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5 Fundamental Blueprints for E-commerce Web Development

5 Fundamental Blueprints for E-commerce Web Development

The modern era of e-commerce web development has redefined traditional forms of business. Traditional priorities of increasing shop space, expanding branches to as many jurisdictions as possible, and employing an adequate number of employees in a store, have been eliminated by the proactive advantages of e-commerce. Consequently, web development has gradually become the most critical enabler of modern business, facilitating small, medium, and large businesses to gain a global presence without additional expenditure of physical presence.

Yet, while web development can consolidate a highway towards e-commerce success, the rate of success is gradually being defined by some fundamental principles. Almost anyone from any jurisdiction can place any sell-able item and service on the internet. Furthermore, the ease that the template-based websites have been emerging makes modern e-commerce extremely competitive. Consequently, having a profitable e-commerce website today, and one that is competitively unique, needs a refined approach that is both strategic and purpose-based.[1]

This article highlights five fundamental requirements for modern business-centered web development. The five fundamental guidelines reviewed here have been tested and validated as part of a reliable blueprint, not only to make your e-commerce website distinctive and competitive, but also to help you exploit the potential of modern web development towards absolute e-commerce profitability.

Fundamental Blueprints for E-commerce Web Development

1. Advanced Applications

The first mandatory element of modern web development for business-centered portals, which defines the success and profitability of that business, is the incorporation of practical applications. Taking advantage of recent technological developments, modern web development now integrates the use of specialized tools that trigger exceptional business operations.

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    Perhaps the most significant of these tools is the incorporation of mobile-friendly applications in e-commerce. It is now possible to access an e-commerce site from assorted mobile devices, including mobile phones, tablets, smart phones, laptops, and desktop computers. The content is designed to automatically resize and fit any of these access devices perfectly, without compromising the quality of such content. Accessibility on any device can potentially increase e-commerce site traffic, which in turn can increase the number of visitors converted to actual customers, and ultimately positively influences the sales column of a business.

    Several reliable service providers can now develop single or multiple applications for an e-commerce site, customize and deploy such applications on the site, and even offer reliable maintenance for the suite of applications used on a site for the long term. For example, using a Ruby on Rails developer helps develop, customize, deploy, and maintain the most advanced applications for modern e-commerce. Ultimately, being able to incorporate progressively advanced applications on a website helps modern web development reach and sustain unprecedented levels of success in e-commerce.

    2. Customizable Applications

    In addition to having numerous standard applications on a website, modern web development also facilitates custom site application development that is reflective and adaptive to the site’s requirements. Entrepreneurial success relies heavily on being unique, whether online or offline. Therefore, after installing standard applications, web development helps you redesign, enhance, update, upgrade, and customize applications to exclusively serve the purpose of e-commerce. Some sites have creatively employed cutting edge web development to facilitate marketing, presentation, and sale of goods and services simultaneously, where a single customized application can do any of these for prospective customers.

    Whether using a reliable e-commerce website builder or otherwise, the potential to customize applications with modern web development is particularly useful when branding a business, keeping the focus either on specific products/services being offered or the company.[2] This helps to give online shoppers an identity of products/services to remain loyal to and to competitively differentiate among available alternatives. With modern web development, an e-commerce site easily graduates to a brand or a purchase point for a specific brand. This, therefore, makes it necessary to introduce a customized search application. The search mechanism customized for the specific site not only aids navigation when surfing an e-commerce website (a review of which follows), but also enables users to conveniently pursue their desired brand.

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      3. User-Friendly and Convenient Customer Service

      How easily and effectively can a visitor find the product/service they need on an e-commerce portal? Well, no user visits an e-commerce site for the lack of anything else to do or because they have time to waste. Most visitors are attracted by a business offer and their experience while on the site determines whether they are converted from visitors to customers or remain mere visitors. If the use of an e-commerce site is confusing or time-consuming, there are numerous alternatives available elsewhere. Consequently, even before considering the quality and the selling ability of web content, the first requirement is to attain optimal ease of navigation for the user.

      Modern web development helps an e-commerce site attain user-friendly interface, which allows visitors to find what they need conveniently and effectively. Just like the quality of customer service determines the success of an offline store, customer service on an e-commerce site is determined by how convenient, effective, and user-friendly the site’s navigation is for visitors.

