Running an eCommerce website is not that much different from running a brick-and-mortar store. You have employees to manage, sales to make, orders to fill, and payments to receive.
Not only do you need to give your online customers a decent selection of products, but you have to back it up with a high performance website that guides them through the sales process from beginning to end.
To design an e-Commerce website with your customers in mind, let’s take a look at five things your website must have to get on that path to success.
Picture a shoe store with shoes in the aisles, unmarked sections, no size categorization, and no sales team to consult regarding your potential purchase.
Now picture the same store that is clean, organized, easy to navigate and has friendly sales staff available to answer your every question.
You have probably experienced stores of both types and were more likely to buy from the latter.
Your eCommerce store needs to operate similar to the second store. The first impression of your site will be directly attributed to its design, so make sure your website is easy to navigate, organized, provides answers to frequent questions and gives the impression that the company who is selling products actually cares about its customers.
2. Simple Product Selection
Most eCommerce sites have many products that they try to bring awareness to. But having an enormous selection of products is not necessary to being successful, and in fact, having a limited selection of products can actually allow customers to find what they are looking for quickly and reduce the number of clicks a customer has to go through to reach checkout.
Implement a search function into your website so that customers can quickly navigate to pages that they’re looking for without perusing your entire site to get there. Google offers a Custom Search Engine that can help you to improve customer satisfaction and user experience.
Secondly, you should allow your users to sort through your site by brand, product or category. If you can, implement both options to help users find their way to the product pages they really want.
3. Comprehensive Product Pages
The more information you can provide about your product, the better.
Zappos has some of the best product pages on the web; they provide answers to users’ questions both visually and textually better than almost any of their competitors. On a typical Zappos product page, you will find the following:
- Quick color and size selectors
- The product displayed prominently in the center of the page
- Additional images of different angles, all with zoom functionality
- Main selling points of product
- Option to share the product on social media
- Similar items to product
- A “Fit Survey” (where customers rate how the product fits)
- Customer questions (and answers) about the product
- Customer reviews
- A photo gallery of product images that customers have uploaded
Like Zappos does, anticipate questions that you think people might have about your product—and then answer them on the product page.
4. Simple Checkout Process
If you are finding that customers are making it to the checkout pages of your website but not following through, then there’s probably a reason for that.
Are your shipping costs too high? Do you not accept certain forms of payment? Do you require users to create an account before placing an order?
No consumer likes to be surprised by high shipping costs after they think they are getting a good deal. To eliminate any surprises, place the shipping costs on the product page—or include the price of shipping in the cost of your product and make the shipping free.
Secondly, make sure you are accepting most major credit card brands, as well as payments like PayPal and even checks or money orders.
Finally, limit the number of hoops that your users have to jump through to complete a sale. If you want users to create an account, give them the option to do so after ordering, rather than before.
5. Post-Sale Email Confirmation
After the transaction is complete, don’t make the mistake of disappearing!
Most people will expect an email confirmation with a receipt, order number, contents of the order and an email, phone number and social media links to contact your business. You could also use this follow-up email to promote additional products or coupons.
Enjoy the Benefits!
Once you have implemented the above changes to your site, you will be on the path to success.
If you need any help making these changes or building a high-performance eCommerce website, get in touch. We’d be happy to help.
Thanks for reading,
Note: This blog post was originally published on June 19, 2013 on the Sa Growth Blog and has been updated for accuracy.