The popularity of online shopping shows no signs of slowing down. Over the past decade, e-commerce has been constantly one of the fastest-growing segments of the retail industry. Today, there are hundreds of thousands of online stores and based on the latest figures, there are about 20,000 new e-commerce websites being launched in the internet every single week.
If you intend to sell anything online, it could be cars, computers, gadgets, clothes, shoes, books, perfumes, or anything that people would be happy to spend their money on, today is the best time to have your very own online store via an e-commerce website. This type of website, unlike regular personal blogs or company websites, will become your virtual shop window where potential clients can see whatever it is that you offer from the comfort of their own home. Having an online store means you can make sales, process orders, and receive payments without spending money on a traditional brick-and-mortar storefront. Because of the convenience it brings, an e-commerce website, when developed and marketed properly, could be the key to increasing your sales and revenue exponentially.
Steps to Build a Successful E-Commerce Website
- Choose your web design platform. The first thing to do is to choose the platform for designing and coding your website. If you have solid knowledge on MySQL, HTML, PHP, and other programming languages, it is best to start from scratch.
For an e-commerce website built on a completely free platform, then a CMS such as WordPress is the way to go, and is our choice of e-commerce solution here at at Ignition Media.
- Select the best hosting company. When looking for website hosting providers, you must choose the one that is highly reliable and efficient. You want to ensure that your e-commerce website is up at least 99% of the time. Otherwise, you’ll lose valuable sales.
There are hundreds of web hosting providers to choose from. When making your choice consider key issues, which include price, customer service, technical support, reliability, access to email service, host-based security services (virus detection and firewall, for example), and compatibility with the programming languages you’re using. Often the cheapest option is not the best. You’ll likely wait on hold for 45mins to an hour with some hosting companies, so ensure the one you choose has read people who pick up the phone and offer support. The other issue I can’t stress enough when it comes to hosting is ensuring your website is hosted in the country you wish to rank well for. If you have a boutique in Melbourne, then you’ll want to ensure the hosting servers (not just the company, but the actual servers) are located in Australia. This will improve your ranking position for local searches.
- Choose a payment solution. The ability to accept payment online is just one of the few but critical puzzle pieces when creating a successful e-commerce website. You will need a payment processor and a payment gateway to make this happen. The most popular processors include Google Checkout and PayPal Website Payments Standard. These will send your customers to a checkout page, which your chosen processing company hosts. Payment gateways, on the other hand, are designed to integrate your shopping cart and transaction. Find out the better solution; Paypal Payments versus Other Payment Gateway Options.
- SSL Security – This is definitely an absolute must-have for the reputation of any e-commerce website. Protect your customers from theft and fraud through SSL security. Using an SSL certificate, you will give your customers peace of mind that their personal and billing information will not be compromised when they decide to buy from your website. This certificate prevents cyber criminals from intercepting data as they are being transmitted on the Internet. Also, SSL Security will help you gain trust as this will show that your website is legitimate and trustworthy.
- Shopping Cart – When creating an e-commerce website, you will need to set up a system that is similar to traditional basket or cart that is being used by customers when they shop at brick-and-mortar stores. Using shopping cart software, your customers can select items displayed on your website, add them to the cart, and walk them through as soon as they are ready to check out. Pick a shopping cart that already includes shipping charges (when applicable) and taxes to give your customers the total for their order.
WordPress offers fantastic shopping cart plugins, such as WP e-Commerce, designed to let your customers buy or download your products. Other WordPress plugins which I recommend are WooCommerce and Jigoshop. Learn more about WordPress plugins for e-commerce by reading a previous post: WP e-commerce Plugin: Is it a Viable e-commerce Solution?
- Promotion is crucial. Having great products to sell and an attractive, easy-to-navigate e-commerce website isn’t enough to succeed online. To promote awareness and to attract targeted traffic, you will need to do massive online promotion, which includes search engine optimisation, content marketing, social media marketing, etc.
Communication is also a vital part of the promotion of your website. Learn how to Communicate with your Niche Market.
With all the available platforms and various resources that can be found online, setting up a successful e-commerce website is relatively easy, particularly for those who have in-depth knowledge of WordPress.org. However, if you don’t have the technical skills or if you’d rather spend your precious time growing your business than making your own website, then partner with Ignition Media and take advantage of the e-commerce solutions we offer, perfect for both small and large online stores and galleries. Here, we allow you to add, delete, or edit categories without restrictions. This way, you can easily expand your business and product range without worrying about ongoing payments and fees.
Ignition Media’s e-commerce solutions have helped hundreds of online businesses thrive on the web. For inquiries or for obligation-free quotes, please email me at [email protected] or pick up the phone and talk to me! Call direct on (07) 55 687 515.