How to create an e-commerce site
The e-commerce sector has been growing exponentially since the rise of the internet. But the COVID-19 pandemic has given online sales an even bigger boost. Every day, more and more customers make more of their purchases online. However, creating an online store is not as easy as it would seem and often requires web design, web marketing, and communication skills. So to help you with developing your business in this important direction, we’re sharing our best practices for the development and implementation of your e-commerce website!
What is e-commerce?
E-commerce, also called online sales, e-business, electronic commerce, or online shopping, is the commercial practice that links a buyer and a seller directly over the internet.
In e-commerce, transactions take place across different media. Whether that’s an e-commerce website, a mobile application, or even a social network, the purchasing process takes place entirely online.
According to the US Census Bureau, e-commerce sales totalled more than $960 billion in 2021, an average of around 20% growth per quarter, or around 15% of the total retail market.
Advantages of e-commerce
Whether you’re starting a new business or developing the online wing of an existing one, getting an e-commerce website offers several advantages.
- Launching an e-commerce website enables you to grow outside of your exact geographic locale. You can offer products and services to a much wider audience of potential buyers
- As opposed to a brick-and-mortar store, an e-commerce site doesn’t require physical facilities. That way you can save not insignificant amounts of money on your monthly expenses
- Marketing and data analysis tools make it possible for you to precisely understand your customers’ purchasing behavior and quickly adapt to changes
- E-commerce makes it possible to launch marketing campaigns and ensure your products and services get promoted with greater precision and for less cost than traditional methods
- Your e-commerce site is always open. In addition to being able to access your products and services from anywhere in the world, your customers can shop 24/7. That way you can maximize your sales by giving your customers the ability to buy whenever they want to
How to do e-commerce
Today, e-commerce is very broad. It’s even possible to sell your products directly on social media or online marketplace.
However, by choosing an e-commerce solution appropriate to your situation as well as a website, you can maintain control over your business, ensure the security of your customers’ payments, and build up your brand image that you can then boost with your social networks.
Here’s how it works!
Our tips for e-commerce success
1. Analyze your market and the competition
Before launching your e-commerce business, consider studying your market. Getting to know the market you’re entering means understanding your market and your competitors. Evaluating your competitors will enable you to understand how you can stand out and help your business grow.
Find what makes you unique: the quality of your products, your attractive prices, the values you stand for, the way you manufacture your products or even your history. By analyzing your competitors, figure out your strengths and weaknesses in order to implement an original, effective strategy.
2. Build your brand identity
Once you’ve analyzed your market and selected your e-commerce platform, it’s time to determine your brand identity. First, determine your brand name and your brand values. Your brand name is extremely important since it will also be the name of your e-commerce website. In e-commerce, this process is nearly synonymous with choosing a domain name. So, choose a name that’s efficient, evocative, and memorable.
Associate a custom email address to your domain domain. Using an email address wih your domain name enables you to professionalize your customer relations. A custom email address also enables you to carry out many marketing communication strategies like marketig emails, which we’ll discuss more in depth in step 4 below.
Then, let your creative juices flow as you create your brand’s visual identity and hence also your e-commerce website. The logo, colors, styling, design, etc.—all these aspects should be oriented towards facilitating sales and should also match the image that you want to give of your brand. Making your e-commerce site original, attractive, and recognizable is essential to its development and growth.
3. Choose the right e-commerce solution
There are several options for e-commerce platforms, so find a quality platform that meets your needs! We recommend choosing an open-source CMS, which confers total control over customization and over your online shop’s data. At Gandi, maintain control over your data and your customers’ by choosing PrestaShop hosting and deploy your e-commerce website in 10 minutes.
However, if you prefer to automate as much as possible and not have to worry about technical aspects, you can easily use WordPress and install the WooCommerce plugins, which will enable you to configure your online shop in a few minutes. Thanks to its easy of use and its efficiency, WordPress is the most used CMS in the world. Choose your WordPress hosting at Gandi and your site will be ready in just a few minutes, without any programming knowledge necessary. You’ll just need to install the WooCommerce plugin and you’ll be able to configure your e-commerce shop.
4. Optimize putting your products online
There’s a real difference between buying in person and buying online: in person, a customer can see and touch the product. Your online shop, then, should rely on photos and descriptions on your website. Be exhaustive, then, when presenting your products well: product name, several high-quality photos, detailed product descriptions, prices, even descriptive videos or customer reviews and testimonials. Being as complete as possible enables you to resassure your customers, but also it enables you to improve your search engine rankings. Specifically, make a list of the most used keywords in order to use them on your product pages. This is a key step in enablig you to improve your SEO. SEO (or Search Engine Optimization) includes all the techniques used to improve the positioning of your website in the search engine results.
5. Create a solid marketing plan
To boost your e-commerce website and attract a maximum number of customers, you’ll need to implement a marketing plan. For that, you can adopt several strategies. Optimizing your e-commerce website search ranking is an efficient and durable way to grow your sales. We mentioned keywords above, but there are also other techniques to help you boost your search ranking and grow your business. Social media is also an excellent way to grow your customer base and showcase your brand. You just need to determine which social networks are the best suited to your business and your market. Using email marketing is another option. You can create a database of prospective customers and offer them the option of subscribing to your newsletter. That way, with each new product launch, you will be able to alert your loyal customers, maybe even offer a promotional code to thank them for their support. Finally, publish articles on your blogs to communicate about your e-commerce site and make yourself known. You can also add a blog to your e-commerce website. This will give you the ability to regularly publish small articles about your business, your values, or even your products and services. A blog will not only help you grow your community, but this is also a non-negligible boon for making yourself known locally and boosting your website’s natural search ranking. The techniques you will use to boost your blog’s ranking are the same that you would use for your e-commerce website. Follow these closely and you’ll see your e-commerce site climb the search engine rankings.
6. Bonus tip: Secure your e-commerce website
To protect your business and transactions, but also your customers and their personal data, your website’s security is a major question!
Read our article on how to ensure your e-commerce website is secure
Launch your e-commerce website!
You now have all the tools you need to build your e-commerce website and your online business. Follow the advice that we provided and you will be ready to grow your brand. So get started! Choose your domain name, and create your e-commerce website!Tagged in prestashopSimple Hosting