e-commerce site

E-commerce has been on the rise for years, and the COVID-19 pandemic has recently caused a dramatic shift in e-commerce spending. According to COVID Commerce Insight, U.S. retailers’ online year-over-year (YoY) revenue growth is up 68% as of mid-April, surpassing an earlier peak of 49% in early January. Stores everywhere have had to pivot to online options in order to keep their business alive. For some, it’s been a successful transition while others have struggled.

Census Covid data

Like anything new, there will always be a learning curve. Transitioning from brick and mortar to e-commerce is no different. There are a lot of new challenges businesses are facing such as website setup, maintenance, content creation, photography, analytics data, etc. While COVID may eventually go away, e-commerce won’t. Shopping behaviors have adapted to the convenience and ease of online shopping. These behaviors will likely continue even after all the bans are lifted. Despite the challenges, there are many benefits to online storefronts.

  • Social commerce – A lot of e-commerce platforms have the ability to connect to your social media pages. This allows you to expand your reach and turn your posts into shopping experiences. 
  • Mobile-friendly – Most of the online shopping platforms are now mobile-friendly which allows for easier transactions and shorter conversion times.
  • Location – With e-commerce, you don’t have to wait for people to walk through your doors during operating hours. You can now sell anywhere at any time. 
  • Overhead – Outside of any initial set-up costs and fees, you can save money on overhead costs like rent and utilities.

Popular Platforms

The good news is there are a lot of e-commerce platforms available. Each platform has its own benefits and pitfalls. Some of the most popular sites are Shopify, SquareSpace, Wix, and WooCommerce. At Firefly Marketing, our developers have preferred to work with WooCommerce and Shopify. Here’s their own list of the pros and cons of each of the two platforms:

Shopify

Pros:

  • Straightforward
  • Visually appealing and clean
  • Integrates well with social media channels

Cons:

  • Less options for customization
  • Limited number of free themes and plugins
  • Monthly costs range from $29 – $299

WooCommerce

Pros:

  • More customization options
  • Access to a larger number of free themes and plugins
  • Free with existing WordPress websites

Cons:

  • More customization means more time
  • Does not directly pair with social media channels and requires additional paid plugins

Whichever platform you choose, keep in mind what is going to work best for your business and what will work best for your ideal customer. If all of your customers like to shop on Facebook, then Shopify might be the better option for you. If your audience likes a more in depth experience with your business, then further customization with WooCommerce might be the way to go.

E-Commerce Best Practices

  • Product Descriptions – make your product descriptions unique and relevant to the product itself. This will help your product show up in search results.

  • Site Structure – Make sure the structure of your site is intuitive and will make it easy for customers to find exactly what they are looking for. Example: Home > Bedding > Pillows

  • Use Social Media – Even if you don’t plan on integrating your website with social media, you can still promote it! Share links in your feed to specific products shown in posts to make it that much easier for a browser to make a purchase.

  • Advertising – Don’t be afraid to advertise. Google has many resources to help businesses market themselves. For e-commerce sites, Shopping Ads are really helpful. These ads show up at the top of search results and tend to have higher conversion rates.

  • Reviews – Since you’re not there in person to talk about the awesome parts of your business, let happy customers do the talking for you. Encourage them to leave reviews on your Yelp page, social media accounts, Google, and anywhere else that’s relevant to your business.

Further support for Louisiana Businesses

2020 has not been a particularly easy year for business which is why Louisiana Economic Development (LED) has partnered with Shopify to help small businesses transition into e-commerce. They are providing tips to improve existing e-commerce sites as well as easy guides to set up a completely new website. Additionally, every week Shopify will host webinars to continue to help businesses adapt to an online marketplace.

Strategy Meeting

Looking for additional help?

Don’t have the time or resources to build a site from scratch? Firefly is here to help. We have spent the last 20+ years in web development and have partnered with businesses all across Louisiana. Give us a call or reach out at any time to get started.

Let’s Talk!