5 Things You Should Know About Ecommerce Web Development
Website development is complicated and in any project, there are many aspects to consider, from design, to usability and performance. A website with the right combination of creativity and technical excellence can transform your business. We’ve worked on numerous project involving ecommerce web development in Sydney and these are our top 5 things to know about.
1. Product Catalogue
Product catalogues begin in a spreadsheet, and unless you have the required information readily available on-hand, it’s a big project to get prepared for. Depending on how large or complex your product range is and how much information you will need to gather, a dedicated resource is best to ensure as much detail as possible is documented for each product. Information to consider:
- Product name – it should be unique and meaningful
- Product description – a detailed description will help the customer and benefit SEO
- Dimensions and weight
- Special characteristics
Consideration should also be given to how the product categories will be structured. Group common products together and if required, group them further into sub-categories. The goal is to make it as easy as possible for a customer to find what they are looking for, otherwise they can just as easily leave the website and try a competitor.
Another important area of the product catalogue is cross-referencing accessories, and any other products that will benefit cross-selling and up-selling techniques. A common strategy for doing this is creating a ‘Customers also bought’ section to encourage higher value orders.
Without focused attention on the preparation of the product data, the process can drag on and delay the development of the website.
2. Product Photography
High quality images are incredibly important. The best way to sell anything is to get it into somebody’s hands, but as you can’t do that online, the next best way is to help them visualise the product with high quality product images.
It’s worthwhile investing in professional photography and graphic design to re-touch the photos. Both product and application images are ideal. For example, an online clothing store should show the t-shirt on its own and a model wearing it as this helps the customer to visualise wearing the t-shirt.
Another aspect to consider is the website’s performance. Large images can dramatically slow the load time of your website. If a customer has to wait too long for a web page to load, they may get impatient and leave. An experienced ecommerce web developer will ensure images (and video) will be optimised for websites so that pages load quickly, while maintaining image quality.
3. Shipping + Delivery Strategy
Calculating shipping and delivery costs can become very complicated considering different weights, dimensions and locations can vary the cost substantially. There are different shipping methods to consider which will have different price points, whether it’s standard delivery or guaranteed next day delivery. The best advice that we can give is to keep it as simple as possible. Flat rate delivery is a popular option for simplicity, acknowledging that some orders will result in a loss. A matrix of rates can also be created on a weight or value scale, that can be calculated. Disclaimers can also be used for remote areas that can be very costly, “price on application” for example.
Free shipping is also becoming common. You are not only competing with local competitors, but national and international competitors and it’s very easy for customers to compare prices online. We highly recommend conducting a price and shipping analysis as part of the decision process to understand what the market norm is.
4. Payment Processing
Every business must have a merchant account to be able to accept payments by credit and debit cards. Not all merchant accounts are configured for ecommerce, so it’s important to discuss the options with your bank well ahead of time.
PayPal is also a must have payment method, it requires it’s own set-up and approval process.
Additional to this is organising a payment gateway that acts as a financial intermediary between your customers and your website, seamlessly approving credit card transactions and capturing funds. There are multiple options and your website developer can guide you through the choices.
Launching the website is only the beginning. There is a misconception that “if you build it, they will come”, but there’s a lot more involved to attracting visitors to your new website. Marketing strategies create an online presence to gain traffic, leads and sales.
There are multiple ways to pull in visitors to your website, here are just a few of the common digital marketing strategies:
- SEO – optimising your pages with the keyword phrases people are likely to search for
- SEM online advertising – paid advertising for Google and other search engines
- Email marketing – still an effective method of engaging your customers
- Content marketing – offering free, original content on your website can help bring new visitors and set you apart from competing websites
- Social media – communicate and interact with potential customers
Every project will be different, but we hope you’ve gained an advantage to understanding these 5 areas before you start planning. If you’re about to begin planning a project involving ecommerce web development in Sydney, the Redfox team has created many award-winning websites for ambitious businesses. Contact us to find out how we can help transform your business.