Essential Tips for Starting Your E-Commerce Business in 2021
There Has Never Been a Better Time for Starting Your E-Commerce Business
This is it! 2021 is going to be the year when you finally launch your e-commerce store! And don’t let that endeavor scare you; with a little bit of effort, you can create a successful online store and reap the benefits of reaching your customers online. And there has never been a better time to start your e-commerce business!
As the global pandemic took hold in 2020, businesses and product brands had to develop a better digital strategy. E-commerce is booming, and demand skyrocketed as the coronavirus pandemic is causing major lockdowns and community quarantines. As people are advised to stay home during the pandemic, online shopping is becoming more of a necessity than a convenience. It’s one way to keep people away from crowded places, decreasing the risk of contracting the disease.
Adapting their e-commerce strategy to the coronavirus pandemic is a no-brainer for many business owners. Looking through countless products without leaving your home or office or waiting in line or on a bus makes e-commerce a very convenient and popular way to shop.
Every business needs a substantial online presence. For e-commerce, a great website must be well-designed, up-to-date, secure, and easy to navigate. Take a look at these helpful tips for starting your e-commerce business. They ensure that your e-commerce website will attract more shoppers and generate increased sales.
The Basics of Starting Your E-Commerce Business
Starting your e-commerce business begins with several primary considerations. They may seem trivial at first, but they will ultimately determine if your new online store will meet your needs and business objectives.
Find the Best Place for Your Online Store
Yes, your store will be online, but it still needs a place of its own. And an address. Therefore, you need to find a good hosting plan from a reliable hosting provider and come up with the right domain name.
This is the cornerstone of your future online store, so do a bit of research first to inform yourself about different website hosting options if you’re not familiar with them.
Select Your E-Commerce Platform
There are many different e-commerce platforms out there. They have various features to offer both you and your customers. WooCommerce is by far the most popular choice for WordPress websites. There are other CMS platforms to consider as well, so do your research.
Choose Your Payment Options
Starting your e-commerce business means you must consider how your customers will want to pay. It is doubtful they will use cash, and options such as COD or will-call may not work for your business. These days, credit cards and services such as PayPal, Stripe, and Square are standard e-commerce payment options.
Avoid Common E-Commerce Design Mistakes
There is a common misconception that starting your e-commerce business is as simple as listing a few products online. Unfortunately, that is no longer the case. I am sure you have noticed that there are tons of online stores of every imaginable kind. If you want your online store to stand out from the crowd, you will need to avoid common e-commerce design mistakes. Following are a few things you should consider.
Hire a Professional Web Designer
If you are starting your e-commerce business on your own, chances are you will need a good designer by your side. Your online store must meet your audience’s user expectations if you want them to feel comfortable making a purchase there. By hiring a professional web designer or agency, you may have to spend more money upfront. But you will save yourself a lot of effort and frustration.
Make Design Part of Starting Your E-Commerce Business
More than anything else, the first thing that online shoppers notice when browsing your e-commerce website is its visual appearance. You don’t want to leave a wrong impression on potential customers, so you want to avoid overwhelming them with a cluttered online store.
Focus on Your Target Audience
When you are starting your e-commerce business, you need to focus on your target audience. Who are your consumers? What are you selling? Companies of any nature need to identify their target market. That way, you can make your efforts for tailored-fit for them. Targeting multiple markets is not a good idea for businesses that are just starting.
So choose a target market first, ensure that your products are appealing to them, and design your site in ways that can attract them to it.
Design Effective Product Pages
As you are starting your e-commerce business, don’t overlook the importance of your product pages. Your product pages are your most important sales tool. Since you cannot tell your customers how fantastic and wonderful your products are, your product pages must do that for you. Here are some product page design tips that will help your product pages stand out from your competitors.
Remember That Less is More
When starting your e-commerce business, don’t be tempted to add every design element you can imagine. That will work against you. Instead, it would help if you focused on the essentials. Yes, large images, lots of videos, and fancy animations may be appealing to you and your audience. But they will also make your site slower, more prone to crashes, and not friendly on mobile devices.
So don’t get carried away with design elements. One way to help keep your e-commerce site light is by practicing minimalism. Always aim to be simple as not to overwhelm your customers. Remove redundant and unnecessary elements. Furthermore, don’t use too much variation of colors and fonts.
Focus On Your Branding
Part of starting your e-commerce business is creating a brand identity. Your brand image and brand identity refer to how people perceive your product brand. A simple way to build your brand identity is to design a compelling brand logo. This logo should appear on all your web pages, products, and social media pages connected to your e-commerce website.
