Understanding the e-commerce market will give you a good head start, but there are other essential things to consider before you start.
Having a well-thought plan helps you see the big picture – how do you envision your brand, who will you target, what would your website need, and your competitive advantages?
Analogically, if you don’t focus enough on the essentials – meeting the growing customer demand and fighting off the competition will be next to impossible.
Here are the top five ways you can easily kill your e-commerce website project before it takes off, according to our source techradar.com:
1. Choosing the wrong hosting plan
Many startups go for shared web hosting, allured by its affordability and thinking their project is just starting anyways. In reality, the shared environment carries some inherent disadvantages, which can badly damage for-profit projects like online shops.
Shared servers often accommodate over a hundred users, all draining the same pool of system resources. As a result, even if your website is lightweight enough, it might still suffer from a lack of processing power or RAM.
The same goes with security – you can follow all website safety guidelines and utilize the best security plugins. Still, it wouldn’t matter if another client on the same server left some vulnerabilities unpatched.
As dedicated servers might be a bit costly for startups and SMBs, VPS hosting is often a good starting point for e-commerce projects. Virtual server clients benefit from an isolated environment, dedicated system resources, and greater control over all aspects of their service.
The ability to scale resources up and down can prove extremely useful, especially in special promotions and marketing campaigns.
- These are the best small business hosting providers.
2. Choosing the wrong web building platform
Another thing to consider from the get-go is the choice of a web building platform. There are more than a hundred e-commerce site builders out there, both hosted and self-hosted.
They seemingly have the same end goal – creating an appealing online store. But the devil is in the details, and that’s why you have to do some preliminary research.
Take Magento, for example. One of the most popular e-commerce solutions out there, the open-source platform is powering some of the biggest retail and wholesale companies on the market.
But when it comes to small online shops that offer just a handful of products – Magento can be a bit of an overkill because of its overcomplexity and server resource demands.
When choosing your potential e-commerce building app, consider areas like the range of features, system requirements, theme and plugin variety, growth opportunities, and ease of use.
3. Slow or unresponsive website
Once equipped with the right hosting and website builder, you have to put all your efforts into optimizing your website to perfection. The online competition is fierce, and clients are naturally looking to get the best bang for their buck.
According to statistics, slow and unresponsive websites are one of the biggest turn-offs when navigating online. If your pages take more than 3-5 seconds to load, three out of four visitors will leave and probably never come back.
What’s more, site speed is now proven to be an essential part of Google’s ranking algorithms, so your search engine rankings highly depend on how well you optimize your shop.
It’s a race for every millisecond.
Be it image optimization, browser caching, or performance plugins – web admins are doing everything they can to cut the loading times down to a minimum.
4. Difficult checkout process
You have to ensure your website navigation and checkout process are as clear and straightforward as possible. Obstacles during the final steps of the purchase are one of the prime reasons potential clients are leaving your page.
Here are some of the top culprits that hinder your checkout process:
- Too many steps
- Too many fields
- Forced account creation
- Unnecessary popups and questionnaires
- No inline validation (validity check after each field is filled in)
Ideally, your checkout process should be 1-3 steps maximum, requiring only the essential information you need to complete the order on your end.
- This is the best shopping cart software for your website.
5. Not optimized for mobile
Any e-commerce store owner in the last few years will probably tell you the same story – traffic and sales from mobile devices are on a constant rise, and they have already exceeded those from desktop computers. In some niches, the difference is already 3:1 in favor of smartphone and tablet visitors.
Failing to optimize your e-commerce shop for mobile browsing is like shooting yourself in the foot.
There are two ways you can go about that:
- Individual theme and design – creating an entirely different version of your website, available for mobile users only.
- Responsive design – creating a layout and design that automatically adapts to the size of the screen it’s viewed on.
It doesn’t even matter what percentage of your visitors are currently coming from smartphones. The sooner you optimize your e-commerce store for mobile – the better.
“Communication is at the heart of e-commerce and community” – Meg Whitman Hewlett-Packard CEO
“Ecommerce isn’t the cherry on the cake, it’s the new cake” – Jean-Paul Ago CEO L’Oreal
“Optimizing the mobile cart and checkout experience is more important than tweaking your desktop design”
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TOP TIPS YOU NEED TO START YOUR ONLINE BUSINESS
At this moment in time, Jeff Bezos remains the richest man in the world, with his net worth assessed at nearly $200 billion. There is one fact that you might not know, he did not start his empire in Silicon Valley, but rather in his basement. Grasping the importance of technological advances, businesses now shift their focus to e-commerce. Online sales are no longer new, and they do make a good start.
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