In light of building my first eCommerce Website, I first linked up with Amanda Fox late in 2019, who was about to open the doors to Designer Playground, a Children’s Designs Clothing Store. The store was located in Darlington Town Centre, but was well hidden in St Clark’s Yard and it soon became clear that Amanda needed an eCommerce website to raise awareness of her newly found business and to make her more accessible to a wider range of customers.
So, where do we start in building an eCommerce website for a brand new company with little custom? Good question. The starting point was to research. With Amanda’s expertise of the industry, we looked at positive case studies of similar companies who were performing well online. By no means was this a copy and paste exercise, as not only would that risk copyright infringement, but it doesn’t showcase Designer Playground’s niche. Instead we identified what works well for other eCommerce websites and gathered ‘inspo’ in the process. The research identified a few key points.
Firstly the need for customers to quickly access products that meet their needs, add them to a basket and checkout using a payment method of their choice. If customers cannot quickly access products on the site, then they will switch off and shop elsewhere. This made website speed essential in this build. I used the well-trusted GT Metrix to make sure that website speed did not become problematic.
Secondly, Amanda needs to be able to stock control. We used the plugin WooCommerce, which has integrated stock control capabilities. I trained Amanda in administering the back end of the website, allowing her to control stock, any time, any place, anywhere. The plugin has additional features such as order processing, which automates emails to customers to confirm their order has been received, processed and dispatched. As customers place orders, stock counts alter and Amanda receives emails to confirm when products are out of stock. Productive eh?
The site has increased in traffic steadily over the past five months, which shows that awareness of Designer Playground is increasing. Honestly, there were no instant results in terms of sales figures, at least online anyway. It’s very rare to see a noticeable instant impact with any eCommerce website. In May 2020, Designer Playground has had it’s best online sales month to date, recording sales figures of £822.35. Not bad at all, considering we currently live in testing times and in the thick of a global pandemic.