In this article we share 5 Rules To Follow To Successfully Add eCommerce To Your Business Website.
With the e-commerce sector flourishing this year, there has never been a better time to add it to your business website. As more consumers get comfortable with digital technology and opt to shop online, building an online presence is crucial for businesses wanting to succeed in a competitive environment.
Even as consumer shopping behaviour continues to evolve, adding an e-Commerce section to your website continues to prove incredibly popular and profitable for businesses – whether you are looking to grow your business or expand your brand online.
With a well-designed e-Commerce addition, businesses can better engage their website visitors, capitalise on potential sales, and boost their brand penetration on the market.
The Benefits of Adding e-Commerce to Your Business
There are many benefits of adding e-Commerce to your website. A key one that stands out is that it can attract new customers for your business and expand the demographic your branding appeals to.
In 2018, 87 percent of purchases were made online. Fast forward to July 2020, and 17.2 million consumers in the UK alone plan to switch to e-Commerce shopping permanently, according to an Alvarez & Marsal and Retail Economics report.
Meanwhile, 80 percent of Americans intend to return to online shopping even after the current pandemic. Although recent events may have accelerated the shift, there is no denying that the e-Commerce market is a rapidly growing and valuable one for businesses.
Another reason to expand your business website to include e-Commerce is that it can improve accessibility to customers. Businesses with an e-Commerce website are open to customers 24/7, and are available to customers from around the globe.
It can be a great avenue to expand your business brand to international markets. However, businesses that have just a brick and mortar presence lose out on valuable sales opportunities due to store closures.
Finally, introducing eCommerce to your business website presents a valuable opportunity for you to present an omnichannel experience to your customers. Customers want convenience in their shopping.
If you have a brick and mortar store, you can introduce the option of online ordering and in-store pickups, showcasing just how much your brand is considering its customers.
Choose Your e-Commerce Design and Ensure It Aligns With Your Current Brand Design
Even in the world of e-Commerce, branding and design are important. Similar to in-store branding strategy, the right choices in your eCommerce store design can help you attract new customers, get your business name out there, and strengthen your brand image – if done right.
Since e-Commerce shopping lacks the in-person factor, businesses need to maximise their visual impact – including their e-Commerce website design.
Not only does your e-Commerce website need to look and feel on-brand, but it also needs to evoke action from your website visitors.
When choosing an e-Commerce website design, start by settling on a theme and webpage design. Ideally, it is recommended that you keep it simple. Avoid the overflow of banners, popups and bright colours so that your visitors are not overwhelmed.
Easy and clear navigation is a must as well. Finally, take the time to add a backstory to your e-Commerce brand. Customers connect well to brands that have a face or personal aspect.
It helps you build trust as a brand. If you already have a brick and mortar business, aim to have your e-Commerce and offline brand complement each other.
While the branding aspects do not necessarily need to be the same, some key aspects like company colours, logos and slogans should be easily identifiable between the two.
Choose a Merchant Account for your Store
You will also want to begin thinking about digital payment processing platforms. Businesses with an e-Commerce option also need to choose a payment processing platform for their online store.
While there are options like Google Pay or Paypal, you can also use one supplied by the shopping cart software. Your choice may also depend on the suitability of the fees they each offer.
For instance, platforms like Paypal tend to use flat-rate pricing, but there is also tiered pricing and interchange-plus pricing.
In addition to a competitive rate, look out for a merchant provider that complies with the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard if you plan on accepting credit cards in your eCommerce store.
You also need to think about security when choosing a merchant provider. While you can build and host your own payment page, it also opens your business up to more security risks.
Those who choose self-hosted payment platforms may also find they do not get the same amount of hosting support. Finally, opt for a payment processing provider that matches your business needs – like member subscription services.
Make Sure Your E-Commerce Site Is Mobile Friendly
Mobile shopping – also known M-Commerce – is done by 78 percent of British consumers. By 2022, it is predicted to grow by a staggering 68 percent, and will drive almost 50 percent of e-Commerce sales in the retailer market by 2022.
Meanwhile, in the USA, 91 percent of Americans are predicted to be online shoppers. Similar to making your business website mobile-friendly, you also need to consider how mobile-friendly your e-Commerce store is – particularly since more consumers are using their phones to do online shopping than ever before.
A few basics of optimising your e-Commerce store for mobile traffic: think of using a standalone website specifically designed for mobile devices, and also consider your website design and responsiveness on mobile devices when adding the eCommerce store to the business website.
Failure to optimise your e-Commerce website for mobile consumer traffic could mean decreased business website traffic, lower conversion rates, and poorer customer feedback.
This inevitably damages the brand of your business.
Allow Ample Time For Testing
Before rolling out your e-Commerce additions to customers, set aside enough time to test trial runs. The last thing you want is for your e-Commerce website in addition to launch and new customers to experience a hitch with the checkout, payment or browsing process.
This can not only cause them to abandon their shopping basket, but may also cause them to have negative feedback about their business and possibly share it on feedback forums.
This garners bad publicity for you and your brand. Some items to test include the sorting feature, navigation between main pages like the homepage, special offers, or delivery information, shopping cart, and payment processing pages.
Remember To Drive Traffic To Your e-Commerce Store
Finally, it is not enough to integrate eCommerce into your business website. You must garner traffic if it is to be truly successful.
To drive traffic to your eCommerce store, you can invest in an extensive ad campaign by targeting social media, online shopping channels, and even print media.
Another way to drive traffic is to implement a referral program for your new e-Commerce store. Similar to word of mouth marketing, referral programs are great at getting consumers to talk about your brand.
By creating a positive brand buzz, you can build brand visibility and reputation in the marketplace.
You should also prioritise regular website maintenance checks like checking the loading speed of your website. Websites that take longer than three seconds to load can lose up to 50 percent of visitors – and valuable potential customers.
The final tip: capitalise on local search engine optimisation. Around 82 percent of mobile users turn to search engines to find a local business.
Think about adding localised content and registering your e-Commerce store in local directories.
Adding eCommerce to your website opens up another avenue for business growth, presents another opportunity to extend your brand, and improves your appeal to your target markets.
With consumers increasingly turning to online shopping and utilising multichannel retail experiences, an e-Commerce extension could be the investment that takes your business to the next level.
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Also published on Medium.