Creating e-commerce websites: 13 points you should know and apply before launching them. 

As professionals of a web agency, we have observed a clear trend in recent years: today's companies want e-commerce sites to sell online.
Good idea on paper. But have you thought about what a sales site requires from you?
Retailers are increasingly turning to online selling to keep up with their customers' buying trends and not miss out on sales opportunities. Many people often think of online selling as a way to make money quickly and easily.
Unfortunately, it's not that simple.... The world of e-commerce is a profession in itself, requiring know-how and solid knowledge that cannot be invented.
The creation of an online store requires several skills in the field of web... It is clear that the creation of an e-commerce website must be prepared in advance.
Whether it is web marketing, customer relations, digital communication, web design, development or natural referral, managing an e-commerce website is one of the most comprehensive skills on the Internet.
Are you sure you have thought of everything before launching your e-commerce site? Let's check it together to optimize the launch of your online store.
1. Creating a professional and reassuring e-commerce website
Now you'll tell us that this is an obvious basis, and you're right. The first thing to think about when you want to launch a website, or rather an e-commerce site, is to create a professional and reassuring website.
Your online sales site must build trust first and foremost. Reassure customers and make them want to order from you.
Today, online selling has democratized and customers no longer make hasty purchases. In fact, most of them go to online sales sites they know and trust, such as Amazon, Cdiscount, etc., because they feel confident about the transaction they are about to make.
- The product you ordered is not right? You can return it for free.
- Is there any problem with the order? You can easily and quickly contact the seller's services via chat, email or phone.
- Questions about the payment? Online payment is secure and verified.
In short, customers want to be reassured about their online purchase.
It is important to draw up terms and conditions inspired by the major online retail sites to create your e-commerce site in the best possible way.
Write down the key elements of a professional and trustworthy e-commerce website, and make sure the customer doesn't have to search for the information themselves. The customer wants to be reassured right away without having to search for the information, so give them all the information right away.
Example of the main points of a specification for an online sales site:

- Phone number at the top of the site and clearly visible contact details.
- Contact, legal pages and general conditions are clearly visible.
- Clear credit card logos and security pictograms
- Creation of a FAQ page (frequently asked questions)

- No spelling mistakes
- Has an "About us" page

- Ability to create a simplified customer account or place an order through a guest account
- A fair customer reviews page with genuine reviews (TrustPilot, Avis Vérifiés...)
- Creation of a page with delivery times, carriers and shipping costs.
- Creation of a search engine on the website to facilitate the search for products
- High-quality visual material for product presentation and videos
- Display of products in stock and expected delivery date
- Regularly updated banners on the website
- Orderly and explanatory product descriptions and product characteristics
- Addition of a size guide (in the case of garments)


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Which platform to choose to create your e-commerce website?

In 2020, 200,000 French online stores shared 41 million customers on a record turnover of 112 billion euros. It is very tempting to launch your own e-commerce website, but you wonder how to go about it. It's not easy to know how to do it when you're just starting out, and you have to be sure to choose the right solution. To help you create your e-commerce site, here is a selection of the best platforms available in France.

Investing time and money in your store

As with opening a physical store, it is well known that owning a store requires an overall investment of time and money. Too many people want to embark on the adventure of creating an online retail site and think it will work on its own without investing.
Wrong! Investment is the key to a successful online business.
From a financial point of view, you cannot save money everywhere and for everything.
If you want to create an effective e-commerce site, you should turn to specialists who can create a professional site. Even if you learn by working alone, you cannot master everything.
It is a mistake to want to cut costs at any price, because e-commerce is a specific field that requires the necessary skills to create modules, to create, to manage...
To create a professional logo, create a commercial site, references or design, it is necessary to trust and pay competent people. 

"I have no budget to pay and invest money in my website! You should know that financial investment is the key to a well-built online store. With the increasingly fierce competition on the Internet, you need to invest to make money with your site.
And once the site is online, is that all? No! A sales or exhibition website requires constant monitoring and development work.
Once your e-commerce site is online, it is in your interest to develop your traffic by creating Google Adwords campaigns, advertising on Facebook and Instagram, launching contests, paying influencers....
No money invested = no visibility, no customers and therefore no sales.

