What is the first thing a visitor notices in an e-commerce store? It’s the design. In a research conducted by Blue Corona, it was found that; Given 15 minutes to consume content, two-thirds of people would rather read something beautifully designed than something plain.
38% of people will stop engaging with a website if the content/layout is unattractive.
48% of people cited a website’s design as the number one factor in deciding the credibility of a business.

       These statistics give enough reasons as to why Website design is so important. When it comes to Ecommerce websites, the design and layout is all the more important than all websites in general. A well-designed website gives the business owner an opportunity to communicate more personally with his audience and send across his message more accurately.
The design of your webstore can either make or break sales. If a visitor visits your store and finds that the design is unattractive, the creation and products are unorganized, then chances are he will find your e-store to be no better than a physical store. This can badly affect your sales because, the main reason people shop online is because it is better than shopping from a brick and mortar store. Hence, along with selling good quality products and giving the best services, it is important to have a website design that is appealing and eye-catching.
Let’s talk about a few ideas with which you can give your website an attractive look and design

Keep things clean and professional
Imagine if you landed on an e-store that has a messy layout, bad pictures and mismatched fonts. You would probably leave the site within seconds. So, keeping your own opinion in perspective, design your store likewise. Keep it clean and professional. Have a look at your competitors’ website and note what makes them so attractive. Use consistent and similar styling and use nothing but the best quality images.

UX Design
UX design ensures that a visitor has a seamless journey through your website. When a website is designed keeping UX in mind, the visitor clearly knows where things are and doesn’t have to search for them. Customers like this kind of seamless and hassle-free shopping experience. A good UX design includes simple navigation, CTAs, links to pages like FAQs, reviews, contact us page etc.
As mobiles and other portable devices are dominating the market, you cannot overlook its importance. Hence, your website design should be responsive to all the devices. You need to make sure that your website looks good and is user friendly in all screen sizes.

Keep design consistent
Keep your brand image and design consistent across all platforms. For instance, if you are a company that sells baby products, then your website design should depict something cute, adorable and baby-like. Your website design should also be consistent with your marketing strategy. Hence, you have to decide on how you want to convey your brand and what message you want your ecommerce website to portray. Also, it is important to design for your target audience. For instance, if you have a store that sells wedding dresses than your design should appeal to the would-be brides and their friends.

Have unique elements
Though it is important to keep your store design somewhat similar to what is in vogue in the market, it is also equally important to stand out from the crowd. Let your e-store have some unique elements, this could be a quirky caption, a popping logo, a unique color scheme, cool graphics etc. Whatever the uniqueness is, make sure it appeals to customers and creates a lasting image in their minds.

Create your Ecommerce website

There is a plethora of platforms available for building an Ecommerce website, However Magento is known for its flexibility, customization & expandability and hence is the first choice of many store owners. Magento is backed by a supportive and robust community of developers who are focused on making Magento an enterprise grade ecommerce platform. For the small and medium scale businesses, Magento offers a cost-effective way to overcome the ecommerce technology hurdle.
The most convenient and best way is to hire a Magento development company to handle your project, however, if you wish to do it yourself, below are 8 steps for you.

  1. Get latest Magento installation package
The first would be to get an appropriate Magento installation package that suits your needs. Packages are available on the official Magento website.

  1. Hosting
After you have downloaded the Magento installation package, then you would have to upload and install the package on your hosting server directly or through your FTTP client.

  1. Create Database
You can sync MySQL database with Magento. You would need to assign a user to it via
cPanel -> MySQL Databases.

  1. Create Categories
Create broad categories and subcategories in your website for easy navigation for users. Categories is an important since users will be navigating throughout your website to finally order something.
Example, if you an online book store, then bifurcate categories like,
Broad Category - Fiction and Non-Fiction
Category for Fiction – Drama, romance, thriller
Sub Category under romance – Nicholas Sparks, Cecelia Ahern, John Green

  1. Product Information
Users usually buy those products which have adequate information. Clean, crisp yet informative product information is important to attract users. Some important product information that you should fill out
Name of the product
Short description
Status (availability)
Images etc.

  1. Design
You don’t need to be an expert designer to make your website scintillating. Magento provides you with thousands of themes to give your site an amazing look. Both free and paid themes are available in Magento. However, some points you should consider are;
Theme in sync with your products
User friendly
Blog section
SEO friendly
Authentic content etc.

  1. Configure shipping methods
Alternative shipping methods available in Magento are;
Flat rates
Free shipping
Table rates
Online rates etc.

  1. Integrate Payment methods
Payment Gateways fulfills the major role of processing and authorizing the payment between merchant and customer.

