Start Doing Business Online
Since the onset of the COVID19 (Coronavirus) Pandemic of 2020 a lot of business have started to identify the need to have a strong online sales presence. To assist traditional businesses to pivot to begin selling online the Irish Government enhanced the Online Trading Voucher scheme available through LEO. For a lot of businesses starting out on this path it can be a daunting one, but fear not, here are Three Things You Need to Consider When Building an E-commerce Website.
Having built many Ecommerce websites for my clients I have found the most fear inducing aspects of starting out are, Site Structure /Layout, Payment Gateways/Security and the dreaded Shipping, so lets break these down and dive right in.
Site Structure /Layout
Without doubt one of the greatest obstacles to potential customers buying from your website is the inability to quickly find exactly what they are looking for. For this reason it is essential to carefully plan your website layout and structure in advance of starting your project. This can be a very educational process and with every website I have built my clients have gained greater insights into their own products and services and have used this process to better streamline their businesses as a whole.
In all cases, but most especially in cases where there are large amounts of products, it is super important to break them down into simple bite size categories. Your prospective customers need to arrive at their product of choice within two to three clicks, so offering a quick and easy way to filter products is a must, not to mention having a swift and accurate search facility. On Robert McCabe Packaging and IBC you will see that we have used smart product filters. Upon initially landing on the shop page the customer can view all products, by applying filters based on product specific criteria they can whittle out the irrelevant products to arrive at their desired one.
I always work with my clients on the planning process, my experience of UI and UX marries to their knowledge of their products and we establish a work flow which will be of the most benefit to them. If you would like to learn more about planning your website drop me an email to arrange a free, no obligation consultation.
Once your customer has quickly and easily found their chosen item we now need to make it easy for them to complete the purchase. The process involves them adding the item to the cart and then proceeding to the checkout, where they will then pay for the item. Most SME eCommerce websites will use third parties to process their payments, two of the most popular of these being PayPal and Stripe.
To utilise the benefits that these companies provide you must first set up an account with them which involve connecting bank accounts and accepting their terms of service and their costs. I won’t go into detail on these as they are constantly shifting and changing so much so that by the time I would publish about them they might already have changed. I would advise looking into them at great length though and choosing the right payment gateway that suits your needs. A little note here, these are not the only two payment gateways out there, there are many on the market right now, but as with all things, not all of these are created equal. I would advise using extreme due diligence when considering alternatives to the two I mention here, as making the wrong choice on this could end up making this a very costly mistake.
With regards to security, GDPR means that websites owners carry a much bigger burden in respect to how peoples data is handled. Even though you will use a third party payment gateway to process your customers credit card details off site your website itself will still need to be securely encrypted. This means using secure hosting with a strong SSL certificate. Running SSL turns your website from http to https and effectively ensures that any data collected through the checkout process that is passed to the payment gateway, such as names addresses, email addresses etc. is safely and securely encrypted.
The importance of shipping cannot be underestimated but again with careful planning and the right provider it can be a lot less painful than it might otherwise be.
Main factors to consider when choosing eCommerce shipping services
- Shipping costs
- International shipments
- Delivery times
- Express delivery
When considering shipping costs It’s always a good idea to provide a free shipping option, as not having it can often be a common cause of shopping cart abandonment in eCommerce.
Normally in order for courier companies to calculate your shipping costs they would use the following criteria:
- Parcel size
- Parcel weight
- Country of origin
- Country of destination
- Online tracking system (if required)
- Insurance (if required)
Once you have established these and agreed terms with your chosen courier service you will be provided with specific shipping costs which will need to be added to your website. In general these shipping costs are added at the checkout and your customer is given an over all charge which is then processed through your payment gateway.
Time to get a move on
The LEO Trading Online Voucher is available for businesses in any industry and the good news is it’s not too late to get a grant application in to access this funding, however as it is a competitive application it is better to get your application in sooner rather than later.
With increased demand for this schemes, We recommend to get in touch with us as soon as possible.