The world has been steadily shifting into the digital age in the course of the last decades, but recent events have accelerated that process to its maximum. The year 2020 was the starting point for a new era in e-commerce. Economic worldwide was struck with the lockdowns caused by the COVID-19 virus spreading. What seemed to be a collapse for a retail shopping business has turned into a brand-new page in its development. Lots of the offline businesses who didn’t want to lose their profits had to learn fast what is it like to work online. Moreover, when the lockdown was over many entrepreneurs realized that the world will never be the same and that e-commerce is something to develop, embraced, and conquer. It is a perfect time to join the world of online business now, on a surge of e-commerce!
The process of an online shop website development tends to be one of the most intimidating aspects for newcomers. One has to decide on a long list of issues, starting from choosing a CMS and figuring out what features are needed for a website. It is not easy to detach paramount importance from secondary issues.
Below you will find 5 main steps one has to make to become a successful e-commerce retailer. This information will be useful not only for those who only consider joining the digital movement but also for proficient players, who want to make their website a better one.
- Evaluation of a target audience and their needs.
Probably the most crucial step is to determine your target audience and understand their needs. It is ultimately important for a website to be created in a way that satisfies their needs. While creating a site a business owner should keep in mind his/her potential client. The main idea is to make online shopping in your store a pleasant experience, making customers want to use your site over and over again.
The founder of the most extensive online business academies in the world Jeet Banerjee assume, that if you want your startup to be successful you need to have a clear vision of your customers’. As we see from the statistics data only 10% of startups are successful, the other 90% fail within 2-5 years or even less. Jeet Banerjee’s project the Income Incubator is one of the fastest growing online businesses at the moment, and he knows the key to success in the digital world. He believes, that the main idea of your business should be “building something that your target audience or niche really wants”, and this is the biggest challenge in any kind of business.
Marketing research is what you have to do first, as well as defining your marketing personas. Furthermore, you should comprehend the demographic information of people you consider as your target audience. With this information, you will have an appropriate vision of how your website should look to meet your clients’ expectations. Now you can keep moving forward onto the next step.
- Choosing a platform that corresponds to target audience needs.
Once your target audience’s needs are explicated next thing on your to-do list will be to identify the specifics of your site’s specs. Foremost for an e-commerce site will be choosing what content management system (CMS) will house your online shop website.
CMS is a foundation of a site and contingent on what CMS you utilize will depend on what your site will have to offer. Some popular examples of CMS are Drupal, WordPress, and Joomla. At this stage, many issues have to be contemplated and examined. However, 3 main aspects should not be neglected under any condition. They are:
Along with these constituents, the types of e-commerce store plugins used with your CMS should be appraised. For instance, Drupal users habitually use Drupal Commerce, while WordPress uses WooCommerce. Each plugin for e-commerce has its advantages and disadvantages. For this reason, you will have to review them alongside the CMS you choose to find the best match.
- Determining the website features.
Now, as the CMS that suits your needs and also meets your customers’ expectations is selected it is about time to discard unnecessary attributes for your site and make it run as it should.
Many features are already built-in in the majority of e-commerce store plugins. As an example, Drupal Commerce contains a shopping cart to manage the product catalog. Nevertheless, your web store might need additional features. Primarily, almost all e-commerce shops need a payment gateway to invoicing tools.
Based on your target audience’s need your site will have some specific needs, as, for example, to work internationally. Under this circumstance, you will have to think about multilingual plugins to bring a comfortable use of the site by site visitors that speak languages other than the language of your country. It might be also necessary to have an automated currency exchange plugin.
- Building a minimum viable product
According to statistics, the reason for failure in almost 75% of startups is premature scaling. Those startups that made a proper scaling of their business achieve up to 20 times ramp-up in scale. That is why, when CMS and perfect characteristics for your website are chosen it is important not to run the site on its maximum, surpassing its capability. A good idea will be to establish the minimum viable product of your online shop website before moving it to the next level in scale. At this stage, you already know a set of perfect characteristics for your website. What you need to do for MVP creating is to define the minimum list of functions your site requires to run properly and meet your customers’ expectations.
MVP gives you the possibility to test your primary idea of the site and how your customers like it. You can see if they are satisfied with the content, maintenance, and tools they are provided on your e-commerce site. This will help you to see the situation objectively and decide on what direction to move on, implementing your great ideas of site improvement.
- Selecting an e-commerce web development team
Suppose you have followed the previous steps and have a basic plan of your site development by now. With it, you can move on to hiring an e-commerce web development team. Your choice of the web development team will be mostly based on what CMS you have chosen because usually, web development teams particularize in building with that framework.
It will be helpful to acquire at least sketchy knowledge about CMS. Thus, it will be easier to choose a team to work with, that can amplify your vision of the website.
Last but not least thing to mention is – remember Bill Gates’s famous quote: “If your business is not on the internet, then your business will be out of business”.