There are many elements that go into a successful e-commerce Web site. Yes, it needs to look great. Sadly there are many sites that are in dire need of a makeover. It also needs to be mobile friendly as more and more visitors are using mobile devices. Plus Google will penalize sites in the search rankings if they aren’t mobile friendly. There are also a lot of logistics involved and it can be important to have someone with experience help you through the maze. Let’s go through some of the important decisions that need to be made.
No matter what you site is selling, it must be displayed in an attractive manner. If we are dealing with physical products, having quality photos of the product is very important. Don’t be like the pizza place that had stock photos of food they don’t offer! Even if you don’t have physical products, you need an attractive graphic to represent the virtual product or service you are offering. Bad photos will scare away many visitors!
Maybe you only have a handful of products or services that can easily be listed on a single page. Other businesses will have hundreds, if not thousands, of products. In those cases it is important to organize everything into categories and/or sub-categories. Make it easy for visitors to navigate to the products of interest. Of course you’ll also want search functionality that can take visitors directly to whatever interests them the most.
For some businesses, the Web site doesn’t sell directly. You want the site to encourage buyers to e-mail, call, fax (does anyone use fax anymore?) or come to your location. There are still decisions to make about phone service, e-mail service and more. If this is how buyers reach you, you have to make sure you have reliable services.
I suppose that there could be someone who never wants to be paid for what they offer. Even a site for a non-profit will want want to be paid. PayPal is a very simple option for many sites. The ability to directly process credit cards is also helpful, though this makes it very important to also have an SSL certificate. You can take checks or wire transfers. Some businesses require buyers to only pay in person.
You need to know your potential customers and payment method(s) that will allow you to get the most sales. It could be there are laws or regulations you must follow. For one client, this meant they could not legally receive payment online, only in person.
Once the cash register is ringing, you need to fulfill the order. If you offer physical products, you need to get them to the buyer. Will you ship it directly? What shipping methods will you offer? Is it something you can drop-ship? Will buyers pick it up?
Virtual products need to be downloaded. How big are the files? Will you host them on your Web server? Will they be stored in the cloud? How do you protect the files from theft? Is there an outside service that can handle fulfillment for you?
Maybe you offer a service that needs to be fulfilled. Given the wide array of services that are possible, the methods for fulfilling that service are just as varied. You’ll want to know the exact process for fulfilling the service before it is offered.
Having someone with experience work through all these decisions and the implementation of them makes the process much easier. It also eliminates mistakes that could be costly or could severely hamper your success. If you want help with developing or improving your e-commerce Web site, allow Web Design Solutions Unleashed to develop a solution that exceeds your needs!
Foster D. Coburn III is author of 13 best-selling books on CorelDRAW and has been a contributor to numerous technology and graphics-related magazines. Foster has taken many projects, including this Web site, from the early design stage through to a finished piece. He has been a featured speaker at many graphics conferences. His first Web site was built in 1995 and he has been working exclusively in WordPress since 2013.