Anyone running an eCommerce website understands the importance of key integrations. The best way to think of integrations in the context of an eCommerce website is by juxtaposing it with the human senses. Can human beings live without their senses? Yes. However, do human senses give us a better experience of life? Absolutely yes.
Integrations can serve as the essential senses for your eCommerce website. While it is possible to build an eCommerce store without integrations, the lack of features will ensure bad user experience and traffic.
Generally, people think of integrations as plugins which add auxiliary features. However, their role goes deeper, from optimizing eCommerce website design to enhancing eCommerce development. When used in the right place they can become the reason for 10xing the growth of a website. In the end, it is up to professionals in charge of eCommerce development and design to take a call of the kind of integrations to add.
For those new to eCommerce website development, it is first important to learn how to set up an online store. We will first briefly explain how to set up an eCommerce store.
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How to set up an eCommerce Website Store?
Before discussing all the important integrations in an eCommerce website, it’s wise to discuss how to start an online store.
There are many ways to go about this process. In the following points, we will offer a brief insight into the process of starting with eCommerce website development.
Get the Basics Right
Firstly, choose an attractive domain name and an appropriate hosting plan to go with it.
This is the easy part.
Making a choice between custom ecommerce development and a CMS is a difficult one. Do you want to work with an ecommerce development company to build your store? Do you want to choose Wix ecommerce or a Shopify website to run your online store?
Choosing between these two is a major decision. Taking the call to work with an ecommerce development company is a serious proposition. It can lead people down a path they need to prepare for. Similarly, deciding to work with Wix ecommerce or a Shopify website is an equally momentous decision.
Understand the Audience & Market and Set a Budget for Ecommerce Website
The next step is studying your audience and the market to which your product belongs. Generally, most companies start ecommerce sites selling products in a particular segment.
In this step, you must study the audience you wish to attract with your ecommerce website and the market to which your product belongs. This is a crucial stage because it will help you identify the concerns and needs of your audience. Solving these concerns will help elevate your website and help it become the natural choice amongst the target audience.
Generally, the exact nature of the audience needs will help you see whether starting the website is a viable venture. Furthermore, you will also find it easier to set the budget. If the audience needs are great and there is a clear market opportunity, setting a generous budget makes sense. On the other hand, it is best to proceed with caution if a field is competitive and unique solutions to customer problems are rare.
Start Working on Marketing
As your ecommerce site slowly takes shape and goes through development, you should dive headfirst into answering marketing questions. There are many instances of companies ignoring the need for marketing during the development phase.
Once you know your audience well, you already have the knowledge you need to set up a marketing structure. The top ecommerce sites always have a sound marketing infrastructure from the very beginning. In today’s world where even a small niche can have a lot of competition, marketing is essential for communicating the USP of a particular brand.
Even ecommerce stores today have to rely on marketing. From social media to search traffic, ecommerce marketing must bring together many moving parts to optimize the sales made. This scale of the task is why you should lay the groundwork for marketing from the very beginning.
Ten Key Integrations Essential for a Successful Ecommerce Website
As we covered earlier, integrations are essential for bringing success to an ecommerce website. They add crucial functionality to the website which in turn helps improve user experience and a range of different factors of an online store.
Top ecommerce sites generally don’t add needless integrations. The easiest mistake to make is adding integrations that don’t actually have an impact on the ecommerce website. From the best Shopify stores to the top Magento platforms, successful ecommerce sites tend to add the integrations which bring a real impact on sales growth and traffic.
Today, you find big conglomerates paying top dollar for the best Shopify stores for sale. These stores managed to tap into their audience and thus became subject to lucrative bids from big companies. Building a brand and getting an audience takes a lot of skill today. In the field of ecommerce, success largely comes from competency and this is an area where integrations become important.
In the forthcoming section, we will briefly discuss ten essential integrations that play a role in building a successful ecommerce website.
#1 Payment Page Integration
Firstly, you have to get the payment page right. Losing people who come to the payment page is absolutely criminal. This is because after successfully converting website visitors, losing them on the payment page does not make sense.
Integrating a payment page to an ecommerce website is simple. There are a number of trusted payment gateways such as PayPal and Stripe which help websites manage online payments.
Generally, people who leave a website on the payment page have a range of different reasons. In some cases, the reasons are too subjective for an ecommerce website to have any control over. However, you still have the power to integrate a high-quality gateway which loads quickly and offers a smooth payment experience.
#2 Shipping Infrastructure
From big ecommerce conglomerates like Amazon and Flipkart to the best Shopify stores around, shipping is a large part of the game. Many people don’t make a purchase when they find that the shipping time is too long.
