If you want to know how to build an eCommerce website successful, you must first know that there are several possibilities to do so: it is, in fact, possible to open e-commerce for free through online services that are already almost completely preconfigured; secondly, if you have professional needs and more or less advanced technical skills, you can buy hosting and a domain and install a CMS, a software suitable for configuring an eCommerce in every aspect. Alternatively, it is possible to create an e-commerce site from scratch through the programming language.
It happens that you have to know a couple of things so that you can generate income through a virtual store, and many times, we turn our heads because we do not understand well what to do to realize this idea.
This post is made so that you can answer your doubts and take the first steps in this direction!
In the first place, what we call e-commerce or electronic commerce is the set of strategies and tools that we use to market products and services on the Internet.
The costs are low; the online store operates 24 hours a day throughout the year, and customers can access it from any mobile device or computer with Internet access.
Also, there is no need to make large investments, nor be a computer whiz.
Well, are you ready to learn how to build an ecommerce website and refine it even more with digital marketing strategies?
Do you want to launch your e-commerce site but do not know the steps or the order in which to do them? Want a glimpse of the mass of work before embarking on a project? Here is a list of the steps that will allow you to create your e-commerce site!
How to build an ecommerce website in 15 steps
Take a look at the 15 tips for how to make an ecommerce website a successful that we have selected that are of fundamental importance in this process:
1. Choose the product
Start by choosing the type of product you want to sell. If you are building your e-commerce business, you certainly have an idea of what you want to market.
2. Analyze the competition
Once the industry has been defined, you need to do a market study of it. Identify the competitors, their marketing positioning, their mode of communication, determine their market share. From this, you will have to choose your line of communication in order to stand out from them. Identify your competitive advantages for this. Are there products that you sell and they don’t? If not, imagine a striking and differentiating communication. Also, define your target customers: gender, age group, consumption habits, etc.
3. Prepare a specification
Once you know where you are heading, you need to prepare the concrete project of creating your merchant site. What features do you need? How should your site work? What is the tree structure, and how many pages do you want? Also, summarize the result of your market research so that the service provider has an idea of the competitive environment of your project and can advise you.
4. Find a provider
Once the e-commerce solution and your needs have been defined, you can go in search of a service provider who will create the e-commerce site of your dreams. It can be an agency, a freelancer, or an internal employee. In any case, you will have to make sure that he understands the solution and the technologies that you want. Also, examine her portfolio and call past clients to make sure she is serious.
5. Choose the name, domain, and logo
Choosing a good name for your brand is essential to attract your target audience. It is important that both the name and the domain (the address of the web page) are short, easy to memorize, and can be written easily.
To help us achieve a good positioning in search engines, such as Google, for example, it is interesting that the domain contains some of our keywords.
In addition to the name and domain, you must pay special attention to your brand logo, as it is the business card of your business and transmits authority and trust to your customers. Don’t forget to give visibility to your logo on your virtual store page!
6. Establish a Content Management System (CMS)
CMS ( Content Management System ) is software that allows us to manage the contents of our store, from publication to editing and change in the visual aspect, through various design templates.
In addition to the contents, we can also manage products and users and link them in the form of a shopping cart.
An interesting CMS for those who are just starting out in the eCommerce world is Prestashop, due to the large number of configuration options, which can be handled easily, and also due to its good natural positioning in search engines.
But there are many other possibilities, among them are Opencad, Magento, Digistore, Oscommerce, WooCommerce, etc.
What yes, you have to verify, when you go to choose the hosting, that it has the CMS you have chosen.
7. Purchase a hosting option
Choosing a good hosting company guarantees a good connection speed, which is key to excellent search engine rankings.
If the page is very slow and takes more than X seconds to load, then it is penalized by Google and will end up at the bottom of the search results.
A hosting company also ensures you enough space for you to promote your products or services. In addition, it is practically the only investment you have to make to create your eCommerce!
So do not be mean; look for a company that offers you a good hosting service and peace of mind so that you can take your business forward.
8. Obtain a product catalog
An essential element for any e-commerce site: a product catalog. Contact suppliers and get the data of the products you will sell. By having a ready-to-use and fully-filled file, you will facilitate the import work into your e-commerce solution.
9. Customize and organize your products in the virtual store
Users have to have access to the list of products or services that you offer. The more information you make available to your customers, the better! But without hype or useless information.
Adding photos, methods of use, details, advantages, and facilities that your product or service brings is essential.
When working with a wholesaler, they may offer a catalog of the products in a format for you to automatically upload to your store page.
However, it is extremely important that you personalize the texts so that users do not see on your site what they have already seen in other e-commerce stores.
In addition, that influences search engine rankings. So, be original and creative when exposing your products to your audience!
