Proof of Concept Case Study: Ecommerce Website Design.
The Ecommerce site design best practices used by the Consorte Marketing team include a careful and thorough analysis of each client’s needs, along with the sustainability of the market they are entering. This helps to reveal which site development application is most appropriate. Recently, we developed SteampunkGoggles.com, an internet retailer of artisan-made eyewear for science fiction, fantasy, and cosplay enthusiasts. “Steampunk” is a small but growing niche. Because of this, we decided to build the initial website on WordPress using WooCommerce—rather than a more traditional and robust ecommerce platform such as Magento Community Edition or Magento Enterprise. This lighter platform made for a fast, inexpensive launch to test how well the site would perform before investing a significant amount of time and money into a Magento rollout, for a more extensive ecommerce site design.
WordPress and WooCommerce: Great Choices for a Viability Study
WordPress is most commonly known as an open-source blogging platform. However developments over the last few years have expanded its functionality to include as much power as a robust CMS like Drupal or Joomla, and with the advent of themes and plugins like WooCommerce it has the power to run a small ecommerce business. Generally, WooCommerce lacks much of the back-office functionality of a more robust platform like Magento, however it is a useful tool that is appropriate for the development of a small online retailers’ website that generates a few orders per day, and it has been sufficient for the current needs of a niche website like SteampunkGoggles.com. Here’s why we chose this WordPress ecommerce solution:
- This is a small niche and the expectation was that sales volume would be low
- It takes significantly less time to develop than Magento
- It’s free or inexpensive to use, depending on specific needs
- When configured correctly, it is SEO-friendly
- It comes with a few basic business management tools
- It makes the browsing and checkout experiences simple and pleasant
- It’s secure, open source, and web developer-friendly
Magento: An Investment for Ecommerce Sites
Magento, owned by eBay Inc, is a powerful site development application for online retailers, and comes in an open-source Community Edition as well as a licensed Enterprise Edition. It is a more flexible and complex platform than WooCommerce, allowing for many more advanced site configurations plus back-office functionality and integration with ERP and other complex inventory and customer management systems. With its many features and resources and strong user support, it’s no surprise that it’s a popular choice for many of the world’s leading ecommerce brands. We love Magento, and it’s our top choice for developing most ecommerce websites. However, its sophistication, while attractive to vendors and web developers alike, significantly requires more resources to develop than WordPress. In short, it’s a great option, but it’s also an investment. Our plan for SteampunkGoggles.com would have been to replatform the website onto Magento Community Edition if it made economic sense.
What We Found
Using a well thought out search engine optimization strategy, we rose to the top of Google for the category-defining keyword, “steampunk goggles.” Sales traffic, however, was still relatively low, despite excellent SEO and an optimized PPC strategy. We concluded that it would not make sense to upgrade the site to Magento at this time, as the niche of Steampunk is still relatively small. This decision has saved tens of thousands of dollars in development costs for a website that simply doesn’t need it…yet.
Testing proof of concept for an ecommerce site like this one allows our team to put the best interests of the client first. Had the test shown that the niche was larger than anticipated, the relatively small investment in the initial website would have been money well-spent, and easily recovered when replatforming to a more robust ecommerce solution.
When an online business collaborates with the experts at Consorte Marketing to build a successful ecommerce website, the process is far from one-size-fits-all. We pride ourselves on our ability to recommend the best solution for your business based on where you are now, and where you want to be.