A Web analytics program tells you how shoppers are using your site. It reveals where users come from, what pages they visit and what keyword searches brought them to the site. An analytics package enables merchants to calculate their conversion rate. (Your “conversion rate” is the percentage of your visitors who make a purchase — a critical fact to know and track over time.)
Shopping Cart Life Span: How soon does your shopping cart expire for anonymous users? More than a few shopping systems use Session variables for tracking cart items, and expire within hours, especially for users behind prozies that change IP addresses often, thus rendering the current Session invalid (think AOL). Several studies point to the fact that customers will wait as long as 4 days before deciding to buy, and if the item they were looking at is still in their shopping cart, you just saved them several steps and increased the possibility of conversion substantially.
Consumer Trends – Just because something is popular domestically doesn’t mean it will be internationally. Are they behind in a trend –– or does it just not apply for that market? If you don’t already have sales in a region, do consumer testing and surveys before you ever launch. Know that most businesses that expand internationally already have sales in a particular region before they launch specifically in that country.
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Product Shots: Starting out with great product shots is always nice, but it doesn’t always happen for a variety of reasons. Think about getting or taking better pictures, as well as optimizing old and new pictures for the best display and fastest download. Batch converters get better over time, and you may find that you can keep high quality while reducing file sizes by 50% or more.
You might be a little overwhelmed by this really long ecommerce checklist. And that’s a normal feeling. Many new entrepreneurs do feel like they’re in over their heads when they start out. However, half the battle is knowing what to do. I hope that knowing every single step you’ll have to take over these first few months helps you inch closer to achieving the success that you dream of. And that this list actually makes you realize that you can do this. Because honestly, you’re a rockstar and you know this. It’s going to be a busy few months as you build up that new online store, but with our checklist, you can just cross things off to see how far you’ve come.
Bailey Richert is an award-winning business coach who helps individuals launch and grow profitable online enterprises as “infopreneurs”: respected experts in their fields creating value, generating income and realizing their ideal lifestyles by sharing their life experience, knowledge and passions with others through information products and services.
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Most people think that the journey of starting an online store first starts when they sign up for Shopify. But successful online stores take a few earlier steps to help them achieve long-term success. The idea stage isn’t simply about having an idea and executing on it, it’s about building a foundation. Here are a few ideas for your ecommerce checklist:
Adaptive Design Awards CRM Cross-indexed merchandising Custom CMS Customer Expectations Customer Service Custom Theme Digital Marketing Faceted Classification Graphics HTML IIS Internet Explorer Locator Integration Magic Shopping Cart Merchandising Minimalist Design Mobile Optimization Online Credibility PayPal Programming Responsive Design Security SEO Social Media Integration Spam Tags Usability Visitor Conversion Visual Appeal Web Development Web Fonts WooCommerce
Be aware that your URL affects your search engine ranking, so if you want to be found for “shoe,” it’s a good idea to fit “shoe” into your domain name. One way to do this is to use your brand name along with a keyword term. So MillerShoe tends to work better than FantasticShoe.com. (Which is why MillerShoe is taken, but FantasticShoe is still available.)
If your eCommerce sells big brand names be sure to include their logo wherever possible. Having logos of big brands gives the customer an indication of what type of product you sell — plus, it adds some authenticity and prestige to your brand for being affiliated with industry leaders. Here’s an example of how Best Buy utilizes logos on their site:
First, from the product page, the Add to Cart button should be highly visible. Next, the shopping cart should be easy to locate—usually positioned in the sidebar, or the top-right. The checkout page should be super-easy to access, and never more than one click away, allowing a visitor to bypass the shopping cart if they want. Finally, the checkout fields should be logical, and kept to a minimum.
Now that you’ve created your site and have taken into account the feedback of your first set of members, it’s time to start promoting to a wider audience. We’ve published lots of useful content covering this topic, including some simple SEO strategies for membership sites, as well as a guide to creating a buzz around your program. Then there’s social media marketing to consider, not to mention starting a blog to attract more of your target audience.