You’ve finally decided to build an e-commerce website. You wonder what steps to take. Rest assured, you have made a good decision. Indeed, whether you are an individual, a merchant or simply an entrepreneur wanting to make residual income, e-Commerce has a place for you. However, to avoid wasting time, you need to take some time to organize yourself better. Here we give you 10 important points to consider avoiding any surprises. They are based on our personal experience and that of many of our clients. If you would like to have personalized advice at the end of this reading, do not hesitate to ask your questions in the comments. You can also contact us.
1- Type of e-commerce website
There are several types of e-commerce: DropShipping, selling affiliate products or selling your products. DropShipping or the sale of affiliate products will consist of offering a company’s products to your acquaintances, network or through the ticket of a marketing strategy. On the other hand, your products’ sale requires that you have the stock available to offer to your customers. In this step, you will have to decide what type of trade you would like to do. The decision will have to consider your budget, the time you are willing to invest in having a return and most importantly, your patience and determination.
2- The domain name
To build an e-commerce website, you need to think about a domain name. It would help if you chose a short domain name relevant to your business. This is because people will remember your domain name more if it is short.
Choose a domain name.
The domain name is of paramount importance in any activity on the net. In fact, it helps identify your website while defining the brand you would like to develop.
To facilitate your e-commerce website’s visibility and make it easy for people to remember your site, you should keep your domain name short, easy to remember.
I will recommend that you do a little Google search to see the domain names used by potential competitors. If you can afford to pay yourself Marketing Agents for a little study to suggest the best name for your business, that would be best. Otherwise, searching on Google will give you an idea of the type of name used. The most important information to remember is SHORT and ACCURATE (closest to your business). A short name is easy to remember. At the same time, a specific domain name avoids asking too many questions.
Find your domain name.
When you have decided on a domain name, you can research the domain name vendors of your choice to reassure yourself that it is not yet taken. Some sellers that we can recommend are https://prosite.ca/, https://www.godaddy.com/, https://www.hostpapa.ca/. There are several on the web. Our favourite is GoDaddy.
3 – Choice of the hosting plan for your e-commerce website
Depending on which CMS you have chosen, you may have to choose a host. With Shopify, for example, you don’t need hosting because your website is hosted with the provider. However, with CMS such as Woocommerce and Magento, you choose either the self-hosted (hosted by yourself) or provider-hosted option. Each of the two cases has advantages and disadvantages. A self-managed website offers the distinction of being less expensive and more flexible eventually. However, the downside is that you have to take care of server management and site maintenance yourself. On the other hand, with a platform managed by the supplier, such as Shopify.com or WordPress.com, they take care of the maintenance and a good part of the technical aspect and a subscription (monthly or annual). Personally, I prefer self-managed sites because of control and flexibility.
4 – Write the content of the site
Your site’s content will play an important role in your site’s rank on the search engines. It would be best if you took some time to do some keyword research about your industry. Indeed, a word according to your terminology is not necessarily what several Internet users use. For example, The term baby carrier could be popularly known as a stroller. Thus, using the word stroller would have more advantages in terms of positioning on search engines in your content.
Content depends on the type of e-commerce.
Importance of images in e-commerce
Unlike a physical store where the customer can see and touch, shoppers rely on product images to make their decisions. Images that are not pretty to look at will scare away your customers, while beautiful images usually have more conversion. When taking the pictures, you need to make sure that you take great pictures while being honest. Many people are reassured to photograph only the beautiful parts of their products and have many returned products. The idea is to increase sales and avoid after-sales product returns.
Image performance factor
Another factor to consider regarding the images is the format (PNG, JPG, GIF…) and the size of the images (1 MB, 900 kb…). You should be aware that the size of your images can impact the performance of your site. For this purpose, cumbersome images should be avoided. It is recommended to have images below kb (less than 900 kb). Considering the maximum dimension of the screens, it is not necessary to have huge images. To decide the exact size, you need to take your target audience into account.
Our images’ recommendations are size – less than 900, dimensions above 2000 PX and JPG format. You should only use the PNG format for logos or transparency (if you want to keep the design uniform).
6 – Delivery method
Choose reliable delivery for people.
Before you actually get into selling online, you should ask yourself how your customers will receive their products. In the sale of affiliate products, the question might not arise as long as the supplier will take care of it. However, if you are selling your products or doing drop-shipping, you should consider this factor. Therefore, it evaluates the various delivery people in your region, arranging for them to do so on time.
