eCommerce web and mobile apps have become a big part of the way we buy and sell things, and even more so over the last two years of the pandemic.
However, it’s not easy to create an eCommerce website that is effective, successful and profitable.
It takes a lot of hard work and plenty of planning.
At Rubber Duck Digital, we know our clients don’t often have time to trawl through the pros and cons of 10 or 15 online shopping carts and a dozen different eCommerce platforms looking for the best solution. So, with that in mind, we like to work closely with our clients to get a deep understanding of what they want to achieve, what products or services they offer and who and where their markets are, before making any suggestions for software and/or platforms and budgets.
Here are just a few of the things to consider before breaking out the spanners and starting to build eCommerce apps.
- Do your homework, both on your potential (or existing) customers AND the competition.
- What does a typical customer look like? Who are they, where do they live, what do they like, where do they hang out in the digital world. Or are they more “old skool”? If so, how do we get them to our virtual front door.
- What are your competitors doing? What platforms or software are they using? What do they do well? What do they do poorly?
- Before committing to software or platforms, how do they perform on a technical level? What are the reviews like from other businesses using those platforms? No one likes a slow site or one that’s difficult to navigate and find what you’re looking for.
- Make sure your apps have a cohesive brand, not just a collection of disparate images, links, sliders etc. Spend time on developing your online brand and presence and tailor it to your market.
- Shipping and handling or fullfilment: pick a respected and reliable service. Make sure whoever you chose can fit in to your workflows. Can they offer tracking and customer updates? Keeping customers informed all along the chain from the moment they buy, to the moment their products are delivered, and beyond helps build brand loyalty.
- Set out a customer service charter, and live by it. Make it your bible. Poor customer service can be terminal, so set the standard “early doors”, as the football pundits like to say.
- Payment Service Providers. Take a look at the entire landscape and pick the ones that will be best suited to your markets. Can you get away with just one provider for ease of management, or will you need more than one to better serve customers in different territories. Talk to your bank. Can they offer you a better deal than some of the better known providers but with the same level of service. Don’t just jump into bed with PayPal just because it’s …. well … PayPal. Explore other options that will work best for your customers and you.
- Encourage customers to leave reviews. There’s nothing more useful to an online business than a cart-load of positive reviews. If you get average or poor ones, deal with them; respond to the review and put things right.
- It should go without saying that your budgets for advertising, promotion and marketing should be highly targeted and scheduled to get the best possible ROI. Work with your agency to put together a detailed and realistic plan before you launch, as that may well influence the design and build of your application, site or landing pages.
- Test, test test. Don’t leave it to chance, test everything in your app or talk to your agency about what testing needs to be done, how they will do it and how they will report.
And then test again. Seriously though, put in place automated testing to check your cart flow on a regular basis. Automate performance and availability testing and set up alerts so you know if or when something fails.
This is just a few of the things that need to be considered when building an online or eCommerce business.
So, if I haven’t put you off by now :-) and you’d like a chat about how we can work with you to deliver your vision, whether you’re just kicking a few ideas around and need a sounding board, or on the verge of kicking off the entire design, develop, test, launch, tweak, market process, feel free to get in touch.