The world of commerce has changed dramatically: in 2021, you can easily do without a “live” store. But neglecting online sales channels means putting an end to business development and missing out on the opportunity to generate colossal revenue.
The 8 building blocks of creating the perfect e-Commerce store
In theory, progress has reached the point that creating an online store can be literally a few clicks. But in practice, the result from this approach is equivalent to the effort expended on it – that is, disappointing. How, then, can you create an online store that really generates income and not just works? Let us figure it out step by step.
Step one: building a business plan
Any business starts with an idea. True, it also ends with it if you do not turn the idea into a meaningful and clear work plan.
First of all, you need to deal with the following processes:
- Choosing a niche. What exactly and for what price do you want to sell?
- Determining your target audience. Selling to people what they do not need is as effective as taking a sledgehammer to crack a walnut. It is possible, but extremely irrational.
- Selecting a suitable identity. You need to talk to different audiences in different ways.
Step two: developing a corporate design
“First impressions are half the battle” – this is also true for sites. Few customers want to stay with an online store the appearance of which causes rejection or bewilderment. For example, harsh bikers will hardly appreciate a pink design and a gentle IT girl will most likely not want to buy something on a website decorated with skulls.
Tip: With rare exceptions, the simpler the better. An online store website should be extremely simple and easy to use. Nothing kills sales faster than an inconvenient catalog, lack of product information, mandatory registration, hidden search bar.
Read more: How to write better product descriptions for your online store
Step three: adapting the site for mobile devices
If you want to make your website competitive, you cannot do without its good mobile version in 2021. This statement is confirmed in numbers: according to Statcounter, more than half of users around the world search for something on the Internet from mobile devices (smartphones or tablets). This point of view is also shared by the world’s main “investigator” – in The Mobile Playbook guide, Google representatives claim that 40% of users will go to competitors if interaction with a site is inconvenient when it comes to mobile devices.
Step four: choosing a CMS
To create a website, you can use the services of web developers. This is a nice but a very resource-intensive option. If you are limited in time and budget, the best option is to create an online store based on a CMS (Content Management System).
There are many of them, but among the most popular ones are WordPress, Wix, Tilda, 1C-Bitrix and many others. To understand which CMS is right for you, decide what tasks you need it for:
- WordPress is suitable for company websites, landing pages, thematic blogs and portfolios. To use WordPress to create an online store, you will need to install the WooCommerce plugin.
- 1C-Bitrix is suitable for online stores, corporate websites, marketplaces and social networks.
- Tilda and Wix are suitable for creating any website, but due to the many beautiful templates, they are especially good for landing pages.
Step five: setting up SEO
No matter how beautiful and convenient the site is, it will not be of any use if no one sees it. You can attract visitors in different ways: contextual and targeted advertising, selling SMM posts, ads on aggregator resources. They say that even handing out leaflets on the streets can bring a couple of views. But the main generator of targeted traffic is still search results.
The problem is that a miracle will not happen by itself – in order to bring an online store to the first lines of search, you will need to use SEO tools (collecting the semantic core, introducing keywords, analyzing competitors, etc.).
Step six: launching ads
Website promotion through SEO is very useful, but the catch is the long run. Search engines do not like newly created sites, so the first results appear no earlier than six months later. All this time, the online store needs to somehow earn money and this is where contextual advertising comes to the rescue.
— sales if targeted at the right target audience;
— brand recognition;
— base for other marketing channels.
Step seven: figuring out delivery options
No matter if the customer likes placing their order on your website, their main goal is to get their purchase. Safe and as quickly as possible.
Most often, customers consider poorly organized logistics to be the fault of the online store itself. Therefore, delays in delivery, ill-mannered couriers and damage to goods during transportation can “kill” the reputation of any online business.
What can be done in such cases?
- Collect and send the order yourself (only suitable for small businesses).
- Ask for help from professionals – for example, order fulfillment centers (suitable for medium and large turnover).
- Ask customers for feedback on how it went (for example, via a Google form).
Step eight: final preparations
Overcoming all the challenges and launching your ecommerce store is a real achievement. However, it is important to remember that this is only half the battle and there is still a long way to walk before you can have a rest. Do not let everything go by itself – now is the time to start regularly monitoring processes and preparing new marketing campaigns. Try researching technologies and strategies that will help you optimize your sales, for example artificial intelligence or social media that your target audience prefers.
Developing your own ecommerce project is painstaking work. Many entrepreneurs do not cope and close their business as soon as they start it. In this business, it is important to have a plan and remember that clear and consistent actions will definitely lead to profit.