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How to Create an Ecommerce Website that Really Sells?

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Create an ecommerce website is one way, among many others, to earn money through internet.

By building up a conversion funnel supposed to facilitate sales, it is one of the numerous monetization solutions which exist today.

But if this is only one solution among many others, it definitively represents the favorite option of many entrepreneurs.

An ecommerce site is a very popular tool.

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The numerous successes in the field of ecommerce make people dream.

And hope.

The net economy is experiencing exponential growth.

More and more people purchase online.

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All business indicators are encouraging us to think that creating an online store is a good idea in itself.

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The traditional actors in the retail sector and the traditional brick & mortar brands finally decided to realize their own digital mutation, too.

Walmart, for example, in addition to have a network of physical stores, has today a digital platform which is regularly ranked in the list of the top companies which are able to make a great business on line in its industry.

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Shortly said, everyone gets to digital and many people want to create an ecommerce site: big tigers, startuppers, solopreneurs, managers of well established companies as well as business creators and any kind of entrepreneurs.

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The first question that arises, once the decision to create an ecommerce website has been made, is the following one: how to create an ecommerce website?

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But before answering this question, let us ask another question (and give an answer):

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Why should you create an ecommerce site today?

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All figures are looking good for the digital business and the development of ecommerce:

– Yearly sales growth by 19%

– Sales evaluated at more than $ 1,900 trillion this year

– More and more consumers trust ecommerce platforms

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But: put forward such figures without explaining the downside would set up a false approach.

Numbers can be interpreted to infinity. One can not speak of the Yin without ignoring the Yang because of the only purpose of convincing you to definitely set up a website, in order to better commercialize this ecommerce platform to you.

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There are 1 billion and 46 million domain names in the world today.

Among them, from 12 to 24 millions are said to correspond to ecommerce sites.

The estimated range is wide, that’s saying something.

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By considering all these millions of merchant sites, remember only two figures: only 650,000 online shops manage to sell more than $ 1,000 … per year.

Somehow, you will then belong to a kind of elite as of $ 1,001 TO per year. 

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The average conversion rate of ecommerce sites is estimated to be between 0 and 1.5%.

It means that we are very far away from the figures which are very often presented in the newpapers and magazines.

Most of the figures privileged by the press often correspond to the companies – the happy few of the business world – that have managed to stand out brilliantly. That is entirely to their credit.

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These are figures which make people dream.

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From a technical point of view, succeed in creating an ecommerce site is (very) easy.

From a business point of view, create a perfectly monetized ecommerce website with high conversion rates and a significant traffic is more than difficult.

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It’s tough.

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But it’s feasible.

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Creating an

eCommerce website

from scratch.

is a real challenge

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ecommerce-website

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One shall never forget that the establishment of an ecommerce platform has many advantages in many respects:

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♦  If you have a conventional boutique, or even a network of stores, an ecommerce website will allow you to increase your sales by up-selling and cross-selling actions, via the digital channel.

>>> Development of a multichannel strategy

♦  Also, if you have a conventional boutique, or even a network of stores, you may know that more and more people make their selection online before making their purchase in store.

>>> Development of a webrooming strategy

♦  The world is your market / The world is the limit: a classical boutique limits your sales geographically. Add an online store to it and correctly make the SEO of your new website and you can sell your products and solutions worldwide. It can really make a difference. And it can enable you to get tremendous results. For that reason, just this can be seen as a genial growth hacking technique in itself.

>>> Development of a geographical expansion strategy

♦  Digital offers an impressive array of metrics that can enable the implementation of business strategies, up-selling and cross-selling actions as well as emailing campaigns perfectly segmented from a marketing point of view.

>>> Development of digital strategies and web marketing plans to boost sales

♦  An ecommerce website is online 24/7: you can (really) enrich yourself even when you are sleeping and dreaming of your future successes.

>>> Development of what might be called an up-houring strategy, including your phases when you are asleep

♦  Digital allows to automate an impressive amount of technical and administrative processes: editing invoices, sending emails, inventory and stock management, marketing of abandoned shopping carts, payment tracking processes, etc.

>>> Development of the commercial, financial and logistic efficiency

♦  You can easily emphasize testimonials on a merchant site or via platforms such as Yelp, or simply via the most popular social networks: good testimonials are a business accelerator.

>>> Development of a social media & social proof strategy

♦  Set up an online store is less expensive than starting with a classical shop: you can even solve the thorny WCR issue thanks to the implementation of a dropshipping process.

