It’s not all sunshine and rainbows in the world of online businesses; especially when it comes to e-commerce. Every single day now, new businesses are taking shape in the online fraternity arriving from every nook and corner. Why? Supply has to meet demand. Period.
“Thus, in the future, instead of buying bananas in a grocery store, you could go pick them off a tree in a virtual jungle.”- Yasuhiro Fukushima, Japanese business executive
However, building an e-commerce website is no easy feat. Even if you hire the most experienced WooCommerce experts, struggles are bound to intervene sooner rather than later unless you’re not in it for the long haul.
There is a wide array of technical skills for e-commerce which fall under the ‘mandatory’ label. This is why many businesses are struggling these days; struggling to find teams or agencies or individuals who are well versed with the complexity that this domain brings to the table.
Even if you come with a profound CV, it is next to impossible for you to be experienced with web development, social media, content marketing, UI, UX, design, programming, testing all at once. Hence, the onus falls on your in-house team or the freelancers you’re partnering up with.
Here’s a rundown of some of the more critical e-commerce skills you’d require if you want your business to soar the heights online:
“When you don’t create things, you become defined by your tastes rather than ability. Your tastes only narrow & exclude people. so create.” ― Why The Lucky Stiff
As all Magento 2 developers will tell you, opting for an open source platform provides an open canvas for you to fill; which is where a technology architect enters the fray. E-commerce is all about you playing around with the best technologies on offer.
Since the size of the website is more often than not huge, the devil lies in the details. There are just so many areas which deserve your attention. Simply finalizing the structure of the site itself is a daunting task.
Ergo, a senior technology architect or advisor is the need of the hour who is dedicatedly working towards meeting project goals and minimizing technical issues. Such an individual will act as a much needed intermediate between the development team and the rest of the staff.
“It’s about catching customers in the act, and providing highly relevant and highly contextual information.” – Paul Maritz, CEO at Pivotal
What’s a brand without users? At the end of the day, customer is the king. User experience should sit on the top of your priority list in every decision you make. And trust me, it is no easy feat to come up with something that just clicks.
No wonder brands are spending millions on hiring vastly experienced UX designers. After all that has been said and done, a solid ecommerce website design is a deal-maker for most users. Planning the overall website navigation, the menu design, product filters, wireframes, design mockups; all this and much more falls under the wheelhouse of a UX designer.
“If there’s one thing you learn by working on a lot of different Web sites, it’s that almost any design idea–no matter how appallingly bad–can be made usable in the right circumstances, with enough effort.” ― Steve Krug
Not to be confused with UX design, simply ‘design’ includes the pictorial representation bits; the aesthetic appeal of the website. Which slider images do I wish to create for my e-commerce website? What are the colors I wish to represent my brand with? Does my logo reflect what my company stands for? Should I opt for a light background to make the text more readable or go with what my instinct tells me?
All such questions are answered using good design intellect. How a website entity appears plays a crucial part in decision making for customers. It is a marketing fundamental you can’t do without.
The design segment of the brand should go hand in hand with what the brand stands for. It should be in line with the core message of the brand. Good design speaks volumes; whereas on the flipside, below par design can negatively affect the position of a brand in the market. For instance, your ads on social media are all about that one-second glance; if the design is A-okay, you’ll get the desired result.
Once all the other segments are figured out as stated above, front end development enters the fray. We’ve already shed light on the need for ecommerce developer skills; this follows the same vein.
What is front end development you ask?
Ensuring that the website code and design is in harmony is what happens here.
“Programming today is a race between software engineers striving to build bigger and better idiot-proof programs, and the Universe trying to produce bigger and better idiots. So far, the Universe is winning.” ― Rick Cook, The Wizardry Compiled
This one’s kind of a no brainer isn’t it? The architecture behind your website is written in this segment. Your website isn’t just a website; its an accumulation of code in a manner which makes your brand presentable online.
It is due to backend development that you can in-take actions from website visitors and then interacts with them. Problems like ‘we need a deal locator’ or ‘we require a quick pay option’ or ‘we need to showcase different products in different regions belonging to the same category’; all such issues and more are solved due to solid backend development.
This is the work that goes on behind the scenes; one which might not be pleasing on the eyes, but is the backbone of your website left, right and centre.
“Writing isn’t about using big words to impress. It’s about using simple words in an impressive way.” – Sierra Bailey
Content writing isn’t just writing per se; it is the ability to indulge in constructive communication online. And it is not just limited to blogs; even something as small as footer content can be effectively penned down in a way to showcase the brand in good light and attract customers.
Not just that, blog descriptions, category descriptions, website blurbs, ‘About us’ content, videos, articles and more; such entities form a part of content writing or content marketing to be more specific. The thing with content writing is that, if it is done poorly; you will surely lose a substantial percentage of customers.
