Setting up an online store - what do you need to remember?

Service Business

The e-commerce market in Poland is developing very dynamically - Sociomantic Labs experts estimate that in 2016 the number of online stores will increase by 7% and will amount to just over 23.5 thousand. More and more entrepreneurs believe that an online store can be a very good business. However, establishing an online store and its operation, and especially daily service, is not only about ongoing customer care and sending orders. This concept covers quite a wide range of tasks that must be mastered.

Therefore, if setting up an online store and then managing it effectively is our goal, we should take care of a few key elements, which we write about below.

When planning to set up an online store, take care of its appearance

If you plan to set up an online store, you have to decide on the question of adjusting its appearance to the nature of your business. In the case of companies from industries related to new technologies, modern and technical design will look good, conversely - niche shops with handicraft products - here the look should be more traditional, and the colors of the website should be close to the natural colors found in nature.

The decisive voice in this matter should have the customer, because it is on him that the store's website should make a positive impression. Therefore, in the business strategy of your company, it is worth determining who is the target group of our company and adjusting the graphic design of the store to the customer's profile. As you can guess, depending on who the main audience is, the page will look different.

The functionality of the store's website

However, attractive design is just the beginning, and the functionality of the store is equally important. In order to make setting up an online store profitable, you should take care of the orderly structure of the website.

The products in the online store should be divided according to clear and logical criteria. The product page is the most important, because to a large extent it is from such websites that customers start their journey through the e-store. A clear and distinctive headline with the name of the product, a unique and interesting product description, and above all large, clear and aesthetic photos of the offered assortment are the basic elements of the product subpage. You have to make sure that the customer can quickly find the data that interests him.

We cannot forget about the equally important elements that should be easily accessible to the customer:

  1. Shop rules,
  2. information on the method of delivery, payment, return options,
  3. basket in a visible place,
  4. elements that extend the time spent on the website - related products, goods that other customers have also bought, bestsellers, product reviews or a blog with interesting articles.

Online store optimization

The first and at the same time one of the most important steps for the store to become visible in search engines and to be displayed in the first search results, must be its proper optimization. If starting an online store is to bring profits, there are a few elements to remember when optimizing your website.

Link structure

The store should have friendly links. In addition, it is worth placing the product page in the structure of the website as close to the main domain as possible, so it is better for the product page link to look like this:

  • https: // sklepinternetowy / women's-running-shoes-brand than
  • https: // sklepinternetowy / footwear / sports-shoes / women's-running-shoes-brand

In addition, remember that the url address should contain key phrases, words should be separated by a hyphen or underscore, and that the url does not have diacritics and spaces.

Headings H1, H2, H3

Each store page should have headers of at least H1 and H2, which is especially important for product pages and categories or subcategories.

Other tags

Of course - like every website - the website of an online store should contain a title, description, or keywords tag. It is worth remembering that the content in the title should be different than the one that will be included in the H1 or H2 header.

Optimizing photos

If we are interested in starting an online store, we are surely aware that each of them is full of photos. Therefore, it is worth paying special attention to supplementing the alt attributes and possibly the title of the image with the content. It is worth putting unique content in each of them, and not duplicate the description.

Internal linking

On websites with a large number of subpages, you should always pay special attention to internal linking. An online store - due to the products - usually has many pages. Therefore, you should very carefully plan the structure of the category, the top and / or side menu, footer, boxes such as Promotions, Bestsellers, News, Educational Interesting Facts, Related Products, See also, Reviews, Opinions, etc. If the store has its own blog, then each article should be place links to selected sales pages (categories or products). An important element of good internal linking is also pagination of selected pages, e.g. categories and subcategories.

Categories and subcategories

Here it is worth paying attention to the descriptions. Often times, categories and subcategories (if any) only list products. It is worth adding a thematic description of the assortment here.

Other important elements

Setting up an online store is also about other important elements. From the technical side, it is necessary to ensure that the website has a sitemap, in order to avoid duplicate content, properly use the rel = "canonical" tag, properly configure the robots.txt file (e.g. commands to block the indexation of selected pages: admin, cart, login, registration , search results, etc.).

