Vital Steps for eCommerce Website Planning

Vital Steps for eCommerce Website Planning

Having a solid plan of action can help you more easily measure your results, test new marketing avenues and stay connected with your target audience.

You should always make a plan before any serious undertaking that requires your time and effort. When doing your ecommerce website planning, your ecommerce website should be no different. The fact is, if you fail to plan, you plan to fail. By having an e-Commerce plan, you’ll be able to see what’s working, rather than guessing and hoping for the best. Let’s take a closer look at some of the points you should consider when taking your e-Commerce website from concept to creation.

Research and Strategy
The core focus of any eCommerce website design should be clear communications between the web development company and the client. It is very important that the designer have a clear understanding of the company, the product and the industry as a whole to build a solid eCommerce storefront solution. Discuss your target audience and brainstorm possible keywords that potential customers might use to find your company or your product. Taking this all-important first step will ensure you don’t blindly throw away marketing dollars trying to attract or convert the wrong type of customer. Using this ecommerce website planning strategy virtually guarantees that your efforts to focus in on the precise types of customers are well-rewarded, saving you time and money.

This involves determining all the requirements for the new eCommerce storefront solution as well as its users. What are the requirements for users? Content? Search? Landing pages? This is the time to ask yourself crucial questions regarding how much (or how little) knowledge someone must have about your product or service to make a purchase. Are they simply aware of it or are they searching specific item numbers and names? Knowing this information will help you pinpoint exactly how your customers are finding your online store, as well as how long they’re staying and which pages they’re visiting. It can often make the difference between a broad, general information search that yields no results and a specific product name or price comparison that turns into a sale.

Information Architecture
Here you will consider the navigation and layout of the site as well as best practices for overall user experience. Does it take little effort for your potential customer to find what they’re looking for quickly and easily? Following best practices in information architecture is essential to your ecommerce website planning and overall user satisfaction and a higher conversion rate. Understanding how customers browse your site is key to giving them what they’re looking for without a lot of hassle or wasted time. The sooner your e-Commerce website can resolve their needs, the more likely they will be to make a purchase and come back again.

This will be the visual representation of your site. Often created as a design template, pieces can be moved around and adjusted during the design phase to create a professional ecommerce website design. This can yield a customer-oriented style that best captures your brand and focus. Having a professionally designed website is paramount to the all-important “first impression” a potential customer gets of your site and its credibility. If the site does not project a style that is attractive and pleasing, the customer may mistakenly infer that the products sold will not live up to their expectations. Equally as important, website design plays a key role in determining usability. Put simply, the customer experience in surfing your site and finding the products they’re looking for will have a direct impact on how many site visitors actually convert into buyers.

This is the “nuts and bolts” behind any solid, reliable e-Commerce website, including client and server-side applications, quality assurance testing, integration of third party tools and other solutions that will make your e-Commerce website scalable as it continues to grow. Ensuring that third party tools, backend applications and other components work seamlessly together to contribute to the overall user experience and repeat business. Think of the website construction as the support framework of a house you’re building, and ecommerce website design as the outside of the house – the siding, well-groomed yard and welcome mat that make it feel warm and inviting. Without properly constructing the framework, the house would fall apart.

Migration and Launch
The final step involves moving the site from the development stage toward live launch. Revisit each of the aforementioned areas again for a final test to confirm that everything works, the brand message is conveyed and the navigation is seamless and properly leads someone to making a purchasing decision.

During you ecommerce website planning, you can filter these steps into three main areas — Research and Strategy, Planning and Information Architecture.

An e-Commerce website, done right is the formula for a well-ranking, well-developed website that converts. Your website should be streamlined enough to keep with best industry practices while being flexible enough to account for new developments and added growth.

By keeping these e-Commerce development points in mind when drafting your new site, you’ll be able to enjoy greater conversions at a lower cost than trying to plan-as-you-go and hoping for the best. In the end, following a well-rounded e-Commerce site development plan will ensure your new online business keeps customers (and search engines) coming back while opening the door for more expansive growth in the future as the e-business landscape continues to evolve.

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