Questions to ask yourself
Some questions that you might ask yourself when choosing a delivery method, for example, are:
- How long will it take for my customer to receive their product?
- How much does it cost to send him his product?
- Are there unnerved areas?
- What is the delivery man’s policy if loss or damage?
- What is the history of the delivery person?
Include methods and conditions in the terms and conditions page
When you have decided what type of delivery method to choose and who you will be doing business with, it is important to clarify all of this on your site’s terms and conditions page. One of the biggest frustrations for customers is being misinformed. For example, customers might expect to receive their product in 7 days, yet your delivery person does in 3 weeks. Indeed, many companies do not take the time to inform their customers about the delivery conditions. As a result, there is very often a loss of time and money—also potential customers.
7- Payment gateway
The payment gateway allows you to connect your website to your bank account. It is, therefore, an important tool in online commerce. If your business targets people in your locality, the choice of the gateway may be optional. However, it should not be forgotten that many people can withdraw at the last minute by wasting their time.
There are several gateways that you can use depending on your country and your financial situation.
Some payment methods for your e-commerce
- PayPal – Trendy gateway present in almost all countries of the world. It has the particularity of having several currencies depending on your country and to protect the consumer if a dispute. One limitation of PayPal for certain countries is that you must have a bank account to sync your account. For this, PayPal is not very suitable for countries that are still developing.
- Stripe – Fairly easy to integrate; but not available in several countries. At the moment, Stripe is only present in 34 countries (https://stripe.com/global), unlike PayPal, which is present in more than 200 countries and more than 25 currencies.
- We Cash Up – A better alternative for developing countries. (https://www.wecashup.com/en/). If you don’t have a bank account and are in a less industrialized country with people who don’t use banks as a financial transaction method, “We Cash Up” is recommended to help you.
A choice based on technology
There are many payment gateways out there, and the choice will largely depend on what technology you’re using or how much you’re willing to invest in development. You might, for example, find gateway extensions that only work on Magento and not on WooCommerce. This is the reason why you evaluate several gateways in terms of advantages and disadvantages. Your analysis should consider the cost per transaction, the ease of integration and more importantly, the ease of use on your site.
8- Marketing / Social Media Strategy
As you probably already know, having a website is not enough. It would be best if you had a marketing strategy to promote your platform to generate income. Considering your marketing strategy or the channels to use gives you an idea of integrating as a marketing solution. Several developers have released extensions that make it easier to manage your social media platforms or marketing strategy. Some examples are website login extensions to email marketing platforms. You may also have to link your website to Facebook or Google Analytics platforms to monitor and continuously improve.
9 – The security of your e-commerce website.
The security of your platform is an aspect that should not be neglected. Given that customers will be required to insert personal information in the forms of your site, you must make sure that your platform is as secure as possible. There are several parameters to implement for maximum security. Some of these elements are SSL certificate, Captcha (to protect forms), protection against brute force attacks with SiteLock…
10 – Choice of technology to use in e-commerce website
Once you have completed the 9 points mentioned above, choosing the technology will be easier. You will only have to ask yourself if the CMS (or Content manager) you have in front of you fulfills the required conditions.
There are some e-commerce platform development tools, including Shopify, PrestaShop, Magento, and WooCommerce. It would help if you took some time to consider which CMS fits your short, medium or long-term goals the most.
Some tools are more for e-commerce website compared to others
For example, you can ask yourself questions such as:
- Will I be able to update my content?
- Do I have the necessary means to manage any bugs?
- Will the tool allow me to reach my target easily?
- Would it be easy to import my content without any hassle?
Please make a choice based on how easy it is to manage your e-commerce website.
Each content manager has its advantages and disadvantages. How easy it is to manage each one depends on your personal skills or your financial resources. For anyone new to e-commerce, we recommend Shopify or WooCommerce, as setting up and managing doesn’t require technical knowledge all the time.
An e-commerce website is an asset and a business that everyone should be doing. No matter your profile, you can, if you want, get started. However, the ability to keep going depends on your level of commitment, determination, and, most importantly, you’re planning for its implementation.
Our role as an e-Commerce developer is to support you every step of the way to allow you to better focus on the essentials.