Organizations can build e-commerce sites relatively quickly, but for maximum success, they need to consider key elements such as layout, catalog quality, and product pricing.
E-commerce websites can reach large audiences and allow people to shop 24/7, which can help organizations increase revenue and acquire new customers. Additionally, these sites require less overhead to operate than physical stores. However, if business owners do not consider the target audience, page design, and contact center staffing before building their e-commerce websites, their sites may fail due to a Poor CX and customer service.
Why create an e-commerce site?
An e-commerce website can boost an organization’s customer experience because it provides customers with the convenience and flexibility to shop anywhere, anytime. These online stores can use automatic product recommendations to provide customers with a personalized shopping experience and improve an organization’s ability to sell. Additionally, e-commerce sites can generate a high return on investment as they require a small investment compared to physical stores, which require location rental, utility fees, and in-store staff.
8 steps to create an e-commerce site
E-commerce websites can generate significant revenue, but only if organizations follow best practices. To create a successful e-commerce website, business owners should follow the following steps.
1. Consider an e-commerce platform
Organizations no longer need to design an e-commerce website from top to bottom. In the past, they had to customize every catalog, checkout, and shipping page themselves. Now, organizations have the option of integrating their sites with an e-commerce platform.
Several vendors offer platforms that allow professionals to customize page designs and integrate them with their organization’s domain name. These platforms, many of which offer simple administrative functions, include the following:
Although many platforms largely target US and European markets, other e-commerce platforms, such as JD.com and Alibaba, provide access to markets in China. Organizations that don’t want to invest in web development should consider an e-commerce platform.
2. Design for target audience and brand identity
Organizations need to identify their target audiences so that they can create an e-commerce site design that meets customer expectations. For example, customers of a jewelry store probably appreciate fashion and elegance and would appreciate a trendy and stylish site design when shopping online. Conversely, an outdoor clothing store may wish to focus their site design on robustness. Customer demographics such as age, gender, income level, and geographic location can help organizations understand the design preferences of their audience.
Additionally, organizations need to match their e-commerce site design to their brand identity to encourage brand recognition. For example, if a beauty salon uses a pink star as its logo, they might consider a pink-themed site design that features the logo in key places. Once organizations have identified their target audiences, creative teams can design layouts that resonate with their customers and brand identity.
3. Build a marketing strategy
To maximize site traffic, organizations should market their e-commerce sites across all channels that can reach their target audiences, which can include social media and Google Ads. Additionally, marketing teams should use SEO best practices in their content to reach new search engine users and send out email newsletters to stay in touch with existing customers.
4. Offer a mobile option
Many people use their phones to shop online. Therefore, before an organization develops their e-commerce site or chooses a third-party platform, they must ensure that the developers or the platform can facilitate a smooth mobile experience. Organizations can also create mobile apps that customers can download for free on iPhone and Android devices. Although developing mobile apps can cost organizations a lot more than just a mobile-friendly website, these apps can offer customers a more personalized and engaging CX than a website.
5. Create a loyalty program
Loyalty programs reward customers for their loyalty, which can help organizations increase sales on their e-commerce sites. These programs often follow a free model where customers can sign up at no cost and earn points as they spend more money with the organization. Other organizations offer a paid membership model where members pay membership fees but receive instant benefits. Whether free or subscription-based, loyalty programs can boost customer retention and brand loyalty.
6. Offer a detailed catalog and competitive prices
Online shoppers expect detailed product descriptions. Organizations should therefore provide high-quality images and text descriptions for all items in their catalogs. Organizations can even consider video descriptions for high-end or complex items. Additionally, web customers can easily discover competitors’ prices online, so organizations need to offer competitive pricing on their e-commerce sites.
7. Personalize the shopping experience
Organizations can increase their online sales by personalizing their customers’ shopping experiences. For example, organizations can use automatic recommendations on their e-commerce sites to provide personalized product suggestions to customers based on their web activity and purchase history. These recommendations can introduce customers to relevant new products and increase an organization’s sales.
8. Adequately staff a contact center
While e-commerce may eliminate the need for employees to take orders, process credit cards, and send product information, customer service agents must respond to customer inquiries and product questions. and services. For example, organizations need to have appropriate staffing in their contact centers so agents can respond quickly to customer emails, phone calls, social media posts, and live chat requests.
With third-party e-commerce platforms, organizations can quickly set up an e-commerce website. However, business leaders should not rush the process. Before building their websites, organizations need to consider key elements, such as target audience, design, catalog quality, marketing strategy, mobile functionality, and contact center staffing.
If an organization launches an e-commerce site before it has quality item descriptions or staffs its contact center appropriately, poor CX and customer service can frustrate customers and hurt the brand. Additionally, online stores face stiff competition, so organizations need to price their products appropriately and ensure that their sites work well on desktop and mobile devices.