Digital Marketing Technology

How To Select A Theme For Your Ecommerce Store?

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I want to start an ecommerce store. What theme should I go for? I am baffled and fidgeting.

Are you this person?

Does it seem like a daunting task to select the right ecommerce theme for your online business?

Are you still switching between themes and never able to settle for the best?

Starting an ecommerce business is not as easy as most marketing yogis recite. There are numerous factors that needs to be considered. Factors that contribute to the success of your digital venture. As a start, let’s focus on the theme that you select.

Setting Up an Ecommerce Store

Starting an online business is not an easy task, the quest demands an assiduous mindset and a proclivity to make the right decisions. Decisions that are rooted on customer-oriented strategies. The modern mantra is customer experience. People want to interact with platforms that gain their confidence. In most cases a small technical glitch will lead the end user to question the legitimacy of a website.  

In Case of a Pre-built Platform Provider, Understand this – Your Venture Heavily Depends on The Solution Provider

Most entrepreneurs on their rush to step into the big leagues fail to realize the importance of setting up a meticulous online store. Even to the fundamentals!

They fail to realize that their dream of owning an online business is entirely rooted on the third party platform they select. All the pre-built eCommerce platform providers comes with their own pros and cons.

As an entrepreneur who is ready to dabble into the digital world and explore the virtual opportunities, it’s essential that you keep yourself informed about the constraints.  

If the pre-built platform is not selected wisely, accommodating those constraints will extrapolate to a nightmare.

Don’t let the platform limit the potential of your ecommerce business to grow.

In the long run, your platform could play a trivial role in determining the success of your digital venture. A later decision to migrate to an alternate solution comes with an additional cost and could probably end up in chaos.  

Be smart, the digital outburst has leveraged a huge volume of information, allowing entrepreneurs to make intelligent decisions. The digital revolution has enabled entrepreneurs to pool in data from multiple sources, compare the solutions, and then head on to make the final decision.    

What to Look for When Selecting a Template

The Niche Segment

Before you start your hunt for a theme/ pre-build template, you need to have a clear idea of the niche you are planning to penetrate.

Mustering an in-depth knowledge on what works well within the industry could help position your business the way market demands.

Certain pre-built templates have the unique quality of aligning to the context of a particular niche segment.

For example a theme designed for art lovers will comes with certain addon features that benefits an online art gallery.   

Do explore platforms that have a set of themes/ templates designed to give a perspective to your virtual store.

An entrepreneur who is ready to start an online grocery store will be well enticed to see a template/ theme designed within the context of grocery.

A thorough competitor analysis

You don’t have to go through the pain and suffering most ecommerce entrepreneurs have to endure.

You don’t have to make the same mistake your competitors made (mistakes that push deadlines and cause budget overrun).

What you can do is, you can save a lot of money your competitors have invested in trial and error methods. You can adopt the best practices designed by them. Identify what works best and incorporate the same with your business.

The best part about performing a competitor analysis is that you need not have to limit it just to scrutinizing the themes/ templates.

You can diversify the activity to figure out what online marketing strategies are deployed by your competitors, what products perform well in the market, what are the best logistics partners to look into, so on goes the list.

When investigating your competitor’s website do inspect it from a customer’s perspective.

Invite your friends, families, partners, employees, etc to participate in the activity and ask them to revert back with their experience. Welcome their feedback with a constructive approach.

Collate the feedback for individual stores and create a metrics in terms of how user friendly is the online store. Understand why person “X” prefers website “A” over “B”. What are those factors that obscure people from navigating further? Why website “A” is performing well compared to website “B”, etc

Once you have a clear idea about the best practices to optimize your website then it gets easier to build around those winning strategies.   

Build for your Customers!

Themes/ templates that are well fashioned to meet the expectation of online visitors give better results than a website with 100 extra features.

User Interface and Buyer’s Journey – Give the Customer a Reason to Slide Down the Buyer’s Funnel

Every activity that happens on your digital diary “website” should add value to the buyer’s journey.

To start, select a theme that comes with a simple UI. A simple user interface makes it easier for people to navigate and find the products they are looking for. Convoluted web designs will create confusion and raise concern about the legitimacy of a website.

When an online visitor questions the authenticity of a website that’s when he/ she decides to look for an alternate solution. Don’t let the platform compromise the effectiveness of your digital pursuit.

Understand your customer and adopt a customer friendly strategy.

When the wheels are set in motion, such that the customer interacts with the platform and find value in every stage of the customer journey then there exists a high chance for conversion.