      Furthermore, the convenience, effectiveness, and user-friendly navigation of a profitable e-commerce site is also determined by such elements of modern web development, like:

      • The number and convenience of payment options available (old and new) when checking out at the site (the more options the better), and fluidity of international currencies[3] (i.e. PayPal, cheques, debit cards, credit cards, Western Money Transfer, Payoneer, etc.)
      • Reliable, affordable, and convenient communication channels (i.e. email, chat, fax, telephone, etc.)
      • Ability of web development applications to facilitate marketing, presentation, and sale of products/services simultaneously, based on individual customer interests
      • Effectiveness of a search function to help visitors access exactly what they want easily and rapidly
      • Site design features customized seamlessly to match the products and services on offer, where applications adopt a size, style, layout, and functionality unique to the e-commerce product/service being offered
      • Presence of unique call-to-action buttons, prompting the customer to make a purchase, order, or save in a shopping cart[4]

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        Categorization of products/services in logical groupings and sub-groupings so that desired products/services are easy to locate and the site makes it simple and convenient for the visitor to convert to a customer.

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        4. Attaining a High-Quality Visual Appeal

        The visual appeal of an e-commerce site attracts and retains the interest of a potential customer long before textual content.[5] Pieter’s and Weddle conducted a research study to relate 1,363 distinctive print advertisements and the cycle of an infrared eye-tracking device used on over 3,600 consumers. Ultimately, the study established that the visual appeal of an advert (integration of brand, image, and text) has the highest success rate of capturing attention and that this technique can effectively be put to use in advertising.[6]

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          Even offline stores and supermarkets exploit the potential of displays to make customers forget their budget and instead purchase what appeals to their eyes. Modern web development helps to captivate visitors with photos and textual marketing messages with an attractive set of graphical images. With precise skill, a site can effectively integrate an attractive and high-quality set of product photographs, portraying exactly what appeals to a customer, which provokes buying decision. Modern web development helps graphically display logical, organized, orderly, and an intuitive categorization of products/services on an e-commerce site, making it easy for a visitor to use the site and navigate through the product list.

          An e-commerce site’s clear, highly defined, and optimized visual quality also helps ensure that the site’s design does not overpower the products and diminish their appeal. Strategic web development employs minimalist site design features (simple and easy to navigate), in a move to draw a visitor’s attention to the product/service on offer. Strategic web development does not allow a site to compete for a visitor’s attention, but to focus that attention to the e-commerce goal.

          5. Enabling Long-Term Customer Relations

          Finally, it is also important that web development helps create an instinctive, simple to use connection and relationship with the customer. Getting a prospective customer to an e-commerce site and achieving a conversion from a visitor to a customer is not enough to sustain optimal profitability of a business. The long-term goal is to make the customer register on the site and keep them coming back. As such, instead of requiring a customer to always register a new, modern web development can help consolidate, save, and progressively use the same customers’ identity (username, email address, and password). This makes the customers’ checkout process easy and straightforward, and increases their chance of return.

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            With such applications, a customer can easily sign in to an e-commerce site, check on the progress of previous orders, return an earlier order, and even communicate with the customer support team. Such a registry helps qualify the identity and demographic profile (age, gender, residential area, preferences, etc.) of customers, which helps refine the marketing and sales operations of the business.

            Finally, modern web development helps build and sustain a relationship with the customer by providing numerous communication channels, such as messengers, chat, email, and telephone. Indeed, part of the details customers provide during sign-up includes their name, physical address, preferred payment options, and contact details. Modern web development has also facilitated the integration of social media platforms, and further linking a customer with a brand or a business site. The social media applications including Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, LinkedIn, Google+, Tumblr, and many others help to sustain a long-term relationship for the benefit of an e-commerce venture.

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              Several other features of contemporary web development are also significant in determining the success of modern e-commerce, such as ensuring adequate and sustainable returns on investment (getting the best out of a website with minimal expenditure) and simultaneously enabling the marketing, presentation, and sale of products/services with an integrated application. However, the five features of modern web development have been tried, tested, and validated by assorted e-commerce initiatives as the foundation of their success. The five features of modern web development, which include (a) advanced applications, (b) customizable applications, (c) user-friendly and convenient customer service, (d) attaining a high-quality visual appeal, and (e) enabling long-term customer relations, are indeed all a part of the critical blueprint that can make your e-commerce website not only distinctive and competitive, but also anchored on sustainable profitability.

