Q&A of eCommerce Development
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In the last 10 years, online shopping has witnessed momentous growth and paved ways for new entrepreneurs to capitalize on the modern trends and shifting needs of buyers. As COVID-19 has made brick and mortar shops almost futile, sellers want to explore the digital mediums for e-commerce.
It is a highly lucrative venture in 2020 and beyond to sell online. However, if you are new to the online shopping world then the task might overwhelm you. Before getting on the technical part, first, you need to find the “niche” where you can expand and scale your business.
Firstly, research the digital space, find how many players are operating in your niche, do a SWOT analysis, prepare a business model (single-vendor or multi-vendor) and identify your USPs.
Secondly, you should choose a unique name that reflects what your brand is. Keep 2-3 names handy, as when you go through the patent and trademark process – there’s a possibility that the name is already taken by another entity.
After that, you can buy a domain with the same name. Apply for EIN (Employer Identification Number), DIN (Directors Identification Number), digital signature, open bank accounts and fulfil the legal formalities to acquire licenses (GST, Professional Tax, Shops and establishment licence etc).
Thirdly, after the completion of all the paperwork, you need a resourceful team that will help you build the website. You can either choose the pre-built platforms – Magento, WooCommerce, Shopify, Wix and WordPress or build it from the scratch.
Design your website keeping in mind the latest trends and pack it with rich content. Remember that just like physical stores, online stores are also the face of your brand – décor it well with the right elements. Make the sign-in process easy, the UX/UI should be simple and description should entice a feeling in your buyers – to experience and use your products/services.
Once the website is ready – then choose the right channels and platform to promote your business. Start with social media platforms and organic content with exceptional SEO. Once you start getting traction – you can start utilizing the Google Ads and Facebook Ads. Deploy inbound marketing tactics to let your prospects find you.
And lastly, make sure you provide top-tier experience and service. Optimize your webpages for SEO and the page speed. Utilize analytics to deliver the best service and to design personalised campaigns.
I hope it answered your question regarding e-commerce website and business in general. Research well – that’s the only way to find the new possibilities.
Thanks for asking this question. Yes, we definitely see an impact on traffic, leads as well as closures.
- Traffic is 30% down than usual. Mostly from Asian countries. The traffic from the US and Europe is a little less.
- Leads are down by 50%. Mostly from the US and Europe.
- In closure, many deals went on hold due to unpredictable situations in the country or state.
So the overall impact on the IT service business is 50%.
But as you all know COVID-19 is not going to impact forever. We expect the situation should change in the next 2 weeks with a decrease in infection in the US and Europe. Asian countries are proactive and can save themselves from contagious infection.
Let's see the positive side of the business :
- The competition will decrease. A lot of companies that are not performing efficiently, recruiting blindly, spending heavily will fall.
- You will get a better resource. As a lot of companies will fall, you will have a better choice of resources.
- Time to focus on operations. You are getting a good time to focus on your operations. Optimize your spendings and resources.
- Time to invest in product and new ideas. As you have free resource time you can utilize it to create new innovative products for the long term.
It will be interesting to see different views on the situation from other community members. Thanks.
To ensure the profitability of an eCommerce website, a lot of groundwork is required. This is because; more than 20 million active eCommerce websites are already earning a fortune in this present year. For the online success of the site appropriate features are required to boast high performance.
Features required for the Users:
Easy to use UI: More than 75% of the users have said that the user-friendly interface is the most foremost characteristic of a website. The objective of an eCommerce website is to generate maximum sales. To drive faster revenues your UI needs to have appealing product categories, filters, price comparison and everything to give buyers a hassle-free and quick shopping experience. Three areas to look at while considering quick purchasing are:
- Auto-complete for search functionality
- Visually effective navigation
- Pre-populate fields and forms
Mobile compatible: The mobile eCommerce sales are expected to spike to 54% by the end of 2021. The surge is constant, deriving a need for mobile compatible sites. A mobile-friendly experience can boost sales as well as ranking.
Product image quality: With the widespread use of the Internet in the 2000s, eCommerce companies such as Amazon and eBay grew exponentially changing the way people shop. Shoppers are seeking close to offline shopping experience while looking online. Buyers surely feel assured when they can look at the 360-degree view of a product or see the details in a high-resolution image of the product. Hence quality matters and so does the speed. Slow sites are discarded by search engines and poor quality images are disliked by consumers hence careful embedding is a must.