Keywords

It is worth analyzing the content of our subpages in terms of the keywords - let's think about what the subpage is about, what words we would like to promote, and then check how many searches there are - it may turn out that choosing the phrase will be completely unprofitable.

Establishing an online store and promotion

Establishing an online store is one thing, but even the best designed and optimized store will not prosper without effective promotional activities. The competition in the area of ​​e-commerce is fierce, so it is worth planning them well.

Among the activities that may increase traffic on our website, we can distinguish:

  1. advertising in the Google search engine, such as Pay Per Click - for example AdWords,
  2. remarketing - as part of the AdWords panel, it is worth launching remarketing campaigns and reminding customers who were on the store's website but did not buy anything,
  3. positioning of the website in search engines - a process that is often long, but in the long run it brings a real increase in targeted traffic on the website,
  4. e-mailing - e-mails that allow for a more precise approach to the subject and presenting the full offer to customers. Email campaigns are based on the so-called permission marketing - customers have agreed to receive a commercial offer, so they are more likely to read it before deleting it. This method allows for an individual approach and adjustment of the offer to a specific target,
  5. content marketing - it can be both a blog on the store's website, supporting the acquisition of traffic on the website from the so-called long tail and content marketing campaigns carried out on other portals via content platforms (e.g. Whitepress),
  6. social media - good for image building, not always effective for sales purposes. However, each industry is different, so it is worth conducting a Facebook Ads campaign as part of the test and checking how converting it is due to the interest in the store's website,
  7. word of mouth marketing - on the one hand, it can be used for link building of the website, and on the other hand - skillfully conducted - to build the image, inform about the existence of the store and indicate it as a potential place for shopping,
  8. viral marketing - difficult to implement, but with a brilliant idea, it can turn out to be one of the cheaper ways to reach the customer. For example, a well-designed internet meme, obviously referring to the store's offer or the brand itself, placed on social media, can be duplicated spontaneously and made available to hundreds or even thousands of users.

Customer Service

Establishing an online store is quite a challenge both for people who do it for the first time and for those who have already taken such actions before. However, after completing the preparatory and implementation stages, you should also have a vision and know how to serve customers, whose masses will certainly visit the store after the implementation of effective marketing campaigns.

Proper customer service is particularly important in e-commerce, as many consumers are still afraid of using a virtual store. Thanks to the right approach, we can dispel them and gain a loyal customer. What issues should you pay particular attention to?

  1. Comprehensive information on the store's website - this reduces unnecessary questions from the customer and his possible dissatisfaction with the fact that he does not find the data he needs and has to ask for it.
  2. Quick response and response to the order placed - the customer should immediately receive information about the processing of his order or be able to check it on the website. Remember that online customers use various forms of contact and we should respond to each of such inquiries as soon as possible.
  3. Kind and helpful approach - a distance transaction is much less certain and obvious for the customer than shopping in a traditional store, so we should be professional and honest
  4. The right approach to complaints - there are complaints in every store. You have to remember that this is not a necessary evil, but an opportunity to gain customer loyalty and even greater attachment to the brand.

Logistics of the online store

Proper logistics is a very important element of an efficient e-store. Therefore, if we are interested in establishing an online store, we must take it into account. Customers are demanding and expect fast delivery of the ordered products, which in the case of online stores means a period within 24 hours from the moment of placing the order.

The customer should be able to choose, so it is worth providing recipients with various forms of delivery. The online store should be able to deliver the ordered products at least by means of:

  • courier shipping (time),
  • parcel machines (convenience of free pickup),
  • Poczta Polska (for some still the most trusted institution).

The goods should be carefully packed and secured and shipped in the shortest possible time.

Summary

Despite the fact that many entrepreneurs take part in the e-commerce industry, setting up an online store is not an easy and quick matter. Like any business, this type of business activity requires attention, effort, planning and the achievement of goals.If you're going to be successful in this industry, remember what's involved in running an e-shop. Service is not only sales, but also a whole set of works, covering various areas of the company's operation, so it is worth preparing for it and carefully planning the strategy of operation and development of this quite profitable business.