Congratulations, you’re on the right path! Moving to etailing is definitely where retailers need to be right now. You’ve done all your market research and you know your niche. But, what next? What do you actually need to know when you move a physical store online? How to transform that bland webpage into a friendly and fun online store? Here are the five transitional steps you’ll need to take to succeed as an online seller.
Integrating your products with your CMS
First of all, the technical bit. Unless you’re a developer (lucky you), you will need to host your online store on a CMS (content management system) that is easy to maintain. Your CMS choice will depend on the size of your store (the number of pages and products) so it’s important that you start mapping out the scale of your online store as soon as possible.
- You have to dogmatic and plan out all your product categories in advance. Use visual aids, online tools, spreadsheets, whatever you need to get the job done. (Here are some different ways you can map out your ecommerce store).
- Plan for the future. Even if you start with a small online store, try to picture where there will be growth as categories expand.
- Take into account your keywords and your audience. You must reflect your users’ language and emulate their online shopping habits to be successful. You can change your own systems in order to sell better, but you won’t be able to change how customers search online. Use keyword research tools and Google Trends to survey the market and get a feel for how people are searching for your products. Don’t just rely on your bricks and mortar knowledge – seek more.
- What options have you got? There are loads of platforms out there to choose from, it’s all about finding one that suits you. In a rush? Set up an online store fast with a customisable CMS, or go for a scalable option with open-source Magento
- Product insertion into a CMS always takes longer than expected so always plan ahead.
Mapping out your digital brand
Yes, you can get a logo for five dollars on sites like Fiverr, but is that really how you want to manage your store’s digital brand? Your audience will make a lot of assumptions and judgements based on the look and feel of your brand.
- Branded signage, a clean shop floor, relaxing music, friendly staff in nice uniforms – all these first impressions will be made by your online store instead.
- Make sure there’s an obvious connection between the types of products you sell and the way that your brand looks.
- Brand colour harmony is crucial – get professional input on the colours you are choosing. Don’t forget accessibility considerations when choosing colour; you need to design a site that can be easily used by everyone
Conducting technical & SEO audits
Sometimes a soft launch approach for a new online store is preferred as it allows SEOs and developers to do their magic. (They will do things like crawl the site and all its URLs to check for any indexing or duplicate copy issues).
- In order to rank, you will need to make sure that you store is built in an SEO-friendly environment. Many CMSs handle a lot of this for you, but you will have to have extra checks and audits too.
- Factor SEO into the web build early on and get expert advice on the decisions you make. SEO will have a huge impact on your store’s success, so don’t take it lightly.
- Get familiar with web reporting functions so that you’re ready for the information you are going to have post-launch. You need to get very friendly with your analytics (or data team). They will be your best friends in the first few months as you adjust anything in your store that isn’t working so well.
Planning your big launch
Web builds and projects like these do tend to run over time, but that doesn’t mean that you can get sloppy with your launch plan. So many web builds run out of steam towards the end, but it’s an absolute top priority to have a proper launch plan. Whether it’s a tiered launch, or a big bang opening; make sure you’ve got the capacity to deal with the onslaught of web traffic and a solid promotional plan.
- Test server response times and make sure the website can cope with live contact with web users.
- Plan out your social media strategy for the big day. It’s probably best to pre-write a lot of the content so you aren’t up writing posts till three am the day before. Don’t underestimate the volume of posts you are going to need during the first few days.
- Online PR is your friend – this is the moment to cultivate relationships with bloggers and other publishers in order to get your products and store featured. Speak to people around you in the business community to see if they can help.
- What if something doesn’t work? What if the server crashes? Are your Twitter cards whitelisted yet? (Check your Twitter validation here with your URL). Plan for all eventualities.
Mapping out your content calendar
Content is your big weapon in the online selling world. When promoting your store online, you need to prioritise writing the right sort of content, not just creating scattergun copy. You will need to plan out a proper seasonal editorial calendar.
- Tie in your content with seasonal promotions. Seasonal selling is massive in some ecommerce niches and if you aren’t prepared, you might miss out on important leads and revenue.
- You might need to hire external copywriters to help you implement your content plan.
- Balance ‘sales’ copy with content that is entirely focused on helping the user and solving their problems. Don’t make it all about you – make it about them.
Did we forget to cover a crucial step? Tell us what other things retailers need to do when moving to an online store below in the comments.
