Getting the most out of your eCommerce website

It’s more important than ever to be able to sell your goods online, as we showed you last week. More and more British consumers are shopping online every year, which is why we offer eCommerce solutions through our partner Ecwid.

To help our lovely customers who are stepping into online selling, we’ve put together this helpful two-part guide to ensure that they get the most out of their eShop. This time around, we look at how to get started.

So bookmark our blog page and then get ready to learn about the basics of building a successful eCommerce site…

Mobile eCommerce

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Selling with eCommerce sites

To run a successful eCommerce site, you’ll need to start thinking about marketing and SEO. Both are a lot like exercise: if enough is done regularly with just a little commitment, the benefits pay off longer-term. Online marketing is also like exercise in that you shouldn’t rush into it unprepared.

Any fitness instructor worth their salt will tell you to build up steadily in a manner that feels comfortable. That means working through a series of stages:

  1. Set up for success by eating well and stretching before and after exercise.
  2. Start out with light jogging and basic resistance exercises to build basic strength.
  3. Finally, increase your efforts gradually, maintain your routine, and you should start to see results!

eCommerce Fitness

FreeImages.com: B S K

You don’t want to do the online equivalent of pull a muscle by throwing a site that is out of shape at the market – this could mean anything from damaged reputation to lost sales! You also don’t want to go full tilt into promotion and then stop as soon as you see results – your site will go back to being “out of shape” in a matter of weeks.

So, applying the same logic to your eCommerce marketing efforts – because let’s face it, eCommerce is all about sales – you should take the following three steps:

  1. Set up for success – lay the foundations of a successful website and plan for social media backup
  2. Build basic strength – optimise your eCommerce pages for search engines and user experience
  3. Maintain your routine for results – continue to flex those marketing muscles to keep the sales coming

We’ll come to the second two points in coming blogs. For the moment, we want you to take note of some vital information that will give you helpful preparation.


Setting up for success

One of the most important ways to achieve success is to ensure you have a plan. As your grandfather (probably) said, “Failing to prepare is preparing to fail”.

The simplest way to get started is to make your goals clear to yourself. And that means asking:

  • Who? – are your target market?
  • What? – are you selling and in which category?
  • When? – are you going to promote your website?
  • Where? – are you selling your goods?
  • Why? – should a customer buy your products?

Who: finding your customers

You can set up your website to be found by search engines, and latterly customers, but you can do yourself a massive favour by putting your goods under the noses of your customers. Find out where they are and sell your goods accordingly.

If you have a brick-and-mortar shop, you can start telling your customers about your online shop in person. Perhaps collect email addresses to start an email marketing campaign.

Finally, almost any business can do well by looking at social media, whether it’s Pinterest for lifestyle and fashion goods, or LinkedIn for B2B IT products; so start thinking about where your customers like to hang out online.

Social Conversation

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When: strategy and planning

Just like a real shop, eCommerce websites need a little time and effort to be successful unless you’ve somehow discovered a miracle product that everyone wants and no-one else sells. If so, congratulations! And why are you still reading a blog written by someone who dreamed of being a novelist?

But if not, you should start planning to lay aside dedicated time to manage your website. You will probably need to do tasks such as add new products, remove old ones, and promote everything on social media. Recognise this now and start laying aside quiet times in your week for admin and strategising.

Scheduling Calendar

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What: planning your site structure

Imagine walking into a pet store to buy a dog leash, but you can’t find them in the “Dog Accessories” aisle. You spend 20 minutes wandering around, looking at shelves, and eventually find them in the “Dog Food” section instead. You’d understandably be a little miffed.

Well, your eCommerce website is your online shop, so logical structure becomes crucial. Make sure to take an inventory of the products you intend to sell online, and then group all the items under a related category. Ideally, you want to form a “tree” of categories and products.

Site Structure Diagram

In the example above, the diagram shows that the “Hamster Accessories” page is a sub-category of “Pet Accessories”. This might lead to a website with a structure like the below:

Site Structure Breadcrumbs


Where: targeting your sales

It might sound simple are you selling goods purely online, or are you using your eShop to bolster brick-and-mortar sales? If you want to increase footfall as well as sell online, then you should consider your local search presence.

You’ll increase your chances of appearing in a Map search if you do some keyword research. For example, if you run a pet shop in Bristol and want to sell goods online, you should look into:

  • Search volumes for “pet shop Bristol”, “pet food Bristol” and similar terms
  • Whether searches like “pet food Bristol” result in a map result or not

If you are selling online only, geography can still be relevant. For example, if you are selling to the UK market only, consider buying a .co.uk URL for your primary domain. It will automatically locate your business as UK-based. However, if you want to sell on an international basis, you should probably opt for a neutral domain such as .com, .org, or .net.

International eCommerce

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Why: identifying your strengths

Nobody (hopefully) knows your business or all your products as well as you. That’s why you are in a uniquely excellent position to be able to sell your strengths. One-by-one, make some notes on your products, about the benefits that your customers will receive from buying them. Remember the golden questions from before:

  • Who
  • What
  • When
  • Where
  • Why

You can refer to your notes later when you are writing your product descriptions – more on that next time. And you can also use this logic for your business on all of your other website pages. For example, if you offer free deliveries on purchases over £10, that info should be displayed prominently on your site in any number of places, from the Home page to the Shop page.

Money Bag

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Next time…

You’re almost ready to go, now that you’re loaded up with a wealth of useful information and plans. Next time, we’ll look at how to optimise your online shop to encourage successful sales!

If you are thinking of starting an online shop, consider a Trendzer website with Ecwid eCommerce facilities. Your site will be optimised for mobile users and come with site analytics and an easy-to-use order management facility.

Otherwise, we hope you check in on our future posts!


Credit

*Icons made by Freepik from www.flaticon.com are licensed under CC BY 3.0

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