10. Write product descriptions
The content of the product sheets will be both what sells and what references your online store, do not neglect it! It is a very substantial amount of work, do not hesitate to do it as soon as possible and assign all your staff to it. It is common for an e-commerce site creation project to be delayed because the texts to be integrated are not finished, and article sheets empty of content will not convert and will be very difficult to reference.
11. Write the content of the site
The content of the pages of your e-commerce site is important for the information of Internet users and natural referencing. The “Who are we” page, for example, serves to reassure the customer about the company, to attest to its existence, its practices, and its experience. The delivery page must also be clear in order to inform the customer about prices and deadlines.
In addition, if you have planned a blog section or content pages to improve your SEO, prepare these texts well in advance. Make sure your thematic pages are ready to go live so that they participate in natural referencing from launch. Having blog posts upfront also helps fuel content. Because once in your life as an e-merchant, you will quickly see your time spent on writing decrease!
12. Define the means of payment
Another necessary step when creating an e-commerce site: choosing the means of payment. These are to be defined upstream in order to set them up on the site and configure them. It can take time for a provider to set up a payment method, so think about it in advance. Depending on the type of clientele targeted, one payment method may be more popular than another.
There are various payment methods for online transactions. Ideally, you should offer the greatest number of options for your customers because in a virtual store, you work with a very varied audience.
Thus, you minimize abandonment rates and guarantee more sales for your business.
13. Choose the delivery methods
Last element to plan absolutely: the delivery method. What delivery methods for your items will you be offering? Home delivery? Delivery to a relay point?
To decide on this, you need to take into account the type of product you are selling, the prices of your competitors, and the final invoice for an order. Too high shipping costs scare away customers! If you offer products that are cheaper than your competitors, but your delivery rate no longer makes you competitive, Internet users may look elsewhere. In e-commerce, customers take the time to compare offers, and the delivery price is a criterion that should not be taken lightly. This is also the first choice criterion for Internet users!
14. Carry out a content marketing strategy
There are many actions that will help you bring your brand to your target audience. Creating a blog that deals with issues related to your sector help your customers identify and solve their problems.
Making a Content Marketing strategy is a good way to make your business become more and more known, as it contributes by attracting traffic to the store. Also, you can use the blog to promote offers and discounts.
You can also send advertising emails highlighting products and offers. For that, you can count on the help of automation tools and email marketing strategies.
A good marketing campaign is essential to make your business succeed!
Bank transfer, credit card, integrated systems, cash on delivery, all these are means of payment that you have to count on. You also have to give your public the ability to pay in cash at payment centers.
There are also reliable alternative solutions that do not require technical knowledge since it is very easy to install them, and they greatly facilitate the implementation and integration of the payment gateway, as is the case with the Paypal gateway.
The only thing is that it charges us a fee, which is quite high, for each transaction made.
15. Put the site online
That’s it; it’s D-Day, your e-commerce site goes online! Internet users will be able to see the result of all your work and place their first orders. Now, there is still a lot to do: answer emails, ship orders, manage to invoice, get reviews, make promotions, communicate on social networks, polish your SEO… The job of a lifetime
Creating an eCommerce site from scratch can be anything but simple, especially if you don’t know HTML and, even if you know it, development still requires time and costs, which in some cases can be very high. If not prohibitive for small business budgets.
Fortunately, there are CMS (content management systems), content management platforms that, thanks to intuitive interfaces and without the need to have technical programming skills, allow professionals and non-professionals to develop a site with a good compromise between costs and benefits.
But which CMS to choose among the many available? With this post, we want to give you some elements to help you make an informed choice. Let’s see together some of the most known and used platforms in the web landscape.
The best CMS for e-commerce: the comparison of the most popular
Content management tools make life easier for those who need to develop and maintain eCommerce sites and are widely used: according to research by W3Techs¹, only just over 40% of the sites in the world do not use CMS.
There are dozens if not hundreds of platforms to manage multimedia content online; in this post, we only explore the most used ones for creating eCommerce.
1. Commerce Cloud
This platform is a solution of Salesforce, an international leader in the field of CRM (Customer Relationship Management) solutions, born from the acquisition – in 2016 – of Demandware, at the time a platform well known by professionals. It is probably the platform that is best suited to medium to large-sized projects and companies, also considering the costs.
It is a cloud-based tool, one of the most advanced available on the market, also thanks to the functions capable of managing omnichannel needs that allow mobile access to digital inventory through which in-store staff can sell and ship in real-time, in and from any point of sale. A dashboard based on artificial intelligence and advanced marketing tools is just some of the resources that Salesforce makes available to merchants.
