Launching a brick-and-mortar store involves rigorous efforts at pre-launch, launch, and post-launch stages. The same goes true for the modern eCommerce storefront launch.
In a broad sense, online storefront owner or a company has to pass through following phases and answer the respective questions on each stage.
Initial Research & Market Strategies:
- What to sell?-Selection of products/services
- Whom to sell? Target Audience research
- How much to sell? / How much to invest
- Who are competitors and what they do
- Where to stock – inventory management/stock tracking
- How to take orders – order tracking
- How to ship –shipping management
- How to manage returns
- What is the price/Profit/Budget? – Monetization
- Selection of domain name
- Selection of eCommerce technologies
- Selection of development team
- Selection of marketing team and strategies
- Selection of good content
Let’s explain each thing in detail that needs consideration before you launch a New Website.
1. Selection of Products/Services
When we look at the selling figures of other eCommerce stores obtained by our private circles, we tempt to mimic the same business with similar products or services in our geography or another.
In fact, it is fatal to go that way. Instead, we have to run thorough research to find out actual needs in the market for unique product or services. If you already have brick business with products/services, you simply go online with it. Otherwise, tons of business ideas are floating around the web; you can follow with some regional tweaks.
For instance, we take an example business of supplying flowers as gifts (Gift Shop) in your town, by taking online orders from the relatives or friends of recipients. You can do it at a charge and with doorstep supply and appropriate presentations according to the occasion.
This one seems to be a unique idea and a likely one.
2. Target Audience Research/Know Your Consumers
Once you find out what you want to sell, you should have in mind, to whom do you want to sell it. You should know,
- Which computing devices they use
- What are their buying preferences?
- What is their demography?
- What is geography?
- What is culture?
Once you have all the answers, you can plan your eCommerce business strategies accordingly.
In our example business, the target audience would be outside relatives or friends of the citizens living in your town. Their demography and geography may vary according to the occasions.
3. How Much To Sell / How Much to Invest
Once you have decided the products or services to offer online and you know your target audience, you have to estimate the buying capacities of your prospective customers/visitors. If it is a regionally targeted business, you can compute it easily with local data available on trade centers or other industry sources.
However, it becomes challenging when you think of globally or in untraversed territories. Therefore, you should run a competitor survey using various eCommerce tools as well as use confidential resources to know how much they sell and how much we need to invest in an eCommerce business.
Thus, you can arrange financial resources accordingly as well as register your business based on investment and future expansion planning. For instance, you can register as Sole Proprietor, Partnership, LLC, or Corporation.
4. Who Competitors Are? What are They Doing?
As mentioned before, competitor surveys are highly beneficial to know market realities. Based on thorough competitor analysis, you can formulate your business strategies for business processes, production/purchase, marketing/selling, and financial planning.
5. Where to Stock – Inventory Management/Stock Tracking
If you have digital goods or services that hardly require anything to store, you are free from the warehouse, inventory storage, inventory management, and stock tracking worries or exercises.
There are third-party software and several inbuilt features in leading eCommerce platforms to do inventory management efficiently so think of it to integrate it into your eCommerce portal.
Stock tracking may help you to save your shoppers from frustrations when they realize that the product is out of stock at the end of the checkout process.
6. How to Take Order / Order Tracking
Just like inventory management, order tracking software is trendy in the eCommerce landscape. Your customers can track the status of their orders once it is fixed. They can cancel or modify orders at certain stages of shipping.
For an eCommerce business, there are software available to handle orders and relevant procedure like shooting emails accordingly and automatically. If you integrate order tracking with shipping management, you can save spending on human resources to do several things manually and can provide real-time order status as well as shipping status in your eCommerce modules.
Several products need special packaging for specific orders also based on the geographies of the recipients.
7. How to Ship –Shipping Management
E-commerce vendors have to tie with various shipping services regionally and internationally to meet the diverse needs of shipping according to the products/goods to deliver.
Most of the eCommerce platform offers shipping calculators or developers can integrate the best one to confer the shipping rates before producing a final invoice for payment. Thus, online shoppers can know the real price of the product when it arrives at doorsteps.
With the integration of order tracking software, you can track shipping status and prospective dates of arrivals.
8. How to Manage Returns
The biggest hindrance of eCommerce is it is devoid of real product touch so you cannot find out whether it is perfect for you or not and it happens when it arrives actually at your door after payment.
Therefore, reputed eCommerce vendors always offer return options with the required flexibility and precautions. Thus, honest customers can return unwanted goods immediately and get either replacements or money return if a replacement is not possible.
You have to introduce return policies and create modules during the eCommerce designing and programming process.
9. Monetization –What is Price/Profit/Budget
Once you set up the entire planning of eCommerce, you need to count the price tags for your products or services based on the investment, ongoing expenditure, eCommerce site development cost, maintenance of the site, and your profit to sustain the further growth of the business.
Frequent changes in prices, as well as mimicking price slots of your competitors, may not give your eCommerce the required boost, in the long run, so endeavor to come with own pricing policies.
Once you set up the eCommerce concept and the entire process mechanism, it is time to think of eCommerce website or web portal to realize the planning and efforts you have made in the form of a live and interactive eCommerce storefront running on the web.
In due course, you have to pass through following steps of eCommerce development and running the site on the Internet.