After all the ultimate purpose of an ecommerce portal is to convince and convert the customer.    

“Don’t judge a book by its cover”, indeed in real life, most people contrive at a judgement based on the aesthetics.

You need to make sure that the online store is appealing to the target demography.

When comes to quality, people have created certain benchmarks and expectations.

In the virtual world, it’s important that your brand stood up to meet their expectations. Be pedantic, offer the best experience the customer could possibly find.

Easy Checkout Process

Optimizing the customer journey is as important as personalizing the front end of your online store. An easy checkout process means the end user will be able to move along the conversion funnel with ease. In the checkout page highlight the elements that directly influence conversion. Any confusion at this stage could lead to increased abandoned cart.

Few points to consider when designing the checkout process;

#1 Give customer the freedom to checkout the product as a guest (in case if they don’t want to create an account)

#2 Capture the email at an early stage

#3 Upfront inform the customer about additional cost

#4 Integrate multiple payment methods

#5 The checkout page should be elegant and simple (Distraction free)

#6 Display a bar showing the percentage completion of the checkout process. Also, make sure that trust signals are displayed all along the checkout process.

#7  While using the discount coupons show the end user how much money they saved.

Credibility of The Platform Provider

Indeed you should. In most cases, the theme/ template you select becomes the base of your online business.

Even though most platform providers give you the option to switch themes, better you restrict this activity to the initial days. Radical decisions like migrating from one theme to another come with a cost.

Planning to make decisions based on a hunch. Don’t!

Invest your time, do a thorough research on the pre-built platform providers that you have filtered out.

Start with the solution that best suits your requirements. When deciding the pre-built template make sure you contact the support team and inquire about the platform and the theme you have in mind.

Ask, the support team to share a few live stores that are making use of the theme. Once you have a list of ecommerce stores that are making use of the theme reach out to them and take their feedback.

In the long run, going the extra mile could mean a lot.  

Figure Out Whether the Theme is SEO Friendly or Not

If you ever dabbled in the world of online business, you would have come across the term “SEO”. How SEO has helped countless business root their authority in the niche segment.

Search Engine Optimization is a powerful strategy that needs to be given due consideration.

Technical Glitches

It’s hard to find a perfect solution. You need to puff up your chest and do the groundwork of your own.

Find technical glitches that could most likely compromise the effectiveness of the customer journey.

Don’t let a technical glitch ditch your customer. Eg:- A broken link that takes the customer to a 404 error page.

As a start, you could look into these factors

  • Is the theme mobile responsive?
  • Broken links on the template/ theme
  • Speed index – page loading time
  • Server response time
  • Render-blocking resources

Once you measure the theme/ template using a standard yardstick. It’s time you contact the support team and inquire about the platform’s limitations.

Do check whether the team helps you in optimizing the layout and make it SEO friendly.

A Responsive Theme

With Digital Technologies the Whole World is Made Available on a Smaller Screen – Better you Prioritize for a Mobile First Strategy

Smartphones are dominating the digital world. The number of mobile phone users are increasing day by day.

The past few years have witnessed a surge in search volume on portable devices.

People find it more convenient to use portable devices and interact with the digital world (rather delay the process until they lay their hands on a desktop/ laptop).

Instant gratification, the young generation doesn’t want to go through the painstaking process of waiting, they intend to get the answers then and there. Most search queries are based on “Micro-Moments”.

The end user intent to get a quality solution at the earliest possible. Guess what, When in doubt, the best entity you could reach out to seems to be the voice search option on the mobile phone.

The dominant search engine “Google” has noticed the propensity towards mobile devices. In the year 2018, Google has tweaked their algorithm prioritizing a mobile first strategy.

The mobile version of a website is considered over its predecessor, desktop version. This tweak clearly shows the importance of a mobile first strategy and why you need to select a theme that is mobile friendly.

Find a Widget to Highlight the Brand’s Authority

As the customers are trying to make informed decisions, they prob in to find the digital footprint/ authority of the entity they are planning to tag along.

  • How trustworthy is the business?
  • What’s the brand’s authority in the niche?
  • How do customers perceive the brand? etc.

When comes to a startup business people always questions the brand’s credibility. Even if the products are well within the price range, people tend to question.

Why should I buy from a startup (with limited digital presence), when I could source the same product from Amazon (even at a slightly higher price).

The theme you select for your ecommerce store should invigorate a sense of credence/ credibility among online visitors.

Trust needs to be established. When you give enough reasons for an online visitor to trust the business entity, then it gets easier for the customer to enter into a commercial transaction with your ecommerce store.