The first few days your e-commerce site is not well known, so you have few visitors. If it is estimated that a physical store sells to about 45% of the customers who visit, an online store only sells to 1.5% of visitors. This conversion rate, or e-commerce conversion rate, can be increased with a smart and well-considered financial investment.
Don't see it as a waste of money, but as a real investment to get more customers and generate more sales in the long run.
Invest time to gain time
Becoming an online business requires an investment of time. You have to work hard on your website and manage inventory, orders, promotions and consumer habits from a single page. Therefore, you must commit to working a minimum number of hours on your site.
If you have a physical store, you know what it takes to run a business. Remember that selling online is an independent business and requires you to adapt your work schedule.
You should not see this as a limitation, but as a positive point for your business.
You have to prioritize your tasks and juggle your schedule to make time to work on the site.
You can ask for paid help from a specialized web agency and/or webmasters, whom you pay by the hour to help you and save you time.


E-commerce platform CMS

How to create an e-commerce website with an open source CMS?

The third option, usually carried out by a web developer or a web agency, is to create your website using an open source content management system (CMS): the source code is made available. Unlike SaaS and marketplace solutions, the installation of this solution is usually free, you don't pay any commission and you are much freer in terms of customization and design. However, this option requires technical expertise, hosting management, the purchase of a domain name and the security and backup of your site.

Stand out from the competition by personalizing your e-commerce

In today's competitive world, you have to stand out. This is especially true if you sell products that can be found on multiple online retail sites.
Therefore, think about marketing products on the Internet that can't be found elsewhere, and don't try to compete with big brands like Amazon® or Wallmart®. You have to think about what you offer your customers that is different and, above all, what they cannot find elsewhere.
In short, you have to do market research to check that your product will sell well on the Internet and that the competition is not too fierce.
In any case, you must differentiate yourself from your competitors by all means. There are several strategies that can make your products stand out and get customers to buy online.
- Customize your products to sell them online Online customization services attract Internet users. They can create a unique product from you that they won't find anywhere else.

- Sell your own branded products By creating your own branded product, you create exclusivity that will attract customers and make them buy your products from you. Supply creates demand.
- Value customer feedback and communication Nothing is more personal than reviews! Highlighting customer feedback is beneficial to your online business. It gives your e-shop a personality and a voice.
- Offer better sales service than your competitors Between two websites, you have to be the better one. If your competitor offers free delivery, offer free delivery AND free returns.
Customization of your site goes hand in hand with design and specifications. You must customize your media to reassure your customers and allow them to trust you.
Your customers should be your top priority. 


Digital Marketing Agency

Check the online shopping habits of your target customers.

Are you sure that your customers buy online? It is a mistake to launch an online store without checking your customers' shopping habits.
In today's business world, whether physical or virtual, you must first determine your persona, i.e. your target customer. You have to build a typical profile of your ideal customer to know if the purpose of your product and the way you sell it fits their consumption habits.
To create your persona, you must study your current customers, but not only that. You must think about what your product does for your customers before you think about what it will do for you.
Does your product help people? Is your product a hobby? A simple consumer product? You need to think about why you need the product so you know who to sell it to and how to sell it well.
By establishing a target and a typical customer, you can manage your e-commerce site and make sure it can work. It is also an important vector for positioning your pricing fairly against competitors. 

Manage your inventory and avoid stocking products unnecessarily.