As a small business, offering free and fast shipping is very difficult. However, the best a small business can do is offer clarity in this regard. Integrating a dependable shipping infrastructure is an effort in doing the same.
Shipping and fulfilling orders are the bread and butter of ecommerce websites. Through widgets like ShipWorks, ecommerce websites gain the ability to automate many tedious parts of shipping. There are many other options for shipping as well. In conclusion, the choice is yours.
#3 Ecommerce Website Traffic Analytics
How does an ecommerce website improve? More than anything, ecommerce websites try to increase traffic because it directly leads to better sales numbers.
To track website traffic, an ecommerce store has to add essential analytics integrations. This may include basic tools like Google Analytics to more advanced traffic mapping integrations. In any case, traffic analytics are absolutely essential as they always indicate some flaw in the ecommerce website. There is no better way of finding a weakness in a website than studying traffic data.
Common metrics like bounce rate, conversions, and session time are mapped with the help of traffic integrations on an ecommerce website.
Read more: Traffic Analytics
#4 Inventory Status Integration
When a sale is made, the inventory must reduce the number of items ordered by a customer. Not doing so can cause a lot of problems.
Inventory issues will become the bane of your existence if you don’t tackle them from day one. Using powerful integrations, an ecommerce website can solve its inventory problems to some degree. While there is always some room for human error, inventory integrations generally perform their task well. They bring clarity to typical warehouse management and always keep ecommerce websites on their toes about matters like product availability.
#5 Ecommerce Website Marketing
Marketing integrations on an ecommerce website are very important. From email marketing to SEO, there are a number of different marketing tools that are important to promote an ecommerce website.
Integrating these tools with an ecommerce website helps in their promotion. In ecommerce marketing, a field like email marketing occupies great importance. The same is true for other techniques to increase digital presence such as SEO.
Integrations are generally available for both CMS and custom-made websites. The top Shopify stores use a ton of marketing integrations, as do custom ecommerce websites. People who develop these marketing tools ensure they easily assimilate with a range of different platforms.
#6 Social Media
No one in this day and age needs to be sold on the importance of social media. In ecommerce marketing, the giant role of social media in brand management and above all online sales is well-understood.
This is why the question of integrating online stores with social media opportunities is important.
Take Instagram as an example. Over the past five years, small ecommerce startups have exploded into highly-profitable businesses thanks to Instagram. The visual aspect of the platform makes it extremely useful for any given ecommerce website.
Social media integrations tend to help an ecommerce website along different lines. Firstly, they offer social analytics which helps companies map their engagement. Secondly, they help websites sell stuff directly on social media, the recent launch of Facebook Shops being an example.
Read more: 5 Social media marketing Tips
#7 Customer Service Infrastructure
There is always the need to placate customers. Ecommerce is a field where customer trust is hard to build and easy to lose. Orders can get lost. Products may miss expectations. There is generally speaking a lot of room for things to go wrong.
The only way to fight this uncertainty is to develop a customer service infrastructure. This above all helps an ecommerce website keep a line of communication open with customers who have pressing concerns.
Brands like Amazon built their entire reputation on unconditionally helping customers in case something goes wrong. Every ecommerce website must thus make key customer service integrations to their platform to help customers.
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Every business, not just on an ecommerce website, needs a CRM system. It is the only way to map and segment customers. As an ecommerce website grows, it must start finding ways to understand its customers more closely.
In a field like ecommerce where customers regularly interact with company execs, there is a definitive need to record interactions. This is to ensure both the customers and company execs are on the same whenever a new conversation begins.
CRM systems help manage these interactions. Over the years, both B2B and consumer brands have accepted the need for CRM. Given the large number of interactions an ecommerce website is likely to have with customers, the importance of CRM integrations is clear.
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Every business needs to manage the accounts. For tax reasons and general financial projections, adding accounting integrations to an ecommerce website helps map metrics like revenue and sales.
While you may feel you don’t need accounting integrations in the early days of an ecommerce website, things may change down the road. Thus, it’s wise to study the role of accounting in an ecommerce website before jumping headfirst into the ecommerce game.
A lot of ecommerce operations today can be automated. From shipping to accounting and even marketing, there are powerful integrations that can automate many important operations on an ecommerce website.
Adding these integrations can make an ecommerce store much more efficient. However, it is important to evaluate the viability of every automation tool. Since this is a relatively new field, there are many hustlers and snake-oil salesman selling useless tools which don’t actually help.
The smart thing to do generally is to check an ecommerce store using a given automation tool. Integrating bad tools is a major reason decent ecommerce websites end up becoming Shopify stores for sale.
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