Extra tips for further enhancing your Magento Store

  1. Always keep an eye for updated versions – Make sure your website is updated with the latest Magento version to fix bugs and performance issues.

  1. Custom theme – Customize your theme according to your products, requirements, trends, etc.

  1. Use analytics tools – Study consumer behavior, demographics, study which products are working the most for your website etc. by using tools like Google Analytics.

  1. Use content delivery network- Use CDN so that CSS, images, content etc. loads faster hence, reducing your overall page load time.

  1. Keep your website optimized- keep your website by keeping pace with the latest search engine updates and algorithms.

  1. Keep your website secured – SSL certificate encrypts all data between the browser and the server. SSL certificate also helps to gain visitor’s trust and appear higher on search engines.

Before you start selling online, make sure the following aspects are fulfilled

Where & How to Sell Products Online?
Where & How to Sell Products Online?

  1. Costs
Online business involves various costs. It is important to find out if you can make good profits after incurring all the costs. Your costs may include;
  • Shipping cost
  • Packaging cost
  • Payment gateway cost
  • Storage cost
  • Marketing cost

  1. Understand your profit viability
Now that you have an idea of the costs involved in selling online, you can calculate your profit margin.
Profit Margin = Selling price – costs
Always try to be profitable per product level. If your profit margin is positive, you are good to move ahead.

  1. Create your digital catalogue
Unlike a physical store where you only need a product and a sales staff to sell it, an online store will require a digital catalogue. This digital catalogue will contain produce description, product image, name, price brand, features, extra info and other applicable attributes.

  1. End to end process
Before you actually start selling your products, you need to have a mental practice run i.e. lay out the entire process from getting an order to shipping goods. You can formulate a checklist for doing quality check, invoicing etc and follow the same end to end process every time you get an order

  1. Inventory management software
As your business grows, managing your inventory manually will become difficult. Hence, make sure you have a good inventory management software in place.

  1. Online visibility
Customers are most likely to research about your business before making a purchase. Hence, if they can’t find reviews and business information online, they can also drop off their plan of trading with you. So, a company website, social media presence, etc. are important facets.

Selling on Market place v/s own web store

Once you have decided to sell online and taken all prerequisites, you are most likely to ask yourself, “should I be selling on an online marketplace like Flipkart or Amazon or should I set up my own webstore?
If you decide to sell on an online marketplace, all you have to do is submit your business details on the seller registration pages. You will need to keep VAT registration number, PAN number and Bank details handy. Some sites need address proof as well. You can upload scanned copies of these documents. Verification is completed normally in couple of days.
If you decide to set up your own web store, then you’ll have two options, Hosted and Self Hosted options. Hosted platforms like Shopify and BigCommerce are hosted on someone else’s server. It’s a lot like renting a space to sell your products. A self-hosted platform like WooCommerce and Magento on the other hand, requires you to run the software from your own machine.
Hosted platforms are very easy to use, even for beginners but a self-hosted platform gives you more opportunities to customize your store.

Magento is a robust Ecommerce platform which is also easy to install and setup. However, the benefit of using Magento lies in making the best use of its customizations features and amazing add-ons and extensions. In order to do this, you will require a lot more than the basic technical know-how. Hence, you need a Magento developer to support you.

Magento Certification Developer

Magento is currently a market leader and naturally, the number of Magentodevelopers is in abundance. So, the problem of choosing the best one for you is a tough nut to crack.
What you should consider in order to find a good Magento developer?

  1. Time period 
Do you need only one-time assistance or do you need a developer for an ongoing project? This is quite important because many developers work on contract or part time basis. Hence, knowing for how long you will need the assistance will help you a lot in the selection process.
When you hire someone for an ongoing project, make sure that they have enough time and that they remain committed to the project.
Also, there may be some developers who are looking to work for a short time on a project. Either way, it is better to test a developer with a small project before you hire for the long term.

  1. Agency or freelancer
You may have noticed that there are many Magento certifications available. That is because, Magento encompasses many aspects of Ecommerce and a certified Magento developer can be an expert in one or some but not all. Hence, one person may not have all the capabilities you need. So, hiring an agency seems the wiser thing to do.
Also, Magento development agencies vary in size, certifications, price, availability, quality and time. Hence, be sure to take quotes from different options before taking a final decision of hiring an agency.

  1. Check their work
The best way to judge an agency’s work is by looking at their portfolios. The portfolios consist of their past work and looking at them will give you an idea about their experience and competencies. Check whether the agency has worked on something similar to your project, play special attention to details, check whether their created websites are user friendly, feature-rich etc. You can also consider customer reviews and testimonials.

