- Amanda Wolfe
Making Your Website Work for You with E-Commerce
Whether your company is centered upon selling products or you want to expand your brand into online merchandise sales, a well-built e-commerce website is a great boost to your business. No longer limited to the basic “online stores” of the past, modern e-commerce websites allow you to sell not only physical items, but also services and digital products (such as apps or software).
Unsure if you need an e-commerce website? Consider your business plan from a broad perspective:
If you’re currently unable to handle order fulfillment, or you run a very small business that you prefer to limit to in-person transactions, then you may not need one… right now.
If you’re in the business of selling goods to a wide audience, you definitely need a website – or perhaps an upgrade to your existing one – to expand your sales potential.
If you don’t already sell goods, but have a lot of traffic and interest in your blog, YouTube channel, or other brand, your followers and fans may want to buy merchandise with your logo/branding.
Choosing Your E-Commerce Website Platform
You have several options available for building your website, depending upon your level of technical knowledge.
Software as a Service (SaaS) platforms will normally require a subscription fee, but include built-in features like advanced security and payment processing. Choosing the most premium option for your budget presents a professional image and allows your e-commerce website more room to grow with your business.
For exceptional freedom in designing your user interface, headless commerce seamlessly integrates your front-end customer experience with back-end order processing.
For those with advanced coding knowledge, an open-source solution offers the highest level of customization, but will require additional effort and possibly an outside service to protect against security breaches.
Some open-source solutions have moved to a hosting model called a cloud platform, which lets you bundle in features similar to a SaaS solution, but with the flexibility of an open-source model. Cloud platform solutions offer different pricing levels based on available features.
Tips for an Effective E-Commerce Website
First, establish customer confidence and your brand image. When people visit your website and are interested in buying from you, make sure they can easily access your About Us page, return policy, and shipping rates/policies. Research shows that these will heavily influence a shopper’s trust and willingness to buy from you. If you can, include customer reviews to really seal the deal.
Speaking of customers, market research is your friend when it comes to planning your website’s functionality! Stay up to date on what details are proven to increase customer engagement and completed sales, like Guest Checkout, social-media integration, and “similar products” suggestions.
Merchandising – how you display your products – can really make or break your e-commerce sales. When you’re shopping online, aren’t you more likely to trust an e-commerce website with high-quality photos and detailed product descriptions? When you’re merchandising your website, make sure you include:
High-resolution product photos. Several well-lit, professional-looking photos, ideally taken from different angles, will accurately represent your product. If you’re selling printed merchandise like t-shirts or coffee mugs, include a close-up photo of the design that’s printed on the product.
As many product details as possible. For physical products, list the measurements of the item, what material(s) it’s made of, and care instructions (for instance, whether a water bottle or mug is dishwasher safe). For clothing, including a size chart will help your customers purchase the right size for them and prevent unnecessary returns. In the case of software or apps, list everything that’s included, and phone or computer operating system requirements.
Descriptions optimized for search engines. For example, if you’re selling a backpack, write about it in a fun and engaging way, including keywords to boost your search-engine ranking. Rather than just describing it as a backpack, you might want to say that your “sturdy backpack works great as camping gear or a book bag for students.”
When You Need a Hand
Building, launching, and marketing an e-commerce website can be a daunting task, and you don’t have to do it alone. Serving businesses and organizations of all sizes in Harris County and Galveston County, JanMar Agency offers a full line of marketing consulting services to build and promote your e-commerce website. Schedule your free one-hour consultation by calling (409) 502-8221, or book online!