>>> Development of new solutions in terms of supply management

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How then create an ecommerce site?

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The following lines offer a 5-step methodology.

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1. Create an ecommerce website > Select the product

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First, if you want to create an ecommerce site, you need a good product.

Logically, it will be very difficult to sell anything if the product is not good at all.

Except in the case of scams which consist in manipulating the intelligence of third persons to achieve commercial ends.

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We start from the classical working hypothesis in which you offer a product that meets a real need and corresponds to a market. On the market you will target, whether you will be in competition with other players, or you will make a product that has never been manufactured and sold before.

In this case, you will create a market in addition to creating a new product.

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If you decide to sell something that is already existing, you need to pay close attention to competitors.

The most important is to find a differentiating element.

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The created differentiator may be at the level of:

– Style

– Comfort

– Price

– Manufacturing process

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But also:

– Product origin

– Features

– Communication

– Image

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For example, you can use a rubber toe, a lace and bright green tone in order to sell sneakers that will become a reference in terms of lifestyle – and reflects values such as elegance, high-class, challenge, chic instinct, fair play, respect, perseverance, excellence and performance.

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The name Stan Smith:

an example of

differentiating style

which is simple,

sophisticated and successful

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2. Create an ecommerce website > Find a niche market

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A term that comes up very often in the economic jargon is: niche market.

The idea is to find this very small space that will represent maybe a very confined market, but a market where buyers and sellers will be able to meet and get together.

Conduct transactions.

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Once you found this niche market, it must grow. We forget too often the fact that most of multinationals were at their beginning micro-firms which managed to take off.

This can help entrepreneurs by keeping the right fighting spirit during their entrepreneurship journey.

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Ideally, it is all about being able to transform a niche market into a mass market.

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The path is following:    Start small  >>>  Think global  >>>  Walk tall

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Before embarking on the creation of an ecommerce website, it is necessary to spend much time on the product which has to be marketed. A product people will be fond of will automatically create great sales anyway, regardless of the ecommerce site that will distribute it.

Some brands come very well by selling mass consumer products that do not even have been manufactured yet (and not even exist).

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Conversely, an ecommerce site may be beautiful, but if the product does not match any expectation, it will never match any market. Logically.

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You have to come back to the axioms of economy.

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So, what product to market?

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This is the question that must be asked before even posing the question how one can create an ecommerce site.

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To find answers to this question, we can only recommend the Amazon website.

One immediately sees on Amazon what sells.

And what sells well is usually linked with a market that works well.

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What will you exactly sell???

Choose a market first

and then select

a niche market 

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create-an-ecommerce-website_niche-market

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3. Create an ecommerce website > Analyze the market

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The question of the market is essential.

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If you decide for example to create an ecommerce site in the market of Scandinavian furniture, but the number of players in this industry is increasing while the number of buyers is decreasing, it will be difficult to establish a new firm in this delicate market.

You can certainly create an aesthetically successful ecommerce site.

But if the market is already mature and if, moreover, it is already in its declining phase, you will then arrive after the battle.

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The best thing is to be well informed in advance about the health of the market you are going to attack.

Many countries have economic difficulties.

But in every country, there are markets that are doing well and where you can hope to prosper by creating an ecommerce site.

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You will face one difficult situation: for niche markets, one of the main problems is that there is no economic studies dealing with their specificities.

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Large pollsters and economic studies will focus on big markets first, for financial reasons.

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They will not draw the attention that would be necessary for you to have accurate and precise information, because of lack of time.

In terms of economy of scale, they would lose their time and money to analyze these micro-markets.

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The best way to conduct market surveys will then be to gather information by yourself: quantitative surveys, questionnaires, organization of focus groups, etc.

Whatever the product you will market, an analysis of the market on which it will operate is crucial.

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One way to create an ecommerce site and develop a business on line may be not to start to market a product which will operate on a specific market, (by starting from a product idea), but starting from a market idea in order to finally create a product and an ecommerce website that will market and distribute a product for that market.

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Google Keyword Planner is a great tool for this.

You can make some semantic research and see for example what keywords might enable you to achieve great sales through the ecommerce website you want to develop and grow.

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The money is (always) in the wording.

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With another Google tool, Google Trends, you can easily look for new terms in order to build a semantic capital which will allow you to earn handsome incomes.

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Further analyses by countries, continents, segments, periods and keyword combinations are also available on Google Trends.

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Google Trends

is an excellent tool

to help you investigate

the market you could

eventually target

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here an exemple with the word: artichoke.

