An eCommerce website is the most powerful tool in your arsenal, allowing you to reach customers around the globe. But diving into the eCommerce world without a sound strategy isn’t going to yield the results you want.
Today, we dig into five things to consider when building an ecommerce website:
- Your Brand – Consider how your brand can support, reinforce, and drive traffic to your eCommerce website. Integrate digital resources to increase sales, spread brand awareness, and keep happy customers coming back.
- Your Goals – Key performance indicators are imperative for building a successful website. But how do you decide which metrics mean something to your business?
- Your Team – Determine how hands-off you want to be in creating, updating, or managing your site. Discover strategies to make the most of the assets available to you, including hiring an agency, choosing a more automated platform, and dividing responsibilities among your team.
- Your Website Platform – There are many different platforms to build with, but we’ll tell you the best e-commerce website builder out there.
- Your Customer – Learn how to optimize your website for your customer’s needs and expectations and create an unmatched user experience.
Brandography’s eCommerce development team helps businesses of all sizes exceed their goals! Contact us to learn more about unleashing your business’s eCommerce potential.
Things to consider when building an ECommerce website
#1 Your Digital Brand
Many business owners don’t sufficiently develop a cohesive brand identity. However, the digital marketing world demands a clear persona and strategy. All your marketing materials must be consistent, strategic, and reputable, from your logo to your packaging to your email marketing.
Step 1: Create a captivating eCommerce site
Your restaurant could have the best burger in the world, but if your dining room is a mess, the menu is confusing, and your staff is rude, sales will be few and far between. This same principle holds true for developing a eCommerce website. You want people to look forward to and enjoy interacting with your digital brand, and your eCommerce site should be the heartbeat.
Step 2: Consistently Consistent Consistency
Whenever customers interact with your brand, they need to have the same experience. Social media, PPC, website, consumer reviews, comparison shopping engines, third-party sellers – wherever someone crosses paths with your digital brand, the experience must be the same.
Learn more about creating a consistent brand identity here!
Step 3: Support, Reinforce, and Drive Traffic
Below are digital marketing strategies to support, reinforce, and drive traffic to your eCommerce website through various online avenues. Don’t just post a link and sign off till next week, but:
- Build conversation among customers
- Cultivate a distinct and engaging culture
- Use the targeting power of social advertising
- Address customer concerns and questions authentically
PPC campaigns can be a growing eCommerce site’s most powerful tool for acquiring new customers.
- Create specific landing pages for different ad groups
- Exploit niche and non-brand keywords
- Negative keywords are diamonds in the rough
- Actively monitor campaigns and make adjustments to promote better-performing ads or ad groups
Customers trust other customers more than you, so give them every opportunity to let them market for you! Ensure your business has a presence on:
- The BBB
- Google Business
Monitor these sites and thank customers for great reviews or resolve any issues. A timely response to a complaint is the most powerful damage control a business can take.
Get your products and website on relevant comparison shopping engines ASAP:
- Research which shopping engine is the best match for your company and which holds the best potential for a high ROI
- Make sure you can compete with other companies’ prices
- Carefully choose which products you post, knowing you might need to adjust pricing
- Write thorough, consistent product descriptions
Finally, if you’re not selling on Amazon, there’s money on the table. Align your digital brand with the popularity and reputation of these eCommerce sites to draw more traffic to your products and website.
The Power of Email Marketing
Acquiring the email address of a potential customer is like asking your customer on a date. You may not have made a sale yet, but with this information, you could win their heart forever. Email marketing services remains incredibly effective for retargeting website visitors.
Collecting the Coveted Email Address
- Offer exclusive deals or coupon codes in exchange for a visitor’s email
- Create a birthday club and give deals to all that sign up with an email address
With your growing email list, you can send out information on deals, stories about your brand, and other enticing content for your future fans!
Brandography’s brand identity experts have helped craft successful (and profitable) online presences for all types of businesses! Let us know your eCommerce goals, and we’ll work together to develop a digital brand that will actively support your business.
#2 Goal Setting
A business without goals is like a ship without a map. It might be able to survive for a while, but before long, it’s in trouble. Before building an eCommerce site, understand what you hope to achieve. These goals help you gauge how well your website performs and play an essential role in the design process.
Setting goals and measuring success (or lack thereof) helps business owners:
- understand what is going well
- what areas could use improvements
- encourages growth and innovation within any company.