Patrick Foster, ecommerce entrepreneur, coach & writer.
Which is the personalization level expected by consumers? Do brands instill the “luxury feeling” during the entire purchase process?Read more
TOP 10 Magento 2 Development Guides Released in 2016 — The Essentials For Every Magento Developer
It goes without saying that Magento version 2.0 is the much awaited release by many developers around the world. The current version took a very long time before it is developed, and it is worth the wait because of the many capabilities it has compared to the Magento 1.x version. It is hard to detail all the opportunities Magento 2 offers us. By means of experiments, Artjoker has found out that it is reduced time to market and lower maintenance costs, in-built SEO solutions and modernized web & technology stack. The new version is easily customized, it offers improved installation methods, and even more. Discussing the advantages of Magento 2 version will take a long time.
The checklist below contains manuals that are a must-read for every Magento developer who desires to foster his skills. All the books were released in 2016. This means that the information and guidelines they contain are up-to-date and relevant. Each book is available on Amazon, so you can easily add any of them to your cart. Check out the listing for yourself and be ready to read those editions that are of benefit to you and the projects based on Magento 2 you are going to perfect.
The book introduces the capabilities of Magento 2.0. Here you’ll find an explanation on how to create a simple module and log for database using the last Magento version. This introductory guidebook is about different salient features offered by Magento 2.0. After reading the 17-page text you will definitely be aware of the differences between Magento 1.X and Magento 2.0 in terms of their features and functionalities. Also, the book gives insights into the front-end of Magento 2.0. Summarize your knowledge of the whole process of creating modules, folders or structures.
Cost: $0.99 for Kindle Edition.
The book offers a comprehensive information on all the new Magento features to build up-to-date online stores. You will exploit little-known techniques to extend, tune, and manage Magento installation. Also, get a detailed information on how to make a store run faster, better and more productively. Be ready to read a guide on managing, optimizing, and extending online store by new features of Magento 2. Here you’ll find everything from creating and managing multiple stores to fine-tuning Magento for speed and performance.
Released on June 28, 2016
Cost: Paperback $44.99, Kindle Edition $32.39
Cost: $8.99 for Kindle Edition.
This book is about operational aspects that you need to be aware of if you want customers to get a pleasant shopping experience. The manual can be both a step-by-step course in setting up Magento 2 website and a reference to improve the existing online store. You’ll learn more about strategic planning, and get important guidelines and advice for optimizing Magento 2 store. Besides, you’re sure of your operations accuracy because of the screenshot and step-by-step instructions on how to manage hundreds of Magento 2 features.
Released on May 31, 2016
Cost: Paperback $44.99, Kindle Edition $35.99
Here you’ll find all the information to foster your Magento 2 skills effectively. The manual begins by setting up Magento 2 before gradually moving onto setting the basic options of the Sell System. Working through the steps in each chapter, you’ll discover all the Magento 2 features to create an online store that will definitely be a success. Here you can also find ample examples and practical advice to maximize your awareness of Magento System performance. Be proficient in the main functionalities and system structure of Magento 2.
Released on February 25, 2016
Cost: Paperback $29.99, Kindle Edition $14.59
All the latest features of Magento 2 are in one book to help you realize the full potential of the e-commerce platform. The book is written in an outstanding style and allows one to choose any of its features to carry out day-to-day Magento store tasks. This manual is for already existing Magento developers who want to foster their expertise in designing and managing projects. It starts with simple how-tos that delve into more advanced topics as the book progresses. The authors promise that by the end of the book you’ll be aware of all the development tricks needed for advanced Magento design task.
Released on March 28, 2016
Cost: Paperback $44.99, Kindle Edition $22.39
This book contains the FAQs from magento.stackexchange.com website. This book was specifically designed to be easy-to-use. Look up commonly asked questions, browse the answers on the particular topic and compare them to another information resources. Next topics are included: Magento 2, Magento 1.9, Magento 1.7, Configuration, Security, Performance, CE 18.104.22.168, Layout, Patches, Extensions, Cache and more.
Released on January 19, 2016
Cost: Paperback $15.00, Kindle Edition $6.00.
The manual supports the writing of innovative and complex extensions. Here the author provides a large overview of the best practices to help you scale a module in a high-load environment. Also, you’ll learn how to use test-driven development (TDD) and unit tests to handle a code. Step-by-step you’ll build an internationally-ready complex extension, find out how to protect user’s data and your intellectual property after publishing an extension on the Magento Connect marketplace. Want to become an invaluable extension editor? This book is for you.
