The UK has the most advanced ecommerce market in Europe with an expected 60 million ecommerce users in 2023. This means that if you sell products or services – it may be worth considering equipping your site for e-commerce. But where do you start?
We’ve devised a simple guide to start your e-commerce journey, and if you need extra support, feel free to contact us for expert advice.
Choosing the right e-commerce platform
The first step is to ensure you choose the right platform for your online store. The most popular e-commerce website builders are Shopify, WooCommerce and BigCommerce:
Shopify is a cloud-based e-commerce platform that is easy to use and has a wide range of features, making it a good choice for businesses of all sizes. It is also highly scalable, so it can grow with your business. But it can be pricey.
WooCommerce is an open-source e-commerce plugin for the content management system WordPress and can be added to an existing WordPress site. It is free to use, but you will need to pay for hosting and other services. WooCommerce is also highly customisable, so you can add any features you need.
BigCommerce is another cloud-based e-commerce platform that is similar to Shopify. It is easy to use and has a wide range of features, but it can also be expensive.
When choosing a platform for your e-commerce store, there are a number of factors to consider, including:
- Ease of use: how easy is it to set up and use the platform?
- Scalability: can the platform grow with your business?
- Pricing: how much does the platform cost?
- Features: what features does the platform offer in terms of product management, payment processing, and shipping integration?
- Security: is the platform secure enough to protect your customers’ personal and financial information?
Design and user experience
The design and user experience (UX) of ecommerce sites are essential for driving sales and building customer loyalty. A well-designed website will be easy to navigate, visually appealing, and secure. It will also provide users with all of the information they need to make informed buying decisions. Your ecommerce site should include the following elements:
- Responsive web design and mobile optimisation
- User-friendly navigation and intuitive layout
- High-quality product images and descriptions
- Secure and straightforward checkout process
Payment gateways and security
When it comes to choosing a payment gateway, many online retailers opt for third-party tools like Stripe or PayPal. They act as an intermediary between the customer’s bank and your business’s merchant account. Once a customer makes a purchase via your online store, the payment gateway processes the payment and transfers the funds to the business account.
All ecommerce websites should use an SSL certificate to ensure secure transactions. The web browser will display a lock icon in the address bar and this indicates that the website is secure and that users can safely enter their information. Your ecommerce site should also be compliant with Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS) – a set of security standards for all businesses that accept credit card payments.
Product management is the process of overseeing the development, launch, and ongoing performance of products. In the context of an online store, product management includes managing the product catalogue on the website. This can involve:
- Organising and categorising products effectively
- Adding product variations, sizes, and options
- Inventory management and stock tracking
- Integrating a search feature for easy product discovery
Content marketing and SEO
Content marketing and SEO are two key strategies for any business. By creating valuable content and optimising your ecommerce website for search engines, you can attract more visitors and increase your sales. Here are a few ways to go about doing this:
- Creating valuable product descriptions and content: Your product descriptions should be informative and engaging, and they should help customers to understand why they should buy your products.
- Implementing SEO best practices for product pages: SEO is the process of optimising your ecommerce website so that it ranks higher in search engine results pages (SERPs) by using relevant keywords, optimising your product images for search engines, and including internal links to other pages on your website.
- Leveraging blogs and content marketing to attract and engage customers: You can use your blog to write about product reviews, industry news, and other topics of interest to your customers. Promote your blog posts on social media, distribute them via email newsletters and offer exclusive content to your subscribers.
- Building backlinks and improving search engine rankings: Backlinks are links from other websites to your website and lets search engines know that your website is authoritative and trustworthy. The more high-quality backlinks you have, the higher your website will rank in SERPs.
Customer support and feedback
By providing excellent customer support and listening to customer feedback, your business can build customer loyalty and improve your products and services.
Live chat is a great way to offer customer support in real time as it allows customers to chat with a representative directly on your ecommerce website. Chat to your web developer about implementing support tools on your site such as live chat software or help desk software.
Through these tools, you can gain insightful feedback to identify trends and patterns and improve your ecommerce business operations.
Ecommerce web design solutions
Starting an e-commerce website can be daunting, but it’s highly beneficial in the long run. More and more customers are searching for products and services online and even in-store shoppers do a Google search before going into the store to make a purchase.
Having a brick and mortar store just isn’t enough these days. Our expertise in ecommerce technology ensures secure payments and efficient inventory management for your online business.