Branding is an essential element of any e-commerce website. It must be the focus of your online store’s graphic design, which includes the layout, font, background, images, and videos.
Keep that in mind, whether you are building a new e-commerce website or trying to improve your existing online store.
As you are starting your e-commerce business, avoid the temptation to copy an existing store. Giving your site its unique personality will help set it apart from the competition. Of course, you need to develop your site’s character the right way. Think of your e-commerce site as a physical store. Giving it a unique style that can entice your customers to come back again and again works best. Make visiting your e-commerce business an experience in itself.
Meeting the Expectations of Sophisticated and Demanding Consumers
Straight out of the box, your new online store will have only basic functionality. And that may not meet the expectations of ever more demanding and sophisticated mobile consumers. In 2021, online shopping relies on the use of computers, tablets, and smartphones. Any delay, crash, security breach, or other vulnerability will compromise the reputation of your business. For this reason, you also have to make the user experience as pleasant as possible.
Consider using WooCommerce: WooCommerce user reviews show that it’s one of the most popular platforms for building e-commerce websites. First-time and seasoned entrepreneurs can use this tool to develop their online store in a few easy steps. Online shoppers also benefit from shopping in a WooCommerce store because they’re intuitive to use and very secure.
Chances are your customers will view your online store from a mobile device at least once. Keep up with the competition by ensuring that your e-commerce website fits all screen sizes and ratios. If you can invest in a mobile app for your online store, all the better.
Focus on User Experience
Building a useful e-commerce site includes providing the best possible user experience. When you start your e-commerce business, you need to have the critical elements of effective e-commerce UX design. Create a flexible navigation menu that can accommodate a growing number of products. Organize your products into categories. Provide a search function to allow customers to search for the products that they want.
Use Chatbots to Your Advantage
Online consumers are ever more impatient. If you keep them waiting too long, they will shop elsewhere. You can address this problem by making chatbots part of starting your e-commerce business.
In just a few minutes, customers can easily access support with the help of pre-programmed chatbots. Artificial intelligence, or AI, chatbots can now handle basic questions and inquiries. An immediate, effective response encourages consumers to trust your brand, make a purchase, and choose you again.
Selling Your Products Online
What products are you planning to sell in your online store? How will you inspire your target customers to choose your products? What are the features and benefits they can expect from doing business with you?
You can only offer value to your prospective and current customers if you have an informative, intuitive, and interactive e-commerce website. The online world is very competitive. You can lose traction if you fail to add something tangible that your customers want.
Some of our clients mistakenly believe that selling their products involves listing them online. Unfortunately, it does not work that way. There are too many other options for online shoppers these days. But there are a few things you can do when starting your e-commerce business to increase online sales.
Include a Blog
Consider adding a blog as you are starting your e-commerce business. It’s the perfect area to showcase your expertise and educate customers on how to use your products. For example, suppose you’re selling smartwatches. In that case, you can share valuable information on how a consumer can use a smartwatch in effectively monitoring health and maintaining fitness.
Let Consumers Search
I mentioned the search function as part of improving user-friendliness. Still, I want to repeat it because its importance is worth reiterating. The search function can dramatically set your site apart from those that do not have it. Suppose you want to provide an exceptional user experience. In that case, you may want to consider more advanced search options, such as product filters.
Keep Text Minimal and Simple
The primary purpose of starting your e-commerce business is to sell as many products as possible. Reading through excessive text content can cause distraction and disinterest. Therefore, make your listings succinct and all text content easy to read, using subheadings, numbering, and bullet points.
Write Product Descriptions That Sell
The product description is one of the most undervalued elements of e-commerce sites. Unlike physical stores, e-commerce sites cannot provide the customers with an on-hand experience of the products before buying. This is one of the downsides of e-commerce. Counter this by supplying product descriptions that can give the customers the look and virtual feel of your products. Consumers appreciate sites that do this.
Use Calls to Action
You are starting your e-commerce business to reap profits. Your site will have many visitors, and a lot of these would look into your product offerings. Still, not all will eventually make a purchase.
One way to increase your conversion rate is by using a Call to Action (CTA.) Call to action is a term that means to invite people to make an immediate response. In your case, these responses ultimately lead to a purchase.
Of course, saying “Buy Now” won’t work as-is, so you can make use of other means like “Claim this Exclusive Discount.”
Always remember these steps when designing your e-commerce store, and you are sure to be able to come up with a brilliantly-designed site.
