minimize their number or even resign to make it all as user-friendly as possible.
The second thing is the products’ display, think about the right categories and the way to present the items to make them appealing. Not to lose any client on the way, make the design usable. Place all the functionalities in an obvious and clear way!
If you’re the artistic type you can do it all yourself or just hire a professional graphic designer.
Get a cash desk
If your software or provider doesn't offer a flexible checkout and payment module, think twice! It is something essential in an eshop, just like a cash desk is in the supermarket. Invest in a good one, as this is the place where clients tend to resign from a purchase most often. You need to make them feel their data is in right hands when checking out. Talking about payments, we’d suggest going with the most popular ways, like PayPal, bank transfer or a credit card.
Just remember that not everyone trusts the same methods, so offer your customers a few possibilities.
Once all is done it’s high time to take care of marketing! Get your e-commerce’s Facebook and Twitter account and be active. Talk to your (potential) customers online like you would in real life. Be proud of your product and/or service. Try to get as much feedback as possible. Stimulate your clients to share their opinion and value their effort. Listen to what others are saying about you and your products. React on both positive and negative reviews. Maybe consider a group-deal for a good start? It’s also good to run a blog connected to your branch, because in order to get profits you need to convince people that you sincerely want to help them. So, don’t be reluctant to share your knowledge!
If you need advice on the topic or we maybe forgot about something here, contact us! Any feedback is useful!