Developing an eCommerce website takes a lot of work. Building an online store goes beyond just understanding the market you’re about to enter. It would help if you also grasped branding, web design, and content strategy.
We will give you tips that will simplify your ecommerce development process and help you reach your business goals.
Tips For Developing An eCommerce Website
1. Figure out what you’re going to sell
The first step in ecommerce development is figuring out what you’re going to sell. What excites you?
Building an online store around your passions translates into a business you’ll enjoy running. Whether you’re into boutique guitar effects pedals, fishing lures, or high-end watches, finding your niche doesn’t have to go any further from what you already know.
But, of course, plenty of businesses have been launched for other reasons. Maybe you see a need in a particular market and want to offer potential customers product solutions to solve their problems.
Whatever your business goals, an ecommerce project needs to be guided by both product research and research about the people you hope to sell them to. This can make the difference between success and a stack of merchandise that you can’t get rid of.
Know the market you’re entering. Be aware of what products succeed and the trends that have come and gone—running an ecommerce website means knowing what potential customers may need right now and what they’ll want in the future.
And there’s the competition. It will be challenging to make any headway if you want to enter a space with heavy players and equally heavy marketing budgets. Finding a niche with more breathing room can give you a better chance. Entering an area with a novel approach, unique branding, and a better user experience than the competition can also work in your favor
2. Come up with a good business name.
Don’t fall into cliches or name your business something close to your competitors. It would help if you stood out. A unique name will distinguish you from everyone else inhabiting the same market space.
Make it succinct
Brevity makes for better business names. Can you think of any ecommerce sites or storefronts that go beyond one or two words? We’ll give you a minute. We didn’t think so. Short names make for better brand recognition — ask Apple, Etsy, or Google. People want something easy to remember and not convoluted.
A bland, uninspired name can diminish a brand no matter how great its products or services may be.
Think Mailchimp, Blue Apron, or even the grocery store Sprouts. All stand out in their respective domains by having unique and dissimilar names to others sharing their space. Give your ecommerce website a name that will wow people by being so different.
And let’s not forget being able to snag a domain name — a unique brand name means you have a better shot at getting your perfect domain name. With a bit of ingenuity and wordplay, you may be able to come up with something pretty close if your ideal domain name takes.
Granted, .com may be the go-to top-level domain, but there are various others you can use if you can’t find an available URL. You may find something available in .biz, .shop, .solutions, or .online, among other domains.
3. Purchase a Domain Name
After determining what your eCommerce store plans to sell, whether products or services, one of the first steps is to purchase a domain name. A domain name is essentially the name of a website. A domain is what comes after “www.” in a web address and also after the @ sign in an email address.
A domain name can be purchased either at the beginning of the website development process or when your site is ready to be launched. We advise you to buy it earlier rather than later to avoid the possibility of your creative domain name becoming unavailable at a later date.
4. Branding, Branding, Branding
Dior, McDonald’s, Corona Extra.
What do all of these brands have in common?
These brands build strong connections with their customers based on how they’ve positioned themselves through branding. Consumers feel emotionally connected to these brands and remain loyal to them over time 一, and this attachment creates through branding.
Like brick and mortar stores, eCommerce stores must be recognizable through a logo, color scheme, and tone of voice. Each of these aspects of branding creates a brand’s personality and affects the online user experience. Also, storytelling is crucial for any eCommerce brand because it shows that there are humans behind the company. Tell your customers who you are and why your website exists to give it a sense of humanity rather than looking solely like an online shop.
5. Know your audience
One advantage of starting an online business that you’re familiar with is that you already know your audience, as you’re a part of it. But even if you already know your customers, doing a bit of work to understand them better is beneficial for any ecommerce business.
Understanding who your potential customers may be touches every part of the ecommerce development process. Everything must tailor to your potential customers: the user experience and interface, visuals of the web design, the content, and more.
You should know the details about who your potential customers are. What’s their background? What’s their income range? How old are they? And what competitors’ websites are they likely to purchase from?
This information will help you create an ecommerce business personalized to their tastes and needs, building a stronger connection with them and making for a better user experience.
6. Determine your ecommerce business model
Several types of ecommerce business models exist, but the two main categories are business to business (B2B) and business to consumer (B2C). Knowing the difference and where your ecommerce business falls is essential.
Business to consumer (B2C)
The bulk of online shops we interact with is business consumers (B2C). Whether it’s Amazon, Zappos, or Target, we’ve completed a transaction on a B2C website whenever we hit that checkout button. Items or services on a B2C website are sold straight from businesses to the general public, without any third parties.
Business to business (B2B)
Business to business (or B2B) are, as the name suggests, businesses that sell to other companies. These companies might manufacture something, are a wholesaler, or provide services and products within a given industry. ROOM is an excellent example of a B2-B ecommerce business.
7. Plan a content strategy
We’re fans of content-first design. Building a website with accurate content, rather than filler, makes for a better representation of the end product earlier in the process. Working backward and integrating the visuals, text, and other elements later in the process can complicate things.
At the beginning of the development process, you need to have a content strategy. This means knowing what content you need to tell your brand’s story and communicating what your products do. This may include writing photos, videos, infographics, and other media you’ll need to serve your customers best.
Content strategy ties in with knowing your audience. What are their common questions about the products you carry, and what information would they find useful? You should include the answers to basic questions they may have and provide information that your competitors don’t. A content strategy for an ecommerce site determines what you’ll need and the best way to communicate it in a design.
Content strategy shapes the information architecture of your website. Think of your content like freight on a train and the information architecture as the tracks that deliver it. You need to know what your customers need and the best route to get the content to them.
8. Do search engine optimization.
Getting organic traffic depends on the relevance of your content in the eyes of web crawlers. Paying attention to SEO may help you rank higher and get more clicks.
Some SEO best practices include:
Using the terminology that people commonly use when talking about the products and area of interest your products fall into
Doing keyword research via Google Keyword Planner and Google Trends
Make sure all of the headers (like H1 and H2) and the title and description all contain relevant words and phrases
Taking a tasteful approach to incorporate SEO, never cramming your content with keywords or allowing optimization to decrease the content’s readability
Of course, SEO goes way beyond just these bullet points. Check out our comprehensive guide for making sure your website is optimized for Google SEO.
9. Take detailed product photos.
With a modest setup of a tripod, a couple of lights, and a paper backdrop, most people with a decent camera and experience can take good photos. But if you have the budget, paying a professional may be worth it for higher-quality images. Whoever takes the pictures ensures that they are correctly focused and white balanced and that the colors are accurate to the products. Having the photo editing skills to enhance these shots further will make them an even better representation of your products.
One of the disadvantages of online shopping is that potential customers don’t get to see or hold an actual physical product. The product photos you use need to capture all of the essential details to make up for this. The more information you can convey through images with multiple angles and closeups, the better your customers will understand your products.
10. Ensure Tax Compliance
Selling products through an eCommerce website means that you’re bound to have customers from various states and countries. Your website must be compliant with tax laws in each state and nation. Avalara operates across 95 countries and offers SaaS solutions for businesses of all sizes. It is an all-in-one solution to calculate tax rates, apply tax rates and rules to invoices, validate addresses, prepare and file returns on time and manage documents.
Many factors go into developing an eCommerce website, from the front end to the back end. Keep these ten items on your radar when building your site, and let our team know if you have any questions.
Groove Commerce builds, designs, and grows eCommerce websites for mid-market and enterprise merchants. Our team of certified eCommerce developers, designers, and marketing strategists is partnered with the companies above to make developing an eCommerce website as seamless as possible. If you want to learn more about how Groove Commerce or our partners can help, we’re happy to set up a call.