Modern retail space is getting revolutionized with the advent of e-commerce. Your customers want their products quicker than ever, and empowering them to purchase from their phones and tablets can only increase how deeply you embed your organization into their everyday lives.
What Are Some of the Benefits of Having an E-commerce Store for My Business?
According to Canada Post, 76% of Canadians were shopping online as of 2015, and by 2018, Canada is expected to have approximately 20 million digital buyers.
While your brick and mortar store may be open from 9am-9pm every day, your E-commerce store is open 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. There is no such thing as a two hour Boxing Day line-up to get into an online store, and no waiting in line to check out. Using E-commerce, you can literally make money in your sleep. On top of that, people can shop at your store from anywhere in the world with an internet connection.
An online store can empower your business to sell to people outside of your brick and mortar store’s reach. These people may have never heard of you before finding you online.
I received my first Christmas gift from an Etsy shop four years ago. Stephanie at Sassy Peas Designs hand-painted some Christmas ornaments based off of a photo of me, my wife Bethany, and our cat Cali, that my mom emailed her. It was a handmade gift that was 100% customized for us, and we would have never received it if Stephanie didn’t start selling online.
Almost Any Type of Business Can Do E-commerce!
- Mimi Imports – a B2B wholesaler.
- Dirt Cheap – delivers dirt, aggregate, mulch, and related products to exactly where you need to use it in your backyard.
- GreenWay Blooming Centre and Bigelow Flooring use an E-commerce platform to showcase their massive catalogue of products. In turn, their website traffic and leads generated increased substantially in the first year after adding this functionality to their website.
- GreenWay Blooming Centre
- Organic traffic sessions increased from 3,081 in 2014 to 5,107 in 2015 (165% increase)
- Bigelow Flooring
- Organic search traffic increased from 5,431 in 2014 to 18,324 in 2015 (337% increase)
- Their company’s sales increased 10% in 2015 (in a year where the flooring industry’s average sales decreased by 15%).
- GreenWay Blooming Centre
Is Using and Setting Up E-commerce Easy?
We’ll be honest, moving into and using e-commerce is not all sunshine and roses. Assembling a clean, search-engine-optimized database is complex work (only matched by setting up the customized storefront that functions well with how a company processes and fulfills those orders).
To set up e-commerce, you’ll need to design a beautiful website user interface, set up connections between your bank account, payment gateway, and e-commerce platform. You also need to setup a 100% perfect database of your e-commerce products — including every product detail, links to images of your products, SEO title tags, meta descriptions, and alt text. More on this below. If this sounds daunting, we can help.
What Content Do You Need To Build An E-commerce Website?
A clean database may sound like a scary grey area. Clean databases are essentially spreadsheets with every column filled out with the appropriate information, without any formatting errors. If there is one error, a field with the information formatted improperly, or if a URL contains characters not supported by the e-commerce platform, the product import won’t work.
An e-commerce database contains information for all of your products, pricing, variations like size, colour, volume/quantity, related products, SKU, parent product, image file URLs, image alt text product categories, shipping classes, and SEO information including title tags, slugs, and meta descriptions. Phew!
Great E-commerce Product Photos
Quality images are paramount to presenting your products online. If you don’t have images for your products, or if your images aren’t high quality, your store may not pull on the heartstrings of your potential customers (or make them drool).
For many online stores, square images with a white, or transparent, background are the most flexible for looking great in any design. These images should be high quality so that customers can zoom for detail, and, if possible, there should be multiple images for each product to give customers as much information as possible.
Clear E-commerce Product Descriptions
While an image is worth a thousand words, there is no replacement for actual words. When Google crawls your website, the best information you can provide to rank your product pages is in the copy for your products. It is crucial to write copy that helps your customers understand the value, quality, ingredients, materials, and process associated with what you’re selling. This can make or break their decision to click ‘Add to Cart’.
Implicit with this is that your copy must be original. While it can be easy to grab product descriptions from your suppliers, going the extra mile and writing original text for each product is often the difference between building product pages that rank okay versus ranking exceptionally in search engines.
Ready To Start Selling Online?
If you’re ready to begin selling your products and services online, contact us to learn more about how we help develop amazing e-commerce websites for our clients.