Getting on board the digital bandwagon: Dos and Don'ts of building a e-commerce website

Designing the perfect website for your business requires you to know what works and what doesnt. So if youre looking to build your own B2B e-commerce website, here is a list of things you need to keep in mind before you get down.
Getting on board the digital bandwagon: Dos and Don'ts of building a e-commerce website
Growing at a CAGR of 35%, the Indian e-commerce industry is expected to be worth more than $100 billion in the next five years. With this massive business opportunity in the market, it is no longer optional for small-scale businesses to go the e-commerce way to boost sales and remain competitive, as well as to attract new customers and retain the existing ones. What’s more, establishing an online presence through an eCommerce store can also help SMEs overcome geographical limitations and reach out to consumers not just across the country, but also internationally! 
Smaller businesses, however, often don’t have the resources, massive budgets, or the technical expertise needed to move from offline to online; creating a proprietary e-commerce website requires a web development team, an online marketing team and a team to manage fulfilment (shipping & payments). This is where a cloud based eCommerce Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) platform comes into the picture. By providing end-to-end online assistance to SMEs, these platforms can act like digital guides to offline businesses and help them move in the right direction.
But despite the assistance offered, designing the perfect website for your business requires you to know what works and what doesn’t. So if you’re looking to build your own B2B e-commerce website, here is a list of things you need to keep in mind before you get down to creating the perfect online representation for your offline business:
Organize Your Store Well
·         Its always expensive to drive traffic to your store so make sure that once a customer reaches their probability of buying a product is high. Making it easy for your customers to find the right product is critical to keep your conversion rates high.
·         Even in offline stores products will always be grouped logically. E.g. putting all shirts in one section helps customers understand the full range that you offer and makes it more likely for them to come across something that they may like.
·        Create a Category structure that organizes your products into logical groups e.g. Men’s Clothing and Women’s Clothing
·         Use attributes & options – attributes help customers narrow down their searches to only relevant products e.g. by size /colour/style.
Optimize your website for search engines
·         Organic Search traffic is free and will always be your most cost efficient bet in terms of driving your sales.
·         Use keyword-based titles to establish a page theme and give a direction to your keywords. Integrating selected keywords into your website source code and existing content on designated pages helps optimize search results for your website. Moreover, meta-description tags influence the click-through rates for your website on search engines.
·         Popular search engines give a preference to websites that loads fast so make sure that you have optimized your online store for site speed by using a good hosting service and enabling caching.
·         Use an SSL certificate - this ensures that your store is safe from malicious attacks) and lets you convert your store URL from ‘http’ to ‘https’. This not only inspires greater trust from buyers but websites that are SSL enabled are also prioritized by search engines.
Have a Mobile Ready Online Store
·         The mobile phone has become the dominant device for Indian consumers to access the internet and is also the preferred channel for shopping because it allows them to utilize time that would otherwise be considered as 'down time'.
·         Having a responsive website (which automatically transforms so that your site is readable on the mobile phone) is considered a hygiene factor today
·         Typically users are concerned about using mobile data so the mobile websites need to be light and of course load fast.
·         Have a mobile optimized website also gets you improved presence in organic search
Talk to your customers!
·         The end-customers are the ones buying the product or service from your website, so it is only rational that you should take their concerns and opinions into consideration before designing it.
·         Keeping an effective channel of communication open with your customers goes a long way towards making you understand any gaps on your site.
·         Make sure that your Customer Support email id and phone number (if you have one) are easily accessible. You should enable live chat on your website to assist your buyers through the buying process.
·         Finally
Audit the current website and content
If you already have a website, a content audit allows you to review material you want to incorporate into the new website. Analysing the information gathered during a content audit will help you make an orderly and logical transition to your revamped site. It also helps eliminate unnecessary content and reinforce the content that works for you. Taking these measures ensures that the content on your new website has a clear purpose which is aligned with the positioning and objectives of your company.The user flow is the path users follow on a site to accomplish their end objectives. To ensure a pleasant user experience for your buyers, you must be definite as to what you want those exact steps to be. Having spent time on your website, your users must believe that you really understand them, almost to the point of reading their mind. The wireframe’s layout structure must explain what the page is all about, answer key questions, remove any fears, uncertainties, and doubts, and clarify exactly what the next step or wireframe will be.
 Neglect Shipping & Fulfillment
o   Its easy to forget about fulfilling your orders once you have your shiny new eCommerce store, however poor fulfilment is one of the biggest sources of customer dissatisfaction.
o   Pack your products well so that they can tolerate some amount of rough treatment without getting damaged
o   Occasionally including a personal note to buyers will ensure that form an emotional bond with you rather than a purely transactional one. A more engaged buyer will not only become a repeat customer but also recommend your brand to their network.
o   Not all courier companies deliver to all PIN codes. Work with multiple shipping partners so that you can have the best possible coverage.
 Force Customers to Register before Accessing your Website
o   A common temptation is to make the customer register before accessing your site or app so that you can capture their contact details. However a lot of customers drop off when this happens because they don’t want to register before understanding the full proposition of a new website.
o   The best practice is to allow customers to browse and search on your site and only make them register when they want to buy an item.
 Violate SEO guidelines
o   Create and update your website within the SEO guidelines outlined by search engines like Google and Bing. In case of any possible violation, check all the links to your website and promptly rectify the errors.
o   Keep the focus on your website’s content, not links. If the quality of your content is high, good links will fall right into place.
o   Violating SEO guidelines may get you some short term gains but will inevitably prove costly in the longer run.
Over Communicate with your Customers
o   Basically don’t spam your customers
Neglect the Importance of Creating a Brand
·         Even if your website boasts of a superior design and supporting marketing copy to connect with and engage potential customers, you need to be clear about your company’s core brand proposition and its market differentiation. Your first online impression is through your website, and the reiteration of the value you provide will help build trust in your customers. If that isn’t something visitors see right away on the website, they are unlikely to choose what you have to offer.
·         Your website is an extension of your brand and all its core propositions. Industry giants like Apple, Google, and Microsoft attach great importance to branding and promote their brands extensively. Your product/service and branding are often mutually dependent, so creating and sustaining a strong brand image ensures that the image of your products or services is strong too.
The article has been pen down by Saahil Goel, CEO and Co-Founder, BigFoot Retail Solutions Pvt. Ltd.,( the parent firm which owns KartRocket). 
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