We all love shopping! well most of us do. Many people today want to set up shopping websites to sell anything from artwork to clothes online. Through this might seem like a simple to execute idea, it's not. You need to really put in a lot of efforts not just to attract visitors to your site and get them to buy something (although that too is certainly not as easy as it seems); but to make sure they keep coming back.
I have designed and set up a number of e-commerce websites and here are some tips to help you understand the scope of such a project and how to make it work.
I know with so many people trying to come up with an innovative business idea it's kind of difficult to come up with one yourself however, pick an idea that has something unique about it, if not globally, then locally.
If you're using PayPal, you need to make sure they accept the currency you want to use. Also, If you wish to offer your product to people from the same country as you are located in or rather the country registered with your PayPal account; please note that PayPal does not accept payments within the same country. Every payment gateway you're offering needs to be tried and tested prior to launching.
There are so many things that go into planning a shopping website. The most important part is planning how you will handle enquirires and orders as they start coming in. Your plan needs to be tested and fool-proof! This is because if your site gets an overwhelming response right after its launch, you'll be left with no time for major errors and testing. And if something goes wrong with your initial clients you can be sure they're not coming back anytime soon! So don't take the site live until you're absolutely ready to start taking & processing orders.
Design your site in a way that your product photos look big & really good because they're what your entire business plan is based on. Don't provide just a single photo of the product, provide multiple photos taken from different angles if possible.
If you're offering features like "Free Shipping", make sure you highlight them somewhere on the website header where they can be easily spotted, because that's your selling point!
Provide clear instructions on how your customers can get support if they are facing an issue while using your site. This can be a form or a support forum.
Mention the terms/policies of your company in clear words on the site. You can have a link to the terms page somewhere on your footer. It's also a great idea to code the site such that your customers need to check "Accept terms & conditions" before placing an order.
08. Mailing List
Set up a mailing list with Mailchimp AND install their plugin called Autochimp
for WordPress. This plugin saves your shoppers the trouble of signing up for your mailing list and then confirming and activating their subscription. Once a visitor signs up for an account at your shopping site, Autochimp automatically adds him/her to your mailing list. You can then send out a newsletter to existing customers when new products are available. They of course have the option to unsubscribe if they wish to later on.
09. Have a blog
Blogs help you communicate with your visitors. So even if it's a shopping website, a blog might help you attract more traffic to the site. Your blog will attract people that visit the site as they're interested in reading a particular blog post however this gives you a chance to engage them by directing their attention to what you're selling.
10. Special Offer
On launching the site, offer special introductory discounts or coupons. This helps you build a great initial response. The clients in turn spread the word around for you.
Ask your customers to write testimonials about your products and service. Showcase these testimonials on your homepage or inner page sidebars. This helps establish trust with your new visitors.
12. Spreading the word on Facebook
Join a range of Facebook groups, all interested in different things. Post blog post and new product links to groups based on what a particular group likes to discuss instead of spamming all groups you know! Got anything to add to this list from your own experience? We would love to read it. Please add your comments below.