While you may know setting goals within a brick-and-mortar store, countless tools and analytics for tracking eCommerce website objectives make gaining insights easy, but understanding them complicated.
Goals, Strategies, Tactics, and KPIs
eCommerce stores present unique challenges and opportunities when developing goals, strategies, tactics, and KPIs. Remember, back every goal with a strategy, including realistic tactics monitored by KPIs. Set SMART goals before determining strategy before laying out tactics.
What is a SMART goal? It is a target that is specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-bound.
Examples in eCommerce:
- Increase sales by 25% in 12 months
- Sell 750 units over the previous quarter
- Achieve an average of 1,000 unique monthly visitors within a year of launching
*Notice how each goal has a specific metric within a set timeline.
What is a strategy? A strategy is an idea or plan to achieve your business goals.
Examples in eCommerce:
- Add more products or SKUs to your offerings online
- Get existing customers to purchase more products at a time
- Attract new web traffic from related sites
*Notice how these are not specifics, just ideas.
What is a tactic? A tactic is a specific action that will support the larger strategic idea.
Examples in eCommerce:
- Offer 5 new colors and additional sizing options for t-shirt line
- Offer free shipping when the transaction is over $50
- Invest in a PPC campaign to draw in new web traffic
*Note: Multiple tactics can support a single strategy.
What are KPIs? Key performance indicators (KPIs) provide insights into how a website is performing in regards to achieving a goal.
Examples in eCommerce:
- Daily page views for each new product
- Conversion rates on products over $50
- Daily unique visitors acquired through paid traffic
How Google Analytics Can Increase Profits
If you’re not using Analytics on your eCommerce website, stop reading this and call us now! Google Analytics provides valuable insights into the actions of your site visitors. Without it, you’re shooting in the dark. With it, you can make informed decisions about your business and measure results in real time.
- Tracking Goals in Analytics
Most eCommerce websites don’t use Google Analytics to its full potential. One of the application’s most powerful and underutilized eCommerce tools is the ability to set and track goals on any KPI.
- Goals = Profits
Using goals, businesses can track nearly any action on their site and learn which visitors are most likely to make purchases. At its core, the goal tool provides valuable insights into how to more efficiently use marketing dollars and is vital for any eCommerce store’s Analytics reporting.
If You’re New to eCommerce…
If you are just starting an eCommerce platform, it may be hard to understand what to expect when setting goals. Do it anyway. Think about your current sales numbers, consider how you will market the new website, and ask yourself if your target market is technologically savvy and eager to purchase online. Working through exercises like these will help you put a number and timeframe to your expectations.
If You’re an eCommerce Pro…
If you’ve been using an eCommerce store for a while, take this opportunity to consider how this new web design will affect sales and then refine those goals. Is it user-friendly? Does it make completing a purchase more straightforward? Are visitors likely to spend more time on the new site? Thinking through questions like these will help you reassess your eCommerce goals.
It’s Not All Just About Purchases
It’s easy to become hyper-focused on sales numbers in Analytics. Don’t let this be you. In addition to sales, page views, and visitors, there are countless other metrics to track that will provide insights into how your online store is performing, including:
- Trial signups
- Account creations
- Newsletter signups
- Whitepaper downloads
#3 Your Team
Many of our eCommerce clients are surprised by the time required to manage their website and scramble early on to cover all the tasks. Below are some of the many roles your team will need to cover before creating your site:
- Have a designated team member to address customers’ questions and concerns regardless of size. Before beginning your eCommerce site, decide who will help customers to ensure consistent and quality service.
- You’ll need someone (or a team of someone’s) to manage and maintain inventory and shipping relationships. Avoid backorder issues by checking inventory is being stocked. If you run out of a product, your website needs to reflect it to avoid confused and angry customers.
- An eCommerce website that doesn’t work doesn’t make you any money. Even the best eCommerce sites require regular maintenance to perform efficiently, so ensure you have an eCommerce developer who can keep things running smoothly.
- If your site goes down, you’ll need a plan. We offer an ongoing maintenance plan that every eCommerce brand should consider. Think of it as an insurance policy for your website.
Partnering with a digital marketing agency is a smart way to take your eCommerce presence to the next level. Through pay-per-click ads, SEO, social media, and more, let professionals optimize your eCommerce website for success so you can focus on what you do best.
