One thing we’re sure of: an E-commerce store is great for business. But when choosing your E-commerce solution, what do you need to ensure you can sell rugs online effectively? And most importantly, how do you get the best return for your digital investment? We know leaping into E-commerce can be tricky, especially in the home furnishings industry. So, here are seven questions to ask a web developer/company before taking the plunge into selling online.
1. Do you have experience in creating E-commerce sites for the Rug & Home Furnishings industry?
There are a lot of cookie-cutter business solutions available, but most have been designed for generic retail. Ask your web developer about their experience in designing sites for the Rug and Home Furnishings industry. Then make sure they can provide an extensive portfolio of these sites.
It’s also important to review their portfolio to get a feel for their design aesthetic. If you like some of the other E-commerce sites they have built, flag your favorites and share these with your developer. This will help give them an idea of your overall vision and taste preferences for you own site.
2. Is my E-commerce store going to be customized for how Rug & Flooring customers shop?
Customers shop in specific ways for products online, and Rug customers are no different. If you want to sell rugs online, it is imperative your site matches the ideal user experience for customers. This is especially true when considering current shopping habits. Today, 81% of customers search online before going in store and 82% of customers want the ability to check product selection before even stepping inside a brick & mortar location.
Customers want high-res images, full product details, and a completely simplified way to find products. Ask your developer if their E-commerce solution will have high-powered search and filter catered to common rug attributes, robust/eye-catching detail pages, a simple check out, and an easy way to compare multiple rugs. A top-notch customer shopping experience is a requirement for today’s consumer. You want to make sure your site meets and exceeds this standard.
3. Will my E-commerce site be fully optimized across all devices?
In December of 2016, 30% of retail sales came from a mobile device. By 2020, mobile sales are set to reach 45% of total US E-commerce sales. It’s clear mobile is booming, which is why your site has to be easy to navigate across all devices. If it’s not, customers will quickly become frustrated while shopping and give up altogether. Ask your developer about optimization across device types (desktop, mobile, and tablet). Then check out the functionally of other sites they designed on your own mobile device and gauge the experience.
4. What SEO features and/or fundamentals will be included in my E-commerce site?
Hands down, every good web developer should have a basic understanding of SEO fundamentals. And if you want your customers to find you online, optimizing your site for search is a process that shouldn’t be skipped. Here are a few basic necessities to check for:
- Title & Meta Descriptions are unique for each page
- Permalinks are clean and consistent throughout the site
- Unnecessary archive pages do not get indexed
- Mobile friendliness (this ties back to optimization across all devices, but in 2016 Google decided it’s also important for SEO!)
PRO TIP: If your developer uses WordPress, a great tool for optimizing your site is the Yoast plugin. Make sure you require your developer to install the plugin on your new site.
5. What will be used to help me track my website traffic?
A website is pretty pointless if it doesn’t get any traffic. And there’s no way to keep track of the success of your new site without some analytics.
These days, implementing basic analytics software on websites should be an industry standard. The most popular of these analytics tools is Google Analytics. It’s free and can give you great data on traffic, usability, engagement, and conversion. With analytics software, you can gauge the success of your website as well as identify potential areas of improvement. If your main goal is to sell rugs online, and you aren’t getting any orders, Google Analytics can help. Dive into the portal and you can see exactly where your customers are falling off in the buying funnel. For example, maybe they make it to the checkout page and then exit. Maybe your shipping rates are too high, or your order form is too long. Either way, you now know you need to try different ways of optimizing this page to make the sale.
6. How will I get help with my E-commerce site if I need it?
It’s not uncommon for developers to provide support after your website is launched. Just make sure you get the specifics ahead of time. For example, is there a 24/7 online help desk? A customer support number? A specific email address to use?
Plus, be sure to ask if this support is included in the price of your E-commerce development. You don’t want to be hit with any surprise costs later, or be stuck with a website you can’t use because you don’t have the assistance you need.
7. So, what differentiates your E-commerce solution? In other words… If I want to sell rugs online, why should I pick you?
A lot of companies make promises that their E-commerce solutions are different and definitely better. But what, uniquely, can your developer bring to the table for your online business? The answer to this question could be many different things. Maybe it’s unique website features, a specific way their site will improve your business, industry expertise, or even their customer service
For example, when customers ask us why RM E-commerce solutions are unique, we start by telling them that our E-commerce sites come pre-loaded with their vendor’s products, and that these products are updated in real time. Retailers know this is a time and cost savings for them, and having this time and money back is a definite advantage.
In conclusion, if you want to sell rugs online this is certainly an exciting step for your business. Just don’t be afraid to do a little bit of interrogating before you dive in.