Selling Online? Here’s How to Start

Date 02 Nov 2017
Posted in Web Development

E-commerce is fast becoming the way netizens sell and buy products and services globally. Yet, even the most experienced sellers know that embarking on an e-commerce project can be a daunting endeavour. That’s why our GR Imagine e-commerce development team have devised an easy method to help you every time you undertake a new e-commerce project.

Preparation is key

Having a plan is always the first step to starting just about anything. It gives you a clear direction and a destination. In the case of an e-commerce project, a plan needs to be developed to understand three key components:

a)    Site Visitor
b)    Products
c)    Business

a)    Site Visitor: Understanding the profile of a site visitor will clearly help develop the kind of e-commerce site you want to create. How information will be presented differs majorly if the target audience is an 18-year-old college student as opposed to a 38-year-old homemaker. The more time we spend researching the audience, understanding their likes and dislikes the more chances there are that the final e-commerce site will be optimised for their preferences. Plus, you never know when you stumble onto an insight that may even lead to developing a new section or completely new way to browse.

b)    Products: You need to know what you are selling. When it comes to e-commerce, the brand is in the ‘details’ and the details here are the products you display. Get to know them, so you can understand just how deep the catalogue goes. Can they be grouped in a way that will help the site visitors and navigation? Understanding the inventory will give you an opportunity to develop ideas that will impact both the business and how you design the site.

c)    Business: This is what will take the most amount of your prep time. Researching the industry that the brand represents or competes in will be essential to your planning. Your planning here can further be broken up into the following two parts:

Analysis of the competition online: Search for key words that the site visitor will be entering to find the products you wish to sell. See who turns up in the top 5 results. What is the competition offering? How are they presenting the information differently? What are their top-selling products and why? Do we offer similar products and can we compete with them on price? How are we able to outshine the competition in terms of products or site features and are we doing enough to highlight these on the website?

Analysis of your selling points: A business is not as simple as it looks from the outside. There are going to be many things that you will offer. Like in traditional advertising, it’s important to find the USP or unique selling proposition, but the beauty of digital marketing is that you can always talk about every single feature that has the capability of attracting its own audience. Some may like the USP and some may like the fact that it is available in a different colour. Your website has to be able to show all what the products and the business is capable of.

Preparation also includes:

a)    Data Migration
You may already have an existing e-commerce website from where you need to transfer your database to a brand new website or platform. Popular e-commerce web platforms like Magento already have data-migration tools that help with this. If such a tool is not available or you have to work on a brand new database, you will need to factor in the time to create this

b)    Server Requirements
Find out how much load you anticipate when the site goes live. This will include databases as well as traffic. Accordingly, invest in secure external servers.

c)    Payment Gateways
E-commerce works because of secure and safe payment gateways. See which of them are offered by the web-platform you plan to use

d)    Shipping Provider
Some web-platforms like Magento offer shipping options natively. If those do not work for you, find out the delivery vendor you would like to trust your product with. Your reputation depends on the service the vendor provides, so be careful.

Budget and Timelines

Now that you have chalked out a plan for all the above, it is critical to give the web-development company an indication of budget and timelines. This may not seem important at the time, but it will better align the expectations you have from your web-development agency.

If you are embarking on your e-commerce site today, you may want to think of all the factors that we have listed above. And it if it still feels like a mammoth task, get in touch with us and we’ll be able to take you through all of it, in a systematic and simple manner. All the best!

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