Reviews & Credibility: 95% of online buyers read reviews to make their purchase decisions. Even a 3-star rating is not sufficient. But it is also true that even positive reviews are assumed fake by people and at times negative reviews sound more genuine. In either case, it is a good idea to inculcate plugins from review channels on an online selling website.
There are various other features such as offers & discounts, wish lists, FAQs, social proof, security features like SSL certificate, shipping details, order tracking, contact information and available customer service all adding up to a satisfactory shopping experience making a buyer visit you time and again.
Features required for the Administrators:
The ECommerce website certainly needs features for better management. Administrators of the website require various tools for managing orders, inventory, consumers and lot more:
Dashboard: Platform to review all performance-related information.
Metadata management: Optimizing your titles for better ranking
Reports: To be able to export detailed information regarding orders, customers, or products in order to analyze growth.
Store Management: Ability to edit categories, subcategories, and product descriptions.
Order Management: Integrating order tracking for admin as well as the buyers.
To surpass competitors and to become a successful eCommerce giant, a website needs to bear certain basic features both for the user and the administrator.
Magento is an open-source ecommerce platform that offers a range of advanced features to build fully functional websites and portals that are user friendly. It is one of the prime reasons why Magento is the first preference for most online retailers to build their online store.
However, building a cost-effective online store is a different ball game than marketing them for gaining profits. To optimize your Magento store for search engines here are some top SEO factors, you need to consider.
It is always advisable to use the latest version of Magento for better SEO results.
SEO factors for the Magento Store
1) Home page title and Meta data
- Ensure that every product page has catchy meta titles and descriptions that include your keywords.
- For your homepage, ensure you optimize the meta-tag for the right set of keywords
2) Logo image Alt description
- Optimize the product Images In Magento 2. For Magento 2, individuals can manually insert “Alt text’ for every image on their site, from product images to the store logo.
- Try to use a proper description and keywords in alt-tag
- Alt-tags need to be short, clear, and to the point.
3) Magento SEO friendly URLs
Every URL needs to be unique, static, and perfectly optimized according to SEO guidelines.
- Homepage: www. yourwebsite. com
- Product Page: www. yourwebsite. com/ product-name
- Category Page: www. yourwebsite. com / category-name
- Sub-category Page: www. yourwebsite. com / category- name/ sub-category-name
4) Product Metadata and URL key
- URL key determines the online address of the product. The URL key is added to the base URL of the store and appears in the address bar of a browser
- The default URL key is based on the product name. You can use the default or change it as needed.
- Product meta-data should include high-value keywords. Although Google no longer has a value on meta keywords, other search engines continue to use it.
5) Magento category page meta-data and URL
- The category URL key can help a product page be found by search engines by queries related to this category. Add keywords in the URL
- Write meta-data for your product category with relevant keywords and key-phrases
6) Canonical link for each category and products
- Make sure you write a unique description for each product. To avoid duplication issue use the canonical link for each category and products
- Enable canonical link Meta Tags for categories and products to “Yes.”
- Use canonical link meta tag for categories
- Use canonical link meta tag for products
7) Magento SEO sitemap configuration setting
- Sitemaps are critical for SEO purposes
- For Magento 1 SEO optimization, you can generate both XML and HTML sitemaps. Unfortunately, Magento 2 only has XML sitemap settings.
- It’s important to use prioritization for products, categories, and CMS pages. Put your most valuable content first.
8) SID removal from Magento URLs
We don’t want links to lead to improper URLs, and we don’t want SIDs to appear to those visitors.
- SID or session ID in Magento frontend URL in some short is a content duplicate generator. It generates different URLs of the same page, which Google eventually interprets as a duplication of content. It is better to remove SID from the URL
9) Permanent redirect features for the renaming of products and categories
- Auto redirect to Base URL
- Create Permanent Redirect for old URLs if Url key changed
- Generally, 301 redirects are recommended
10) Robot.txt directives
- The Robots.txt file helps search engine robots to identify which pages on the site should be crawled or which should not be crawled. Make sure you use “INDEX, FOLLOW” if you want the search engine to crawl your website/page.
