Some people are great at cooking from scratch. They throw a few ingredients into a bowl, toss it in the oven, and it comes out smelling and tasting amazing. Unfortunately, that approach doesn’t work so well for e-commerce websites. An effective online storefront doesn’t just materialize if you throw together a web page and some shopping cart software. You need a recipe – and you need to know how to use it.
The structure you need for a successful online store
There’s no such thing as a one-size-fits-all e-commerce website. Your online store needs to be tailored to your individual brand, goals and business objectives. You’re going to need a consistent game plan for updating merchandise, plus comprehensive marketing and content programs. And you’re going to need a robust e-commerce hosting platform to handle all your requirements.
Here are a few of the top areas you should focus on – the most important “ingredients,” so to speak.
Your content is the most important ingredient of your website. (Kind of like flour.) You need clear, appealing product photos – hopefully from multiple angles so your customers can see what they’re getting – as well as engaging item descriptions. Videos and informative articles are also great. The key is 1) to keep customers interested, and 2) to make Google love you. Keep introducing fresh, original content and you’ll zoom to the top of search engine rankings – and keep your customers coming back for more.
Design is more than just good looks. Your e-commerce site needs to be stunningly simple and easy to navigate – a streamlined checkout process is especially important. Of course, this is where a high-caliber design and development company comes in very handy.
People are more likely to shop at your store if they have confidence in your product. Encourage reviews and testimonials, and make sure you prominently post warranties, guarantees and other evidence that your merchandise is, indeed, as awesome as you claim.
You knew we were going to get around to this, didn’t you? E-commerce platforms can be slow and unwieldy – especially Magento. You need an experienced web host with a lot of practice keeping a complex online store running. You should also look for a host that offers scalable solutions: hosting plans that can grow with your website to accommodate more traffic and expanding inventory.
Finally, we can’t over-emphasize the need for constant, obsessive technical support and frequent backups. A good e-commerce hosting provider will have an experienced technical staff available 24/7 to deal with issues in real-time. Ideally, you shouldn’t even have to call tech support very often, because the team pounces on problems before they become much of an issue. A great hosting company will really help you pull all your “ingredients” together and create something wonderful.
Let’s get cooking!
For more tips on speeding up your e-commerce site and optimizing Magento, check out our articles here.