This question is often in the minds of new entrepreneurs that want to sell their products online.
The absolute minimum possible to get to the market.
The problem I see with businesses going online is that they overbuild their eCommerce sites.
They build massive sites, full of features for every type of customer. Yet, they have no idea what exact customer will be buying from them. Simply said – they are blindly guessing.
This ends up costing hundreds of thousands of dollars with site that has no traffic and no purchases.
I believe and practice progressive enhancement. This is a technique where you build a feature / site / plugin with the most basic functionality – “just good enough” – to put it out on the market and test it’s feasibility.
Then you set up a customer feedback loop by using Google Analytics, Customer Surveys, Contact Forms, Sessions Recordings, Conversion Funnels.
These tools will help you analyze the customer behavior so you could turn it into feedback driven feature development.
This technique ensures that the whatever you have built, will be actually used by your customers.
It also ensures that you don’t waste resources / time / energy on projects that have no viability.
How do you apply Progressive Enhancement to eCommerce website?
For eCommerce site it means:
– Home Page shows basic information about product(s) and lands customer on product page within 2 clicks
– Product page has just enough information to make a purchase (images / product name / price / brief description / manuals)
– There is contact information or form for customer to use
– Payment method is working
– Shipping is working
– Email service is working
– Customer Registration is working
– CMS / Product / Catalog pages have SEO (meta title / descriptions)
– Social Media accounts are created
– Google Analytics / Hotjar / Microsoft Clarity scripts are installed
This is it.
You do not need anything else to sell products online. You need to get your foot out of the door and start finding your customer base.
It will take at least 3-6 weeks for your site to show up on Google Search, so the faster you get it out there, the better.
Less is More
Use this approach to reduce the scope of your website.
– Reduce your upfront costs
– Reduce your maintenance costs
Feedback / Reviews / Analysis
As soon as you get your first order, you need to start to understand where your customer came from, how much time they spent on the website, why did they buy from you.
Best case scenario is to contact them and find out how they found you and why they bought from you – this information is gold. If you find out they were browsing some site and somebody recommended you, you can start to understand who your customers are and where to find them.
Feedback is the key here, the faster you can get it, the faster you can point your marketing at the source and attract more customers who want to buy from you.