Regardless of whether you're just starting an online business or you've started but want to create your own e-commerce website, you need to understand, that the challenge in running e-commerce website nowadays is fiercer than any time, especially as a startup, you have to take great care over everything, from website maintenance to digital promotions through to customer service.

A friend of mine shared with me a fantastic idea, as I listen to him, I started thinking of the roles I can play to make it a success. His explanations were clear, for effective sales, he will need an eCommerce store. He told me he plans to create one as soon as possible, yes, he needs to, but e-commerce website that can stand the test of time is not a thing you rush into. 

To ensure that your e-commerce website stands the test of time, you need to be well informed. There is so much information available on the internet. I put together some of the information that I shared with him. This information can also guide you in creating a successful e-commerce website.

Select The Platform
Choosing the right e-commerce platform is the first important step when starting an e-commerce website. You can hire a programmer to design one from scratch or use free online platforms. With the help of Online e-commerce website developer platforms, it's easier than ever to create an online store and start selling products on the Internet.

Luckily, nowadays there are many platforms to select from and the most popular are Shopify, WooCommerce, Wix etc. To determine the best e-commerce platform for you, you need to evaluate the functionalities to find the one that meets your business requirements. Some of the key features you need to consider includes:
  • ERP and CRM database compatibility and integration
  • Technical support
  • Scalability 
  • Mobile-friendliness
  • Security
  • Payment options
  • Marketing tools
  • Themes responsiveness

Choose Domain Name
Picking the right domain name is one of the most crucial things you should do for your e-commerce platform. Your domain communicates important information to all users including search engine bots. This is why you need to choose keywords that are unique, short and easy to read words.

Create A Blog For Your eCommerce Store
a blog to your e-commerce website is valuable. Even though the primary goal of your website is to drive traffic to your products, there is a multitude of reasons why adding a blog to your e-commerce site is beneficial. I will share some.
  • Search Engine Optimization: Adding a blog to your e-commerce site will drastically increase the amount of content your website contains. The more content you have, the more your website will index—and the more prospective clients will organically find their way to your website. For best results, infuse your blog posts with both trending keywords. As you share your new blog posts on your social media profiles, you will create more backlinks to your website, which will further boost your SEO.
  • Adding Values To Your Customer: Your blog posts can contain tips and tricks that your target audience is searching for, tutorials, and the latest breaking industry news. While you can add blog posts that contain sales information, for branding purposes—focus more on adding value to your customers.
  • Build Trust: Your blog will make you feel more credible and relatable, which will provide new clients with a greater sense of confidence in their purchases. Many blogs allow customers to comment on their posts, which makes your customers feel as if they are part of a larger online community. Just as with social media, ensure you actively respond to all comments and private messages. No worries of questionable comments or spam being added, because you can set up your blog in a manner in which you can approve all outside comments before they go live.

A Successful eCommerce Store is a result of Teamwork
Developing an e-commerce website is hard but you can make it easier by working with a team that will help you put your strategic plan into action. Some people might argue that you really do not need a team to run an e-commerce website, well, for a start, you might not need a team but as the sales increase and the workload piles up, you will definitely need a team to take some of the weights off your shoulders. Your team can work from anywhere irrespective of their location. Dropbox, Slack, Google Docs, Sheets and Slides are some of the teamwork tools you might need.

Trying to handle things all by yourself is a fast lane to creating an e-commerce website that will not be successful. 

Plan Your Project
The secret to great teamwork is planning ahead, staying organised, and communicating effectively. The planning process is the brainstorming process, that helps bring your ideas and thoughts together. By planning your e-commerce website carefully you can have a clearer picture of the business strategy, products, metrics, and expenses.

If you just want to start selling online, you have to define the target market. If you are selling already but want to move from selling online using a third-party website or social media page, you have to clearly define your target audience. Begin with the demographics of the ads you've used in promoting your contents online, define their interest, age, gender, location etc. you also need to consider whether consumers are comfortable with buying your products online. The better you understand your target market, the better you'll be to target them. 

Starting your business without understanding your competitors is risky. This is why studying your competitors is essential in the planning phase especially if you are entering an already saturated market like selling of food.

There is a lot to be learned from businesses who have years of experience in the niche and figured out what works. But I will tell you this secret, figuring out what works for them is not the only thing you need to study, but what is not working, what they need to improve on, and the complains of the customers. From the complaint of the customers, you will get loads of ideas that can separate you from the regulars. Your store should focus on solving the problems you've identified.

Hosting Services
Hosting services are also very important. There are four main types of hosting options: shared, VPS, dedicated, and cloud. The one you decide to choose depends on how much traffic you expect to get.

Payments & Security
Your payment solutions should be secure and safe as customer's value their personal information and don't want it to be exposed. PayPal, PayStack, Remita, Interswitch are some of the most popular payment options you can use.

Marketing Your eCommerce Store
Once you've built your eCommerce store, the next thing to do is focus on your marketing strategy. If your target audience is online, the most effective marketing strategy for you will be social marketing and influencer marketing.

Social media is a vital marketing channel for businesses of all sizes. It will help boost your brand awareness while driving traffic to your e-commerce website. There are a lot of social media platforms, you don't have to be on all of them to make an impact. Instagram. Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn are image-driven platforms, allowing you to display your products along with how it's commonly used.

The online audience often trusts a brand their friends are talking about. This is where Influencer marketing comes to play. Most of the Influencers on Instagram and Twitter have a large number of followers who listen to them or engage their contents daily. Their followers trust influencers more than an advertisement or traditional celebrity endorsement. Influencer marketing is a new marketing tool that businesses are using to drive awareness and sales. Having an influencer on social media and having them recommend your products or services to an audience that trust their opinion. By identifying the type of influencer best suited for your business and developing an influencer marketing strategy, you'll improve your reach among potential customers, which can lead to a significant boost in sales.