              Featured photo credit: https://stocksnap.io/ via stocksnap.io

              Reference

              [1] http://www.huffingtonpost.com/charmaine-belonio/5-essential-elements-of-m_b_11611838.html
              [2] http://www.beautifullife.info/web-design/10-best-ecommerce-builders/
              [3] http://www.forbes.com/sites/neilpatel/2015/03/09/10-digital-marketing-trends-in-2015-that-will-boost-your-strategy/#573909ba3309
              [4] http://www.huffingtonpost.com/charmaine-belonio/5-essential-elements-of-m_b_11611838.html
              [5] http://www.forbes.com/sites/jaysondemers/2015/12/17/5-easy-ways-to-introduce-visual-content-into-your-marketing-campaign/2/#3f3eb07b1a2c
              [6] http://journals.ama.org/doi/abs/10.1509/jmkg.68.2.36.27794?code=amma-site

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              Last Updated on October 16, 2019

              11 Meeting Scheduler Apps to Boost Your Productivity

              11 Meeting Scheduler Apps to Boost Your Productivity

              Automations are key to improving efficiency. Set the system up right from the beginning and you’ll reduce the amount of no-shows and cancellations.

              Whatever your business is, with automations, meeting scheduler apps do more than just streamline appointment setting. They prime your workflow for maximum results.

              Meeting scheduler apps are awesome if you use them right. Use them wrong and you can look like an arrogant elitist.

              In this article, I will share with you 11 great meeting scheduler apps you can start using today to boost your productivity.

              1. ScheduleOnce

                ScheduleOnce is an industry leader and robust solution. Whether you work alone or have a large team, ScheduleOnce can support you.

                ScheduleOnce allows you to create multiple users and multiple calendars. I use one calendar for booking podcast guests with automations set up to prep my guests for our interview. I use another calendar for strategy sessions and coaching calls.

                ScheduleOnce also has embeddable widgets so you can keep the scheduler inside your own website.

                Starting at $7 a month and a 14 day free trial, ScheduleOnce can fit a variety of needs in business.

                Available on Web

                2. Calendly

                  Calendly stands out for its clean, easy to use interface. If you like clean design, Calendly might be your choice. It too has robust automations and integrations for individuals and teams alike.

                  You can try Calendly free for 14 days. Their basic plan is free while their most robust plan is only $12 a month.

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                  Available on Web | Google Chrome Extension

                  3. Assistant.to

                    For those who use gmail, Assistant.to is a super simple solution.

                    From inside an email, you click on the Assistant.to icon and pick times your free. Assistant.to embeds the times directly into the email so the recipient can quickly pick a time that works for them.

                    While it doesn’t have all the bells and whistles of apps like Calendly or ScheduleOnce, Assistant.to is completely free.

                    Available on Web

                    4. Acuityscheduling

                      Acuity is a robust meeting scheduler very similar to ScheduleOnce. It integrates with CRMs, Email Marketing platforms, Analytics tools and accounting software.

                      It comes with a 14 day free trial. They have a free solo account but if you want the benefit of the integrations, you’ll start as low as $15 a month and can cost up to $50 a month.

                      Available on Web | iOS | Android

                      5. Pick

                        Built for simplicity, Pick is direct and easy to use. You can create your own url extension like pick.co/yournamehere and it integrates with Google calendar and Office 365.

                        At $3 a month, this is a great tool for quick scheduling.

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                        Available on Web

                        6. X.ai

                          For those who are early adopters of AI, this may be the solution for you. X.ai created two AI assistants they call Amy and Andrew Ingram. After setting up your account you simply CC them on your emails with the person you’re wanting to schedule and the AI assistants will email your guests from there until your appointment is set.

                          This type of scheduler feels more personal because of the dialogue. There are stories on their site of people thinking Amy and Andrew are real people. X.ai integrates with Google, Office 365 and Outlook.

