There is no denying the growth of eCommerce over the past decade. Shopping online for groceries, furniture, clothes, and even automobiles has become the norm. Brands like Amazon are poised to drive the future of eCommerce, delivering anything you could ever need right to your front door. All the hype around eCommerce may leave you curious about the nature of the online market place and how your business can be a part of this revolution in commerce. In this weeks blog Anvil Media will answer a few of the major questions around eCommerce.
What is eCommerce marketing?
ECommerce marketing is the practice of using marketing tactics to drive customers to visit your online store, guiding those customers to convert and make a purchase, and retaining the customer after the purchase as a source of repeat business and brand advocacy.
ECommerce marketing involves many aspects of traditional online marketing including search engine optimization, paid advertising, social media marketing, email marketing campaigns, and more.
How to build an eCommerce website?
There are several factors to consider when building an eCommerce site:
- First you need to decide on the product(s) you will be selling on your website. While it may seem obvious, you need to know your product(s) or service inside and out. This will help focus your marketing efforts, streamline your distribution process, and establish you as an expert. It is also important to understand demand for your product locally, nationally, and even globally.
- Next you need to determine your business model. Are you selling your product only online? Are you a brick-and-mortar store also selling product online? Will you be selling your goods through established online marketplaces like Amazon or eBay? Having a clear-cut business model and strategy will help your business to budget and plan effectively, identify areas of potential success or struggle, and find opportunities for expansion and growth.
- Choose a domain name that is easy to remember and aligns as close to your brand name as possible (if possible, it should be identical). This domain name will need to be purchased through a hosting company or domain registrar. You should consider if you need to purchase other domains for different regions or countries.
- Pick an eCommerce platform. You need to find the platform that best suits the needs of your business. Also when designing a site, no matter the software, remember the website should be easy for your customer to use and provide as much information about your product or service as possible. Images, technical specifications, reviews, and links to similar products you sell are all features that help improve customer experience.
- Using a large Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) provider like Shopify is a relatively cheap and easy way to create an eCommerce website. However, these sites are based on templates available to anyone using the service, so the range of brand-specific customization is limited.
- Magento is an example of an open source, off-the-shelf eCommerce software with a large range of features and tools. These types of software platforms often require more technical knowledge and skill to set up but are much more customizable. Similar to SaaS providers the range of tools and customization is available to anyone on the service.
- Custom software offers the highest range of customization and differentiation. A custom solution can also help cut down on size site and complexity, as you do not have to use unnecessary plugins or tools. As a result it is often the most expensive solution.
- Perhaps the most important aspect of an eCommerce site is figuring out how you are going to get paid for your product or service. While having one way to accept payment is necessary, having multiple options may help you attract a wider customer-base. A good online payment gateway makes the checkout process simple, intuitive, and safe. Online payment methods you should consider include:
While these steps are key to creating a successful eCommerce business, do not forget there are several other steps along the way to ensure you are operating a successful, ethical, and legal business.
Which CMS is the best eCommerce platform?
Finding the right eCommerce platform for your business depends on a number of factors including price, size of your business, and need for customization. In 2019 the top eCommerce CMS platforms were:
- WooCommerce is a free, WordPress plugin and one of the most popular platforms in the world. It includes its own secure payment processor and it’s great for smaller brands.
- Shopify is a simple and easy to use to launch a store. The platform is popular with smaller brands, however it has limited customization options. Depending on the features and order volume Shopify can cost anywhere from $29 to $299.
- Magento is mainly used by enterprise-level eCommerce businesses as it requires development resources. Magento has robust options for limited time offers and reoccurring payment plans. The basic version is free but the enterprise version can cost $20,000+. Magento is not recommended for smaller eCommerce stores.
- Big Commerce has a wide range of built-in features and customization options and, as a result, it is used by both large and small companies. Big Commerce supports advanced security, payment, and fulfillment partners and, due to these features, is expensive.
Why is eCommerce growing?
ECommerce has seen dramatic growth in the past decade and promises to continue on an upward trend as we begin a new decade. There are a number of factors that contributed to the rise of eCommerce, but three of the top include:
- The growth of mobile: Everyday, more and more internet traffic is coming from mobile phones. As a result, websites and eCommerce sites specifically have had to evolve and make sure their sites adapt to a range of screen sizes while simultaneously offering a great customer experience. The ability for customers to shop from almost anywhere at any time, in conjunction with the payment process becoming easier and quicker, has driven eCommerce growth.
- Convenience: The internet never closes. ECommerce allows users to shop 24/7, 365 days a year, with out having to leave their own home. Online shoppers avoid the hassle and stress of going to a physical store location. Potential customers can also compare prices or products across a range of websites. This wide range of options makes site and search optimization for your website a key part of any eCommerce strategy.
- New ways to shop: Mobile phones helped eCommerce grow to what it is today, but the future promises to revolutionize the way we shop online. New innovation in voice search, virtual reality, augmented reality, and social media integration are changing the way the average customer shops. Just imagine being able to strap on a VR headset and interact with a 3D model of the product you plan to buy. A shopper can get “hands” on a product from the comfort of their couch. There are endless possibilities as to how online search will evolve in the future, and you can bet eCommerce will be a driving force behind that growth.
Anvil Media is always working hard to keep our clients at the forefront of digital marketing innovation; See examples of our work for yourself. Our team can help your eCommerce business grow and thrive in the digital market place. If you are looking for assistance in creating an eCommerce site or improving an existing site, contact the team at Anvil Media today!