Add Social Icons and Sharing
Your potential consumers will use social media to research available products and read product reviews from satisfied (or unsatisfied) buyers. You can use this to your advantage by adding links to your social profiles and making your products sharable on social media platforms.
Reduce Shopping Cart Abandonment
A frequent problem with e-commerce sites is shopping cart abandonment. Consumers want to buy a particular product or products, but at the last moment, something stops them. The reason for abandoning their shopping cart can be anything from requiring them to create an account and share their personal info with you to a complicated checkout process. When you are starting your e-commerce business, you must determine ways to reduce shopping cart abandonment.
Offer Flexible Shipping Options
Offering free shipping is always better than paid shipping. Seeing a dollar amount on the shipping is a huge turn-off. Therefore, you want your store visitors to see ‘free shipping’ to bolster sales. Of course, you also have to consider how fast the recipient will receive their order. Suppose you want to ensure fast, smooth, and efficient shipping. In that case, you might want to consider partnering with a trusted fulfillment service.
By doing so, your customers can easily track their orders and receive automatic updates. A reliable logistics company uses the latest technologies, making local and international shipping straightforward. A fulfillment service streamlines the shipping process, ensuring that your customers get their orders without delay.
Protecting Your E-Commerce Business, and Your Customers
Security is most likely not at the top of your mind when you are starting your e-commerce business. But it needs to be! Cyber-criminals most commonly target e-commerce businesses to compromise their site and get access to sensitive customer information. Your responsibility is to include in your design the assurance that your customers are safe as they transact with you.
Cybersecurity is a critical priority when building a fraud-resistant e-commerce website. Even if you have an appealing website, it will not support your business objectives if it’s unsafe to use. Eliminate doubts that are hindering potential customers by ensuring that your website is secure.
Get an SSL Certificate
Not only is having an SSL certificate a Google requirement, but most online payment processors also require it. Many web and e-commerce hosting providers offer SSL certificates at minimal or no cost to you. Make sure your service provider does and that it is installed and configured correctly on your online store domain.
Install Security Features
Starting your e-commerce business means focusing on your website security. Make sure to install and configure anti-malware, anti-virus, firewall, and other security features on your website. You want all customer data to be encrypted to stay hidden from unauthorized users, especially credit card numbers and additional financial info.
Make Regular Backups
Installing and implementing security features will not always be enough to prevent an attack on your online store. Not only that, but your website may crash for other reasons, such as a conflict between plugins or issues arising from a theme or platform update. Therefore, you must make regular backups of your e-commerce site. Backups will allow you to quickly restore your online store in case your online store gets compromised.
Final Thoughts on Starting Your E-Commerce Business
Starting your e-commerce business is just like building any other website. You come up with a name, buy your domain, set up on a CMS platform, add relevant content, and required functionality. Then you launch your online presence to make it available to end-users. What makes it unique is the specific intent and purpose, and you will need to design it that way.
An e-commerce website is a powerful tool for entrepreneurs who want to build their success through online sales. By making your brand design stand out, you’ll be able to attract an influx of online shoppers. Of course, don’t forget to prioritize your website’s content, user experience, listings, and shipping options. Use this handy e-commerce checklist to make sure you don’t overlook an essential item.
Keep it Simple!
Make your website as easy to understand, intuitive, user-friendly, and secure at all times as much as possible. This process will help your brand generate sales, keep a steady revenue stream, and ultimately, make your business successful.
I hope you found these tips useful and are now ready and motivated to launch your e-commerce store. Remember, all it takes is some time and effort, and the benefits it brings are more than worth it! And if you get stuck, we are here to help!
Need Help Starting Your E-Commerce Business?
Of course, we would be happy to build and launch your online store. We are experts at carefully crafting custom mobile-first websites and online stores to meet (almost) any budget.
What We Can Do to Help You Build Your Online Store
Here at PixoLabo, we offer a full range of e-commerce website consulting and design services for businesses and product brands, including custom web design and development, e-commerce solutions, search engine optimization, and WordPress optimization.
If you are not sure exactly how to build an online store, don’t worry! Reach out and contact us. Our expert team will listen to you, answer your questions, and determine the best way to start your e-commerce business in 2021. That is one of our specialties, after all!
Are You Starting Your E-Commerce Business?
We would love to hear your feedback regarding your e-commerce site. How many (if any) of our e-commerce essentials were you missing? Do you have any other e-commerce essentials that help you to engage and convert more online consumers? What kind of obstacles did you uncover on your site? How did you remove them?
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