This is the mistake most online sellers make: stock, stock and stock!
When you launch your e-commerce site, you can't know which products are going to do well. Just because a product sells well in one store, doesn't mean it will be the same in your online store. Consumers have different shopping habits online and in physical stores.
Therefore, you need to manage stock accurately to avoid having products in stock that don't sell.
Remember that an unsold product costs money....
Therefore, you must create a small stock of products to be able to follow the first orders and take the pulse of consumers who are attracted to your products. Only then will you be able to expand your stock in a logical way.
The goal is to be able to buy your products based on the orders placed on your website. The same applies if you make your own products: you don't want to create products that don't sell and waste your time.
However, you need to be able to replenish and update your stock quickly to avoid selling a product that is no longer in stock with your supplier, for example. While sales may be limited at first, you don't want to cancel a sale because of poor inventory management.
Check the inventory synchronization modules in Prestashop or Shopify.
Once you've identified the items that sell best to your customers, you can scale your vendor orders or your production to meet demand and increase your ROI. 

Establish a long-term strategy

The rise of online businesses everywhere is defined by one problem: lack of strategy.
Just like a traditional website, an e-commerce site requires a long-term strategy. It is by choosing a well-thought-out strategy that you can keep pace with increasing sales.
It is a mistake to think that a website runs on the basis of advertising and selling a single product. Many dropshipping "merchants" rely solely on Facebook traffic to grow their store all at once and resell it before it drops.
This strategy is not profitable: it is not a viable business model.
Tomorrow is today.
If your goal is to create real online sales for your products, you need a long-term marketing strategy. There are many tools and professionals that can help you establish a reliable strategy: don't hesitate to use them!
Launching a reliable and serious e-commerce site is a business that requires several investments. Put all the possibilities on your side to develop your online business and designate the available funds by establishing a long-term strategy. 

Distribute your online store on all channels

According to the above, the long-term strategy is essentially a multi-channel strategy.
If you stay on your website or Facebook you close doors and potential sales. With the tools available today and the different conversion options customers have access to every day, it's a shame to limit yourself to one medium.
By no longer relying on a single source of traffic, you can ensure that your online business is stable and more distributed. There is no risk that your online store will suddenly collapse and you will have to rescue the furniture in a hurry.
We already saw this phenomenon not long ago when the Internet collapsed. For example, a few years ago, when Google's Panda algorithm arrived, many websites saw their traffic split by 2 or 3 and even dropped in their rankings.
You could also say that sales were not going well.
Therefore, it is in your best interest to vary your traffic sources to support your online sales model. Divide your communication channels and strategize for multiple channels to target your customers.
Do you know that your customers are on Facebook a lot? Do you know that you have to be on the first page and first position on Google through Adwords? Do you know that you have a customer portal through partner websites? Create a multi-channel distribution for your e-commerce website and let customers enter everywhere. 


Social media Marketing


Technical SEO

Optimize SEO before launching the e-commerce site.

Search engine optimization (SEO) remains one of the most reliable sources of traffic, despite changes in Google results. Above all, it is the most cost-effective way to capture customers and convert sales without paying for advertising.
SEO on the web is an important foundation that relies on the following easy-to-understand guidelines
- Quality content on all pages (well-structured texts of at least 300 words, internal links and links, images, videos...)
- External links and link exchange with thematic sites (partners, suppliers, blog influencers...)
- An enhanced user experience to make them stay (conversion points, attractive pages...)
- Site security and loading speed (https module, Speedtest...)
- Mobile compatibility of the site (responsive design, AMP...)
Before thinking about launching your e-commerce website, you must have a sustainable SEO strategy that covers the above points.
Create a blog with articles about your business sector to breed broad keywords and attract Internet customers, propose partnerships with blogging influencers that lead to your website, rewrite your product descriptions correctly.... In short, work on your website to a level where you complete it before it goes online.
This step can take anywhere from 3 to 6 months or more, depending on your sales catalog, so get to your keyboards! 

Get trained to manage a dealership website.