11) Default settings of product URL suffix in every Magento SEO page
- The suffix is a part of the URL after the URL key. It is the .htm or .html part. In SEO, it is recommended that the suffix is excluded from the URL
- Change page URL suffixes for products and categories.
12) Add a blog page and practise internal linking for your Magento store
- A blog still works if you have relevant keywords. Also, you can have numerous unique URLs and pages of content with targeted keywords you usually would not use when promoting or selling items. While working on blogs avoid duplicate content and practice internal linking
13) Reduce page loading speed
- Page loading speed should be less than 3 seconds. You should reduce it as much as possible.
- Enable all caching features and flush Magento cache
- Enable flat categories and products
There are multiple eCommerce store creation platforms available. The following are some of the leading eCommerce store creation platforms.
- Wix Stores
All of these platforms have their own merits and demerits. But apart from all of them, the one platform that shines is Shopify. It offers the most useful functionalities and facilities to operate the store. The Shopify store comes with so many perks and functionalities for store owners. Without the zero knowledge of coding or soft skills, one can easily create a complete eCommerce store with Shopify. Let's discuss a few of the benefits of Shopify for the creation of an eCommerce store.
The store creation with Shopify is fairly easy. The domain and hosting for the website can also be bought directly from Shopify. Without spending a bomb on hosting service, the hosting charges are already included in the subscription plan of Shopify. And the simple admin interface is also perfect to manage eCommerce store.
Stunning store designs
The Shopify theme store has hundreds of appealing themes and templates. They have got you covered for the all different niches of eCommerce. As a new store owner, you can go through all different themes and get the best ones that suit your business. Even several Shopify experts can also deliver great results with Shopify eCommerce design.
By choosing the Shopify, you will be eligible to get the best customer service offered by Shopify experts. They offer 24/7 customer support. You can contact them with email, phone calls, and live chat.
Shopify is also one of the most SEO friendly eCommerce store creation platforms out there. There are hell lot of functionalities available related to SEO of the website. The custom title & meta tags are also supported.
And apart from all these features, the benefits such as mobile-friendliness, easy payments, Shopify app store, security, blazingly fast websites, and several marketing tools make Shopify the best eCommerce store creation platforms.
And above all, there is a large community of Shopify Experts available around the globe. They help the store owners to get the best results out of their Shopify store. At Softpulse Infotech, our team can also deliver excellent services for Shopify. We deliver the ones stop solution to all things related to Shopify.
For eCommerce store owners out there, the Shopify can deliver the great functionalities. The flexibility and simplicity offered by it are just impeccable.
The majority of traditional businesses are shifting online, seeing the scope of growth, especially in the current situation of the COVID-19 pandemic. Today, in order to avoid physical contact, more and more businesses have started selling their products and services online. They use their functional website to initiate their business on different online platforms. Now, the modern tools and techniques are also available that ensure you can create your online easily and that too within a day or two.
If you are also looking to get your own e-commerce store, here are some guidelines to be followed to reap the best results:
#1. Decide what product you want to sell online from a variety of options available. You can trade multiple items together at just one platform, and your store could be a huge online departmental store to sell various products under the same roof.
#2. Select your business model. It could be like either selling your products through your online store or on marketplaces like Amazon, Flipkart, eBay, etc. The option of selling on both platforms is also available for the sellers.
#3. Choose a business and domain name. It could be based on the range of products you have and your business model. The business’s name should be relevant to your products & services and easy-to-remember for your customers. It gives an identity to your business and makes the online buyers remember you easily.
#4. Select an Ecommerce Website Builder. With the availability of various ecommerce website building software and solutions, it has become very simple to build your online store. DIY online website building software solutions help you get a website instantly to start selling products only.
#5. Design your ecommerce store. Your ecommerce website is your business’s online store, and it should essentially be designed for the convenience of your customers. It should contain all the details about your products like images, descriptions, prices of products, user comments, ratings, and buying guidelines. A systematic product gallery should be there to showcase the products perfectly.
#6. Set up the Payment Gateway. Your online business should be integrated to multiple e-wallets and payment gateways to assure multiple payment options to the customers. Here, customers should be able to make payments using their debit cards, credit card, online wallets, net banking, and COD, etc.
