E-commerce has become one of the fastest-growing industries in the past few years. As per the stats, 60% of buyers plan to spend more money via online shopping. There is no doubt that developing an e-commerce website is the latest trend for online businesses. In this blog, we will analyze the 6 key factors to the success of an online store.
1. Platform and Theme
Choosing an appropriate platform is the first and foremost step you need to do to build a sales-driven e-commerce site. There are various platforms to choose from: WordPress, Magento, Shopify, Joomla, Drupal, Zen Cart, OpenCart, Prestashop, osCommerce, etc.
WordPress is considered to be one of the best platforms for e-commerce websites. Nowadays, WordPress is not only used for blogging; it is also used for news magazine, portfolio and e-commerce purposes. Its popularity can be shown by the fact that there are over 140 million installations of WordPress. One-sixth of all sites, in the top million sites by traffic, are powered by WordPress. WordPress easily integrates e-commerce themes and plugins to customize the appearance of the frontend and functionality in the backend, and therefore maximize e-commerce functionalities.
While people also like Joomla for its good blend of functionality and cost effectiveness, others choose Magento for its availability of add-ons and sales features, Drupal for ease of moderation, or OpenCart and PrestaShop for their lower cost.
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Aside from platform, themes also play a vital role in the success of an e-commerce website. A good theme should support a complex but clear structure, and the user-friendly interface of a website. A premium e-commerce theme along with the latest design and great features are essential for an online store. It also allows you to add product overviews, a shopping cart, reviews, and you can easily manage shipping and payment using different payment gateways.
Many good e-commerce themes combine the functionality of a blog or portfolio, so you can start engaging with your clients and help them stay updated. Furthermore, Google loves the interactive nature of sales pages that have a blog, so your rankings could show a big improvement well.
2. E-commerce Plugins
E-commerce plugins are essential for any online store. In general, they help with adding a shopping store to your site, installing payment gateways, and keeping track of sales performance.
There are several plugins which enable the full functionality of an e-commerce site, for instance, WP e-commerce, WooCommerce, Shopp, Ecwid, etc. We suggest you pick WooCommerce for designing an online shopping cart, allocating products, and implementing the check-out process. WooThemes also offer some great extensions and add-ons. Another good option is WP e-commerce. You are now free to sell digital downloads, physical inventory, or subscriptions and memberships with WP e-commerce.
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Check out 10 Best WooCommerce Extensions and Add-ons for your reference.
3.Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
Sales are definitely the vital purpose for running an e-commerce website. If you want to increase your sales and outpoint your competitors, SEO is a must. Search Engine Optimization helps your site to show up when someone searches for your merchandise, and therefore increases your visibility and the possibility of conversion. The higher your rank on the search results page, the more potential customers are reached.
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Invest your time in defining the top relevant keywords, by using Google AdWords Keyword Planner, for example. Additionally, ensure that you build a good website structure and product category architecture to rank new product pages well.
4. Website Content
Make sure that your information is precise, up-to-date and helpful. Your clients need a clear, detailed and easy-to-understand text, so try not using long sentences or academic terms in product descriptions, support sections or any other part of the site. “A picture is worth a thousand words”. Instead of a whole bunch of text, utilizing images will make the site more appealing and lively.
Keep in mind, a consistent and distinct message is what turns a common business into a real brand. If you want to be heard, your brand needs to be speaking in a unique voice.
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Try to use testimonials as a proof of your trustworthy brand. Let some “pioneers” raise their voices to share what they think about online shopping with you and what makes your business unique. Try it out! Word of Mouth and Testimonials are among the best ways to spread your brand.
Last but not least, always keep in mind that Contact Details, Delivery Methods, and Shipping Costs need to be well written to avoid any possible misunderstanding, and appear visibly on your main site.
5. Check-out Process
Firstly, pay attention to budget allocation. Make sure that you have listed down all the predictable expenses; for instance: hosting fees, license fees, and acquisition costs through advertising (Facebook Ads, Google Ads, etc). Then, define the ultimate price for each item. Finally, clarify how many stages in the check-out process you want your clients to pass through.
Don’t “challenge” your clients with a long and confusing check-out process. No one likes to go through pages and pages before reaching the confirmation section. According to a survey by The Big Picture, 11% of buyers abandon their shopping cart because of a complex check-out process. The more complicated a check-out process you make, the higher the risk of losing a customer will be.
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What else? Provide your buyers with variety of payment methods, such as Visa Card, Master Card, PayPal, etc. Your customers always need an alternative payment method, in case they have problems with some of the other methods.
6. Marketing Strategy
Once your site is ready, you will need to follow several steps to bring it closer to your customers. There are different ways to initiate and run a marketing strategy: by yourself or via an advertising agency, organic or paid search, Google Ads or Facebook Ads, Mobile Search or Desktop Search, etc. Each method has its own Pros and Cons. Depending on your scale and business type, pick the most suitable ones.
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A well-designed site with a strategic marketing plan will result in better traffic, brand identity, and an increase in sales. Thus, take advantage of available online marketing tools, such as mobile and desktop apps, social media applications and networks.
It is true that building an e-commerce website requires a lot of time, effort, and expense. However, if you know the essential techniques, a good e-commerce site can foster sales and engage more long-term customers than you ever expected.
We hope that you found this post helpful. Let us know in the comments below if you think I’ve missed any.