We’ve just launched a new ecommerce website for a long-term client. Ecommerce websites can be different from other website builds. One reason is because they have such clear goals.
When we ask — and we always do — “What do you want people to do when they visit your website?” we know that there are lots of possible answers:
- “Call and make an appointment.”
- “Understand the importance of physical exercise.”
- “Subscribe to our newsletter.”
- “Use our store finder tool to find a store where they can buy our products.”
- “Increase their awareness of our brand.”
But an ecommerce website usually has a much simpler goal: put an item in the cart and check out.
In this case, the item is a puppy.
Perfect Paw Puppies is a website where one successful dog breeder can share puppies she and other breeders in her area have hand raised on their farms. Instead of offering just one breed, this website for a consortium of farmers and breeders can provide puppies that have a few important things in common: they are all hand-raised on farms in Arkansas, come with health guarantees, and can be purchased simply by popping them in the cart at the website.
It’s kind of a matchmaking service where people can confidently get a puppy knowing the dog’s background, but without having to visit multiple breeders or deciding on a breed before seeing the pups.
It takes time and effort to get traffic to a new website. But traffic is very important for e-commerce. Since we have data from this client’s first website, we know the kinds of searches and ad campaigns that will succeed for the new business. We compiled a list of keywords to work on and launched with good content.
We also have data on the visitor behavior that leads to conversions. We can see that visitors to the first website often come daily to read informative posts and browse through photos of available puppies. We see that they are likely to spend several weeks shopping like this before choosing a puppy.
That means that we need to have fresh, useful content on a regular basis. We’ll be blogging for the new website to make sure we provide the kind of content that will bring visitors back repeatedly until they make up their minds on a puppy.
If you don’t have this kind of data, choose a web design company with experience that can help you make data-based decisions.
You can also use third-party data. For example, WooCommerce tells us that it takes 31 days, on average, for a new ecommerce website to make a sale. This supports our first-party data, and it tells you that you need to have a plan to bring visitors back to your website repeatedly and to build traffic generally during the first weeks of your website’s life.
Use your assets
People like to look at pictures of puppies, and this client has great photos.
We built the site with WordPress and WooCommerce, using the new full site editing with blocks. That may be more technical information than you need, but it has an important feature. Whereas many WordPress custom websites pull content in automatically from special types of posts set up elsewhere by the designers, this site has everything on the page. The client can add pictures of puppies on the page, link them to the dogs’ product pages with a couple of clicks, and keep her website updated in-house.
Great photos are important for ecommerce, and they need plenty of great text to support them and make them findable.
While it’s important to give people plenty of good stuff to explore, it should be easy for them to make a purchase when they’re ready to do that.
The product pages at Perfect Paw allow shoppers to put a deposit on their puppies.
The client sets up her own products and takes care of her own fulfillment, so it’s important that she can do those things easily and quickly. She’s busy! you probably are, too, so it’s important that you choose a shopping solution that works efficiently.
We built the site with WooCommerce, which powers close to one quarter of all the commerce sites in the world.
It’s an unfortunate truth that your customers will mentally compare you with Amazon when they’re shopping. They count on having very little friction when they’re shopping. At a physical store, artisanal charm can be a trade-off for efficiency, but online your customers get fed up fast if the process is difficult. WooCommerce keeps things simple for the customer as well as the site owner.
We added a chat feature in case shoppers need help, plus a phone number and a contact form. Giving visitors multiple ways to reach you helps to reduce frustration, since different people have different preferences
A running start
The website was indexed by Google within a few days, and was seeing organic search traffic within a week. We encouraged the site owner to use her strong social media skills to jump start her website, too. We also encouraged word of mouth, and saw direct traffic coming to the website as a result.
Paid ads can be a good way to get a website going, too. Remember you’re in it for the long haul, and be patient — but also active. Make sure you have analytics installed from the beginning. Even if you’re not sure what to do with the data, collecting the information allows you to make use of it when you’re ready.