#7. Secure your website by installing the SSL Certificate. All the websites dealing in online data transfer are required to obtain the SSL certificate. It proves that your website is secure and trustable to your customers.
#8. Select your shipping partner. When you are ready to sell your products online, you should partner with some of the courier services for shipping and delivery. Commercial logistics aggregator services are best to choose in this regard where you can get multiple shipping options at the lowest possible charges.
These are some basic steps to develop your ecommerce website from your products and services so that you can start selling instantly.
Now more than ever, we can observe the transformation that online shopping has sparked in our lives. With the advent of the Coronavirus and social distancing norms in place, everyone adapted online shopping – this pandemic has given a major breakthrough to the digital ecosystem and e-commerce culture.
But, in a world of smartphones where everyone is always hooked on the phone – we need more than a robust e-commerce website. A recent study predicted that by 2021, the global e-commerce share of mobile commerce will rise to 73%. This figure reflects that the future of e-commerce is mobile.
The reasons why you need mobile apps for e-commerce are:
- Smartphones are the preferred choice for shopping
- Higher customer engagement and great accessibility
- Mobile apps are considered as the face of the brand
- Improved customer loyalty because of the convenience factor
- Help you understand your customers well
- Build a strong relationship with customers
- Create a reliable brand image
- Help you scale your business
- Integration of Artificial Intelligence & Machine Learning
- The emergence of Augmented Reality
Mobile apps provide a potential platform for sellers to promote, sell and stay connected with the customers. It has low barriers to enter the market meaning anyone with great products can join the market. As per a survey report – by 2040, 95% of the retail sales will happen on a digital platform.
Gone are the days when people went to brick and mortar stores with a list, now they can purchase items with just one click. With cut-throat competition in the market, mobile apps can help you stay connected to your customers 24X7 and improve the conversion rate. The reward and loyalty programs on the apps assist in customer retention and enhance remarketing practices.
The mobile app goes one step ahead in marketing via its push notification feature. It is a very targeted and efficient way to reach your customers – at the right time and with the right message. With that, mobile apps reduce the average response time, they have chatbot features so whenever a user has an enquiry or issue, it can be resolved in seconds. This way, sales are improved and so is the loyalty.
Additionally, it allows marketers and businesses to run complete analytics – they can track every issue customer encountered within the app, identify the bottlenecks in the journey and rectify them. They also enable brands to create user personas to tailor the offers, discounts and in-app experience.
Mobile apps can be a differentiator in your marketing campaign and give your business an unmatched value.
For a product-based business managing every individual order from multiple sales channels may become a troublesome task. Also, the manual process of managing order may eat up a huge portion of your valuable time, which could be used to strengthen the sales strategy.
An order management system is a comprehensive ecommerce solution and best for product-based business - that tracks your sales, orders, inventory, order fulfillment, and much more. (In short, keeps track of all).
All successful companies that have streamlined their inventory process flow and a lean resource organization methodology are usually based on a strong order management system. Here are some cool and useful features which an order management software possess:
Real-time Order processing
You as a vendor can monitor the order from the ORDER PLACED to the ORDER COMPLETED in real-time (within seconds) with the order management system.
For example, Sellers show on each platform their complete inventory as stock to get the greatest amount of orders. Each sales platform will have data stored in an order management software. So whenever an order gets placed on one platform, the system automatically reduces the product count on the rest of the platforms by that quantity.
The order management software can constantly match the number of orders with the available inventory with all the stock information available in real-time. Eliminating the FOMO – that orders will not be fulfilled, the confirmation of excess orders or the experience of stock-outs, especially when most needed. This software also helps sellers to manage customers from multiple sources, making it easy for you to quickly gain a hold on the buyer's database.
Multiple sales channel order management
The most important thing is that the best order management software should allow you to work with multiple sales channels. Sales channels can be anything such as Amazon, eBay, Shopify store or physical brick and mortar.
Running a business on a few different e-commerce platforms usually means a large number of daily “log in” and “log out” tasks. Multi orders found an answer to this - integrations with multiple sales channels. All you need to do is connect your different accounts with the software and as a result, you will have all your clients and their orders in a single platform. Moreover, you can modify each of their inventories and fulfill their orders.
