Inevitably, the first question I get asked by people wanting to enter the world of e-commerce, is what should my website look like?
And the first question I get asked by people already in e-commerce is.... 'how do I make my website better?'
For a lot of us e-retailers, the success of our business depends, to a large extent, on our website, how it looks, how it feels and how it works. Does it give our customers a great online experience or does it fill them with dread? Will it encourage them to buy from us and hopefully start that life journey with us, or will it cause them to run for the hills in fear?
"Your website has to do so many different things: it has to represent your brand culture, it has to quickly showcase what you are selling and make it easy for the customer to find what they want. It has to inspire confidence and trust in the customer to the point they are willing to enter their credit card details and push the Order Confirmation button. Without that – you are going to really struggle as an e-retailer." Matt Edmundson
But technology is more than just how your website works for your customers. We can, should and will look at other areas too – such as how your website works for your customer service team, can they take phone orders quickly and easily for example? How does it work for stock control, making it easier for your suppliers? How does it work for the guys packing the products if you are going to ship physical product?
We also have to look beyond our websites and ask if there are other technologies that we need to use to help manage our business? For example, our order fulfilment was transformed when we developed a simple app for the iPhone and saved thousands every year as a result.
It doesn’t stop there either. As we all know technology is advancing at such a pace, how do we keep up with it? How often do we need to role out developments to the site? And what about advancements in mobile smart phone technology – how does that impact us? What is the future of wearable technology? Will that have an effect on our business?
Don’t even start on Social Media…
There are a lot of questions!
Over the coming months I will attempt to answer some of them and, more importantly, give you some guiding principles that you can use to stay on top of it all. It’s all stuff that I have learned over the years and that we have used to good effect in our own company that has allowed us to stay at the top of our game in a hyper competitive industry. In my next blog I begin to look at some of the fundamental principals for your website, how to make it function well and the questions you need to be asking yourself.