Place an Authority Bar/ Winners Gallery

When selecting a theme for your ecommerce store make sure that you have an option to set up an authority bar (winners gallery), displaying the accolades, brand mentions, partner companies, review/ security bars, etc. Integrating these badges can help you win your customers trust. People usually buy from entities they trust.  

Need an Additional Feature

Don’t try to save on things you need the most. In case if you want to buy an additional feature make sure that you go for it.

Don’t let that additional cost stop you from materializing an online sale.

Let’s consider a few examples;

Display/ Highlight the Products

If you are an online store that sells pre-owned luxury apparels. Then it’s high time you make sure that the prerequisites are well set.

For example, you are planning to sell a used Louis Vuitton handbag through your website. In such cases, you need to think from a customers perspective. What all concerns can cease the customer from purchasing the product.

Q:- Is the product original or a first copy?

A:- Display a certificate ensuring the authenticity of the product.

Q:- To what extent is the product tampered with?

A:- Display multiple images to showcases the current status of the products.

Tools to Enable Discounts

Offers and discount strategies work well within the ecommerce world. Make sure that these features fall within the basic plan.

If not, what plan should you go for, so that all your basic needs are covered within the best package?  

Enable A Basic Search Tool

By integrating a search tool you are giving the customer an option to easily find the product he/ she is looking for.

The search bar makes the task easier. At the same time, data from your site search bar will help you understand the demand for certain products.

Let’s consider an example. You own an online store that sells “T-Shirt”. Enabling a search bar with the template will help the end user to find the product which he or she is looking for. In this case, let’s go for a search query “Yellow Colour Thunder Bolt T Shirt”.

By using the search option, the online visitor will be instantly able to find the product they are looking for.

Nobody wants to spend a whole day scavenging the website to find the right product.

Basic-Search-Tool

Widgets for Recommended Products

It’s great if the theme/ template that you select will help you upsell and cross sell your products online.

Consider it like this, an online visitor lands on your website looking for a “sports shoe”. Once the visitor is on your website, you will get an opportunity to put into his attention that you are running an offer on branded shoes.

The offer could invite the customer to explore all the discounted products listed on the website.  

On the product page make sure to list complementary products or a combo pack. Leather shoes with dark brown polish.

If the offer is compelling enough then there is a high chance that the user will most probably purchase the product.

Social Sharing Buttons

Social media has become the best place for youngsters to shout out about a deal or to share a lucrative offer they come across.

Give your customers an option to share your deals/ offers with their friends and families.  

Automate Push Notifications

It’s high time you integrate the concept of digital transformation with your ecommerce business.

As a business establishment, you need to make sure that the whole process is streamlined.

Bring down the waiting time and make sure that the customer is engaged and nurtured at the earliest possible. In the above case, instead of purchasing the product, the online visitor decided to move the product to his/ her wishlist.

As an ecommerce business entity its important that you remind the customer that a product is waiting in the wishlist.

Even you can raise the discount and then contact the customer highlighting that the total price value for the product has fallen down by another 10%.

Sending automated push notifications are one productive way to bring back the customer to your website and enable him/her to avail the offer.

Integrate Channels

It’s important that you integrate a contact us form or alternate channel that allows people to communicate with your online establishment.

Attending the concern of an online visitor is important. Article “The Short Life of Online Sales Leads” published on Harvard Business review clearly highlights the importance of attending online enquiries at the earliest.

Businesses that responded to the customer’s concerns within one hour are 7 times more likely to qualify the lead when compared with firms that dragged the response time.

Look for a Dedicated Support Team

If you are not a tech savvy person then there exists a high chance that the process of setting up an online store could emerge into an inundating task. The whole process may seem dull and tedious.

When stuck in the process, you may long wish that the guardian angel drops in and help you solve the puzzle.

At times we all need a few pointers to guide us. So, when selecting a theme for your ecommerce store, do make sure that the platform provider has a guardian angel “The Support Team” who could come for your rescue.  

Setting up your store and tweaking the theme will be a facile experience if there is a person to guide you.

Parting Note:-

The theme/ template you select for your ecommerce store should be designed to coexist with the expectation of your online visitors.

The layout should encapsulate multiple factors that entice an online visitor to move down the buyers funnel.   

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About the author

Nishant Maliakel Oommen

Nishant is a candid person with a fondness for digital marketing. Inbound marketing is one of Nishant's forte. Nishant is currently working as an SEO Analyst in Kamkash.com
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