Build your eCommerce website
Online shopping represents convenience and
simplicity to consumers, and to get the most out of
your website you’ll need to keep this front of mind at
all times. As an online business, your website is one
of your most important investments, so it’s worth
spending some time making sure it’s as appealing to
customers and as user friendly as possible. As well as looking great to promote your brand, it has to operate smoothly on all kinds of devices, read clearly and display your goods or services to your customers. Here are the basic steps to getting it right.
Step 1 – How you will create your website
There are two main options you can choose from to
create your website.
- You can either go for a web developer who can
help build a tailored website designed around
- Use a website provider offering customisable
stock designs which you can personalise with
content and images for your business.
Step 2 – Write content for your website
When creating content online you should keep it simple and engaging. Put yourself in your customer’s shoes, what would you want to know? It’s always good to check out other websites in your sector too. Seeing what works and what doesn’t will help you get it right.
Sections you’ll need to include …
- About us: Tell people about your organisation, people, history or mission.
- Webshop: Display your products or services with great photos and clear descriptions. The easiest way to create a webshop is through your shopping cart software.
- Contact us: Encourage customers to get in touch by
providing contact details such as your phone number, email, address details and links to your social media profiles.
Step 3 – Secure your website
It’s important to secure your website for you and your customers’ benefit. Your business’ reputation can depend on it – customer trust can be hard to rebuild once it’s lost. So make sure your security is in place from day one and update it regularly as part of your website management.
- Install antivirus software
- Make sure you have spam filters
- Change your passwords regularly
Step 4 – Add shopping cart software
Once you have set up your website you’ll need to add shopping cart software so you can start taking payments. The software will allow you to display your products or services, track your orders and manage your order inventory. Your customers can then add the items they would like to purchase by placing items in the shopping cart. Once in the cart, it will calculate the total of the order including additional charges such as delivery costs and discounts such as promotional vouchers.
When setting up your shopping cart software you’ll be able to choose which payment acquirer you would like to help you transfer money and manage your transactions.
Go Social – market your business online
Once your website is ready to go, you need to let people know about it. When it comes to marketing your business online, the more visitors to your website the better, and getting the message out there isn’t as hard as it sounds. It’s all about getting involved with your customers and making them feel valued – and that’s always great for business.
Create your social media account
Facebook, Google+, Instagram, LinkedIn and Twitter are all popular with businesses, so they’re good places to get started. Choose the one you feel suits your business best and then create your profile. Remember to make sure to include your business name, location, telephone number and a link to your website. You could also use your company logo as your profile picture so your customers can easily recognise your business.
Post a comment or tweet a message
It’s good to have a plan about how often you are going to post something online. A good post once a day, or even once a week, can work better than lots of less interesting ones. You can post the same thing on different accounts, or vary it. It’s up to you. Remember to keep directing visitors to your website.
Send multimedia content
With nearly a third of web users more likely to make a purchase after watching a video, it’s an effective way of attracting customers. A short video of how you use your product or what your business offers people, can inspire your customers into making a purchase.
Contact your customers directly
It’s all about creating a relationship. You can reply to messages individually, or send out offers to groups. Read comments and tweets from your followers and get involved with their feedback. And don’t forget to direct people to your website at every opportunity.
Other ways to get people visiting
Making sure your site has a high profile in search engines is trickier then ever. Most are now based on site traffic volumes, which is why using social media to encourage people to visit is so important. Google
AdWords is another option, helping customers everywhere to find your business based on selected key words. You only pay when someone clicks through or calls, so you’ll know how well it’s working.
You don’t have to be an overnight internet sensation to make YouTube work for you. YouTube is your chance to show your customers how your products could work for them. Link to your other social media
accounts for maximum views.
Collect customers’ email addresses so you can send out newsletters with updates or offers. We all get bombarded, so you need to make sure yours stands out. Keep it short and snappy with good images.
Sponsorship is often considered the domain of big business, but there are plenty of excellent opportunities for smaller companies.
These might include sponsoring a local cricket team, art exhibition, business competition, school project or recycling initiative. Sponsoring a local event or team will help raise your company profile on your home ground and can give you lots of ideas for your social media postings too.
Sending out e-vouchers to your customer base is another good email opportunity. You could also add these to newsletters or just post printed vouchers. If you know your customer well enough perhaps send them on their birthday or event when there is a holiday coming up.