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4. Create an ecommerce website > Build your marketing

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Once your product is well tested and once you understood the market well, you will say definitely that you can now create an ecommerce site.

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Not at all.

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You will have to spend the necessary time to conceptualize your marketing.

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Marketing, as the name suggests, is the action by which a product is brought to a market.

You will have to anticipate and analyze well upstream each of the steps that will conduct the product you decided to market on the market you decided to target.

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One can completely dissect the different stages through which a successful product was brought to a market. It is a method of business intelligence, among others, allowing to copy and paste the success of a competitor.

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The Japanese were very strong in the 80s in the art of how to decorticate the technology of a product in order to manufacture it better.

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Things have changed.

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The difference today mainly lies on the ability to analyze conversion funnels, marketing processes and all the steps by which a product is:

– Designed

– Manufactured

– Distributed

– Promoted

– Marketed

– Sold

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Marketing is a discipline which consists in finding the perfect balance between a product to market and a market that will make a sales process realizable.

To create a fit between a product and a market.

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That’s simple.

But very tough, also.

For few companies will really succeed on the long term.

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Less than 10%.

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Imagine you try to market and sale furniture and you decide to capitalize on 3 main best sellers which would be a wooden table, a leather coach and a crystal lamp designed by talented craftsmen and designers – with an average price of $ 5,000 each.

You will know that selling 1 piece on a monthly basis will enable you to have a decent living, two pieces a good living and that the jackpot will start as of 3 pieces sold per month.

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But once the website is online, you will notice one thing: it’s very difficult to even realize the first sale.

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So near, so far.

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That’s it.

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Try to put yourself in the shoes of your ideal consumers. What do they buy?

How will you sell your product to them? What is their profile from a social, anthropological and psychographic point of view?

How would you characterize them? Have a look at their look : how do they look like?

How do they speak ? Which words do they select? Which are their values?

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What is their style?

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It is ALWAYS about style.

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These are the questions.

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An old adage said the following: “If no one wants to be sold, everyone loves to buy”.

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In terms of sales, any technique and idea that could bring added value will be welcome.

It will be important to pay particular attention to any method able to facilitate the merchant process in place.

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Digital offers many opportunities for innovation in the field of sales techniques.

If you use WordPress as a CMS for your website, you can for example use the plugin WP Live Chat Support and set up an online chat system that allows you to start a conversation with users who are surfing on your website.

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You can then interact directly with them and see quickly, among the visitors coming to your website, which ones are qualified leads and prospects to be pampered.

And what’s more, live.

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Whatever the options you choose, you must build up a strong marketing concept and regularly test every aspect of your online solution.

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ecommerce-website_digital

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5. Create an ecommerce website > Carry on implementation

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As you can see, once you have decided to create an ecommerce site, the choice of technology appears in the middle of the global process.

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Until a few years ago, create an ecommerce website would have required many hours of technical and abstruse explanations.

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Today, one can simply say following: that’s very easy to understand.

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You’ll actually be spoiled for choice.

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To create your ecommerce website, you can:

– Use the services of a web agency

– Work with a developer

– Ask a webmaster to do the job

– Use a CMS (Content Management System)

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If you opt for a CMS (Content Management System), you can choose between different technologies.

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For example:

– WordPress

– Drupal

– Joomla!

– Shopify

– Magento

– PrestaShop

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If your primary intention is to create an ecommerce site, also consider the possibility of selling your products through marketplaces: Amazon, Google Shopping, Etsy.

It is a good way to test a market.

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Example of a

successful marketplace:

Etsy

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create-an-ecommerce-website_marketplace-etsy

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If you want to use a CMS, WordPress is an extraordinary technology.

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Unbelievable but true, there are still people who dare to criticize WordPress.

WordPress propels 70 million websites in the world.

Hard to believe that 70 million people have been misled, unless imagine a gigantic cavern with lots of people inside and other people that create effects of light and shadow by projecting stupid signs on a wall.

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With WordPress, you can easily create an ecommerce website.

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In minutes.

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Before creating a WordPress ecommerce website, you will first have to choose a web hosting company.

Most web hosts of reference now include the possibility of installing WordPress.

The process is even easier.

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Once your web hosting is set up, you can have access to a management platform for your website: the cPanel (the Control Panel).

On the cPanel, icons are generally dedicated to WordPress.

To install WordPress, you click on the corresponding icon and follow the subsequent instructions that appear on the screen.

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That’s all.