#4 The Platform
Every eCommerce store is different in the products it offers, the design it uses, and the desired user-experience it delivers to customers. Many of the points we’ve discussed focus on how the website’s front-end affects the UX. However, the actual motor for any eCommerce website resides in the backend and the platform it is built on.
Each platform has quirks that will either benefit or hinder the site based on what the business is trying to achieve.
Choosing the right eCommerce platform is similar to selecting the ideal commercial space for a brick-and-mortar shop. The right foundation makes everything much easier as your company and client base grows.
After years in this business, we’ve found Shopify to be the best ecommerce website builder.
Shopify is easy to use, with customizable templates that can align with your product needs. There are plenty of apps and third-party integrations, so you have everything you need. And because it’s easy to build a responsive site, your brand will look great to all of those people shopping on their phones (which is an increasing number!). Finally, our Shopify developers can ensure your products are organized intuitively to directly impact conversions.
Migrating from another platform is easy when you leave it to the professionals. We’ve helped clients across industries transfer from Magento, WooCommerce, and BigCommerce and move over to Shopify.
Now, with all this being said, Shopify might not be the right platform for your business. Brandography – Minneapolis’ own eCommerce development team – understands the unique benefits of each platform and can help you find the right choice to grow and achieve your goals.
#5 The Customer
Attracting, engaging, and retaining customers is the goal of any business. Achieving this begins with a contemporary web design agency and an intuitive user experience.
Have you ever walked into a store that was a mess? Displays are crooked, light bulbs are out, and items are scattered on the floor; you can’t get out of that place fast enough. Like a brick-and-mortar location, an online store should make shopping easy and intuitive for customers. You would never stand for disorganization in your store – apply the same mindset to your site.
It starts with design & copy
Your site’s foundation and credibility begin with web design. No matter how great your product is, no one will buy from (or trust) an ugly website.
Website Photography: Invest in custom web photography for your products instead of poorly lit iPhone photos. You want to show your brand in the best light possible.
Messaging: Your copy should intrigue a visitor to complete an action, whether purchasing a product or signing up for your newsletter. Crafting effective web content that compliments a site’s design is an art form. An SEO copywriter offers a fresh perspective on your brand messaging, underscoring what the customer wants and needs to know.
Let’s delve into the three most important factors that go into building user experience for an eCommerce site design:
- Site Speed: A slow website will stop customers in their tracks and send them to a competitor. A professional eCommerce development team will build your site correctly, ensuring it can handle all that traffic you’ve been working so hard to bring in.
- Product Selection: Customers don’t want to spend hours searching for what they need. Create an organized product structure that’s easily searchable. Define products by categories, brands, or sizes to help visitors narrow your inventory to their needs. Invest upfront to build a custom product search engine that will deliver precisely what a visitor is looking for in the first few results.
- Transaction: 70% of online shoppers abandon their cart right before purchasing (Baymard Institute). Why is this? They likely feel apprehensive about the purchase and leave the site to do more research or browse other sites for a better price. The goal is to make customers feel confident when on the shopping cart and transaction pages. Here are some ways to do just this:
- Shipping Costs: Avoid the surprise of high shipping costs by letting your customers know earlier on right there on product pages or even on the home page.
- Accepting Payments: Give customers every opportunity to pay with multiple payment methods.
- User Accounts: Forcing customers to create an account to complete their purchase often leads to a last-minute decision not to buy. Making an account doesn’t immediately benefit the customer and unnecessarily prolongs the transaction. If you’d like to offer the option of a user account, wait until after they’ve completed the purchase before bringing it up or present it in the context of making future purchases quicker and easier.
Pro Tip: You would never let a customer leave your store without asking, “…did you find everything you need?” Cart abandonment tools are the eCommerce version of this. Ask about these when building an eCommerce site.
Should I Partner With a Digital Marketing Agency?
A digital marketing agency can take work off your plate while continuously enhancing your site. Brandography’s eCommerce developers and digital marketing specialists have partnered with companies to help them grow! Whether you’re just starting to sell online or looking to take your online store to the next level, we’d love to be a part of your team.
This is Just the Tip of the eComm Iceberg
Attracting, engaging, and retaining customers online isn’t easy. Partnering with a digital marketing agency specializing in eCommerce design and development ensures that this process remains efficient, cost-effective, and -dare we say- fun!
Contact Brandography’s eCommerce team to learn about creating a successful and profitable online store that your customers can’t wait to shop at again and again.