E-commerce is big business, but there’s plenty of competition too. In addition to this, website requirements are constantly changing due to technological developments – meaning that for those looking to start an e-commerce business, it’s not as simple as putting a website online.
In this list we highlight the 7 key points to consider when creating the perfect e-commerce website.
UXD (user experience design) has become the cornerstone of e-commerce sites. In addition to having a unique or comprehensive product line, websites must also have a high level of usability. This is often just as important as your product. If your website does not facilitate smooth searches and transactions, you will quickly lose potential customers or clients.
Choose a design that is lightweight and clean. Clear menus are essential, and so is a working search feature. Often customers already know what they want, and they will expect to find it using your menu or search engine. If this doesn’t work, or the results produced are crowded, there’s a high probability that they will leave your site altogether.
Make sure your website is responsive too. Customers don’t just shop online using computers. Handheld devices have been surging in popularity over the last few years, and the usability of your website needs to take this into account. Make sure that your website is able to run on smartphones and tablets.
Check your loading time. Studies have found that people do not hang around waiting for a page to load. Quick, if not instantaneous, loading time should be a priority. If you can get your loading time to around 1 or 2 seconds, that should be sufficient to maintain the user’s interest. You can test your website’s speed for free with sites like Pingdom.
Customers want to see high-quality photos of what they are buying, from every possible angle, and with the option to zoom. In 2015, there is no excuse for poor quality photography – it will only arouse suspicion and decrease confidence. This also applies to digital products. Screenshots and data spreads should all be produced in a hi-resolution.
There’s the potential for conflict here. Users don’t like websites that have too much information on them, but at the same they want detailed product information. The rule is to only provide the essential information, save the rest for another page. It sounds simple, but achieving a healthy balance can be difficult.
Product descriptions, however, need to be thorough. Provide comprehensive information on the dimensions, materials used, and weight – even the measurements of your glamorous model if you’re selling clothes. This makes your business seem more trustworthy and has the potential to cuts costs by reducing the need for returns.
It’s also effective to state when an item is in limited quantity. This encourages the user to make the transaction before it’s too late.
Easy returns. E-commerce businesses generally don’t like this one. Postage and the associated costs can be expensive for both parties, but gone are the days of mulling over an online purchase. Customers want, and will choose, the same convenience as if they were going to a brick-and-mortar store. Having a practical returns process is how an e-commerce business mitigates the risk of buying online. If your business provides easy, low-cost or even free returns, customers will remember your website and feel confident about making future purchases.
This one is a plague for users. The biggest mistake most e-commerce businesses make is trying to force fidelity on first time users by making them register before buying. It kills the consumer’s drive to buy, interrupts the purchase process (the most important part of an e-commerce business), and may even cost you money if they can go elsewhere quicker.
The ideal checkout process should consist of a page to enter personal details, such as billing, shipping, and contact information. You can include the option to automatically register the user to your database. The second page should offer the option to review the purchase and complete the transaction.
Keeping in Touch
Keeping in touch with customers by providing newsletters is important as it reminds them of your company’s name and brand. Newsletters are also a great way to provide information on promotions. For companies starting an e-commerce business, newsletters and vouchers can be difficult. Many web hosting service like 1&1 can provide regular updates and promotions for you. See 1and1.co.uk/ecommerce-website for more information.