ECommerce websites represent a shift in how consumers view and buy products. The point of sale systems at brick and mortar stores no longer have a monopoly on a business’s relationship with its customers. Now, eCommerce websites offer new companies viable entry points into a competitive market and established brands a new way to reach a changing consumer base.
To start an eCommerce website, businesses need direction. As more websites go online, fundamentals of marketing and design become even more important to stand out on a cluttered battlefield.
If you only own a brick and mortar store or sell on online retailers like Amazon, you may find yourself falling behind. Starting an eCommerce website can get you caught up. Conversely, if you own a new business and want to build your brand directly through eCommerce, the guide below is equally invaluable to building your website and eking out a place in a competitive market.
Target a Market
Choosing a market to target with your site is the most important aspect of starting an eCommerce website. Established businesses may have the advantage of a pre-existing consumer base, but both old and new businesses need to choose a clear target for their eCommerce sales.
Data analysis comes in handy here. To design an eCommerce website for a specific market, you need as much information on that market as possible. Your website’s design should change based on the trends that will appeal to the demographic you choose.
Here’s one concrete example. A brand that involves cutting-edge tech or media may want to focus on targeting a younger market. This means an eCommerce website for that brand needs to look trending, with interactive menus and eye-popping design. On the other hand, products that appeal to an older crowd may want to favor a simpler, straightforward design for less tech-savvy customers.
Making a plan to target a specific market doesn’t just change a marketing team’s strategy. For a successful eCommerce website, that plan should alter the very core of its design.
Choose a Platform
The next step after isolating the market for your eCommerce website is to choose the right platform with which to build it. Many free platforms exist to experiment with basic website design, but eCommerce websites require premium accounts with a unique domain name and host to make a profit.
WordPress is one of the dominant platforms for a reason. They feature many design utilities, including one of the most popular eCommerce plugins on the market, WooCommerce, that will set your website up for success. Shopify is another platform with eCommerce options, including a variety of design templates and supported payment methods.
eWorld Fulfillment is able to directly integrate with whatever platform you choose, making your eCommerce fulfillment a cinch. We’ve worked with all of the major platform including; Shopify, WooCommerce, Magento, 3DCart, and hundreds of others.
Since the platform will ultimately decide how your new eCommerce website will be hosted, a little digging into the particulars of each one could help you make the right choice. However, how you design your site for these platforms is even more important than which one you use.
Organization is Key
We talked about the connection between the target market and the site’s design. However, your new eCommerce website needs to observe certain fundamentals of design no matter the intended audience. These fundamentals focus on organization.
If you own a brick and mortar store or Amazon storefront, you know that how products are organized has a direct impact on sales. Grouping similar items by interest, allowing customers to search easily through prices, sales, and availability, and keeping clean shelves that are easy to navigate all contribute to a more efficient consumer experience. This translates to more profits for your business.
It’s no different on an eCommerce website, though your organization strategies have to adapt to a digital medium. As you would organize your shelves, you need to create a site that can be easily navigated. This means creating menus with logical product groupings, clear pages for sales, clear prices, and an organized search bar that can take customers to many products using logical keywords.
While not all businesses will benefit from pure minimalism in their site’s design, carefully choosing the menu structure and plugins will make your site cleaner and more user-friendly. Even if you want an eye-popping site, restrict yourself to a few colors and one clean font to make things easier for your consumers to navigate.
Show the Brand
To start an eCommerce website, you need a brand. It could be established or new, but this brand needs a presence on the site. Even if the store is pretty and user-friendly, it can’t maximize its profits if it doesn’t engage its visitors with your unique brand.
For an eCommerce website, this means clearly displaying your brand’s identity, setting a page aside for your mission and contact information, and designing the site with the brand in sight. Even with the best visual design, brand engagement is vital to any website’s long-term success.
Call Customers to Action
Giving visitors a clear call to action is as important online as it is in person. Connect your customers to “exclusivity” through the site. Use language that will encourage customers to take advantage of a deal, sign up for a newsletter, or “do” whatever would engage them with your company in the long-term.
Just because people visit the site, doesn’t mean they’re buying what you’re selling. They may need a little nudge.
As more businesses start their own eCommerce websites, site security becomes an even greater priority. Customers will continue to get better at recognizing sites that have refined payment security in place.
At the same time, cybercriminals get better every day at hacking systems and stealing the valuable consumer information stored on the servers of eCommerce websites. Building and displaying verified security features on your site will make customers more likely to visit, and most importantly, more likely to buy.
The biggest failure of any eCommerce website is to make all the right moves in design to get customers to visit, but fail to give them the proper shopping carts, payment options, and site security to make it easy and safe for them to make a purchase.
New businesses want to design an eCommerce website that firmly establishes their brand. Meanwhile, established brick and mortar stores want to increase brand engagement and broaden their consumer base with a website of their own. In either case, the above principles of design can help any business start an eCommerce website with the right balance of organization, marketability, and security.
Successful eCommerce websites are designed both for ease and use and consumer trust. By building both for your target demographic, your new eCommerce website could be the thing that sends your brand (and your profits) into the 21st century.