Contrary to popular belief, simply having a website is insufficient for a successful eCommerce business. It has to be on a functional eCommerce platform with a reliable host, and you have to put time and effort into product photography and descriptions, seamless 3pl order fulfillment, and search engine optimization.
As complex as it sounds, it’s entirely possible for the average entrepreneur to end up with a wildly successful eCommerce website. You just have to take some of the following steps:
Choose a Suitable eCommerce Platform
The eCommerce platform you choose can make or break your business. If it’s not functional or reliable, customers will be more inclined to shop with your competitors.
Three core eCommerce platforms exist:
- Open source – popular with people who have advanced coding knowledge and want to customize their site;
- SaaS – a subscription-based platform that’s easy to use, secure, and scalable;
- Headless – your shopping cart and display layer are separate, requiring the use of a content management system and an eCommerce engine.
While SaaS eCommerce platforms are popular due to their ease of use, it’s important to remember that you will often be required to pay fees for your subscription, transactions, and some plug-ins.
Select a Suitable Website Theme
Finding a functional and scalable eCommerce platform is central to creating a successful website. However, so is the theme you choose as the face of your site. If the theme doesn’t suit your brand, isn’t easy to navigate, and lacks customization options for convenient shopping, your site might not be as successful as you hoped.
Nearly half of all consumers in an online shopping survey said easy navigation was paramount for a good online experience. If they don’t get it, they might shop elsewhere. So, prioritize the user experience (UX) at every step, and consider working with a freelancer or agency specializing in UX design.
Use Professional Product Imagery
It can be tempting to snap a few quick pics on your phone of products you’ll be selling on your website, but professional product photos will always be better. When customers can see every inch of a product and staged situations of using it, they can make their purchasing decision with more confidence.
If you’re purchasing products from drop-shipping businesses, you might even be able to obtain pre-taken photos, saving you from needing to take your own.
Establish Easy Payment Options
Online shopping is far more convenient than in-person shopping, but only if you use the most practical payment gateways for your customers. Weigh up the pros and cons of redirects, off-site, and on-site.
A redirect eCommerce payment gateway means customers are taken to a separate site to process their payment, such as PayPal. Alternatively, you can collect payment details on your website and make the payment through a third-party payment processor. Finally, explore the advantages and disadvantages of on-site payment processing. Generally, this option is more appropriate for large businesses handling hundreds of orders daily.
Set Your Shipping Policy
Cart abandonment is a huge problem faced by eCommerce business owners worldwide, and shipping costs can sometimes be at the root of it. A clear shipping policy will improve your chances of people staying in their carts and feeling comfortable with your shipping costs.
Consider whether you’ll offer free shipping, variable fees, or flat rates. You might also consider eCommerce fulfillment services at this stage since many providers can offer competitive shipping rates that improve customer satisfaction.
Every eCommerce business owner wants to succeed, but you must do more than build a basic website. Take the actions above, and you’ll lay a foundation for future eCommerce success.