Every retail business owner is either have an e-commerce store or looking to have one.
And why not. E-commerce enables businesses to multiply their sales & revenue without much investment.
E-commerce demand is rapidly increasing and showing no signs of slow-down in the near future.
In this blog post, we will share some useful information about:
- Why you should have an e-commerce website
- E-commerce website design cost
- 11 Essential features of an e-commerce website.
Let’s dive into them.
If you compare an e-commerce website development cost with any brick & mortar business, you will find a huge difference. Really huge!
When you setup or run a brick & mortar business, you will have to pay for:
- Infrastructure rental: The rental that you will be required to pay for your warehouse or retail outlet, which could be recurring, on monthly basis. Usually its few hundred dollars or sometimes, few thousands too.
- Sales people & other staff: Again it may cost you few thousands every month.
- Basic operational cost: There might be several recurring costs on monthly basis like electricity etc. We are talking about few hundreds here.
Now let’s have a look over the cost to run an e-commerce business.
- E-commerce website development: It’s a one-time cost. You can simply hire a website developer who will charge you few thousands of dollars to create your e-commerce website.
- Server cost: Web hosting & domain charges (on yearly basis).
- Marketing & advertising: Both are optional and the budget depends on your preference.
To get an affordable website, you can also engage a WordPress developer who can help you to build your store at much lower cost.
Now you can see why e-commerce has become so popular among all the retail business owners.
When you run a brick & mortar business, your reach is limited to your local streets, zone, district and if you are too good, you can reach your city or state. But that’s the limitation in most of the cases.
Whereas, with an e-commerce website, you can reach out the world.
In other words, when you run an e-commerce business, the whole world is your playground and you can play your best game with the help of effective online marketing strategies.
There is no geographical limitations in case of an e-commerce business.
Maximum availability is very important for any business, when it comes to generating more revenue.
In case of a physical store, you do have to follow some operating hours which could be like 9am to 10pm, at most. Also, you may be required to close your store on public holidays.
But guess what.
With an e-commerce website, you can be available for your customers round-the-clock. It simply means that you can run your business 24/7/365. Maximum availability, maximum profit.
Round-the-click availability of e-store is perhaps another important reason for the rapid growth of e-commerce business.
Your e-commerce store allows you to track the visitors & analyse their behaviour on your website. This information, further can be used to make important decisions for your business.
Through the web analytics on your e-commerce store, you can view some vital information like:
- Total visits on your website for any specific month, week or day(s).
- Average time that users spend on your webpages.
- Webpages that are most visited by the users.
- Total sales made for any specific month, week or day(s).
- Source or medium of traffic for the conversions.
- & lot more.
Broadly speaking, with an e-commerce website, you can analyse the performance & effectiveness of your different marketing campaigns, which is not possible in case of a physical store.
Keeping a track of your walk-in customers may be difficult in case of a physical store, which is a huge drawback.
E-commerce businesses are more scalable as compared to physical stores.
If you were to scale-up your physical store, you need to invest on:
- Additional manpower
- Additional infrastructure
- Additional monthly expenses
- Additional stock
In other words, scaling up a physical store may require another few thousands of dollars, on a monthly basis.
However, in case of an e-commerce website, you don’t need to invest so much. To expand your e-commerce website, you just need to spend additionally on:
- Marketing & advertising campaigns
- Additional stock
You see. It’s not only the cost of e-commerce website development that’s affordable, but expanding an e-commerce business is lesser expensive too.
As I already mentioned that the cost to develop an e-commerce website is not too high.
An average e-commerce website can cost you between $4000 to $8000.
If you are short on budget, you can hire a WordPress developer who can provide you with affordable web design services & charge you as low as $3000 to build your e-commerce store.
If you are convinced with the above facts to build an e-commerce website, then here are 8 essential features that you must not miss out.
In other words, do make sure that your website designer incorporates these features in your e-commerce store.
#1 Responsive Web Design
Responsiveness of a website is as important as its existence. Especially in case of e-commerce websites, you can’t affordable to miss out this important feature.
Here’s why you need a responsive design:
- Most of the social media users visit your website using their mobile phones.
- Responsive websites are loved by search engines. In other words, you will have higher chances of getting ranked on higher positions of search engines.
- Responsive websites load faster on mobiles.
In case of e-commerce websites, security is of utmost importance.
Because of the regular online transactions and customers’ confidential data that’s processed & stored on the website, an e-commerce website must follow all the security norms.
Below are few but major ways to secure an e-commerce website:
- Ensuring that the website is PCI compliant.
- Ensuring that the website runs on SSL.
- Ensuring that all the date must be encrypted.
- Ensuring that the admin login is non-conventional, making it harder for hackers to crack.
No matter how beautiful your website, if it loads slower than expected, then you are not going to generate any sales out of it.
So yes, it’s fine to say that a slow loading e-commerce website can lower down your overall sales.
Here are but few other reasons to have an e-commerce website with optimized speed:
- Websites with optimized loading speed helps in SEO rankings.
- E-commerce websites with optimized loading speed helps in getting more conversions.
- Websites with optimized loading speed enhance the user-experience.
So, if you intend to build an e-commerce website, do make a note that speed is the key to success.
And if you already have an online store that loads too slow, don’t take it for granted. Hire a website developer and get it fixed at your earliest.
Web analytic tools help you to get useful insights about your e-commerce store. Based on this useful information, you can make necessary changes to your website or business.
Typically, a web analytic system allows you to monitor:
- Users’ behaviour on your website.
- Total conversions on your website.
- Source of traffic on your website.
- Bounce rate of your e-commerce website.
- Most visited pages on your website.
- Demographic details of users visiting your website.
- Geographic details users visiting your website.
#5 Easy Product Management
An e-commerce website must be updated regularly to provide the users with the latest products and information. Outdated e-commerce stores don’t make much sales.
In order to update your website regularly, you must take control of it. In other words, it must be you or your staff who should manage the products on your website, not your website designer. And for you to manage the products easily, the CMS (content management system) of your website must be intuitive & user-friendly.
Your web designer can use WordPress as your CMS for building your e-commerce website. A WordPress website is very easy to manage & maintain.
To sum up, easy product management is the key to success of any e-commerce website.
#6 Customer Reviews & Testimonials
Your potential buyers may not trust on your words, but they will definitely trust on your existing customers. We human beings are like that. We want to see a real evidence before we make-up our mind.
Having product reviews on your website will enable your skeptical yet potential customers to take an action quickly & buy your products.
Allowing your existing customers to post their genuine reviews & testimonials also make them feel important & listened to.
#7 Easy Checkout
If you make a list of few successful e-commerce websites and analyze their common attributes, you will find that most of them will have an easy checkout system for their customers.
An easy checkout system on your e-commerce store will help your customers save their time and at the same time it will help you to grow your sales by reducing the order abandonment rate.
The #1 factor of high order abandonment rate is complex or lengthy checkout process. No one likes to fill too much of information to buy a product online.
Therefore, if you want to make your e-commerce business successful, do discuss with your web developer and emphasize on having a single page& simple checkout form.
#8 Social Media Integration
Getting business from social media channels is no more a secret. We all know that everybody is on social media. Having said this, your potential customers are there too.
You must be raising your voice “Can a web designer help you to market your website on social media websites like Facebook & Twitter?”.
Well, the answer is ‘Yes’. Although not directly, but indirectly your website designer can help you to contribute toward social media marketing.
By providing social sharing icons with each and every product on your website, you can invite your visitors to share your products among their social community.
This will certainly help your business to gain exposure and additional branding, at no extra cost.