Plan of Action for Developing an Efficient Ecommerce Website
One of the easiest way to provide your business a kick start and make it accessible across the physical boundaries, is through an e-commerce website. The trend was pioneered by the likes of eBay and Amazon etc and today their noteworthy success stories speak volumes about these e-commerce websites.
Though never rush into developing an e-commerce website for your business and plan it out before hand. Remember success is nothing but an alliance of planning and execution. The best laid out plans are often the most successful ones if they are backed up with hard work and integrity.
Moreover, reliable ecommerce software is one of your option in the development process.
The write up provides you with the specific points you need to ponder upon before getting and e-commerce website.
What Are Your Goals Behind Developing an E-commerce Website?
In the present corporate world, you need to understand that the only way to assure the success is to know the motivations behind it. As it is said that “a life without purpose is a wasted life”, the same holds truth for your E-commerce website. If you are uncertain about the purpose behind developing the portal, it will only results to the wastage of priceless human efforts.
Obviously, the purpose of the e-commerce website is to sell a product in easy way. But the question arises that, what products you would sell?” How well are they demonstrated? Will they be able to generate customer’s interest? How will you promote it? And then of course, how easy is your e-commerce website going to be? Before getting ahead with the development process, always remember the three click rule. Your website must be able to lead the customer to the ultimate option in nothing more than three clicks. And the three click process must be really interesting and engaging. Remember no one is going to spend time and effort understanding your website, if it is not user centric and user friendly enough, it better stay off limits.
What is your target audience group?
Detailed knowledge about your target audience is very essential to makes your website sale able. Remember one cannot makes everyone happy, and similarly your website can’t turn out to be meaningful and relevant for one and all. Like any other physical brick and mortar business, do your research about your target audience. Understand who will be interested in buying your products and services. Obviously a octogenarian will not be interested in teenage fashion products and etc.
The study of your entire target group will have explicit implications on the entire design of your website. The entire website design will be centered around the target user’s, their choice, tastes and preferences, their language and slangs etc. For the success of your online store it is important to create it in such a way that users would find it relevant.
What special features does your website require?
Depending on the products and services that you are offering, your website may require certain special features. For instance, if you are planning to sell clothes online (a clothing e-store) you may want to filter the searches on the basis of the type of fabric, the color, the costs or the brands etc. All this is done to give users easy navigation across your e-commerce website and simplify their e-commerce based experience.
Know where to draw the line!
It is very important to not to over indulge while getting an e-commerce store and understand the point where you must draw the line. Everything has certain limitations, put on it and you must realize yours before it is too late. Work with the knowledgeable people who may provide you with deep insights. Consider the costs involved and draw your own budget. Besides, also take into consideration the technical part of building an e-commerce website. Will you do it yourself or you would have to hire someone? You may have to research about the various costs involved in the same and take intelligent decisions after that.
It is okay to have limitations. The strategy lies in making the best out of what you have got instead of letting the sorrow of not having what you wanted..
Are you technologically sound and backed?
You cannot move a step ahead in the virtual world, without being backed by the appropriate tools and technologies. In order to get a website, you will first have to secure a domain name and then decide upon the web hosting. Your domain name must be the name of your business or should be at least uniquely identifiable.
In addition to that, you will be requiring certain graphic editing software like Photoshop or Fireworks etc to come up with the look an design of your website. And then a web development application like Dreamweaver etc to develop the website.
Next, an e-commerce platform or shopping cart software is a must. You may consider various flourishing e-commerce development applications like Magento, OS commerce etc, the same are described ahead in the article.
What is the choice of your e-commerce platform?
The choice of the e-commerce platform is going to define the functionality and scope of your e-commerce website. The e-commerce platform is both; the automobile and the driving fuel of your high end e-commerce aspirations.
In regards to ecommerce platform, the sheer advancements and growth in the web services have made available a plethora of choices to choose from. To turn your e-commerce business into a successful endeavor you must carefully choose your e-commerce platform.
There are different open source and other platforms available for e-commerce development. Depending upon your skill-set, budget implications, features that you need, you may choose any one of the many platforms. Some of the commonly used and preferred platforms are:
Magento is a powerful e-commerce application development platform which is extensively used for developing e-commerce websites. It is perhaps the best platform flourishing in the market and equips your online store with amazing features and functionalities. In addition to the basic Free source version, even the enterprise and the professional versions of the same are available wherein you have to pay an yearly cost and you receive additional support.
What really makes Magento an undeniable choice for the e-commerce development is the fact that it provides your online store with amazing features like integrating various analytics, allowing wish lists, providing multiple images to showcase products, progressive filter search options, better customer service support, varying payment options, multiple language support, wide range of marketing and promotional tools and a lot more.
Furthermore, Magento has gone a step further in the e-commerce development scenario but introducing the first ever mobile e-commerce platform. With smartphones like iPhone and Android etc being the new in-thing, Magento development will make your online store easily accessible through web aware mobile phones, thus giving you more growth opportunities.
Shopify provides you with instantaneous simplifies web development solutions. It has easy and convenient options for setting up the e-commerce portal and eventually managing it and updating it in the long run. As compared to any high end option, it is really calming and you can obtain an e-commerce website within few minutes, if you are really in that desperate a need.
Other Content Management Systems with Shopping Cart integration:
There has been a tremendous rise in the open source content management systems providing e-commerce solution. The latest released version WordPress, WordPress 3.0 provides amazing tools for e-commerce integration. Drupal and Joomla offers very resourceful and fully functional shopping car plug-ins which are overly sufficient to support e-commerce development needs.
If you have an existing website in either of the above mentioned CMS, just go for plug-in installation and up-gradation, and you shall have a functional e-commerce store in no time.
Do It Yourself
This is perhaps the best laid out plan for the ones who are not easily satisfied and demand full creative control. If you happen to have some knowledge about the web design and development you may by-pass all this and develop an e-commerce platform on your own. This is extremely beneficial if you have highly intricate and customized requirements. And then you will be entitled to full control of your website.
Although if you don’t have the sufficient knowledge and the technical know-how, hire a developer instead because that will guarantee you a professionally thorough product in no time.
Check the shopping cart abandonment of your online store
Getting all the above mentioned features is not enough to makes you online store a success. You must also check against the shopping cart abandonment. It is a scenario where your website may enjoy heavy traffic, but the conversion rate is low. Which means people are visiting your store but not buying from you.
Provide enough information about your organization, if possible, along with the certificates showing approval of the governing bodies, license to do trade and etc. In addition to that, mention that your website is completely safe for people to trust on.
Provide your customers with easy payment options, don’t ask them to fill up lengthy forms before making the purchase, and supplement your online store with popular paying options like credit card or master card, PayPal subscriptions etc amongst others.
Spend some time and think about all these aspects for a successful e-commerce endeavor.
Mark Wilston is a Content Writer and marketing professional working with PixelCrayons, a reputed Custom web design & development company India offering offshore cms, ecommerce and mobile apps development services. For more information about PixelCrayons, visit at http://www.pixelcrayons.com/