With eCommerce sales expected to grow exponentially in 2017 and with more online shoppers using mobile devices, if your eCommerce store is not up to scratch, you will be losing valuable sales. Don’t fall into the same traps many unprepared companies fall into the first time they are developing an eCommerce website. Follow our tips below to ensure a smooth Magento website development.
Just a bit of background to get you started. Magento is one of the many platforms available to use for your eCommerce store. Magento is one of the most developed and popular ecommerce platforms available. It is open source so it is free to download and has no monthly fees. It also has a huge range of functionalities and is SEO friendly. Our blog article “What Is The Best eCommerce Platform?” compares the most popular eCommerce platforms available.
Now to our tips:
1. Plan your store on paper
Whilst it may be tempting to get straight in, talk to your developers and hope they will be able to lead the way, Magento can be a very complicated platform to get your head around. There are so many options and features that can be added, some which will be imperative to the success of your online store, others which you may not need. Take some time to have a think on how you would like your store to look. Get together some examples which you feel are good eCommerce shopping experiences. Not just from a design point of view but layout, features, interface. Have a think about what YOU need in order to make the administration of the website and orders easy. What should the ideal process be like from when an order is made to it being delivered. What reports, notifications or paperwork do YOU need in order to fulfil the order and ensure the process is smooth for your customer? Having all this to hand before speaking to your Magento developers will give them a clear understanding of your business requirements.
2. First Impressions Count
It takes less than a second for visitors to decide if they like your website or not. You need to keep your users engaged. Now you may not get it right the first time so be prepared to try and test various small changes. It could be the style of your main header or your initial image. Does it make the visitor want to click to view that product range? Are your visitors expecting an offer? Invest in your design, make sure it is professional and what visitors would expect to see, at the same time being memorable and inviting.
3. Make sure your images are enticing
Your product images are what will entice your visitors to make that purchase. Not all of us have large budgets and can afford photo shoots but invest as much as possible in this and if budgets are restricting, concentrate on your main products. Then over time enhance the remaining images.
Some top product photograph tips:
- Use an all-white or clear background. This will ensure your product stands out.
- Enable the zoom feature so your customers can see every little detail. This is extremely important for clothing, fabrics and other products where texture is part of the decision process.
- Provide product photos from different angles. If you are able to make/get hold of a video, upload this.
- Go big. You need to attract your visitor’s interest. Let them know exactly what they are buying. Small images will not do your products justice.
4. Improve shopping cart experience
Think about the process and journey your customers will take along your store. Do most of them purchase just the 1 item or multiple items? Is the whole process clear and easy for your customers to follow? Are you getting abandoned carts? If so why? If you don’t know, why are you not tracking this? Think about your customer and what you find is a simple process when you are making a purchase online.
5. Plan your support & customer service
Have a think about how best you will be able to deal with customer complaints and returns. Would it be possible to try and resolve issues remotely saving on returns? Would a live chat feature be useful? What type of FAQs should you include and how many? Do you need an FAQ search facility or will a simple list suffice? Can support be carried out via social media?
6. Decide on a payment gateway solution
There are so many options available and most major providers will provide Magento support. When deciding on a payment gateway solution think about the associated costs, does cheaper mean less support should you have a payment issue? What card options are available? What card payment options do your visitors expect? Will the payment process be mobile friendly (applicable with the hosted versions).
7. Think about your delivery charges
Should you charge for delivery? What do your competitors do? What do your users expect? Should you offer a faster premium delivery service? If your delivery costs are too high, that will probably deter sales. Too slow and that could affect repeat orders. Bundle them in with your product costs and your product prices may not be competitive enough. There’s plenty to think about here. You need to cover your costs but the process needs to be competitive and enticing to your customer.
8. Get an Inbound Marketing strategy together
All the above points are things that you need to consider before sitting down with your Magento development team. Your inbound marketing strategy is something you will implement once your eCommerce store is live but you need to consider this before and during development. This is what is going to attract those customers to your eCommerce store. Get this right and you will have a steady flow of customers. Get this wrong and you may have the most fantastic Magento eCommerce website but no visitors to experience it. Search engine optimisation (SEO) is a tactic and strategy within your Inbound Marketing campaign. Work out a plan for your social media strategy, blogging and content creation. This will be an ongoing process and will need to adapt over time once you start collating visitor data, your buyer personas and their pain points. If you would like to speak to one of our Inbound Marketing experts, call 020 7112 8890 or visit our contact page.