Released on June 30, 2016.
Cost: Paperback $39.99, Kindle Edition $28.79.
- No Frills Magento Layout (by Alan Storm)
This manual is considered the only Magento book that fully covers the enigmatic XML Layout system. It is a must-have for both newbie and experienced developer. The book gives all the information you may need when working with the layout system.
This example-based guide is about customizing Magento 2 in an efficient and effective way. After the reading you’ll sure understand all the techniques used to create rich and deep integrations with the platform. If you want to develop Magento 2 extensions, this book is for you! You’ll learn how to get to grips with creating your first skeleton module, create your own ORM and data models, design your own shipping and payment modules, and more. After learning the concepts you will be able to implement them without much effort and create advanced customizations for Magento 2 in a snap.
It is going to be released on March 6, 2017
Cost: Paperback $49.99, Kindle Edition $39.99.
Kate is the marketer at Artjoker Digital, a full cycle development company, specializing in e-Commerce development. Artjoker works on a custom eCommerce design, allowing the website to become profitable, start bringing in more clients, and convert simple surfers into buyers. Get a whitepaper on 25 secrets of efficient online-store to learn more tips to make your online business thrive.Read more
Because of recently announced new roles of Meet Magento Association we decided to add some more MMA interviews. Let’s start with Guido Jansen, Vice President West Europe.Read more
Do you remember our blog post about the new format of Meet Magento Germany where we also said that 2016 is a particular year for Meet Magento and of course for the Association? Since then things came thick and fast. Only a few weeks ago the Meet Magento Association was announced as official independent partner of Magento that will push the cooperation between Magento and Meet Magento to a new and official level. Of course this implicates a new strengthened position of the MMA in Magento ecosystem.
For all those agencies, that aren’t Magento partner yet, the Meet Magento Association partner program is just around the corner to show competence to your clients in Magento environment. Our advantage is that we have a personal relationship to almost all of our agencies and partners. So, the community represents common strength and support as well as friendship. As partner of Meet Magento Association you are playing in the big league. You’re a partner of a real worldwide grouping. And as partner of this umbrella organisation you can be a face behind Meet Magento events all over the world.
“As an ecommerce solution provider with strong focus on Magento we have a strong interest in driving the demand for the system world-wide. As part of that it is important to make sure the Magento brand is represented well and sometimes it has to be protected from different lobby groups. Magento as a company does a great job, but a world-accepted independent organization like the Meet Magento Association may be even better in this regard.
Certainly the partnership also means a huge boost in reach and communication of our services to the community and Meet Magento is a well-regarded channel within the community. We were very active in the open source community as well as in Meet Magento events worldwide – so it is obvious that we also support the Association.”
Michael Türk, CEO Flagbit GmbH & Co. KG – Meet Magento Association Gold Partner
With our new Vice Presidents and our Chief Innovation Officer who are real Magento veterans and are scattered all over the world we can guarantee support for any MMA partner worldwide.
So, have a look at our new partnership program! We would love to get to know you better and to welcome you on board of the Meet Magento Association to further extend the community together.
“As full-service agency it’s our task to support shop owners on all issues of their daily work. The partnership program of Meet Magento Association offers us as a service provider an ideal platform for this.”
Carsten Stech, CEO Splendid Internet GmbH & Co. KG – Meet Magento Association Bronze Partner
Your benefits at a glance
It seems as though traditional workspaces – which include those offices for rent in Abu Dhabi or Japan that have cubicles, for example – are becoming more and more a thing of the past, with virtual working, hot-desking co-working spaces gaining popularity, slowly taking over what we know as thRead more
During the past few weeks I’ve had countless conversations about the future of ad- and web agencies. On the one hand, consolidation is at the front of many people’s minds; on the other, the invoicing model is increasingly becoming the central topic. So, quo vadis agencies?
Nowadays, when people buy products online, all the geographical barriers are erased, and every merchant has an opportunity to sell goods globally, not paying more efforts than for a trade on a local market. However, international e-Commerce has some distinctive peculiarities and the goal of each shop owner who’s trying to master it, is to learn how to cope with them effectively.
Thus, we’ve prepared a few simple localization tips that’ll help you make your online retailer internationally successful.