MustHave for modern online-store nowadays
Last 2020 year was undoubtedly filled with unforgettable occasions. However, all trends and tendencies of this year were replaced by the demands which were dictated to us because of strict quarantine and lockdown. Therefore, we consider it is necessary to tell about E-commerce in 2020, refresh the main insights, summarize the last year, highlight and supplement the "trends in creating online stores" which were given by the changes in market, technology and search systems requirements. They also will remain actual in the new 2021.
Starting with the functionality / design that every online-store should have, there are several aspects to note:
- Fast work of the online store. It should be optimized and the page should load quickly. And when developing, you need to check not only the speed of loading by the Wi-Fi , but also on phones via 3G / 4G.
- Reliable data protection is a priority in the work of any resource, which may include personal users data. Nothing should get into the database and cause distrust.
- Mobile-first. Searching systems now prefer resources that are optimized for mobile devices, because of increased sales which are the end result for the business.
- UX. It is very important to think about the user’s behavior on the resource in advance. It is necessary to create maps of behavior and how the buyer will get to the goods which are valuable for him. The customer must quickly find the right product and quickly place an order.
- Basic SEO site optimization. By the way, online stores which are developed by our team accord the basic standards of SEO optimization.
- Professional photo / video content, not downloaded from Google. It’s no secret, a comprehensive approach saves time and money. Our team has a well-developed base of contractors who can help create unique photo and video content, set up an accounting system for your business, develop social networks and SEO-promotion.
- And of course – do not forget to follow trends and changes in E-Commerce. Yesterday we chose black on white, and today we have gradients and darkness.
Put these in a few words – your online store should be fast, easy to use and simple in design, adaptable to mobile devices and, of course, safe.
In addition, we would like to remind you once again about new speed standards from Google Web Vitals. 2.5 seconds to load the page, remember? This is a new download speed standard, but there are more requirements. You can find out more information in our previous article. These requirements starting from January 2021 will significantly affect the ranking of sites in searching systems.
What you must count during opening an online-store when there are quarantine restrictions?
A simple question that confused all newcomers in E-commerce, so therefore 70% of businesses in 2020.
Firstly, you need immediately to think about the service you will provide. For example, if you have a lot of goods and then you plan to receive many orders, it is worth thinking about whether you can process orders in time (!), take the payment from customers and send goods on the day of order. The E-Commerce market is growing every year, so efficiency plays an important role now.
It is worth remembering that starting from 2017, mobile traffic surpasses the desktop, and continues to grow. Therefore, in addition to the adaptive version of the online store, you should think about creating a mobile application to satisfy all the needs of users, because the use of mobile applications allows you to attract new customers.
Also, you should understand that first of all, you need to earn the trust of new customers who will look for reviews about your brand/company in “Google My Business”, social networks before ordering something. It is important to give people a choice, so do not neglect the integration with all possible methods and the ability to pay online directly on the site.
Undoubtedly, the events of 2020 have changed online commerce and this must be a topic for another article. But the main change, of course, took place in the minds of buyers and their requirements for sellers. The growth of competition and the need to search for goods and services online have helped to improve the online shopping service. Communication with managers, speed, delivery options, large courier services that have appeared in the regions, a variety of payment options. It is important to think about all these nuances at the stage of writing technical tasks for an online store.
The next step you need to think about is choosing the optimal CMS for your online store.
In general, according to builtwith the most used CMS is CMS WordPress (WooCommerce). But it is no secret that WordPress is not a very reliable CMS for online stores, and customers give priority to security and reliability of data protection above all. Therefore, for the development of online stores, we use CMS OpenCart or CMS Shopify. OpenCart occupies 5% of the global segment of E-Commerce systems and CMS Shopify – 18%. We work with both CMSes, and we have something to tell about. Our team has been working with CMS OpenCart for 8 years, almost from the date of the first release. CMS OpenCart is perfect for small and medium businesses, it is reliable, flexible and able to work safely with any number of products and high loads.
The main advantages of CMS OpenCart:
- easily withstands a load of 15+ thousand products (real cases of our customers);
- basic SEO-optimization is already taken into account when creating an online store: titles, meta tags and snippets, URL-links of products, fields for managing metrics in the admin panel, the structure of pages with micro markup;
- ability to customize (set up an online store) for individual desires and the specifics of the seller’s products;
- flexibility of CMS OpenCart. It is the ability to create modules for unique needs in the absence of a ready-made solution. And the possibility of realizing non-standard projects. In particular, we have experience in creating a training platform – “Step UP“.
CMS Shopify is also a reliable solution, and its main advantage is the speed of project deployment from the approval stage to the full launch stage.
The main advantages of CMS Shopify that we want to highlight:
- a large set of ready-made templates, which allows you to quickly launch online sales;
- no need to worry about server issues, because of all sites that built on CMS Shopify lays on the company’s own servers;
- excellent basic SEO optimization and loading speed.
Of course, there are projects on the market that require more flexible solutions and features in contradistinction to those that present in any CMS solution. Therefore, for such projects we use a very popular and effective PHP framework – Laravel, which can desire the needs of E-Commerce customers and create a very flexible functionality. For mobile applications we use React Native. (By the way, we support the Open Source community, so in our corporate GIT there are free modules for OpenCart and Shopify).
Correct sequence of actions when you want to open an online-store nowadays:
- first you need to study your area and see how your competitors work, what they have in common with you, and vice versa;
- then write the technical task and determine the goals that your online store should first carry out, also determine the target audience and the portrait of the customer;
- if the client has difficulties with writing a technical task, then we have a detailed brief for such cases, after which we make the technical task ourselves and agree on all the nuances and functionality with the client;
- then, after drawing up the technical task, you need to work out a prototype and design of the future online store;
- when you receive the right design, then begins the stage of layout and programming;
- the final stage of development is a detailed testing of the online store and thematic information (which must also be developed and agreed with the SEO-specialist);
- filling the site proceed like manually through the admin panel and through integration with the customer’s accounting system;
- then all you have to do is to start active seo-promotion and advertisement in social networks and searching systems.
Today, there are many options how to quickly get the first customers: advertising in searching or/and social networks, buying advertising from bloggers and more.
A longer, but more effective and important stage is the SEO-promotion of the site. Usually SEO-promotion takes at least from 6 months to 1 year. At this stage, work in promoting your resource should be carried out comprehensively: active advertising on Google / Facebook / Instagram and other advertising platforms. Therefore it is necessary to contact the specialized agencies which are dealing with digital advancement.
In conclusion, we want to show our best online-stores projects that we have created or breathed life into in 2020 year.