An ecommerce website is an essential boon for any business or private seller. The reasons to open up an ecommerce platform are numerous; you can build your brand, sell your product or service to more customers, and keep your business open 24 hours a day (if you’re not already doing so, of course). With that said, starting up an ecommerce website isn’t as simple as buying a domain and starting to sell things. Here are 10 things a great ecommerce site is going to need in order to impress customers.
If you want to start any venture – be it ecommerce, a business, or anything else – then you’re going to need funding of some description. Often, that funding comes from business loans or investors, but it can also come from personal financing if you’re lucky enough to have the cash to fund your venture yourself. If you don’t want to be beholden to investors but you lack the immediate funds to pay for your site, you could always look into personal loans, which could be a good way to build cash in the short term.
2. Good branding
Ecommerce is an incredibly competitive world. If you want to succeed, then you’re going to need strong branding to stand out from the crowd. Good branding involves a bulletproof name and graphic strategy so that people know how to identify you, but it also requires you to consider a strong USP; after all, there are so many ecommerce businesses out there that it can be hard to tell people why they should choose you. Think carefully about what you do well that others don’t, and make that the core of your branding.
3. Responsive design
Don’t get your ecommerce site started without thinking about responsive design during the building process. Responsive design refers to the way in which mobile devices display a website; if a site looks optimised for phones and tablets, then it has responsive design principles in place. Ecommerce sites without responsive design will be laughed out of the room, so whether you’re designing your site yourself or using external companies, be sure to bring this up.
4. A quality product
It might sound obvious, but without a quality product, your ecommerce venture isn’t likely to make it very far. A good product isn’t just about quality, though; it’s also about serving a niche that isn’t already adequately served elsewhere. Naturally, it’s not easy to find your demographic, so make sure to do plenty of market research before you begin. Your product should be useful, high-quality, and desirable, so identify underserved niches and cater for them in this regard.
5. A good supply chain
An ecommerce website’s frontend can look as good as you want, but if you don’t have the supply chain to make up for it, you’re quickly going to run into supply issues that could condemn your business to failure. Look into as many different avenues for manufacturing, acquisition, and storage as possible, because you’ll need to fulfil orders on a scale you might not be accustomed to. Don’t be afraid to research other businesses’ supply chains either!
6. Ease of use
If your ecommerce site is fiddly and difficult to navigate, then you’re going to find that your customers quickly switch off in favour of a different platform. Responsive design is all well and good, but if you’re throwing endless menu options and parameters at your site’s visitors, then you’re not going to have much luck with conversions. Keep ease of use at the top of your priority list; always make it simple for customers to buy your product and build their order.
7. An account system
Giving customers an account on your website means they’ll be more likely to come back and use it later. Of course, there are pros and cons to having an account system on your site, and you will have to think about whether your particular idea benefits from this or not. If you decide it does, you’re going to need integration with other major accounts; social media and Google are good places to start, because customers will almost certainly have accounts with Google or with a social media platform.
8. Good customer service
It’s very important to ask for customer feedback and reviews on your site. Honest reviews extolling the virtues of your platform are better marketing than any campaign could ever be. With that in mind, you’re also going to need great customer service, because if customers aren’t happy, they’re likely to leave bad reviews, especially if they feel they’ve been mistreated. Always have helpful, positive, and tolerant customer service representatives on hand to deal with any issues that may arise.
9. Clear policies
There’s nothing worse than buying something from an ecommerce website only to realise that the returns policy is unclear. Customers won’t use your site again if they feel any part of the process was arcane or difficult to understand. Be sure to clearly set out policies like returns, shipping, and warranty somewhere that’s easy to access. You don’t need to make a major deal of it; just ensure that customers are able to view this information and that it’s not obscured or hidden from them.
10. Affiliate partnerships
One of the best ways to make money as an ecommerce retailer is with affiliate partnerships. By setting up affiliate links on related blogs or websites, you’re sending more customers to your site, thereby ensuring that you drum up more business than you would otherwise. Be sure to choose your bloggers and affiliate partners carefully. Conduct reviews regularly to make sure you’re still teaming up with the right people, and if you can, ask to see posts ahead of time so that you know they’re painting you in a positive light!