10. Selection of Domain Name & Business Registrant
Each business has a unique identity as its name so your eCommerce business should have a name that reflects its purpose and offers branding opportunities. Of course, registration of the business name is essential by following the laws of lands.
Based on the unique business name, you can register a domain name for online identity. If you are only with online business without any brick-and-mortar identity, you must select a unique domain name as you do with real-world business.
Just like a real-world business, you must go to obtain EIN (Employer Identification Number) to open a business bank account and fill up taxation requirements by securing social security number like things.
It is an essential step when the verification process goes for payment gateway integration and international currency exchanges.
11. Selection of E-commerce Technologies
It is a vital step; you may not able to select appropriate eCommerce platform without the help of experts, so it is better to carry this procedure after the next phase of selection of your eCommerce development team or company.
For the sake of information, today myriads of eCommerce platforms are running on the web to solve different purposes for various businesses. Among them, PHP open source with CMS capabilities are trendier, and Magento is ranking on the top beside WooCommerce, VirtueMart, and Ubercart.
The selection of technology may decide hosting requirements, hence the selection of hosting services.
12. Selection of Development Team
The topmost aspect which determines the success of eCommerce. The right talent, expertise, and skill have a distinguished role in the right product development. Therefore, you must carefully select the eCommerce team of designers, programmers, QA professionals, UX designers, and marketers by applying appropriate filters.
Check portfolio, testimonials, cross-references, social media, and reviews on the Internet to determine the capable team for you. Rates are afterthoughts because quality never comes with the cheapest so you must be ready to pay worth the quality you receive at the end.
13. Selection of Marketing Team and Strategies
If you have a decent online storefront with awesome products, but nobody has an idea of it, who will buy it all? In this age of competition, you should apply all possible Internet marketing techniques and tweaks in cost-effective ways.
You need to create a pre-launch landing page with Coming Soon message to start the buzz, keep its updates continue. Extend reach on social media. Declare marketing incentives such as freebies, gifts, vouchers, discounts, daily deals, location-based offering, and use Beacon technology in your brick store and integrate your online campaign.
Each eCommerce website demands unique designing approaches because each product is unique. Therefore, you and your designing team should run a thorough search on the web to find the best examples to follow or apply your creativity from the scratch solutions.
Your prior research and a deep interest in interactive prototyping may yield expected outcomes at the end.
The best coding practices and following high standards of programming can give high-quality eCommerce portal where UX and usability are at the core.
Seamless integration of external services and third-party software are a priority for eCommerce programmers. You should focus on SEO, performance optimization, and conversion optimization while creating functional eCommerce storefront.
Regional and international payment gateway integration with hassle-free checkout process is the demand of the day. Advanced search features and personalization technologies are trendy and contribute significantly to the success of most of the eCommerce sites.
Therefore, you need an excellent team of programmers with advanced eCommerce technologies, tools, and techniques knowledge as well as experiences. Perhaps the Perception System can give you a perfect answer by its excellent team of eCommerce programmers.
16. Selection of Good Content
Using different types of content and channels will help you deliver suitable content to each type of audience you have in your mind and engage everyone your company deals with. Your competitors most likely sell a similar product as you, which means your customers need to know what makes your product better or different. This is where content works. In order to prove why you’re worth buying from, you should prove why you’re worth listening to.
Testing begins with the beginning of the eCommerce development process, and each step needs some sorts of testing and quality assurance procedure. Therefore, you need to have highly qualified and experienced testers and QA professional to decide and implement right testing strategies and QA techniques.
The bug-free product is the first condition for excellent UX so check your testing team has all required arsenals like simulators and real computing devices including smartphones and tablets of all mobile platforms with different OS versions.
Touch gestures require special testing efforts with real users in UX testing so create and furnish right environment.
For a high-performance eCommerce store, selection of right hosting is crucial. If you have scores of transactions involved in the operation of your online store, and your database has to accumulate or exchange sensitive, and private info, dedicated hosting or private cloud hosting are preferable options.
Use of encryption technologies and certificates may create trusts among the shoppers so ask your hosting providers for competitive rates.
It is more important because then the website will reach a maximum audience because of being accessed through many browsers including Firefox, Internet Explorer, opera, safari and probably the most popular browser – Google Chrome. Being compatible on platforms like – Mac, PC, PDA, Mobile phone, IPad, etc also helps increase traffic to the store. World Wide Web Consortium is the main international standards organization for the www which makes the sites more compatible as it allows them to be searched on more browsers.
To build good rapports and efficient branding, excellent supports, maintenance, and updates are certain factors. Your reputation building processes on the web and social media only can respond when you have comprehensive and pleasing support services for the website experiences as well as products/services related experiences.
If you signup regular maintenance contracts with the right providers and follow regular software updates, product updates, and technology upgrades, you may surely win the battle of online business.
E-commerce launching does not differ from the brick store launch process. You have to pass through all steps just keeping online mode in your mind. When a startup or a brick store owner thinks of selling online, he/she has to take care of each aspect of the business before going for eCommerce website development.
Careful planning and designing for excellent user experiences, usability, site performance, and site optimization can yield great rewards in the long run. Of course, the intensive help of expert eCommerce developers can make big differences in the quality as well as the cost of the development.
Therefore, leading brands and reputed businesses prefer Perception System and its eCommerce development team as their online store development partner.