                          Starting at $29 a month for an Individual account and $39 a month per user for a Team account, Amy and Andrew are ready to schedule meetings for you. Want to try it out first? They do have a free trial.

                          Available on Web

                          7. YouCanBook.me

                            is another competitive solution for scheduling meetings online. You can manage the calendars of your entire team, configure booking forms, and integrate with your calendar.

                            They have a free account branded with their company name or you can have some control over your branding and appearance at $10 a month for all their features. Either way, this company is worth a look.

                            Available on Web

                            8. Doodle

                              Doodle is unique in the space of meeting schedulers because it helps groups of people find a time to meet that works for everyone.

                              It integrates with your calendar and allows you to send a poll to all invited. Once people vote on the poll you can see which time works best for everyone.

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                              You can also run polls for food preferences if you’re scheduling a lunch meeting or a section of town if people are coming from all over.

                              While there is a free account, you’ll unlock it’s potential starting at $39 per year.

                              Available on Web | iOS | Android

                              9. WhenAvailable

                                WhenAvailable is another scheduler that works for groups of people. You can use it to schedule a pickup game of basketball, decide on your next book club or book your family reunion.

                                Their free account allows up to 20 guests, unlimited events and one contact group. For $15 a year you unlock all the goodies including reminders and chat messages.

                                Available on Web

                                10. Rally

                                  Like Doodle and WhenAvailable, Rallly is helpful for scheduling meetings and events with multiple people involved. You create a poll and everyone votes. It’s quick and easy.

                                  Unlike Doodle, it doesn’t have as many features, but it’s entirely free.

                                  Available on Web

                                  11. NeedtoMeet

                                    Finishing strong, NeedtoMeet is our last app that allows you to schedule meetings or events for multiple people. It has mobile apps, custom urls, easy polling, notifications and commenting.

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                                    NeedtoMeet also allows 1:1 Meetings for things like performance reviews for your whole team. You send out the your calendar slots to your team and they can only pick 1 slot, minimizing the amount of emails and scheduling you have to coordinate.

                                    While they have a free account, you can unlock all features for only $19 a year.

                                    Available on Web

                                    Bonus: Don’t Make These Common Mistakes When Using Meeting Schedulers

                                    In the excitement of streamlining your scheduling process, it can be easy to forget the feelings of those you’re inviting to meet. I know. I’ve done this.

                                    To say “Hey, schedule time on my calendar” feels colder than “Hey, here’s my calendar. To avoid all the back and forth, pick a time that works best for you.”

                                    Always make sure to frame your invite with your scheduler app with the benefit to them and why we’re doing it this way rather than the old fashioned, personal way.

                                    A little finesse goes a long way. Without it, you risk seeming transactional and cold.

                                    Some meeting scheduler widgets you can embed in your site can take a couple seconds to load. If you go this route, make sure there’s text just above the widget that lets your guest know the calendar will appear below and to wait for it to load.

                                    If you use an online meeting tool like Zoom, it’s also important to explicitly let them know the meeting will take place on Zoom and include the Zoom link in the email reminder. Many make the mistake of not clarifying where the meeting will actually take place which can create last minute chaos at the time of the meeting.

                                    Should you require special settings, like ethernet, external mics or lighting, let your guests know that on your thank you page and reminder emails so they are prepared for the meeting and you end up with the best meeting possible.

                                    With clear communication in your automation, your meeting scheduler tools can almost perform like a virtual assistant for a fraction of the cost, or free, depending on the app you choose.

                                    The Bottom Line

                                    Meeting scheduler apps are diverse in features and unique in design. Before committing to one and realizing it’s not a fit, I recommend exploring which 3 might best fit you and then doing a trial with each of them at the same time so that you can see how they feel as you use them side by side.

                                    Scheduling meetings the old fashioned way can be tedious. Conversely, finding a scheduling app that works seamlessly in the background is heavenly.

                                    Like cell phones, meeting scheduler apps are moving from a nice-to-have luxury to must-have necessity in the lives of productive people. As you explore your options, stay true to your brand and the tools that have worked well for you to this point and simply find a meeting scheduler app that plays well with what you have created.

                                    Featured photo credit: rawpixel via unsplash.com

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