Designing an Online E-Commerce Store for IoT Hardware

Benjamin Friend -
tips & tricks hardware ecommerce
Illustration: © IoT For All

Having just gone through the process, I thought I’d share some insights on designing the ideal E-Commerce experience for IoT hardware devices.

Focus On the End Game

When designing a store, stay focused on the primary goal of selling your products. It’s easy to get sidetracked. Set up a wireframe with your key components first, then build the ideal site from there. Ask for your team’s input. I’ve found my team members and outside vendors provide excellent insight and perspective, often in areas that I haven’t necessarily considered at the time of development.


Make sure you use a solid Tagging System, notably when you’re featuring a myriad of products. You’ll need to segment them in different ways. Pay attention to details because, in all probability, you are selling complicated products, and they need to be presented to your customers in a ‘user-friendly’ and accurate manner. If you can determine up front if your customer understands the intricacies of the hardware, software, or particular technology solution you’re selling, it will alleviate a lot of returns and customer back and forth after the sale.  You may want to consider surveying them upfront and finding out their specific needs and why they are considering buying your product.

If you have multiple suppliers, you’ll need to take great care in tagging the right product with the corresponding manufacturer.  You can tag your products by specific suppliers or different categories. For example, you can tag them by device type or within the particular ecosystem or network for further clarification and ease of identification for your customers and your fulfillment department. We chose the concept of ‘choose your journey,’ which gives the user the option of virtually ‘traveling’ down different paths on our website and arriving at a point where the products or solutions they need are on the page in which they’ve landed. To ensure a smooth journey and that customers find what they’re looking for, tagging correctly is of the utmost importance.

Do Your Research

Do your research first. Explore your options. You’ll want to familiarize yourself with the complexity of the various E-Commerce platforms like Shopify that are available and determine which one is best suited for your company’s and customers’ needs. Take time to consider the customer experience and how they will interact with your website. As you develop the flow of your site, keep in mind you’ll want to create an easy-to-use experience for your customers. You’ll be the one to master the platform’s functionality, so be sure to research the ins and outs so you know how to best present your products and services to your customers through the platform.  

Put Customer Experience First

As you think about creating the ideal customer journey, be educational. Provide information that helps them understand your products beyond just their usage. This is particularly important in IoT because a lot of this is still a concept sell in terms of gateways and sensors. Your biggest hurdle may be educating your customers about IoT and what they can do with it. An excellent method is to capitalize on use cases and case studies. The outside-the-box ideas always grab customer’s attention and gain recognition. Your customers want to know how they can get these devices to work to meet their individual needs.

Capitalize on the momentum that is building right now in the IoT space and E-Commerce in general. Continue to offer more options in your particular ecosystem(s). Offer more solutions that run on a specific network, for example, the Helium network, and consider adding accessories like outdoor casing. Additional customer purchases will make your initial customer purchases more lucrative.

Capitalize on Connections

I found that getting help from affiliates was probably the single most significant advantage when creating the optimum E-Commerce site and driving traffic to it.  Look at others within your network who have a strong following in areas that pertain to what you’re selling. Find affiliates and build strong relationships with them. Connect with key influencers who have an authentic point of view. See who is following you on social media, check how many followers they have, and determine if their audience is a good candidate for your solution. Get your solution in front of them, and they, in turn, will expose your solution to their audience. Make full use of the people that follow you on social media. It’s better to have few followers who are a good solid match than a million followers who aren’t. Your key driver should be, “Who can help us get in front of the most people in our target market.” One way is to diversify your audiences. Here at CalChip Connect, we have influencers in the cryptocurrency space, others in new tech gadgets, and others in IoT. Remember to reward your affiliates for all of their hard work and efforts!

Worth the Effort

Don’t be afraid to tackle this. I found it was completely worth the time and effort. And when you do this right, you’ll end up with a site that will not only potentially generate long-term sales for your company but also serve as a strong brand identity and marketing tool.

Benjamin Friend - VP of Marketing & E-Commerce, CalChip Connect

CalChip Connect
CalChip Connect
Calchip's seasoned leadership team in the IoT Market brings a solid knowledge base and passion to support users from around the globe and connect them with the highest performing devices available on the market today.
Calchip's seasoned leadership team in the IoT Market brings a solid knowledge base and passion to support users from around the globe and connect them with the highest performing devices available on the market today.