Creating an eCommerce website can be extremely difficult to manage, especially if you have not gone through the process before. Even the most experienced eCommerce entrepreneurs can see their website development costs spiral out of control. Planning and finding the right provider is essential in ensuring things run as smoothly as possible. The following guide will help ease the development process and ensure that you are able to keep on top of your eCommerce development costs.
Planning your eCommerce website is very important and I would go as far to say it is the most important element when it comes to developing or re-developing an existing online eCommerce website. Before you speak to a web development agency you should have an idea on what you require your eCommerce solution to do. The ideal eCommerce solution for you is one that matches your current needs while also giving you the flexibility to expand in the future. It is your responsibility to jot down your requirements and not rely on an agency to do this for you. Yes, a decent agency will advise and help you plan and will find/create the best solution for you, but before you get to that stage you must have some idea on what you are after. After all it is your business and you will be relying on the development in order to generate your income.
When planning your eCommerce solution, consider the following:
- Who are your buyer personas?
- Search: How will your users search for your products? What would they expect to search for? Brand? Product Type? Description? Measurements?
- Shipping: How will you ship and charge for this?
- Payment processing: Are you accepting the payment types your customers expect?
- Are your products something your clients will buy regularly? If so allow for a subscription or re-stock reminders.
- Can you link other relevant products together (cross selling)?
- Would it be beneficial to reward loyal clients or customers that haven’t bought for a while (eg using vouchers)?
Your Shopping Cart System Does Matter
Everyone hates going to a supermarket being stuck with a noisy shopping trolley. It’s just annoying, however you are not going to leave the store as you can just grab a different shopping trolley instead. Online user trends are very different. What do you think will happen when a website visitor is stuck with a shopping cart system that is confusing or impossible to navigate through? They will abandon the cart and move onto one of your competitors. So that’s a sale lost! Having a fast, smooth shopping cart and checkout process is vital to reduce abandoned carts and to increase your conversion rates. Your ecommerce shopping cart should be able to facilitate a large range of products as well as a variety of payment & shipping methods. This is something your website development agency will be able to advise on, but make it clear during the initial consultation that however they decide to code your solution, it must be user friendly.
Stay Away From Cheap eCommerce Website Development Costs
When it comes to eCommerce website development costs, the core shopping cart system is as important as the way the website looks. The right website development agency will take your initial requirements, recommend improvements and then either develop an eCommerce solution from scratch, or use an existing platform. They will recommend the best option and the final result will be an eCommerce solution that matches your exact requirements, fulfils your clients’ needs, is search engine friendly, is completed according to agreed timescales and is within the agreed budget. The fact is, a poor eCommerce solution can cost you at least 25% of your sales, not to mention the additional loss of non-returning customers.
We have found that the most common cause of eCommerce development budgets going over is due to poor planning and choice of website design agency. You need to work with your website development agency, like that you will get the best out of them and they will get to understand your business and buyer process. In order for find that “perfect match” you must first know what you want and need. Its only after that point you can work together to bounce ideas backwards and forwards and finalise the development specifications. Without collaboration it is impossible for the development agency to understand your business and wrong for you to expect them to develop the perfect process. Likewise, with an initial plan, an agency worth their weight in gold will work with you to create a blueprint that will meet your requirements, exceed your expectations and not go over budget.