9 Steps to Built a Successful eCommerce Website in 2020 :
a use case of Dinner's Ready.

During the lockdown we connected with John White from Intelligence Food to build an eCommerce platform for their new concept – Dinner’s Ready. The idea was to make it easier for families to get their dinners that would satisfy all the cravings and be hand cooked.

ITFAQ and Intelligence Food signed a partnership agreement to start this eCommerce journey together. 

Last month there was a soft launch of www.dinnersready.ae and it was a success!
Sharing below step-by-step what you need to do, to start selling online :

1. Define the goal and scope.

I always recommend to start from here, as it will define the next point. 
Understand, why do you need eCommerce? What do you want to achieve?

and then, make a list of:
– Features
– Functionalities
– Customer journey (the main steps. for the UX – web developers should advise)
– Categories, sub categories, products and options/extras/customization/measurements
– Number of pages: Contact Form, About Us etc
– What do you want to see in your Admin panel: reports, orders, order status, delivery management, marketing tools, product management etc.

2. Decide how to make it live: build a custom made or use existing platform?

You can:
Sign up with Saas (Software as a Service) platform like Chatfood or Deliver.ai 
Pros: quick and esy start with ready made templates, monthly subscription.
Cons: limited customization and won’t be owned by you.)
Hire a Freelancer (from Upwork, for example.)
Pros: More customization, your own app,) less cost vs dev company,
but Cons: high risk not to get it done, receive a low quality, delay and bad communication)
Hire a professional software development company. My advise – to hire a company with a dev team present in your location. 
Prons: quality, response, ownership of source code, full customization, after implementation support. 
Consneed a higher budget at start.

3. Define the design.

If you use a SaaS, not much you can do about it. Sadly, that’s why most of online stores look the same. 
But, if you hired a Company -you can make your website unique! This is what i like about Dinner’s Ready!

– You need to have your brand identity ready: logo, fonts, colours
– Know which websites you like and don’t
– Define the layout (if you hire a dev team, they will advise about the UI and UX)
– Gather all the photos you want to have on your website for products, banners, categories, Blog etc. If needed – organise a photoshoot.
– Gather icons (or examples of icons you’d like to have)

4. Purchase a domain and hosting.

Domain name can be bought anywhere: GoDaddy, Etisalat or elsewhere. I’d decide based on the price.
For the hosting we always recommend to go with AWS (Amazon) or Google Cloud. If your corporate environment is all on Microsoft, then go with Azure .

5. Will you allow pay online?

If yes, then you need a Payment Gateway. You can ask your current Bank or Google. Most popular now are Checkout, Myfatoorah, Network International, Visa, Mashreq. 

6. Text Content.

I strongly advise to outsource a Copywriter, to create your text content SEO friendly (for better search results in Google, Bing, Ecosia etc.)

7. Build your marketing strategy.

Good to list ahead, how you will attract and keep your customers:
– vouchers
– discounts
– loyalty program
– advertising 
– events related promotions
– Combo offer related promotions

9. Prepare your Social Media strategy.

COVID-19 increased usage of social media by 200% in the Q3 2020 , so grab your chance. 
– prepare design of your Instagram, Facebook, Tik Tok, Snapchap accounts
– prepare calendar plan and content (design banners for your posts and write catchy text)
– prepare engaging content
– prepare educational content
– prepare selling content

Alternatively, you can outsource this activity to a digital agency.
Since COVID-19 we created our own digital marketing team for ourselves and to help our clients, as most of them are Food gurus, but not SMM professionals.

I hope these tips will help you to have a great start of your online store. In case you need some more insights - connect with me on LinkedIn.
Yuliia Shyn
Sales Team Mentor at ITFAQ Global