9 Steps to Successful E-commerce Website Development

In the second quarter of 2015, the U.S. retail online sales hit 83.9 billion (which comprises 6.6% of total sales in the country). With 110 thousand e-commerce websites functioning in America, running a virtual store seems an easy option. However, 97% of online businesses fail – mostly due to poor website development and management. How to create a successful e-commerce website? Read on to find out.

A word of advice from e-commerce web developers

  • Choose the right ecommerce platform. An e-commerce platform is a web solution for online store hosting and maintenance. It can be considered a template, sort of blueprint for your website. Such platforms are often referred to as “shopping cart software”, since they allow users to pick and purchase the goods from your catalog. There are two options out there: hosted and self-hosted e-commerce platforms. If you’re not good at computing, you’d better utilize a hosted platform like Bigcommerce, Weebly eCommerce or Shopify. These services offer ready-to-use mobile themes, commercial apps, drag-and-drop goods’ management options, as well as full time web support. Entrepreneurs who want to have more control over an online store should consider using a self-hosted (or on premise) platform. Magento, Open Cart and WooCommerce are the finest examples of such software. Although self-managed platforms require some technicality and great understanding of the coding process, the software enhances e-commerce website functionality and development options. Secure socket layer (SSK) is one of the key elements of any web store. The technology encrypts credit card numbers and other personal data, turning online shopping into a fascinating and 100% safe experience. While cloud platforms (Shopify, etc.) ensure data security by default, businessmen who prefer on premise solutions should find a reliable hosting company, track every order and urge customers to generate strong passwords;
  • Don’t neglect mobile users. In 2014, 50.3% of ecommerce website traffic in America came from smartphones and tablets. In order to keep mobile users on your website and convert them into leads, you should provide seamless experience, reduce the loading time to 3 seconds and offer coupons.
Ecommerce website structure

Ecommerce website design tips

Although web designers acknowledge the fact that written content often prevails over visuals, the power of design should not be underestimated. Users form their opinion on your website in less than 50 milliseconds. Here’s what you can do to catch clients’ attention:
  • Provide customers with large high-quality photos of your product. 80% of users remember what they see and not what they read; how could you possibly keep them interested? Use light background colors. Your photos should be taken from different angles. Zoom options are very welcome. Unless you have a good camera and (at least!) basic knowledge of digital photography, hire a pro with an good retail portfolio;
  • Easy navigation is a must. The sooner customers find what they need, the better your sales get. “New Arrivals” and “Recently Viewed” are the two magic tabs that will improve customer experience and maximize your ROI. Amazon, one of the world’s largest and most profitable online retailers, widely implements these features (as well as drop-down lists) – to customer appraisal and constantly growing revenue;
  • Craft an outstanding “About Us” page. Write a short, yet captivating story, and provide several testimonials. The photos and videos you choose should perfectly describe your product and services. The visuals with a social message (Yellow Leaf Hammocks, for example) work best;
  • Make use of sliders/separate web pages. FYI, it’s a great way to show related items viewed by the users who search for the same product or service.
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How to create an e-commerce website: marketing really matters

  • Employ a strong SEO strategy. Since top 3 results in Google Search get approximately 63% of all natural traffic, you’re bound to devote considerable time to SEO. In order to improve an e-commerce website ranking, you should use relevant keywords in image tags and headings, create short user-friendly links, never duplicate content, carefully plan linking system and track everything that is going on in your virtual store with the help of Google Analytics tools. Write simple and well-organized texts, make use of keywords, subheadings and bulleted lists;
  • Promote your store through blogging and social media. Although Instagram and Pinterest are only relevant for a limited number of products, most businessmen can rely on Twitter and Facebook. Define your target audience and learn what types of content get shared the most on each platform. Mind cross-posting: you customers won’t be stunned to see the same message in all social networks. Do not try to sell something in every post; instead, tell your brand’s story and encourage users to share their opinion. When it comes to blogging, e-commerce offers a wide range of topics to write about: personal experience, related products, your brand’s story, the challenges you face and tips for startups. Blogging increases traffic by 55% and more;
  • Ask for feedback. The strategy is equally beneficial for both e-commerce website promotion and design. Use simple feedback forms to ask whether users like your website or not (and why). Encourage customers to leave reviews (nearly 80% of users read the comments written by ordinary people) and provide social media tools to share them. Consider adjusting the feedback button the way it would be available at any time of a user session.
E-commerce is a promising IT domain that offers vast opportunities for financial growth. Yet, small businesses often fail to replicate the success of eBay and Amazon. Website development is a challenging task for every company. Coding issues, poor design and the lack of marketing strategy result in underwhelming sales. That’s why it’s so important to come up with a fresh idea, devote much time and effort to website and application development and promote your store through numerous channels.
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