10 Foundational Steps for Developing a Custom eCommerce Website
Tips For Developing An eCommerce Website
Developing an eCommerce website takes A LOT of work, so let’s cut to the chase. If your in-house team needs additional help with building a site or you’re interested in learning more about what it takes to develop an eCommerce website, then read on. However, if your team doesn’t have the resources to build a site on their own, don’t worry. Groove Commerce is here to help mid-market and Enterprise merchants build, design and grow their eCommerce websites.
1. Purchase a Domain Name
After determining what your eCommerce store plans to sell, whether it be products or services, one of the first steps is to purchase a domain name. A domain name is essentially the name of a website. A domain is what comes after “www.” in a web address and also after the @ sign in an email address.
A domain name can be purchased either at the beginning of the website development process or when your site is ready to be launched. We advise you to purchase it earlier rather than later to avoid the possibility of your creative domain name becoming unavailable at a later date. Check out our Website Launch Checklist to learn more about purchasing a domain name.
2. Branding, Branding, Branding
Dior, McDonalds, Corona Extra.
What do all of these brands have in common?
These brands build strong connections with their customers based on the way they’ve positioned themselves through branding. Consumers feel emotionally connected to these brands and remain loyal to them over time 一 and this attachment is created through branding.
Like brick and mortar stores, eCommerce stores must be recognizable through a logo, color scheme and tone of voice. Each of these aspects of branding create a brand’s personality and affect the online user experience. Also, storytelling is crucial for any eCommerce brand because it shows that there are humans behind the company. Tell your customers who you are and why your website exists to give it a sense of humanity rather than it looking solely like an online shop.
3. Invest In The Right eCommerce Platform
There are a few different types of eCommerce platforms to choose from: SaaS, on-premise and hosted. At Groove Commerce, we advocate for SaaS platforms like BigCommerce and Shopify due to the fact that merchants do not need to maintain the software themselves, among other things.
Both BigCommerce and Shopify maintain the servers, run upgrades and respond to issues so that merchants don’t have to. Plus, they don’t take as much time to develop as on-premise and hosted platforms do, and they integrate seamlessly with ERP and CRM systems.
4. Create a Content Marketing Strategy
When developing an eCommerce website, it’s also important to take into account how you’ll market your content. We recommended creating a few buyer personas to better understand the majority of your target audience. Analyzing their demographics, why they’re shopping on your website and how they behave when they're on your website is important. At Groove Commerce, we offer eCommerce strategy services to help merchants align their marketing efforts, creative assets and technology stack with their business goals.
5. Follow SEO Best Practices
Once your eCommerce store is launched, that means it is live to the public to find. However, if they’re unable to find it through organic search, that means you need to implement SEO best practices to increase visibility. A few ways to do this are through writing detailed product descriptions on product detail pages, performing keyword research and adding structured data and keyword rich titles and meta descriptions.
6. Invest in Reliable Shipping Software
If your website sells products online (as opposed to having an eCommerce website to promote your brand’s services), then it is critical to invest in software that ensures your website’s shipping process runs smoothly. There are a multitude of tasks that must be completed in the back end to ensure customers have a great experience with your brand from beginning to end 一 including importing and printing shipping labels, managing inventory and orders from ERPs and marketplaces and sending tracking information out through APIs.
Our team loves ShipStation as it helps merchants ensure customers have a positive experience even after the product is delivered. From custom emails and packing slip templates to branded tracking pages, SMS tracking updates and a branded returns portal, ShipStation has what you need to make the shipping and return process a breeze.
7. Invest in a Site Search Tool
Using an eCommerce site search tool can be really advantageous. A site search bar makes it easy for online shoppers to search for exactly what they’re looking for on your website, and it returns instantaneous search results. We recommend investing in a tool that lets you fine tune merchandising rules and offer personalized product recommendations based on each shopper’s behavior.
Our team is a huge supporter of Searchspring since it helps merchants streamline their merchandising, offer product recommendations, narrow down searches with filtering and sorting options and report on shopping behavior, performance and more.
8. Invest in Fraud Protection Software
Protecting your eCommerce store and your customers from fraud is an essential component of building customer trust. According to Signifyd, more revenue is lost to the fear of fraud than it is to fraud itself. In fact, Card Not Present fraud pressure across industries sits at about 1% while limited data and the liability of fraudulent chargebacks cause eCommerce merchants to turn down about 10% of orders. This is a huge chunk of potential revenue that is lost! With Signifyd’s fraud protection, merchants can automate fulfillment for legitimate customers while at the same time block fraudulent orders. Plus, when you augment order automation with a financial guarantee against fraudulent chargebacks on approved orders, you pay zero dollars in fraud losses.
9. Use a Customer Support & Live Chat Tool
Did you know that 73% of customers say that a company valuing their time is the most important part of a good customer experience? When eCommerce websites have a live chat tool to support their customers, it helps shoppers and customers answer their questions and provide a better experience. Gorgias is one of Groove’s favorite apps for managing live chat not only on eCommerce sites but also on other channels like email, social media and more.
10. Ensure Tax Compliance
Selling products through an eCommerce website means that you’re bound to have customers from various states and countries. That said, it’s critical that your website is compliant with tax laws in each state and country. Avalara operates across 95 countries and offers SaaS solutions for businesses of all sizes. It really is an all in one solution to calculate tax rates, apply tax rates and rules to invoices, validate addresses, prepare and file returns on time and manage documents.
From the front end to the back end, there are many factors that go into developing an eCommerce website. Keep these 10 items on your radar when building your site, and let our team know if you have any questions.
Groove Commerce builds, designs and grows eCommerce websites for mid-market and Enterprise merchants. Our team of certified eCommerce developers, designers and marketing strategists is partnered with the aforementioned companies to make the process of developing an eCommerce website as seamless as possible. If you want to learn more about how Groove Commerce or our partners can help, we’re happy to set up a call.
Happy website building!