It is one of the most versatile and adaptable platforms available on the market today and is part of the Adobe product suite. In fact, it offers many opportunities according to needs: from the possibility of customizing the language to the management of multiple stores, from multi-language to multi-currency, not to mention the wide choice of graphic themes to make the site layout unique.
Thanks to the thousands of extensions available on its marketplace, many useful features can be integrated to enrich the site experience, such as the feeds of social profiles or optimizers that make it faster and more usable, just to name a couple of examples.
Prestashop is an open-source CMS widely used in the E-commerce field. The solution includes a localization add-on that allows you to add new languages to the online store, the currency, the tax rate, and the tax rules by country. As in the case of Magento, there are many themes to customize the graphics, and there is no shortage of modules to integrate features and additional services useful to enrich the experience of the merchant and the buyer. All popular CMS has a very active user community, and Prestashop is no exception; thanks to the contribution of other users, it is easy to get tips and tricks to optimize your store.
In this TOP 5 of the most used CMS for the creation of E-commerce sites, Shopify stands out because it is all-in-one. Once registered, in fact, this service includes everything you need to create an online store, including a customizable domain. It has a very intuitive drag & drop interface, it also supports physical store sales, and in the onboarding phase, it allows you to choose one of the partner payment gateways.
The solution is in the cloud, so any platform updates are made directly online without having to install anything; there are many apps – additional functions similar to Magento and Prestashop extensions and modules – and themes to customize the layout of the web-store. Also, in this case, there is also the possibility of using marketing tools to optimize the site and increase visibility and sales.
With over 27 million sites worldwide, WordPress is certainly the most used platform globally.
It is an open-source tool; it enjoys the availability of many graphic themes and plugins for any need: from the creation of a catalog to the availability of a calendar to book a room in an accommodation facility, the opportunities for customization are many. The fundamental plugin for those who want to transform their site or blog managed with WordPress is Woocommerce. Although this CMS is not born to create e-stores, unlike the other tools in this article, it has many advantages of its competitors, such as the possibility of customization through extensions and ease of use, even for the less experienced.
Visit this article: Types of e-commerce.
Where to promote my e-commerce website
This is a starting point, the first step of a complex adventure. Very complex. You can’t create your own store and think you can sit in an armchair waiting for repeat sales without lifting a finger. It doesn’t work like that; you have to promote an e-commerce site if you want to see the results.
And to do that, you need to reach out to the right people. The essential condition for doing good online advertising? Invest. Without a good investment, results do not come; they cannot come. Very difficult to argue otherwise, seriously.
Anyone who wants to push an online shop without money has a distorted view of reality. But you have to plan all this; you have to flow the investment flow towards planned activities. Well thought out. Here are some tips to make a good web marketing activity lent to the eCommerce world.
Do good SEO optimization
An optimization that must be directed towards 3 fundamental steps: keyword research to identify the keywords to monetize, with relative refinement on categories and product sheets, improvement of the e-commerce structure to ensure that all the problems of duplicate content and navigation errors, link building work to get good quotes.
If you don’t aim for good optimization, your e-commerce has no chance of emerging, especially in the most competitive sectors. And I can assure you this: today; it is difficult to find niches that only need the publication of the website with the section dedicated to the sale to stand out.
Email marketing – can go a long way
It’s not hard to imagine the benefits of a good email marketing business for eCommerce. Through this system, you can constantly update the people who decide to leave their email in your fields that you have entered on the company blog or in the pages of your online store. This allows you to create lists that you can segment and profile to make each submission more effective.
In this way, you can reach the people who have decided to trust in your business in the privacy of your e-mail box. Precisely for this reason, however, you have to carefully calibrate your emails: you don’t just have to sell; you have to do a good lead nurturing activity. This means feeding the audience with content that goes beyond those related to sales to the commercial aspect.
Social media marketing to sell
Can we talk about a social media marketing activity to increase sales and promote an eCommerce site? If advertising (read next paragraph) is the direct way to obtain concrete benefits, the social media manager is always central to advertising an online shop.
At the base of everything, in fact, there must always be a strategy, an editorial plan for social media with attention to the visual and tone of voice. That is how you decide to communicate and present your company. Always remember to maintain linearity on each channel, even those relating to social networks: evaluate the target audience, the context, and model the communication in a complete way.
The people who follow your social channels must not be reached only by advertising: you must proceed with the daily updates, those that convey the values of the brand. On social media, considering the importance that the visual can have, all this can play a key role.
Work with PPC and Facebook ADS
Impossible to work with online shops if you don’t have a good online advertising plan. Because the value of a well-made advertisement is inestimable, it allows you to sell online to a specific target.
A carefully organized ad can give your e-commerce an edge. And not only on Google, where AdWords positions you at the highest point of the SERP or in contextualized sites: there is Facebook Advertising to win the attention. Without considering the connected experience on Instagram.