It is not possible to improvise with the management of a commercial website.
Without being an expert, there are skills you need to know to manage your online business. You need to be aware of the best practices in e-commerce to always be aware and update your site.
You also need to have training in the medium you are using. Prestashop, Shopify, Woocommerce, ecommerce website builder software are different and you need to be able to manage your products and inventory through this interface. To do this, you need to know the tool and learn its functions.
Beware: some of the options and modules are not free.
You should know that e-commerce sites today offer bases that are adapted to each individual need. You must determine your needs and be able to manage your online store through the interface provided.
If you turn to a professional web agency, you can take advantage of two interfaces to populate the blog and generic site content through a simplified back office and populate your products/items from an external interface dedicated to online sales.
Ask your web agency for training on your online sales site management tool to be independent in the development of your sales support. 

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Develop a media plan and a marketing plan to strengthen your e-commerce site.

Before launching your e-commerce site, develop a media plan.
Having a sales site means knowing how to create events throughout the year to stimulate customer interest. If your business stays in its usual comfort zone, you won't be able to grow it and may even end up losing traffic and therefore sales.

If you create highlights in your communications and on your website, you will attract customers. Plan ahead for important times in your business: sales periods, Black Friday, events like Christmas, New Year, etc. Depending on the period, you can offer contests or temporary special discounts that will boost your online sales.
Schedule blog posts and animations on your e-commerce website to revive your online sales medium from time to time. 

Check that your online store complies with the law

Many people launch e-commerce sites without researching the legal aspects.
First of all, it is mandatory to have a professional status to start an e-commerce. Online sales are subject to laws that protect visitors-buyers, suppliers and merchants. As soon as the first sale is made on the website, you must have the status of a freelancer or a company.
But that is not the only legal requirement.
- Terms and Conditions page and Legal Notice page You must communicate with your customers through clear Terms and Conditions and Legal Notice. To avoid fraud, the customer must be able to identify at all times who is behind the site.
- The use of cookies Your customer must also be informed about the use of cookies on the website in accordance with the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). A banner about cookies with a link to an explanatory text should be installed on your website.
- Send an invoice to the customer Once a purchase has been made on the website, an invoice must be included in your online sales package or emailed to the purchasing customer.
- Returning the product within 14 days - Hamon Law Since the Hamon law of 2014, a customer can exercise their right of withdrawal within 14 days and return their product within this period for a refund, in the case of an online purchase.
These are just a few points of legislation for your online store, but there are many more.
As an online seller, you must know the current legislation to be able to sell your products with peace of mind. 


Market segmentation

Collect customer reviews to reassure your customers

Who hasn't looked at customer reviews before placing an order? Reviews are a real advantage for e-commerce companies, as they allow you to generate valuable feedback for your future customers.
If you read positive reviews and get photos from other customers, it's only natural that you'll be convinced to buy from that site. This is why online retailers are increasingly offering a wide range of reviews.
Through review platforms such as Trustpilot or Avis Vérifiés, customers can feel confident shopping at your business.
But what should you do in case of negative reviews? Don't panic, we will respond no matter what!
The key to trust is transparency. Your customers will be more reassured if you respond to both negative and positive reviews. Be businesslike, polite and diplomatic in resolving the problem by offering a written solution.
This will show other customers that you are responsive and value customer satisfaction. 

Stay motivated, analyze and put your sales results in perspective.

Creating an e-commerce web site is not easy or quiet. You're investing time and money, and you want a quick return on your investment. But your site isn't performing the way you want it to.
Keep in mind that the delivery time of an e-commerce fluctuates with supply and demand, but also with seasons, customers.... In these cases, it is important to stay motivated and not get discouraged.
From one day to the next, your turnover can take a leap forward or, on the contrary, experience an extreme decline. You have to look at the long term and not at the moment to see if your business site is viable, otherwise you run the risk of giving up and giving up.
I have to do better than last month" That's your leitmotiv!
Traffic increases with more visitors, but I sell less... last month I had less visitors, but I sold better.... Let's face it, you will definitely experience fluctuations in revenue through your site.
Don't worry, nothing is serious and everything should be relativized over time. That is the key to your success on the Internet.
Now you have all the cards in your hand to launch your e-commerce site in the best possible conditions. You can get help to create or redesign your professional website by contacting a specialized web agency.

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