Bulk Operations You can perform bulk operations on orders by simplifying and automating the monotonous task such as confirming the order, shipping it, generating invoices, export/import orders in bulk and etc.
With bulk operation in order management software , you can add or update various default and custom order fields for orders in bulk. Hence for orders to which you want to add the same details in the fields like line item, tax details, salesperson, payment method, etc, you can do that in one go without individually updating details to each.
These are some of the unique features that not all order management softwares have. However, they are a “must-have” feature for any order management software.
Across the globe, COVID 19 has brought disruption to industries and verticals in the past few months. In this tough situation, the role of e-commerce has gained importance in wholesale and retail trade. The people explore online purchasing options for essential products and services due to the contagiousness of COVID 19 and its unrelenting increasing spread. The cities that are under lockdown because of COVID 19 pandemic experience e-commerce a lifeline.
E-commerce is a blessing for Micro, Small, and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) as it provides them access to broader markets. The ecommerce can immensely help during and beyond the COVID 19 period. Let’s know-how:
- In the time of crisis, e-commerce provides door-to-door delivery of groceries, medicines, and other types of essential commodities like food and milk to consumers.
- During a pandemic, e-commerce helps MSMEs and consumers to match the demand and supply of essential products such as medicines, face masks, and hand sanitizers.
- E-commerce has the potential to benefit farmers. It can allow them to bypass intermediaries and middleman and sell their perishable produce to wholesale buyers directly. These wholesale buyers can be corporate grocery stores, agri-businesses, and restaurants.
- Businesses have adopted an e-commerce approach to meet the demand of consumers. The home delivery online shopping platform is partnering with companies that specialize in delivery fulfillment.
- The e-commerce sites have made available the essential supplies like food and milk to the consumers through online services.
- E-pharmacies, telemedicine, and online consultations are all witnessing a surge in usage during the period of the Covid-19 pandemic. It is expected that home testing can also gain popularity among the masses.
- Users are shifting from classroom to online learning. To sustain the growth trajectory, the long term monetization of an increased customer base will play a key role.
- Significant spike is witnessed in video streaming, mobile gaming, and other digital services as people are restricted to their homes. Some companies are offering freemium services to attract customers.
- The e-commerce can make health; safety, security, and sanitation key focus area that helps in bringing customer confidence which is lost in the lockdown period.
- In the fintech segment, you can see a sharp rise in online insurance sales that has provided speed and convenience.
- Sectors like beauty and fashion are expected to be muted for some time to come. The companies associated with these sectors will need to adapt to the new spending trends that are likely to gravitate towards.
- There can be an increased digital play with retail stores. All these stores adopt an omnichannel presence and increase the number of cloud kitchens with delivery through online channels.
What will be the contribution of e-commerce beyond the Covid19 period?
Beyond Covid19 period, e-commerce can help in the following ways:
- The increased digitization in the supply chain will remove some of the inefficiencies that exist. The digitization can add tremendous value for retailers and Kirana stores.
- To cope with the current situation and future surge, there can be a need for a diversified supply chain network, which helps in responding to supply chain disruption.
- Companies require to have better monetization of data that serves as an integral asset and differentiator. Data visualization software can make the task of the company quick and straightforward.
- The companies' new talent model can be adopted where there will be innovative strategies that can help keep pace with the demand coming out of the lockdown.
- Companies are making use of e-commerce sites to provide essential services to consumers. They can accelerate their expansion of goods and services to offer a satisfactory experience to the people.
- Businesses can make use of innovative solutions to increase the confidence of the customers. There can be increased transparency in the online delivery model, hygiene, and safety measures to gain customers' trust.
- The e-commerce platform can make plans to optimize cash and costs. It can check the causes of revenue leakages.
- The e-commerce platform can give importance to digital validation, where they can adopt new risk models and evaluations. This platform can focus on cash flow generation.
- With innovation and relevance, the e-commerce platform can gain customer interest.
In these unusual times of crisis, there is the rapid adoption of online education, cloud kitchens, telemedicine, the omnichannel approach of big brands, and much more. There can be an increase in on-demand and to-the-door delivery services. The on-demand services to the consumers can also provide a thrust to the gig workers and the flexibility. Across ecosystems, there will be digital transformation and adoption of innovative approaches among individuals and businesses.