Entrepreneurs work their tails off for months or sometimes years to develop their product. Create samples and order large quantities to receive quantity-discounts from the manufacturers.
Then they find a graphic designer overseas to have an inexpensive logo designed for their small business. Have a Fedex and a UPS account set up. Roll up their sleeves and start working on getting their ecommerce website design off the ground and launched.
Perhaps, their friend has a nephew who does website design from his dorm room. Or, they read a blog on the Internet on how to build a website in 3 simple steps. Excitedly so, now they think all they have to do is to get the website designed and they’re in business.
You get what you pay for…
Over the years, I have seen too many entrepreneurs trying to design their own websites and complaining about the cost to develop a great website for their small business. And, I find it a bit disturbing.
Developing a well-designed, dynamic, and user friendly website is not luxury anymore. Especially, if you’re aiming to launch and grow your ecommerce business in 2016.
Okay, I understand. If an entrepreneur who has a small business with limited budget who is trying to do everything her or himself. And, I can admire that. However, if the aim is to launch an ecommerce store with no willingness to invest in it appropriately then it would be better never to launch it.
This is why…
Since your ecommerce website is your company’s single presence. Make it count.
Suppose you were opening a brick-and-mortar retail store. Because it was a startup, the store might be a small one with an equally small budget. Regardless, you will still have to pay for painting the interior, laying flooring, adding lighting, shelving, adding displays, adding mannequins, adding a POS system, buying an inventory system and several fixtures to complete the build-out. Regardless of the location of your retail store or the length of the term of your lease, you will still have to consider spending $50,000 to $100,000 just on your company’s physical presence. Maybe more.
And even after spending as much as $100,000, you might still be pale compared to the JC Penney’s down the road from you. Or the Dillard’s. Or the Baby’s R Us. You will be defeated by them in presentation, assortment and skilled labor. You may not survive.
But…when you develop an ecommerce website, clients perceive you differently. Instead of thinking about how wonderful they find JC Penney’s store around the corner, they will compare your website with jcpenney.com only.
So, what’s it mean for you? It means that now they see your company in the narrower space of the Internet which creates a much greater chance for you to compete.
In comparison with a brick-and-mortar store that would cost you up to $100,000, a professionally designed ecommerce website can save you from $80,000 up to $95,000. A beautifully designed and developed ecommerce web design costs anywhere from $5,000 up to $20,000. Compare that with the brick-and-mortar retail store’s cost; why wouldn’t you invest a few dollars to create a professional and dynamic online and search presence for your company?
An online and search presence, by the way, that will last you far more than a year and pay you the highest ROI.
So, how to develop a dynamic and professionally designed ecommerce website?
The best thing to do when developing an ecommerce website both in terms of aesthetics and user experience (UX) is to surf the web to seek out your competitors. Review their sites and make notes on how their sites look like and what do you like or dislike the most about them.
It is also beneficial to look outside of your direct competition. Search for freshness or uniqueness from the design perspective. I’m building a website now to sell a mixed inventory of preowned vehicles. Our gallery of thumbnails and product pages were inspired by a website I found dedicated to real estate brokerage firm. An entirely different industry; however, the theme of design fit perfectly for what I was seeking to accomplish.
Once you figure out the design, ensure your product photographs are professionally taken with sharp quality. Any research I have ever reviewed online confirmed that the greater the quality of your product photos, the greater the conversion rate. And most certainly, the return rate of your products will reduce also. If the quality of the photography is poor, it will most often and intangibly affect your brand. Hiring a professional photographer will definitely do you a lot of good.
Next on the list from your competitors is to test the navigation of their websites. Assume to be the consumer and notice if all the categories are making sense. Make notes of the special features that stand out and you love. Also, makes notes of features that you dislike. Think if you wished it had a feature that would bridge the gap between shopping in real life versus shopping over the Internet.
A great example is something we designed on The Easy Order Blinds in 2007. I always had the most challenging time shopping for blinds even in person without having the ability to see how those blinds would look with a particular color wall. And there wasn’t any website that offered the feature to counter this challenge.
So, we developed a feature on the site that allowed visitors to place our blinds against the backgrounds of the most common colored walls and floors. Back in 2007, it was a unique concept and it earned us many compliments and mentions in the press. All we did was we discovered a pain point in the Internet shopping for ordering blinds and offered its fix.
So when building your website, make sure to include the features you love and exclude the features you don’t. And if you can come up with a creative add-on to your site, all the better.
Content is Still King!
Many small business owners while creating their first ecommerce website make a terrible mistake of underestimating the timelines required for the development of their website. In reality, developing the technical side of the project is not difficult, it is the high quality photography and writing good product descriptions copy that is actually very time consuming.
As important as the product images quality is, product descriptions are equally important also.
Although daunting, the text required for your product descriptions provides a substantial SEO benefit. A small static website with just a few pages can be difficult to optimize for more than a few keywords. But, an ecommerce website with several products can be optimized for many keywords and phrases to increase your Google search presence.
Developing product description properly gives you an opportunity to create a successful ecommerce website and a potentially booming business!
Is plagiarism penalized in product descriptions?
The shortest answer; yes! You cannot afford to be lazy when creating product descriptions. Do not just copy and paste the text from your supplier’s website. Why? Because, Google will penalize most and all duplicate content. The reason is that if you have copied the product descriptions that many other websites share, Google will not have any idea which website to rank higher thus causing your website to decrease its rankings as a consequence.
Furthermore, descriptions on the manufacturer’s websites usually focus on the features or technical specifications of their products, whereas you can write copy to make sales by focusing on customer benefits. Basically, you can think of it this way, your product description is your salesperson on your website.
If you want to avail significant SEO benefits then you must write your own product descriptions while keeping them focused around the keywords that you want to target for that specific product.
There is no need to write novels for the descriptions either, to the point and concise product descriptions are far more effective and customers like to read them more often. Also, there is no set word quota for the product descriptions. Because, the length of the text is usually determined by the simplicity or complexity of the product. So, ensure that all the necessary details of the products are covered and presented adequately. In case, you have to include a lot of detail, adding tabbed content area beneath the main description works well.
The final point I would like to make is one that has been made in a ton of other articles and blogs. So, I will not bore you with it. Just ensure your newly developed ecommerce web design aka m-commerce web design is mobile-friendly.
I also feel that there isn’t any need to bore you with the stats that are available almost everywhere you look online. I believe, it will be appropriate to state that if your ecommerce website fails to offer an easy and appealing mobile experience to your customers, might as well, not invest even a single penny in it.
Thank you for reading!
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