In the last decade, most brick-and-mortar retail stores have realized both the security and financial opportunities that come with investing in an e-commerce website. Electronic-commerce, or e-commerce, is a form of shopping where one can buy and sell a good or service over the Internet. In the past, businesses were concerned about the cost of maintaining both a physical storefront and an online one, but creating and maintaining a website have become increasingly affordable, with agencies such as ours working with different budgets that will neither hinder design nor functionality.
More importantly, there is a lot of money to be made with e-commerce. According to eMarketer, in 2012, “[business to consumer, or B2C] e-commerce website sales grew 21.1% to top $1 trillion for the first time” in Internet history. As such, I would be surprised to know of any United States-based business that is hesitant to sell online. And those numbers are only expected to grow significantly in the coming years.
So if you have decided to enter into the e-commerce business, then here are a number of things to remember before you build your dream online store:
- Well-designed and visually pleasing (aka not crowded with a lot of written content or overwhelming use of images). This includes making sure it is retina ready!
- Easy to use. One example of this is the checkout process. Some websites have decided to make it even easier for customers to purchase items by bypassing the ‘create an account’ feature. All they have to do is provide their email address, billing and mailing addresses, and the purchase is successfully completed.
- Utilize SEO-friendly URLs
- Fast Site speed. You don’t want a user spending too much time waiting for your e-commerce website to open and run. This will impact their experience and possibly deter them from coming back.
- Ability to give you reports and statistics necessary to measure success of your e-commerce website
- Ability to integrate easily into your physical business operations programs and product catalog
- Easy to update
Even after you have implemented all of the above, you aren’t done yet. In addition, it is important that every e-commerce website be mobile-friendly. Mobile devices were believed to be a place where online “window” shopping occurred, but that has clearly changed. Last year alone, consumers spent $25 billion on purchases made from phones and tablets, which was an increase of 81 percent from 2011. A mobile-friendly website still needs to be simple, easy-to-use, and SEO-friendly, but you can also simply create a mobile app version of your website for any phone or tablet. We have been creating mobile apps for years and are able to create either option for our clients. Learn more here.
Lastly, with the advent of e-commerce, social media has become an excellent customer service tool, where customers post and read reviews. While this seems scary at first since it is all out in the open, it is actually a great way to track the success (or failure) of a product and/or service and marketing campaigns. Essentially, it is an opportunity to learn and better your business, both online and offline.
At Miami Web Design, we ensure that all of our clients who come to us to develop a new or revamp an existing website, e-commerce or not, are offered all of the above criteria needed to have a successful online business. Not only will it make your website look modern and up-to-date, but it will leave an impressionable mark on your customers!