How To Create An eCommerce Website
Creating an eCommerce Website is simple and easy, and it can also be free if you’re using the right provider.
First, let’s answer the question, what is an eCommerce website?
An eCommerce website is like any other website you visit, but its express purpose is to sell something to the site visitor. Amazon is the perfect example of an eCommerce website where millions of products and companies who sell their products from that internet location.
Perhaps the better question is, since Amazon and eBay are around, why do you need to have your own website? The answer is simple, costs. These host marketplaces charge an arm and a leg in commissions to sell via their site, and a homegrown site eliminates that profit sharing.
Ok, now that we have that out of the way, how do you create an eCommerce site???
It starts with an idea. What is it that you would like to sell? Do you already have a business running via low tech that you would like to make accessible to the digital marketplace?
Let’s imagine that you want to sell bicycles online.
Now what we need is a platform. Here are some great recommendations:
Selecting a platform is no simple task. It is because you never want to migrate to another platform, which entails considerable headaches and usually errors along the way.
Our recommendations above are great for small and large businesses alike.
Shopify – The largest and most successful eCommerce platform is our #1 pick. It comes fully loaded with everything you need to start an eCommerce business with its intuitive platform, ease of use and 1000s of ads-ons in their own marketplace to be able to customize your store exactly the way you want it and need it to be.
WooCommerce – One of the largest platforms that is predicated on WordPress. WordPress makes up for 40% of the world’s websites, and this program conveniently lies on top of it.
Simply plug and play! Like Shopify, its ease of use environment and customizable experiences and marketplaces makes WooCommerce an excellent option for those already using WordPress.
BigCommerce – It is a major player in the eCommerce industry – a standalone product that focuses heavily on security and SEO. Combined with its ease of use and customizable technologies, BigCommerce is an excellent option for small and large businesses alike.
Building Your eCommerce Website
Building your eCommerce website is simple and easy, but first, you need to do a lot of leg work to get things ready.
- Plan – Plan out how you would like your store to look. You can use the customizable themes but have an idea in your head of what you want your store to look like – even write it down and work towards that journey.
- Products – You’ll need to have a complete list of the products you’ll be selling in your eCommerce store, including names, category/department and several pictures. You will also need to note if there are variants of the same product, like size or colour.
- Pricing – You’ll need to work out the pricing for each product with the new environment, you’ll save money on it not being a brick and mortar store, but you’ll need to work in shipping. Plan carefully!
The next stage is not difficult but takes a long time to do. After selecting your theme and coming to the editor, you’ll need to create the categories and departments you’ll want to be using and start building products. Most builders will ask you for the category (or make a new category) when building, so it should be relatively straightforward. Once you have added the product, most builders will ask if there are any variants (like size or colour) that need to be added, add as required.
CRO or conversion rate optimization is the next step. Now that you have your website setup, products ready to be sold, it’s time to optimize! CRO is the process of creating hypotheses of why something should happen (or not happen) and testing if that theory is true or not. The goal is to get as many happy users as possible.
A website can be set up, but it doesn’t matter how good your marketing is or your product if it’s hard to use and find things in it. Your website may fail.
How Does One Do CRO?
The first thing you need to do is ask yourself, “what do you want your customer to see and do when they visit your website, what buttons or links do you want them to “journey” through, and what goals do you want to accomplish from your users.
Example. John arrives at the homepage of your website. He then clicks on the “mountain bikes category” and clicks on several options before deciding to add one to his cart and checkout.
This is a customer journey and a prime example of a CRO scenario. Obviously, this is a good scenario where the customer buys something, but other objectives can also be achieved.
Example. Dana arrives at the home page and isn’t quite sure about which bike she wants to buy. She clicks around at different options but still can’t make a decision. Fortunately, you have a Contact Us form on your website, and she fills it out. You now have her contact information.
This customer journey doesn’t put cash in the till immediately, but having an interested person who leaves their contact information is still valuable and an utterly valid customer journey objective.
Once you have mapped out the goals from each type of customer, it’s essential to see when those goals fail. For example, 1000 people come to your site, and 800 of them never get past the home page. That’s 80% not accomplishing any of the goals you set out for them. This probably cost you some marketing coin to achieve that visitor volume. Thus, you need to look at the home page and figure out what is causing them to leave.
HotJar is a program that helps you see what the customer sees and their journey by numbers. This is a highly recommended tool to install on your website.
The best (or perhaps hardest) part is that CRO never ends. Every week or month (depending on how long you are running each test) allows you to reflect on what is working and struggling and make changes to it.
For example, even the colour of a button on a site can make that much of a difference if someone will click or tap it or not. Take care to notice the little things on the page, and the more you optimize, the better off your site will be.
Another big one is getting feedback from your customers of what they liked (and, more importantly, disliked) from your website to know what to look out for and fix up.
Should I register my eCommerce business?
If your country has business license requirements or regulatory entities that you must comply with, you should.
Just because you are operating online doesn’t mean that you are not a business like all others.
Should I engage on social media?
Some social media platforms like Facebook and Instagram already have eCommerce selling and buying functionalities.
One of the mainstay activities you can do on social media is to advertise your business to prospective customers. Also, you can nurture audiences on social media subgroups.
What should I do for an international business?
Today’s trend is retail that goes beyond borders, and it is simple to create a system by which you can source products from one country and deliver them to another.
You have to follow the same guidelines in this article but, additionally, find a shipping service or system that will allow you to reach your market.
To make things better, you will have to do international search engine optimization because of the keywords in different languages and query styles you will have to consider.
What’s the best way to make an eCommerce website?
It depends on your needs.
If you have a limited budget and expertise, you can opt to use an eCommerce platform like Shopify or Wix, which have drag and drop functionality, making web building as simple as Legos. However, these eCommerce platforms will provide you with limited possibilities.
So if you have the right resources and personnel, the best will still be to make a custom, built-from-scratch website. Doing so will allow you to maximize what you can do with your eStore, not being limited by what any platform can provide.
How can I improve my eCommerce website?
eCommerce is a competitive arena, and you will need to do marketing strategies to get the profits you want.
The first thing that you have to do is make sure that the content of your website is enough for people to stay and use it and for search engine bots to index. So you will have to apply conversion rate optimization and search engine optimization, CRO and SEO, to your eCommerce store.
By implementing CRO, you will effectively help your users navigate your pages into an eventual purchase. And by doing SEO, you will be able to have your website contents show up when potential customers place queries on search engines related to your product field.
Additionally, you will have to engage your audiences, including prospective customers and website users, via emails. Doing email marketing will make sure that everyone who gets in touch with your eCommerce brand will become buyers.
Should I go online?
If you are asking this question, you must be a business owner looking into the possibility of opening an online version of your store. And the answer is yes, you should go online.
All markets are turning digital, and if you don’t follow, you will be left not only by the competition but by the consumers in general.