eCommerce fundamentals

As the growth of eCommerce in Canada continues, so do the fundamentals of the technical web services that power each platform.

In Canada eCommerce companies like Shopify are simple for getting started, but their overall value starts to fade when your business lifts off toward critical mass. Starting an eCommerce can be as easy as picking a business idea and starting a website. Growing, maintaining, and nurturing the performance of an eCommerce business is much harder work and demands attention to detail. This is especially important during key decision phases such as your merchant payment platforms, e-commerce domain hosting, analytics tracking, and the cost of building an eCommerce website.

Before reading further, embrace the following:
  1. Evaluate the audience and demand for your product.
  2. Research organic paid search competition.
  3. Research relevant business models and sales strategies for product
  4. Brainstorm until you find something that sticks
  5. Now establish branding and design your logo.
  6. Revisit branding, business name until something sticks
  7. Now secure brand domains and formally register your business.
  8. Create or distribute your first product.
  9. Determine distributing, manufacturing costs
  10. Develop an initial process for delivery of services, goods
  11. Using defined targets,  set up shipping or service fulfillment process
  12. Hire an agency or use budget editors to create the initial website.
  13. Use agency to develop a strategy for attracting and converting customers.
  14. Secure social media URLs, profiles, and start a following.
  15. Launch the first version of your eCommerce store.

Ecommerce sales in the U.S. alone gross $130 billion per quarter, while in Canada eCommerce sales have grown 18 percent during the pandemic. While no one knows exactly what the future holds, the trend indicates that the growth of online products and services is not slowing down any time soon.

When building an eCommerce business you will definitely need technical SEO. Beyond that, expect to design some unique product offering or experience, great content to support that experience, site architecture to easily navigate the elements of that experience, and product mapping to convert users into customers.

Setting Up Your eCommerce Business

Landing Page Considerations & Fundamentals:

  1. Audience
  2. Acquisition
  3. Behaviour
  4. Conversions
  5. SEO & PPC activities

Building User Convenience

Does your website consider accessibility and other elements of technical SEO that could enhance SERP results? Is your website accessible at all? If there are breaks in user experience it is typically from oversight of browsers or device compatibility. If a website is not easy to use for someone in an urgent state of mind there is no chance at earning customers using digital marketing strategies without serious investment in paid media which can make matters worse because paid users are just as likely to bounce as organic users when eCommerce page experience is poor.

Providing A Quick/Easy Transaction

When navigating the products or services offered is there a simple, clear path to achieve transaction events? When websites are confusing for customers it becomes easy to miss conversion opportunities. Take into consideration the mobile experience as well as desktop purchasing process, ensure that layouts are consistent between devices without sacrificing load time performance. The faster your website can provide information and serve users the next step of the conversion process the easier it is to stabilize earning expectations and identify seasonality demands with qualified data as a benchmark.

Helping Users Make Informed Purchasing Decisions

Is there transparent pricing or differentiators between products such as naming conventions, breadcrumb links or other identifiers that help users navigate through product considerations. Sometimes the product someone searched for is not the product that is served in the search results and vice versa, making it difficult to manage user experience. Often overlooked, the customer service elements of any eCommerce service are bound to the quality of their search engine optimization. Using SEO to create simple keyword paths to pages aligned with search intent will provide the holistic routes to solving common issues, such as reaching support or requesting a refund. Over time this will retain more users and create a better experience for anyone looking to buy your products online.

Giving Users Clean & Easy Product Comparisons

Can I compare products and change my mind, perhaps make a better decision from the suggestions provided on the site? There are plenty of dynamic “Similar product” examples where something catches a user’s eye and resonates more than the item they were looking for. Having easy comparisons to similar products helps establish trust as well as empower customers to understand the value they are getting from your products.

User Personalization & Targetted Communication

Speaking in a brand voice that resonates with the product, customer, and industry you are serving. It just takes a little extra work to align user intent with the content that ranks on search engines, but when it is done right it makes the difference between the little sites and the big brands that collect fans waiting to post the latest product news on Instagram. Okay, maybe that is a bit of a stretch but the point is people love content that is related to the way they perceive themselves. Understanding how to build that content through analytics collection and delivering that content on a product level will enhance profitability of any eCommerce campaign.

These are simply the fundamentals of any good eCommerce website. For more information on the logisticis and maintenance required to properly invest in creating an eCommerce business, check out the following:

Domain Registrar & Hosting Considerations

Common eCommerce Hosting Companies

Major eCommerce Platforms

eCommerce Architecture: Monolithic vs. Headless CMS

Analytics & eCommerce Enhancements

Costs of Building an eCommerce Website

Common eCommerce Problems

eCommerce Platforms in Canada

eCommerce Payment Gateways