Another important facet which shouldn’t go unnoticed is the fact the content plays a major role in positive SEO for brands. And when it comes to e-commerce; there’s no bigger luxury than good SEO, as it brings in customers directly.
Hence, keyword-oriented content which is both unique and relevant is the name of the game in the e-commerce industry today.
“How well we communicate is determined not by how well we say things, but how well we are understood.” – Andrew Grove, former CEO at Intel Corp
Kind of self explanatory, isn’t it? Whatever your e-commerce website conjures needs to be validated before it can be displayed in front of the general folk i.e. before it reaches the world.
Be it the website code, interface, UX, design or content, you need to be sure of what you’re putting out there, because not just hard work and sweat, money is on the line too. And not just that, you need to try and test every small detail on different devices. A design element which is gleaming on the desktop might not leave a similar impression on a tablet. Understand?
Given the scope, testing should be done by every single staff member; the more, the merrier basically. Everyone should be up for a little brainstorming.
“When we have all data online it will be great for humanity. It is a prerequisite to solving many problems that humankind faces.”
– Robert Cailliau
Belgian informatics engineer and computer scientist (developed the World Wide Web in tandem with Tim Berners-Lee).
An e-commerce website is meant for visitors. What do visitors have in abundance? Data! You guessed it right. They possess millions of gigabytes of data even without knowing. They leave data marks for analysts to follow per se.
Which web page is being viewed? How long is it being viewed for? Where did a particular user take his/her cursor on the landing page? What’s the web page with the maximum visits? Which is the top selling product? Which is the category garnering the least sales? How many blogs are being read by a substantial number of visitors? What’s the website load time? What is the average session time per user? Are there any errors being faced by the users on the website (like 404, 301)?
The list of questions is endless. And all these details are a cause of concern for data analysts. Not just for bookkeeping, this data is analyzed for the betterment of the website as a whole and ultimately, improve sales in a consistent manner.
“You can’t just place a few “Buy” buttons on your website and expect your visitors to buy.”
– Neil Patel
We’re living in the world of digital marketing. Every ad we see, every brand we connect with, every TVC we love, every sale we get to know of; reaches us as a result of solid digital marketing.
This is what every eCommerce Store Development Company should have. Digital marketing involves brand building (how you want users to perceive your brand), building a follower base (getting leads and potential customers), reaching a targeted audience and forging a well rounded online presence.
Since we’re living in an ‘online’ age, opting for digital marketing is a foregone conclusion. It opens up a variety of avenues for a brand to target and increase its sales.
There’s a reason why this process takes shape after analysis, as a fellow digital marketer puts into use the volumes of data received in order to come up with sharp marketing campaigns necessary for growth. These campaigns include social media management, Google Adwords, e-mail marketing, SMS marketing, YouTube Ads and a lot more.
Basically, digital marketing is a combination of the SEO, SMM (Social media management), Advertising and brand building. No wonder brands and businesses are easily spending big bucks for professional eCommerce SEO services; because the demand is such and the competition is soaring.
“I don’t know the rules of grammar… If you’re trying to persuade people to do something, or buy something, it seems to me you should use their language, the language they use every day, the language in which they think. We try to write in the vernacular.” – David Ogilvy
The competition is so fierce these days that the market is chewing up brands on a daily basis and spitting them out. Every single day, a variety of players are entering the market in search of sales and customers. Hence, paid advertising is a necessary tool for every e-commerce brand.
It doesn’t matter if you’re getting there first; what matters is if you’re doing it better. Nowadays, you must’ve noticed that all Google searches are being dominated by [Ad] banners all around, on the top, on the right, at the bottom; there’s no respite. Be it Facebook, Instagram or YouTube, ads are everywhere.
This is because we are realizing that it is now becoming necessary to spend in order to get even a few leads. Times have well and truly changed. Simple organic SEO just doesn’t cut it if you want to see your numbers grow instantly.
“Successful SEO is not about tricking Google. It’s about PARTNERING with Google to provide the best search results for Google’s users.” – Phil Frost, Main Street ROI
Last but not the least; we have SEO. SEO or search engine optimization is the pillar that drives e-commerce success. There are no two ways about it. It is due to SEO that your website links appear higher in the search engine rankings; which is how people get to know about your brand, offerings, products and services.
It is essential not only to get sales but to put your brand on the map. It is not meant to misguide Google or other search engines, but to help the search engine crawlers better understand what you have to offer.
There are obviously lots of other things required for success of any eCommerce business but these skills are the crucial ones. So before selecting any eCommerce website design agency for your next project, Make sure they have got all these to help you build a better eCommerce business
Did I miss any must have eCommerce skills? Please reply in the comment section below.