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create-ecommerce-site_cpanel

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an exemple of cPanel dashboard

by HostGator

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Using WordPress technology, you can manage what has to appear on the screen (the front office) through a digital platform that only you can control (the back office).

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The url of your front office will be the domain name of your website.

The url of your back office will be set accordingly.

By default, this will be your domain name followed by the permalink: wp-login.php

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Once in your back office, you can arrange your ecommerce site with ease: create new pages, articles, products, etc.

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To transform your WordPress website into an ecommerce site, you will then have to add the WooCommerce plugin.

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WooCommerce, like WordPress, forms a community of very talented developers.

Since WordPress and WooCommerce have decided to join forces, it is the same team of computer scientists who are now developing all the digital solutions that will allow you to have a global ecommerce website.

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Once WooCommerce is combined with WordPress, you will have all the features you would expect from an online store, such as:

– Add / configure products

– Manage your stocks

– Set payment methods

– Connect your ecommerce site to Paypal

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Besides PayPal, you can now also use Stripe for online payment.

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After having installed the WordPress CMS and the WooCommerce plugin, you will have to add a whole serie of modules, depending on your business model.

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WordPress plugins and WooCommerce will allow you to automate many processes.

For example:

– The billing process

– The creation and formatting of sales reports

– The management of abandoned shopping carts

– The administration of a customer database and the creation of an email list

– Different email alerts related to the management of inventories, orders received, the messages left by customers, etc

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create-ecommerce-website_woocommerce

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6. Create an ecommerce website > What has to be done after?

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Once the ecommerce site is set up, you will have to make every effort to ensure its promotion.

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There are a multitude of digital tools to achieve this:

– Social networks, especially Facebook and Twitter

– Content marketing

– Blogging

– SEO

– Guest posts

– Native advertising

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But also :

– Google Adwords

– Article syndication

– Emailing

– Writing an eBook

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In terms of web marketing, the implementation of a content marketing strategy will be a determining factor.

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Traditional marketing tools could also be of great help:

– TV, movie and radio spots

– Advertisements in newspapers and magazines

– Shows, fairs and exhibitions

– Public relation

– Direct marketing

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But also:

– CRM

– Promotion & POS actions

– Sponsorships, patronage, philanthropy

– Display (bus, metro, billboards, etc)

– Prospectus, street marketing, flyers

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The most important is to properly select the tool or the combination of tools which will help you achieve your goals. You will then have to test them. And analyze the results.

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To analyze your results, available and reliable metrics will help in the decision making.

Among dashboards most frequently quoted, those of Google appear first, including Google Analytics and Google Webmaster Tools.

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But these are not the only indicators, dashboards and tools.

You can also rely on Kissmetrics, the Webalizer figures and the plugin Jetpack if you use WordPress as a CMS.

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If you use the CMS WordPress, you can install the Jetpack plugin.

Once the plugin is set up correctly, then you have access to a dashboard with many indicators. The results are all the more interesting that they are usually very different from those provided by Google Analytics, Google Search Console or the Webalizer.

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This is the beauty of Digital: you can get tons of metrics to establish a strategy.

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Be very careful with vanity metrics for these are the kind of data you choose because they correspond to the world according to the way you are.  

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1. Choose as many analytics dashboards, tools and sources as possible

2.  Gather, analyze and track every sort of analytics

3. Make all your strategic business decisions by ignoring vanity metrics.

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How to create an ecommerce Site > Conclusion

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Now you know the main steps in order to create an ecommerce site that can sell.

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The main objective of this article was to make you understand that technology will not be the determining factor for the success of your future merchant site.

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Create an ecommerce site, today, it’s easy.

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If someone tells you the contrary because of technical or commercial reasons: don’t believe, because (once again) it’s really easy.

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What will make the difference is the suitability of a product, a market, a marketing mix, a digital ecosystem and an economic model.

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An adequacy.

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If your future product sells like hot cakes, it will mean that everyone will want to buy it, whatever the technology which will be deployed for your ecommerce site.

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Conversely, your ecommerce site may be beautiful, if your product does not match any expectation or any market, it will not sell.

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Web marketing will also be a key success factor, for obvious reasons.

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Create an ecommerce site is a project that is both very simple and very sophisticated.

If you are novice in many of the topics mentioned in this article, it will be better to be guided by someone who will help you master all the digital disciplines.

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Written by Jerome Perrin

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  • Jerome Perrin

    How to create an ecommerce website that really sells?

    I am looking forward to reading your comments!

    Cheers,

    Jay