  1. Go for quality
You get what you pay for and hence you cannot expect expert assistance from a developer whom you hired just because he was cheaper. There are countless instances where companies have hired cheapest talent and didn’t get results. In turn, if you invest in cheap talent, you may have to pay extra in the future to fix the mishaps.
At the same time, you don’t have to hire the most expensive developer. Expensive does not always ensure the best quality. Evaluate your project needs to know what kind of developer you need. Questions such as, do I need an experienced and Expert Magento developer or an entry level developer with skills will do? Should I hire an onshore development company or offshore development company? Etc. can be helpful.

  1. Recommendation

Talk to people who have previously worked with a Magento developer or agency. If you come across a website which you liked, find out the agency which developed it. Recommendations can be really helpful in finding a reliable agency which delivers results. You can also look for influencers with industry knowledge and who regularly post about relevant topics on their blogs or social media to find reputed and reliable agencies.  
Drupal is one of the most powerful website development platform on the internet right now. So in order to harness the power of this robust platform, you have to build a website that is fast, efficient and looks amazing.
Below are the steps to set up a website with Drupal. If you have basic knowledge of HTML, PHP and other common programming languages, then using Drupal won't be that difficult. However, if you are not techno-savvy, it is recommended to avail Drupal development services from a professional company.

How to set up a website with Drupal?

1. Domain name
Before building a website, you need to have a solid domain name that attracts visitors. Choose a domain name that is concise, easy to pronounce and which retains value for a long period of time.

2. Web Hosting Service
Selecting a good hosting service is crucial. For choosing the best one for your website, consider the following factors;
Uptime percentage exceeding 99.90%
Page load speed equal to or faster than 850ms
Provides customer support
Cost effective price

3. Download and install Drupal
Follow the below steps to download and install Drupal;
Download and extract Drupal
Create the Database
Create settings.php and files directory
Run the installation script

4. Give a suitable title
To give your site a title, go to “Configuration” -> “Site Information“. In the Site Name field, enter the name of your site. If you have a catchy slogan, you can type it into the Slogan field. This might be your tag line, catch phrase or simply some details that better explain what your site is all about.

5. Theming

Here’s how you can give your site an attractive theme;
Navigate to the “Appearance” menu

Click “Install New Theme”
Click “Themes” and you’ll be taken to this page with over 2,300 themes to choose from.

6. Create your “About Me” page

It is important to make an informative and yet compelling about me page because that’s where visitors will know what your website is all about.
Navigate to “Content” -> “Add Content” -> “Basic Page
Type “About Me” in the title and add relevant information in the body.
To get the About page to appear in the main menu, check the box “Provide A Menu Link” under Menu Settings. Save the page and you should be able to see About Me in the main menu.

7. Add modules

Download the zip or tar file to your hard drive.
Use your FTP client to upload them to the “sites/all/modules” directory of the Drupal installation on your web host.
Unzip the files.
GO to the Admin/Modules section to enable the new modules.
Just like themes, Drupal has many modules to choose from.

8. Add blocks

Blocks are boxes of content that can be displayed in the footer, header etc places on your website.
Here’s how to add one;
Navigate to Structure Blocks. You’ll see some Blocks disabled here.Structure blocks
Locate the “Recent Content” Block and look across to the Region column.
Choose the region where you want the content to be located (there are several regions to choose from, and they vary by theme).
Save the Blocks page and navigate back to the front page.
To add content, click Add New Content, click Article and add a title, fill in pertinent tags and add text to the body.
As the end of the year draws near, businesses are getting ready for the holiday season. More than just getting the work done and showing employees and clients that you appreciate what they have done throughout the year; it is also the time to prepare for the e-tail rush.  Final weeks of the holiday season is one of the busiest times of the year and businesses can make a good fortune out of it, provided they plan it out with forethought and planning. Hiring the services of a Magento Development Company is a wise decision. 

Holiday season can bring new clients, new relationships and new opportunities. Odds of growing your online business is better at this time and that is why you need to prepare it well with a standout marketing plan, promotional strategy and a feature-rich website. Below listed are some tips that you may find useful to make the most out of this holiday season. 

