Planning Your New eCommerce Website Project (2024 Guide)
Developing a new eCommerce website may seem like a daunting task. As more Americans are turning to the internet for shopping, it’s more important than ever to make sure you know some key information that is essential as you start planning and developing a new eCommerce website.
As you begin thinking about developing your website, there are several aspects of the process you will need to consider. Some of these tasks may be handled by your web design company, and some will be handled by you and your company. Either way, it’s important that you understand what is required to build a successful eCommerce website that will bring you the results you want.
Our talented team of eCommerce website developers has put together some essential things to think about and plan for as you develop your new eCommerce website.
Why Create an eCommerce Website?
It’s clear that online shopping is an area that has seen tremendous growth in recent years, and that growth is expected to continue. According to Statista, retail eCommerce in the United States brought in an estimated $768 billion and that number is predicted to grow to exceed $1.3 trillion by 2025.
Besides the direct benefit to your bottom line from using eCommerce, there are other reasons to develop an eCommerce website.
- 1. Reach new customers. Developing an eCommerce website gives you the opportunity to reach new markets and new customers that you could never reach with just a brick-and-mortar store.
- 2. Create shopping experiences that are unique for your customers. Using videos, stories and personalized customer care are avenues for you to interact with customers through your eCommerce website in a way you can’t otherwise. These extra, special experiences can help convince customers to keep coming back.
- 3. Strengthen your brand. If you are selling your products through a third-party online marketplace, it can be difficult to use your branding. Creating your own eCommerce website gives you complete control of how your products are being presented and branded.
Choosing Your Website Development Company
Perhaps the most important decision when you’re planning a new eCommerce website is who will develop your website. Choosing the right developer can make or break your eCommerce website.
What should you look for in a web design company? You’ll want to be sure that the company you choose is experienced in developing the type of website you’re looking to build and that they have a quality team of professionals behind their product.
It’s very important if you’re building an eCommerce website that the agency you hire has a vast amount of experience working in the eCommerce industry. Building an eCommerce website is a much different process than a traditional informational website.
How You Can Plan For Developing Your eCommerce Website
One of the most common delays for a website development project is the client not being able to provide content in a timely manner. To avoid this issue, be sure you have the following information ready for your developer:
- Logo – If you already have a logo and would like to maintain your branding, be ready to provide your logo to your designers. Preferably your logo should be in a high resolution format such as .ai, .eps, or .psd.
- Content – This is the big one! Remember, you know your business better than the development company, and unless you’ve also hired them to write content, you’ll need to put together text for your About Us page, policies and any other content you would like on your site.
- Example Websites – Examples of websites that you like (for one reason or another) are always helpful. This will allow your designers and programmers to look at various elements of the website and figure out what blows you away. In the end your site should be unique, but it helps to know what you’re a fan of.
- Managing Content – Be sure to tell your developer what content you would like to have access to and be able to manage yourself. Many times (if developed correctly) you will already have access to manage many areas, but it’s a positive to be on the same page and have a conversation about it.
- Product Database – If you’re developing an eCommerce website, you’ll need to have a product database with all the needed product data. If not, either you or your web design company will be responsible for entering your product information by hand, so be sure to decide who will be responsible. Your developer should create an administration tool so you can easily enter products without having any web design knowledge.
- Account Credentials – You’ll be asked to provide login for your DNS, hosting account, payment gateway provider and more, so be sure to consider where these logins may be. If you’re planning to launch the website and cannot find this information, your project will get delayed.
- Make Suggestions – Be ready to make suggestions and give input. You know what you want! At the same time, you’re hiring a professional, so allow them to give their professional input as well.
8 Things to Keep in Mind During eCommerce Website Development
Besides the information you’ll want to have at the ready as you start developing your eCommerce website, here are 8 other important things you will need to keep in mind during the creation process and discuss with your website development team.
1. Website safety and security
As an eCommerce business, you store huge amounts of data about both your products and the customers who buy on your site. Any breach of this data can put your business at risk. Your customers’ information could be stolen and sold, or your business data could be accessed and stolen. Also, Google is flagging websites without an SSL certificate and HTTPS protocol. If you don’t have these two components, you could be losing business.
2. Optimization of your site before and during the eСommerce website development process.
Researchers have found that if a page takes up to 5 seconds to load, visitors are 90% more likely to leave the page. That’s just one of many reasons why it’s important your site is optimized in every way.
Besides your website being optimized for speed, you also want to consider search engine optimization. Involve an eCommerce SEO specialist at the early stages of your eCommerce website development to ensure that your site will rank higher with the proper keywords and meta information. They can help you create a strategy for SEO content, organizing page structure and other valuable services.
To find out more about the value of SEO for an eCommerce website, check out our eCommerce SEO Guide.
There are benefits for shoppers registering on an eCommerce website. It may allow them to save their shopping history or billing/shipping address, but some customers will still prefer having an option for guest checkout.
Besides a registration form, you can also allow users to sign in and shop using their social media accounts. Whichever option you use, you can still auto-generate an account for the user and email the
4. Payment options
It may not be possible to include every possible payment option, you definitely need to include more than just one option. According to the 2020 Payment Methods Report, 6% of shoppers would abandon their cart because there aren’t enough payment options.
Some of the top options for payment methods are PayPal, Apple Pay, Amazon Pay, Google Pay, Visa, MasterCard and American Express.
5. Mobile functionality
According to Statista, almost 73 percent of online transactions are carried out through a mobile device. Though some people buy from a mobile app, you’ll have a better conversion rate if your eCommerce interface is easily adaptable for the mobile web.
6. Customer support and contact information
Today’s users value personalization and customer support. Best practices show you should have your contact information readily available in many places on your website, including a Contact Us page, as well as links on each page with clickable links to call or email your business. Also listing your physical address and phone number automatically adds to your credibility. Consider adding a chat option for users who don’t enjoy talking on the phone.
7. Proper product descriptions and showcasing
A downside of online shopping is that users can’t feel or see the products. The only information they have to make their decision is the pictures you include and the product descriptions. Any specific details about the products can help convince a customer to buy your product and high-resolution images will better highlight the product.
8. Website search and filtering
Having an easy-to-use search bar is key for any eCommerce website. Advanced search functionality will make your search even more user-friendly. For example, allow customers to search by category or keywords instead of just specific product names.
Let OuterBox Help With Your eCommerce Website Development
Clearly there is a lot to know and think about when developing your new eCommerce website. You want an experienced team with proven results to give your business the advantage you need to grow. At OuterBox, we understand how to plan and create an eCommerce website. We have built an experienced team of web developers and SEO specialists who can talk with you and build a site that meets your needs. Let us show you how we can help. Speak with one of our web development experts today.