7 Best Practices for Building a Quality eCommerce Website
Ecommerce has changed the way the world shops. Geographical barriers no longer limit consumers to shopping locally and it has intensified price competition. Today, 83% of Internet users worldwide have made an online purchase. With a growing presence in today’s market, the right ecommerce site is crucial to success for stores of any size.
If you are looking to take your storefront online for the first time or just revamping your website, here are a few of the best practices that we’ve found when designing our clients’ websites to ensure they have the right components. (Yes – our web design services include content based and Ecommerce based websites.
- Multiple Clear Product Pictures
- Consumer Reviews
- Easy Checkout Process
- Generous Return Policies
- Clear Navigation
- Responsive Design (Tablet and Mobile Friendly)
- Well Optimized for Organic Search
Buying products and services online is quite different than in a physical store. The consumer doesn’t have the option to touch or interact with the product before deciding to buy it. Your site should make consumers feel as if there is no need to showroom. (Showrooming is the practice of examining merchandise in a brick and mortar store and buying the product later online.)
All products in your site should be high quality and give the consumer an option to zoom. Just one picture won’t cut it. With multiple views and accurate images, you should be able to shrink the 25% of returns which site, “the product was not what was expected.”1
Testimonials and consumer reviews can drive up sales 18%.2 Reviews increase sales in a few ways. They help consumers to trust the product or service you are selling. It isn’t just about the positive reviews though. If there are not negative reviews, 30% of people think the reviews are fake. Keeping all reviews visible increases trust and sales.
Reviews also help to increase sales through search engine optimization. Customer generated reviews is a way of getting free, brand new content which is something search engines like. Plus many times customers will search the name of a product and reviews, meaning your site is more likely to come up if you have reviews.
Unfortunately, 67.4% of shoppers will abandon their cart.1 Luckily, making only 3 changes to your site can help keep 80% of these shoppers. Make sure that there aren’t any hidden charges at checkout. One way to do this is by giving the consumer an option to calculate shipping when they choose to put the product in their cart.
Another reason consumers abandon the purchase is because they are forced to make an account. Give people a way to checkout as a guest like Quantum Innovations did above. Lastly ensure that your process isn’t too long. The average length of a checkout process is 5.08 steps. Make sure your process has no more than five steps and ensure that the user does not have to enter the same information more than once.
A good return policy can also help comfort the shopper. If they know it won’t be a hassle to return the product, the risk is significantly lowered. Your return policy may determine whether the shopper becomes a repeat customer or not. A bad return policy may turn off a customer so they will not return.3
Making a customer trust in your product is only half of the hurdle of an ecommerce site. The site itself must work well and be easy to use. When choosing a firm to design and develop your site make sure that they have experience with websites that are easy to use, optimized, and responsive.
In ecommerce websites, the navigation does not function the same way as other sites. The user must have ways to intuitively find their product. Make sure that you have a broad parent category and subcategories. Remember too that the subcategories do not have to be confined to one parent category!
Product pages should help users navigate to similar or supplementary products. A product which is easy to find, is easy to buy. More importantly if a consumer cannot find a product, they simply won’t buy it. So make sure that your navigation does not have usability issues.
Mobile devices accounted for 20% of US ecommerce spending and 40% of total online visits on Black Friday 2013.4 Because consumers are using mobile devices at such an accelerated rate, your site must cater to their needs. A responsive website works on any device or window size. (If you aren’t sure how it works, try our website on your phone or just resize the window.) Another plus to a responsive site is that it may help your organic search rankings because Google recommends responsive sites as a best practice.
Search Engine Optimization
The last component of a great ecommerce site is search engine optimization or SEO. While your site may be wonderful, no visitors means no revenue. The long-term return on investment is much higher with SEO than Pay Per Click (PPC) ads. Over time your site’s value increases with SEO, but when the budget runs out for PPC, the ads stop running. A well-optimized site will bring in targeted traffic with a high conversion rate for years to come.
These key aspects of ecommerce website design and development are essential when starting a new site, or redesigning an existing one. Make sure that you are getting all you can out of your ecommerce website.
- Consumer Psychology: The Ecommerce Checkout
- Customer Reviews on Ecommerce Website: Why are they important?
- Why a Good Return Policy is so Important for Retailers
- Retailers are Driving Huge Increases in Mobile Shopping and Buying – This is How