(This is a guest post from Emma MIiller, Senior Editor at Bizzmark blog, who’s interested in digital marketing, social media, and the latest trends)
Many eCommerce businesses start out as small ventures that develop and grow in time. But, when you’re first starting out, there are a lot of different projects you must tackle to grow your eCommerce website into a flourishing business.
Trying to keep things under control can easily turn into a mess, especially when you’re working with a small team. You need to have a clear-cut strategy for managing your projects to avoid falling behind schedule, as well as identifying bottlenecks.
Project Management Tips for Creating an eCommerce Website
It’s easy to say that you want to grow your webstore, but it takes a lot of hard work and patience to actually be profitable and attract more and more customers.
To help you create a successful eCommerce business, we’ve put together a list of a few areas to focus on for growth and how to manage these types of eCommerce projects.
If you’re thinking about growing an eCommerce business, you need to see whether there’s a need for the products you want to sell. A detailed demand analysis can show you whether your idea will hit the bull’s-eye or not with consumers. Once that’s proven, you can work on finding and using the right keywords for your products.
Keyword research should be your main concern because they are your online store’s directional signage responsible for driving traffic and navigating customers, unlike brick-and-mortar stores that enjoy the benefit of physical presence. It’s clear that before you proceed to other steps, you need to have the right keywords nailed down.
It’s worth mentioning that keyword research for an eCommerce business isn’t exactly the same as keyword research for other purposes. You need to find out the actual keywords that your target audience uses when they’re searching for various products.
If we keep in mind that the top position of Google search results on desktop has a 34.36% CTR, which is way higher than the industry average, it’s self-explanatory why you need to master your keywords and dominate Google rankings. You should devote a substantial part of your eCommerce project management to keyword research if you want a surefire way to success.
Check out some of our helpful posts on SEO optimization on key eCommerce platforms:
- 5 Shopify SEO Problems & Tips To Solve Them
- Magento SEO Tips: A Basic Field Guide for Product Pages
- Using BigCommerce SEO Features to Generate More Traffic to Your eCommerce Site
The next step to creating a successful eCommerce business is to choose the right eCommerce platform. Today, it’s all about providing the best customer experience and that starts with creating an eCommerce website that sells.
Choosing an eCommerce Website Platform
Whether you already have a webstore set up or not, you should consider all your options. One of the most frequent issues that eCommerce merchants face is the choice of what type of software to use. Do you want to use a prebuilt eCommerce site or build your own, dedicated eCommerce website?
The first option lets you set up an online store, list your products and start selling in no time, and it’s much more affordable. Popular choices include Shopify, BigCommerce, or Magento, although there are differences between the three. At least for Shopify and BigCommerce, you won’t need a ton of custom development to get started.
On the other hand, a custom eCommerce website can be an amazing idea since it allows you to build it from scratch. You’ll have complete control over layout, design, and functionality. However, with control, comes more responsibility. You must have the knowledge in house and the requirements to justify undertaking such a project.
Another area where merchants struggle is finding the the most suitable content management system (CMS). Quikclicks got ahead of this topic in an article that deals with possible options and their pros and cons. Many eCommerce platforms offer plug-ins that allow you to integrate your CMS with your webstore.
Managing Your eCommerce Website
Regardless of the type of platform you use to build your website, it usually takes a team of people to manage it. You might need a UX manager, an IT manager, graphic designers, content writers, and SEO analysts to all work simultaneously on your site. Managing that many people on one project can get messy fast. To avoid disasters, you’ll want to take some of these necessary measures.
When there are several or more people working on a single project, effective scheduling is a must. It’s important to keep track of all tasks and activities within the project and establish deadlines. This isn’t some ancient wisdom, but common knowledge, right? Well, in theory, that’s true, but in practice, many people simply fail to come up with a sound, segmented plan of action, estimated costs, and deadlines for each task.
When it comes to specific requirements of creating and improving an eCommerce website, the main task is to build a user-friendly, intuitive website. Project managers should schedule and make sure that the following phases are completed in a timely manner:
- System analysis
- Website construction
- System integration
- System test
- Final evaluation.
Making a Gantt Chart is a common method used by project managers, as that’s the best way to structure the timeline of activities and monitor their progress. You can create a chart like this in Excel.
Know thy enemies
Identifying your competitors, keywords they use, their price ranges, and learning as much as possible about their businesses is crucial for positioning your eCommerce business ahead of them.
This project management step is very complex as it includes researching what exactly your competitors offer for their prices. Then, you have to decide whether you’ll offer more for the same price or opt for a lower price for the same service. McKinsey reports that a 1% increase in price means that you can expect an 8.7% increase in operating profits, which illustrates how fundamentally important the right pricing is.
If you can’t compete on price alone, it’s a good idea to determine whether it’s feasible to throw in an extended warranty, free shipping, or a gift so that adds value to your offer. This is another way to outdo your competitors in the field of customer acquisition. Of course, this can be done only if you carefully conduct the following step – budget planning, but more on that below.
Social media is another segment that your eCommerce project should include. Namely, looking at and comparing yourself to your competitors on Facebook, Google+, LinkedIn, or Twitter. Doing this might give you plenty of useful information to help you create your social media strategy, which is essential for expanding your reach.
Create a budget plan
There’s no need to highlight how crucial and complicated this part of your project management is. Planning a budget depends on a lot of things because so many areas factor into the overall cost of running an eCommerce site. But, when done incorrectly, budget planning ends up being the downfall of many eCommerce merchants.
Forbes illustrates some very good steps to ensure that you create an eCommerce budget plan that works. Here’s a quick summary of it.
When you don’t budget properly, you can easily end up with a site that costs way too much to make or maintain or it lacks the design and functionality that you (or customers) want. To avoid those types of situations, here’s the steps you want to take.
First, look at the different parts of your website and how you want them to perform. Some areas to look at are:
- Design and layout
Decide which areas have the most impact for your customers and allocate budget accordingly. In some areas you might go simple and others might need more customization. Once you know your requirements, you can move on to the second step of seeking proposals from web developers or freelancers.
Lastly, with multiple options in your hand, you can align expectations and cost. This gives you a good overall perspective of how much your site will cost to create and manage. From there, you can make adjustments as you need.
Spend the time in the beginning doing things right so you don’t have to waste resources later fixing issues.
What to Do Next
Creating a successful eCommerce business comes down to selling the right products and having a thoughtful strategy for execution. There are many areas to consider, but focusing on these should get you started.
To learn about other areas to improve your eCommerce businesses, check out these articles:
- Is Your Business Ready for eCommerce Integration?
- eCommerce Migration: How to Know When You Should Replatform
- Avoiding Common eCommerce Inventory Management Mistakes
- eCommerce Strategy: 7 Common Mistakes that Turn Customers Off Immediately
See a full list of eCommerce articles by clicking the “eCommerce” tag below!