eCommerce – Technical features that help your business grow
Technical features of a high quality eCommerce website can help you to achieve sustainable growth.
In our last blog we discussed how to choose the right eCommerce solution provider for your business, including key questions to ask any prospective supplier. In this edition we delve into some of the more technical features and functionality of eCommerce and discuss how they can not only make the day-to-day running of your business easier, but also boost your profitability so you get maximum return on your investment.
There are many off-the-shelf solutions available which use templates to create eCommerce sites. While you can be up and running quickly, you’re not actually buying anything new or innovative and it’s certainly not going to be different from anyone else using the same provider. These eCommerce products are very much built with the old discount store mentality: “stack them high, sell them cheap.” If you’re happy using a regurgitated site design that is used by hundreds, if not thousands of other businesses, then this may be a good solution for you. However, while you may save money in the first instance, be prepared for limited functionality and a rigid back office which can cost you more in the long run – particularly if you outgrow the solution and have to start again with a new provider.Every Saledock eCommerce website is unique and designed specifically for your business.
Website speed is incredibly important, and it’s critical to the success of any eCommerce business. Slower websites have lower conversion rates and higher bounce rates so your sales will naturally be lower if your site is slow to load. Site speed also affects your organic search engine rankings so it will be harder for potential customers to find your website and your traffic, and therefore your sales figures, will suffer as a result.
Many site speed issues are caused by clunky or out-of-date code, excessive plugins and apps, or just poor design, so it’s important that you choose a solution provider who properly understands and prioritises site speed.Each Saledock eCommerce site is optimised for loading speed so you rank higher in searches and don’t lose business due to high bounce rates.
The accessibility of a website in the UK is actually legally enshrined in the Equality Act 2010. This means that site owners are required to make ‘reasonable adjustments’ to their websites in order to make them more accessible to those with disabilities. It’s therefore important to ensure that your chosen eCommerce solution meets these requirements which, while essential for those with disabilities, can also be useful for other users and offer an all-round better user experience.All Saledock eCommerce sites are built with accessibility in mind.
Search Engine Optimisation
Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) is a crucial tool for the success of your business. Afterall, what good is your website if it can’t be found by search engines or ranks well below your competitors? There’s two main types of SEO; technical and on-page. Some eCommerce providers charge extra for technical SEO or miss the mark on technical SEO best practices. If you’re au fait with the principles of SEO, including schema markup and Lighthouse scores, then you may be familiar with technical SEO. However SEO is a complex and ever-evolving area which can mean the difference between the success and failure of your eCommerce business so it’s best left to the professionals.
For your on-page SEO you’ll need the tools to manage this yourself. This includes site and product meta titles and descriptions and controls that enable you to add your own FAQ (useful content you if you want to target certain keywords). Keep it accurate, fresh and think about what others would type into a search engine when trying to find your product and site. You can also use free tools such as Google Keyword Planner and Google Search Console to help you establish the keywords you should include in your meta titles, descriptions and FAQs .etc.Saledock provide on-page SEO tooling and in-depth technical SEO with all eCommerce sites.
Social and Marketplace Integrations
You may have already discovered the benefits of selling on social media and online marketplaces but if your current eCommerce solution doesn’t integrate with these platforms, you’ll no doubt be aware of the pitfalls of disconnected systems. Adding these sales channels to your portfolio enables you to reach a much wider audience and, inevitably, sell more of your products. However the headache that ensues when you have to manage your ads, orders, dispatch and stock manually far outweighs the benefits of increased sales. This is why it’s important to choose a fully integrated social, marketplace, eCommerce and ePOS solution.Saledock’s Unified solution integrates everything you need for omnichannel retail, including social media, marketplaces, eCommerce and in-store ePOS.
Beware eCommerce solution providers who are not entirely upfront about their charges as the cost of essentials soon adds up if they’re not included in the advertised price. Hosting, SSL certification, domain and email setup are just some of the important elements of an eCommerce site which are vital to operations but which some solution providers actually charge extra for.
It’s also important to check if your provider’s fees increase when you add more products or users to your site. If so, you’ll find your costs increase as your business grows so you’ll have to sell even more to maintain your profit margins, reducing the opportunity to achieve economies of scale.With Saledock you get all of this, plus fraud analysis, a payment gateway, and unlimited products and users as standard.
Promotions and Gift Cards
Some of the less advanced solutions available have limited capability when it comes to promotions and gift cards which can seriously limit your marketing capabilities. What’s more, if your solution doesn’t integrate all your channels, you’ll not only have to repeat the set up of your offers across each platform, but you’ll also be at higher risk of overselling and disappointing customers if the promotion is popular.Saledock’s integrated approach means you can set up and manage promotions across all or selected platforms from one single interface.
Many eCommerce solutions integrate with one or two chosen payment gateways. Not all payment gateways are created equally so you may want to consider user experience, costs and security. A poor checkout experience will impact conversions. A poorly designed, slow or inconsistent checkout page where the user is navigated to an external site or new browser will reduce site trust and impact conversions.
All payment gateways should be PCI DSS Level 1 certified, with some offering Apple Pay, Google Pay, Klarna and ClearPay as standard. The additional ways to pay may help increase mobile conversions as it’s more convenient to pay by Google/Apple Pay, and providers such as Klarna may help increase conversions as it offers a buy now pay later option for customers. Bear in mind, you’ll incur additional fees with providers such as Klarna as it is not the customer that incurs the additional costs. Finally, all payment gateways charge different fees, often a percentage plus fixed pence per transaction. However, some also charge a monthly fee on top of the transaction fee so you may be paying more overall even if the transaction fee rate is slightly cheaper that one that purely charges per transaction.
When it comes to selecting an eCommerce solution provider, it’s important that you invest in quality if you want to future-proof your business. While on the face of it providers may seem quite similar, the devil is in the detail so you need to do your homework before making a purchasing decision.
There are many off-the-shelf solutions available and while they often offer a quick win, they are rigid and inflexible which means you can rapidly outgrow them. This inevitably means you have to start your search for a suitable solution all over again and then make a costly (and painful!) transition.
When you begin your eCommerce journey with Saledock you can be sure that your solution is built to last and includes all the bells and whistles as standard. We pride ourselves on providing a quality solution that will always meet your requirements, regardless of how large your business becomes. As Saledock also offers inventory management, ePOS and analytics, it’s a great all-in-one solution that helps retailers simplify processes and eliminate the need to manage multiple systems.
With a simple and transparent monthly or annual subscription, you always know where you stand and with our in-house development team you can be sure your eCommerce site is always on top of the latest trends, with new features added on a regular basis.
Our market-leading eCommerce package is just £129 per month and our bespoke eCommerce websites design service begins at £1,495. Best of all, with Saledock you know your site is built just for you using the latest technology available.
Why not get in touch to book your demo today and discover why Saledock is leading the way in affordable, high quality eCommerce solutions.
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