E-Commerce Site Strategy and Planning

Business, logistical and technical considerations for those setting up an e-commerce site.

E-Commerce is the fastest growing, and one of the most valuable, industries in the world.

Shopping at home or work online – with a trusted checkout and conveniently delivery – might lead you to believe that the process isn’t that complicated.

As IT Consultants and online marketing specialists, we have helped a lot of businesses grow sales through e-commerce. To ensure you take the quickest and most professional route to get your site up and running, we have listed some considerations below.We also touch on marketing and optimisation to ensure future success.

More about making a successful e-commerce website can be found here.

Set out your Strategy

Starting an e-commerce site can be a time-consuming and detailed process. You have to craft content and individually load each and every product. You also have to negotiate with manufacturers to be able to list their products online, before the actual listing process even begins. If you are already an established trading business then this can simplify things as you will already have stock, pricing and descriptions ready to go.

Unforuntantly just having an e-commerce website doesn’t mean people will find it. You need to ‘optimise’ it so potential customers can find it by searching online. Set up your e-commerce SEO strategy early – give yourself at least 6 months for your site to get established.

What do you call your website?

You might think this is pretty straightforward, but coming up with a catchy, relevant and memorable domain name that no one has thought of already is trickier than you may think. Buying it is the simple bit! There are many domain registrars that you can pick them up for around £10 per year (for .co.uk).

Find a web developer

Without learning coding or development skills, if you want to launch your site in a relatively short time make sure you find a trusted e-commerce experienced developer. Work with them to establish design, functionality and timeframes.

E-Commerce and Website Hosting Platform

There is no point starting from scratch building an e-commerce site. There are many popular e-commerce platforms, for example, Shopify, WooCommerce or OpenCart. OpenCart is open source and the only cost is the customisation and uploading of products.

WooCommerce contains WordPress capabilities which can add some flexibility, but as usual extra functionality comes with a price. Standard hosting costs from £60. SSL (encrypted hosting) costs from £120 per year. If you are taking customer details – and not just payment details – then SSL is something worth investing in. It will even benefit your SEO efforts.

Templates and Themes.

Every platform comes with themes that will resemble the look and feel you are looking for. For about £80 you can save thousands in design fees and get a head start on development.

Although this speeds things up, customising a template can still be a timely process.

Go LIVE

The sooner you can do this the better. Even if your website is ‘Comming soon’ with an about us page. Being live gives you some credibility, help promotion and help SEO (it gives people something to link back to!)

Start Promoting!

Set up your social media accounts, join groups, build email lists, tell friends / family. Use tools like Pitchbox and HelpaReporter. Increasing in the online world the personal approach is best. You need to explain to your audience why you have set up your business, who it is aimed at and what the benefits are.

Share your expertise through your articles or online lessons. Tips and tricks, advice and FAQ are all great content to engage with readers. Send influencers a sample of your work to help explain to them why your service is better than the competition.

Payment Gateway.

We recommend PayPal as a secure, established, trusted provider. PayPal integrates with all the main e-commerce platforms and invests heavily in security. It is likely that a good percentage of your customers will already have an account, but even without one, payments is simple and seamless.

Setting up and validating your business account is a relatively straight forward. You will need a Privacy Policy, Return Policy, Terms and Conditions. You’ll also need a way for customers to contact your customer service!

Google Shopping + Facebook Product Catalogue.

Once all you have your products set up on the system, it is time to upload to Google Shopping. Customers searching using keywords will be shown your product image (if they match!). Use the same data feed from the merchant centre and upload it to Facebook’s product catalogue.

google-shopping-e-commerce
Google shopping – upload your e-commerce catalogue!

Packaging Shipping/Storage options.

How you delivery your items is down to you. Most of the e-commerce websites will have integration with the main providers. There are also some external specialists like www.electiodelivers.com that, based on the number of packages you send, and where you send them, will calculate the most efficient delivery system.

Find Out More

If you’d like some help setting up your online e-commerce website, please fill out our contact form.

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