An ecommerce site can be significantly more complex than your average web build. 
 
There’s a lot to think about, and effective planning is essential if your online shop is going to perform as it should. 
Whether you want a simple online shop to start selling online, or an expansive ecommerce platform designed to sell thousands of products to customers worldwide, there are a lot of decisions that need to be made before the build can start. 
 
Having a clear idea about what you want from your shop will make things much easier for your web designer to create the right ecommerce platform that works for your business. 
 
You will need to think about the following: 
Customer accounts 
 
Having the functionality to create customer accounts can be really useful in terms of data capture, customer loyalty and marketing. 
 
The alternatives are to provide an anonymous checkout service, which is more convenient – or to provide customers with the option to do either. 
 
Your product categories 
 
The structure of your online shop, and how products are organised or grouped can make or break an ecommerce site. 
 
Most shops feature multi-level categorisation – in a clothes shop, for example, this might be: 
 
Top level: Men/Women/Children 
 
Next level: Tops/Trousers/Jackets/etc. 
 
Final level (Tops category): T-shirts/Jumpers/Shirts/etc. 
 
The idea here is to make it as easy as possible for customers to find the products they are looking for. 
 
Individual product listings 
 
Customers want to be sure that they are buying the right product – and this means providing all the information they need to make a purchase with confidence. 
 
This might include: 
 
A title – the name of the product, brand, variation, serial number, colour etc. 
A short description – a clear, concise description of the product 
A long description – a long, unique (Google and the other search engines love unique content) description about the product, including all the relevant information 
Price – the cost of the product, including any discount or promotion 
Options – variations of the product in terms of size, colour, flavour, quantity etc. 
Dimensions – size and weight are useful, especially when it comes to shipping 
SKU/Product number – this can be especially useful if there are lots of similar products 
In stock – whether the product is available or not, how much stock you have in, and a realistic delivery estimate 
 
Groups of products and cross selling 
 
You may also want to consider bringing a range of different products together in associated groups. This can help to boost sales as part of an upselling or cross selling strategy. 
 
Associating products, and promoting potential cross sells can also be useful where a product comes with optional accessories, as a way of packaging products together for customer convenience and value for money. 
 
Geographic reach 
 
You’ll need to think about where you are prepared to deliver to, and what impact that has on pricing, delivery, complexity and taxation. 
 
Opening up your delivery beyond the UK might bring in extra customers, but it can also make things more difficult. It will also require extra functionality from your ecommerce website in terms of working out currency exchanges and taxes. 
 
Pricing and taxes 
How you choose to display your prices (with or without VAT) is really important – get it wrong, and you may put potential customers off when they have to convert to a different currency, or alienate them when the cart price doesn’t match the price on the product page. 
 
Think about who you are selling to – business customers are used to seeing prices ex. VAT, whereas consumers expect prices to include all relevant taxes. 
 
If you’re selling internationally, make sure you’ve included any relevant taxes or customs duties in the price, or your customers may get a nasty shock. 
Discounts and offers 
 
Coupons, promotions and special offers are tried and tested ways of driving sales online. You’ll want to consider whether to add this functionality at the start of the build. 
 
Payment 
 
It’s also important to think about how your customers are going to pay you for the products you’re selling. This might include: 
 
Physical payment methods – cheque/cash on delivery 
 
Bank transfer 
 
Credit/debit card – bear in mind that there will be charges for this, including transaction fees/percentages and potentially software licenses for the functionality 
 
Online payment options – things like PayPal, SagePay and WorldPay 
 
Delivery options 
 
Delivery and shipping can get complicated quickly, especially if you’re planning on delivering worldwide. 
Think about: 
 
Cost – are you offering free delivery, or is it an additional cost? 
 
Flat rate or flexible – are you charging a single flat rate for delivery, or will it be priced on weight/size/cost/etc.? 
 
Options – do you offer an express delivery option, and if so, what will it cost? 
 
Location – where will you deliver to? 
 
Terms and conditions 
 
Having clear, legal and transparent terms and conditions will protect your business, and give customers the confidence they need to do business with you online. 
 
Your terms and conditions will need to include: 
 
Returns policy – customers want to know they can get their money back if things go wrong 
 
Privacy policy – this will reassure people that you won’t sell their personal information, and will do your best to protect their private data 
 
Use of cookies – this is a legal requirement 
 
Customer service policy – how you aim to treat customers, and their rights when dealing with you 
 
Ecommerce Websites from itseeze Web Design Ryedale 
 
Want to start selling your products online? 
 
With experience in creating successful online shops and ecommerce websites for businesses in a wide range of sectors, you can depend on itseeze Web Design Ryedale. 
 
We’re here to help drive your business performance online with a fantastic, custom-designed ecommerce website that you can edit yourself. You won’t find industry jargon or tech speak here – just beautiful websites that work for your business in the modern world. 
 
Set up your free, no obligation meeting with Rob Davies from itseeze Web Design Ryedale today by calling 01653 690 982, or by emailing rob.davies@itseeze.co.uk 
 
Tagged as: Ecommerce, Online Shop
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