We live in the age of eCommerce in India where online retail sales have crossed well over 20,059 Million US Dollars in the year 2017 (Source). More and more people are adapting to online shopping owing to increase in awareness of digital as a channel and cheaper availability of data across the nation. With this in mind, retail players across the spectrum, including big players, SMBs and even local shop owners are adopting eCommerce to expand their sales volume and visibility.
eCommerce also helps set up a level playing field for all sizes of businesses as the website’s represent the storefront and discoverability of the websites and online stores largely depends on search engines and social media which are free for all to use to their advantage and require a smaller investment.
In this race to get the stores online, many businesses and developers prefer to use WordPress as the platform and backend for the eCommerce portal. In fact, according to Barn2 Media, around 30% of all eCommerce portals are based on WordPress. That beings said, if you are planning to use WordPress to setup your own eCommerce store, then this post will cover 4 important aspects you should dig deep into before beginning. Let’s look at what these things are.
WordPress Hosting is hosting which is highly customized to be extremely compatible with WordPress based websites. When you are talking about building an eCommerce portal using WordPress, you will need to deal with functionalities such as payment gateways, security, user experience and speed etc. for which a very stable and compatible hosting plan is necessary.
WordPress Hosting comes with features which not only help maintain your WordPress installation such as automatic updates and pre installed plugins, but also offers features to optimize WordPress performance. For instance, many of the WP Hosting plans come with WP-Database optimization which stores all your vital data such as pages, posts, login details, multimedia, form entries etc. It would be wise to choose a WordPress Hosting plan for your WP Based eCommerce site as it would heavily reduce your maintenance and optimization effort.
Selection of your eCommerce Plugin:
To set-up your online shop using WordPress, there are two paths that you can follow. First is where you build all eCommerce functionality from scratch by hardcoding. This will take a lot of time and effort and it is ideal if you have a lot of time on your hands along with a series of expert developers and testers. The second path is to utilize eCommerce plugins which are available on WordPress like MarketPress and WooCommerce.
It is my personal suggestion that you go for an eCommerce plugin because they take care of all the base functionality including transactions, carts and payment gateways. They are easy to use and are highly customizable to fit your needs. When you are choosing an eCommerce plugin, be sure to look at the following aspects of the plugin:
- Is the plugin regularly updated and when was the last update date? If it was last updated a long time ago, then it may be possible that the developers of the plugin do not pay much attention and update the plugin to integrate evolving eCommerce needs.
- The level of customization it has to offer
- Provision of online marketing options such as SEO (Search Engine Optimization) Social media marketing, email marketing etc.
- Ease of availing support from the developers.
Domain names are the primary handles by which people remember, identify and recall your website. The easiest bet would be to use your business name as domain name. However, there are 2 primary challenges with this. Your brand name or business name might not always be available. Second challenge would be that at times the business name may not be very relevant to have a very strong recall with the business offering. With that in mind, be sure to follow the below guidelines while choosing the domain name:
Keep it short, don’t make it complicated
- Do a keyword research before you choose a domain name to see how it will help SEO
- Try to avoid hyphenated domain names. Users tend to forget hyphens.
- Be sure to buy and secure all extensions (.com, .net etc.) to avoid copy domains
Ensure you buy SSL Certificate:
Secure Socket Layer (SSL) has multiple advantages. First thing is that it ensures all data transmission that happens over an SSL based website is encrypted. This increases the security of user’s data on the website especially for eCommerce when there is transactional data used widely. Digital savvy people are also largely aware of SSL and would always prefer an SSL certified site over a non-SSL one to disclose their financial information.
Second thing that SSL helps with is improving the visibility of your eCommerce store organically on search engines like Google. Search engines prioritize secured and SSL certified sites over unsecured ones. Improving visibility on search engines will have a massive impact on getting new visitors and potential customers on your eCommerce platform. In terms of getting this implemented, if you have WordPress Hosting, you can setup SSL on your WP website with a click of a button.
If you take care of these pointers for your WordPress eCommerce website, everything moving forward will be much easier. Again, it is very essential to have a smooth start which will help you propel your eCommerce business and get faster returns.