  • Going mobile and increasing conversions: According to the Forrester Research reports, the mobile and tablet commerce sales in U.S is forecasted to a total of $142 billion in 2016. Moreover, PayPal expects more than $25,000 in Total Payment Volume (TPV) per second at peak of Cyber Monday– with 40% of Millennials planning to shop on a mobile device that day. Opting for a mobile application or mobile-optimized website is the best bet to grab the sales and ensure utmost experience for the clients. Another important factor that plays key role in boosting online conversions is simple and easy check-out. Consumers often find it annoying to fill and submit the shopping cart details again and again. It is recommended to hire a magento developer and integrate an Express Checkout button to your website in order to ensure a quicker and smoother transaction. All-improved Express Checkout functionality features PayPal One Touch, which lets your customers skip entering their username, password and billing information when they check out. Always make sure to keep the check out process short and simple. An additional element to ensure a faster checkout is to offer the customers a varied and wide array of payment choices. 
  •  Small business lending options: You have to spend money to make money. Arranging the finances for the holiday sale is crucial. Businesses may easily find lines of credit, balance sheet lenders, peer-to-peer or crowd funding platforms to avail cash. Estimate the expected sales and inventory in order to choose the right financial tools. PayPal working capital business loan is an ideal option for businesses. 
  • Offering value-added services: Attractive offers and discounts can grab the attention of customers. Free shipping, extended product warranty or customer protection are some of the value-added services that you can offer through the online store to encourage sales and purchases. Last but not the least, customer security is critical. Protecting your consumer’s sensitive details is crucial to ensure the reputation and goodwill of your online store. 
Atlas Softweb is a Magento development company that offers innovative and tailored solutions to its clients. With a team of certified Magento developers, the company always strives to stay abreast of the technological landscape. 
Increasing mobile penetration is fast impacting significantly on the socio-economic landscape. Read on the article to find more information about mobile app development. 

Technological breakthroughs and advancements have revolutionized many aspects of our lives. And explosive growth of mobile technology is something that you can’t turn a blind eye on. Wide deployment of internet networks and drastic advancements in the hardware specifications of mobile devices have contributed to the rapid growth of mobile communications. Modern business world have been realizing the unlimited potential of mobile technology over the past decade. But a common misconception that prevails in the business world is that mobile apps are only for big brands and corporates. But nothing could be further from the truth. Businesses, regardless of their size and niche may follow the mobile trend and take advantage of the mobile communication technology. 

Building a mobile application for your business is the ideal way to connect with your customers, improve your branding strategy and explore new market opportunities. Extending your website or ecommerce application to a mobile allows building brand awareness. Nowadays, people spend majority of their time on mobile devices, which gives your business a highly visible presence in the daily life of targeted audience. For instance, if your business app is installed on their tablet or smart phone, you can engage with the customers anytime with ease. Integrating a communication feature in the mobile app can establish effective channels of communication with the customers thereby increasing the engagement. When you have a dedicated mobile app for your business, it would be easier to devise direct marketing strategies and promotional campaigns.

But in most cases, businesses are uncertain about how to proceed. If you are in charge for choosing the right mobile app development strategy for your business, then you might be probably overwhelmed with the varied choices available in the market. So, let us check out the top factors that you need to bear in mind while choosing a mobile application platform for creating a bespoke app for your business.

Define your business goals and objectives: Why you need a mobile app? Is it for branding your business more efficiently or selling more products? Having a clear vision of your goals is integral for devising an appropriate plan of action. Before hiring a mobile app developer, make sure to plan every step in detail.

No compromise on the user experience: Ensuring a hassle-free and intuitive user experience is the crucial success factor of mobile app development.  Apps should be engaging, designed for performance and customized to meet the unique needs of users. Rather than following any complicated designs or coding application, make it a point to create an app that is very simple to use. If it is a just an extension of your website, the users should be able to find the information easily. On the other hand, if it is an ecommerce app, then product searching, check out process and other features should feel like a breeze. 

Choosing the right development approach: There are mainly three development approaches for mobile applications, namely native, web and hybrid. Each development approach has its own set of advantages and disadvantages.
  •  Mobile web apps – It is web application accessed through the mobile devices web browser. Even though, they look and feel like native applications, they are implemented as platform and device independent. User may access them by navigating a special URL where they can find the option of ‘installing’ them on their home screen. Mobile web apps use core technologies such as HTML 5, CSS and JavaScript. 
  • Native Apps – Native mobile apps are built for a specific mobile device and its operating system. Users can download it from application stores (Example: Google Play store) and install it on their smartphones. Since they are developed for a specific platform and operating system, native apps can make the best use of all the device features. Native web apps are scripted in Java, Objective C and other programming languages.
  • Hybrid app – If you blend the native and web app development approach, then you get hybrid apps. Cross-platform portability of code and low development costs contribute to the increasing popularity of hybrid mobile applications. A web app is wrapped in a native code so that it can gain access to the device functionalities. 
Depending on your budget, time frame, proposed functionality and target audience, you need to make a pick out of the three approaches.

Mobile landscape is constantly changing, so make sure to protect your investment by implementing timely upgrades and updates. Do your homework, plan every step keenly and devise an elaborate product roadmap to attain successful results.
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