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7 Necessary Steps To Launch Your eCommerce Shop

There are so many details to think about when setting up an eCommerce shop, and dropping the ball in one small area can mean a far slower pace towards the global triumph you are aiming for! You have a vision for your business and a fantastic range of products ready to go. The next step is to ensure that your eCommerce store is on point, establishing your business in such a way that you will be off to a fantastic start. Read on to explore 7 definitive considerations for your eCommerce success.

1. Create A Logical Site Structure

Keep in mind that your site structure and content must be built for your customers, rather than for you. Ensure that both your category and main menu structures are easy to navigate so that your customers can find exactly what they are looking for. Don’t be tempted to use industry terminology that customers are unlikely to be searching for when naming categories. Your goal is to make your site navigation as user friendly as possible.

Avoid over complicating things by setting up categories that will compete for the same keywords as your products might need to. If you only have a single product inside a category, ditch that category entirely and assign the product to a more general category while looking to optimise the product itself to rank well for the original search term. A load of categories returning single product results will not lead to a great user experience!

2. Plan And Test Product Filtering

Making good use of product filtering means ensuring that customers on your site can search for, and discover, precisely what they want. Prestashop and WooCommerce both have some great product filtering built in, straight out of the box, and this helps customers to narrow their search more easily.

Most of the time elements like product prices, categories and product attributes are used to populate the filters, so make sure they are as streamlined and as logical as possible. Try not to have multiple filter groups with the same type of values. An example of this would be “jug size” and “cup size” both with 250ml, 500ml and 750ml as values. Instead, have just one attribute group called size with those values inside them. You can then use this attribute for any product that needs a size variation, no matter what type it is. This will make it far easier for customers to filter products in the way that they want to, boosting your conversion rate, which ultimately means turning site visitors into customers!

3. Be Clear On Pricing

Give customers a clear breakdown of your prices from the beginning. Make sure that customers know exactly what they’re paying, and what for. Try to outline your shipping costs as accurately as possible during the checkout process, although sometimes it’s not possible to give an exact cost until the customer adds a delivery address. Always try and be as transparent as possible with your pricing, clearly showing if products are including or excluding tax so that customers aren’t hit with a hefty addition at checkout, which may put them off making that final click.

4. Keep Customers In The Loop

Once they’ve made a purchase, keep customers informed of what’s going on and where their order is. It can be very frustrating for customers who place an order on a website and hear nothing at all until their delivery suddenly arrives at their desk!

Make the most of automated emails during your order management, (Both Prestashop and WooCommerce give excellent options for this), to inform customers of what’s happening with their order. Stages to consider are:

  • Order confirmation
  • Processing
  • Order shipped
  • Order tracking if possible
  • Delivery confirmation and feedback

5. Know Your Shipping Costs

No-one likes paying over the odds for shipping, and excessive costs will in all likeliness drive customers elsewhere. Ensure that your shipping costs are accurately established well in advance of launch, and that you’ve set up realistic price or weight breaks in your shipping costs to give customers a good price. Don’t forget to inform people early on if you don’t ship to certain countries. It’s truly disappointing to go through a site and excitedly add products to the basket only to find out at checkout that they don’t ship to your area.

6. Monitoring and Analytics

Monitoring the early performance of your site will help you highlight any potential issues and bottlenecks that are putting people off before they click the checkout button. Make sure you have some form of analytics tracking installed such as Google Analytics and potentially incorporate monitoring software too, such as Crazy Egg, or Hotjar to see where people are dropping out of your site.

Check out this previous blog post for more ideas and information on maintaining a healthy website!

7. Choose Payment Gateways That Give Confidence

When it comes to choosing secure payment gateways there are many options, but it’s crucial remember the role that the payment gateway will play for your customer. The primary objective when it comes to this step is establishing trust.

You might feel tempted to go for get a payment gateway that no-one’s heard of because they give you a better transaction discount (Often used as a tactic to get new merchants on their books), but it is crucial to keep in mind that most customers are going to be reluctant to checkout using a gateway they have never heard of.

The big established gateways like Paypal, SagePay, WorldPay, etc. provide customers with reassurance during checkout, and this will ultimately lead to more completed purchases. You could also offer the smaller providers alongside them to help build faith.

Final Thoughts

As you build your eCommerce shop, think about the websites that you like to buy from and purchases you have made online. This will help you in the process of considering the experience of your visitors as they browse your shop, from first landing and searching for products, through to each step of the checkout process.

Test each and every stage, and constantly put yourself in the position of the shopper. By anticipating the experience of our potential customers, we have the best chance of creating a smooth experience that will convert visitors into actual customers.

These crucial steps will set you on the right path to the creation of a successful eCommerce store

About Nick

I now head up the WordPress Team and I am managing projects and staff and still enjoy turning bespoke designs into working websites while listening to heavy rock music and drinking tea.

Give us a call on 01460 281865 or email us to see how we can help you!