Now is clearly the time to have an online shop to sell your products, and/or service. But web design companies can take from 4 to 12 weeks to create an eCommerce website. For most New Zealand business owners, particularly in the current climate, this is not ideal.
So how do you go about getting an online shop up and running quickly? From a web developers perspective, the ground work needed to sell 1 product online, is the same as selling 1000 products. So is it even possible to speed up the process of developing an online shop?
The good news, and short answer, is yes. Yes, you can speed up the process of launching an ecommerce website.
With a number of New Zealand businesses in really tight situations, we wanted to share as many ways as possible to help. We’ve adapted our internal processes to contribute towards super speedy deliveries, but there is plenty that you can do too.
1. Start with vouchers
Get something live as fast as you can. Start with gift vouchers. They’re quick and easy to create and upload. And in the current climate, they’re the perfect answer to your customers problems with contactless, digital delivery.
2. Use one image per product
You can add additional product images after you’re live. With the aim of getting Google indexing your website, to get more people buying your products and aware of your brand – get the pages live first! You can add back/side and front views of the product later.
3. Put your POS integration on hold, if you can
Unless it would create a stock management headache, leave your point of sale integration for phase 2. Introducing third party people, and products increases delivery time, and the risk of delays.
4. Choose a different CMS
There’s a strong caveat here, but we want to help where we can so here goes. We build WordPress, Shopify & Magento ecommerce websites, and for good reason. They’re all golden products that add value to our clients, but, there’s nothing fast about developing a Magento website. I do however, strongly advice you to speak to a professional about choosing the best CMS. Because if Magento is the best choice for you (as it is for many), it’ll cost you in the long run if you start on the wrong system.
5. Keep it simple, start local
Shipping logic takes time to configure, so start with national shipping only. You can introduce international shipping, or integrations with New Zealand Post after you’re up and running.
6. Pick the most suitable ecommerce web hosting
Quality web hosting comes with the essential software and security needed to run an online shop straight out the box. Pick the right ecommerce web hosting and you’ll save time by avoiding add-on requests, version conflicts and having to introduce a third party waiting for all of the above to happen.
7. Start with your most popular products
Instead of preparing thousands of products for the launch, go live with the most popular. Or, the ones that are in high demand during lock down. Alternatively, if you need to move stock, push those products first. You’ll know the direction to take. Add the rest later.
8. Website first, ecommerce second
For new businesses, setup a standard website as phase 1, and the ecommerce part as phase 2. Don’t wait so that you can launch both at the same time. Why? New websites need to build authority with Google before they start appearing in search results. This takes time. Get something live ASAP, so that Google can start to work their magic. Introducing ecommerce later means you’ll already have some presence on Google by the time you’re ready to sell online.
9. Choose the fastest web design company
There’s a huge opportunity for you to save time here. Using Phancybox as an example, our size, experience and processes mean that we’re faster than most. Really fast. Speaking to a decision maker, with no politics or hoops to jump through means you get things done quickly. Remember that agency size doesn’t equal quality or speed.
10. Get organised!
Bear in mind (bare in mind? I’ll never get it right), that your web developer only carries half the speed responsibility. The rest is all you. Be prepared to answer questions, provide assets and make decision quickly. We can be as fast as you empower us to be.
11. Add pop-up promo’s later
Promo pop-up’s require extra development, and often mean introducing third party software (which increases the risk of delays). Get something live first! Add the bells and whistles later.
12. Get a web design company to do it for you
We’ve done this before, I guarantee that we’re faster than you. We also have clever bits of code that automate actions, import bulk information and carry out repetitive tasks that save hours of time. We also love building websites!
13. Add related products later
Introducing related products, and upsells are hugely beneficial, but this is another task for after go live. We need products live before we can upsell.
14. Setup drop shipping as phase 2
This one carries the same logic as integrating to your POS. Keep the number of people and systems involved to a minimum, and you’ll be up and running in no time.
15. Use an existing payment gateway
Have your custom payment gateway or integration created later. Keep it simple to start. Some payment gateways (the piece that sits between your website and peoples credit cards) require merchant bank accounts, integrations or timely account creations. Use an existing system that’s prepared and ready to go, like Stripe or PayPal.
16. Condense info into 1 tab or section
It’s really handy for shoppers to have product information split into easy to read tabs, like Product Details, Specifications etc, but this usually means more developer time to implement AND more of your time to prepare. Start with a single tab, and expand later.
17. Host with your web design company
There’re plenty of benefits of hosting with your web company, but the main one in this instance, is that you’re limiting the number of hands involved. This carries the same logic as holding off with integrations. Each time we introduce a new company, person or piece of software, we introduce the risk of delays.
18. Pick one language to start
Get your base language up first, and work on the extra languages later. The sooner we can give Google something to work with, the better.
19.Create brand specific SEO pages later
Creating one page per brand that you stock, is absolutely golden from an SEO perspective, but it can wait! Your most important priority is to get a website live with the ability to sell at least one product. Improving your SEO can start after you’re up and running.
20. Start with a single currency
Get products online as fast as possible by reducing the development time needed for introducing different currencies. Choose a base currency to start, and enhance it later.
So, there are plenty of ways that you can get your online shop up and running faster. We all just need to think outside the box, and work together to get it done. It’s possible to have an ecommerce website live in 2 to 3 weeks.
If you have any doubts or concerns, feel free to reach out. Sometimes all you need is some reassurance, or someone to talk to, but the sooner you get started the better.
Incorporating online sales with your physical store, is a golden long term decision. And you’ll continue to benefit from selling online, long after we leave CV-19 in the dust.