The Six Building Blocks of a Good Ecommerce Website
Ever heard the expression, "you can lead a horse to water but you cannot make him drink"? Well, that's a good analogy for ecommerce websites - you may have a great product or idea, but if your site is falling short in the most critical areas, you will likely be missing out on conversions.
Simply put, you cannot establish a solid ecommerce business without a website that delivers on six core elements. We often see ecommerce websites that let themselves (and end users) down when it comes to user experience, often due to lack of understanding, lack of knowledge, too much focus on the potential customer, and too much emphasis on making a quick buck. Ultimately, nobody is going to want to use an ecommerce store that they don't trust or isn't up to par with competitors.
Below, we've listed the six essential building blocks that any e-commerce website needs to excel so you can start selling online and succeeding. By ensuring your ecommerce business ticks these essential boxes, you'll be setting yourself for success from the onset. If you've got any questions, don't hesitate to get in touch.
1. Easy Navigation - Regardless of what ecommerce platform you choose, it's important that once your online store is set up, it's easy to use. Your ecommerce website design is something you should focus on from inception and continually improve where possible, based on feedback, testing, and data.
You want your visitors and potential customers to be able to easily get around your website and find what they want (quickly). Online shopping has gotten incredibly competitive with new businesses trying to sell online every day, so it's important to learn and plan before you get started. If you already have an ecommerce business, you can still implement changes to your ecommerce site that can really impact your conversion rates.
Learn by visiting your competition and analysing their good points and how they are selling/trading online. Sit down, layout your website and then consult with an e-commerce specialist web designer and developer (yes, two or more different individuals). It will be worth it and it will save you hundreds of pounds in the long run!
If you have a particular 'star product' that you believe will boost your sales - or it's something you are actively advertising - make sure it's front and center or at least easily found in 1-2 clicks.
2. Product Imagery and Information - Imagery is one of the most powerful marketing tools to successfully sell online. Whether you're a business to business or a business to consumer ecommerce site, you have to ensure the customer trusts in your brand and website and that they know what they are getting. In a typical brick and mortar shop, customers can see, feel, and closely inspect the product, so it's important to try and replicate this in your online store. Not only will this help with conversions, it can also help boost great reviews and your brand reputation overall.
Depending on what you are selling in your online store, its important to use high quality product photography, offering different angles, photos and/or videos of the items in use, and information such as the weight and dimensions. For example, if you sell furniture, make sure there is information on the width, height, and weight. With clothing, provide a sizing guide as well as photos or videos of the items being worn.
Many ecommerce platforms will allow you to display related products as well, which can help with cross-selling and average conversion value. The beauty of powerful product imagery is that it can also be used on other platforms such as social media in order to boost sales within your online store.
3. Website Readability - Similar to how you display the product, readability is a critical user experience function for any online store. Readability is concerned with how easy is it to see your product descriptions, instructions and crisp clear images. If a visitor cannot read about your product because the typeface or photos are too small or faint, what happens? That's right, they'll leave without taking any action!
Again, note what your competitors are doing right - how are their pages laid out? Where is the information displayed? Think back to a super easy and quick ecommerce experience you've had online and replicate it using your ecommerce platform. A great ecommerce website will take all of these things into consideration.
4. Copywriting - For any ecommerce business, it's very important that the product descriptions are well written and interesting. Sure, you need to provide basic information such as general features, however, the main aim of the content is to focus on the benefits. Why should your visitor purchase your product? Your online store should allow your visitors to connect with your products and really want them. Bad copywriting such as spelling mistakes or something that looks untidy and clearly copy and pasted in will put users off.
To give visitors confidence, give plenty of detail about the product and benefits; clearly explain the ordering process, how products are returned, and give detailed customer service information. This will help your ecommerce business significantly.
Your website is not just a way to facilitate payment - it's the face of your business, and it has to not only function but look good, too. It is so important that the software you purchase to build your website is up to date, secure, mobile friendly, search-engine friendly, and adaptable. There are so many poor software packages out there on the market that do not provide any search engine or online marketing potential, and unless you are a specialist in the programming that has been used to build your ecommerce site, you will likely be stuck with limited function and scalability.
Our advice? Avoid ecommerce websites like this. As an agency with a wealth of ecommerce clients, we've seen too many of examples of companies looking to improve their ecommerce site, only to be told by our developers that there is nothing that can be done and it needs to be rebuilt. If a website builder or platform promises the world, chances are, there will be limitations. The best option is to have your ecommerce website built by a team of specialists in design, programming, and digital marketing from the get-go. This will again save you money, stress and time.
6. Ease of purchasing - As an online business, it is also critical that you make the buying process from your online store as easy as possible. One of the major reasons why individuals buy online is to save time and it makes life a lot easier. If a visitor and potential customer has to go through even a few steps to complete a transaction, there's a very real chance they might give up and go somewhere else. It should take no more than three clicks from one page to another to make a purchase. Carefully research the software that you want to use and seek out advice from professionals before committing to an ecommerce platform.
You'll also want to consider payment options. Nowadays, people want to be able to use ApplePay, Samsung Pay, PayPal and other online payment solutions in order to complete their purchase. Pay later apps like Klarna and ClearPay are also incredibly popular in the ecommerce space. If a customer has to fill out page after page of detail - or even enter their card details manually - they are more likely to bounce off the page and buy elsewhere. Don't make the purchasing process harder than it needs to be - offer speed and flexibility at every stage.
Whether you decide to go with the leading ecommerce platform or have something completely custom built, the above six factors will be critical for delivering good online services to your customers. Your website is one of the most vital marketing tools not only for generating money but for building a sustainable and trustworthy brand. As a business owner, it is vital that you plan, research, and ensure you are setting yourself up for success. You should strive to deliver fantastic ecommerce experiences to your customers to keep sales up and new customers coming in.
Ecommerce web design is arguably as signifncant in determining your success as the product you choose - you should also have a solid marketing strategy in place to make sure your online business has the biggest chance of success. Investing in your website design and your marketing efforts can help bolster your ROI (return on investment) - this ensures your online business can easily be found, offers a great service, and delivers a quality product that people love.
Undoubtedly, the ecommerce industry is super competitive, but by keeping ecommerce web development, user experience, and digital marketing front of mind, you're far more likely to see a good return on your investments.
How We Can Help You
With our expert team of developers, designers, copywriters, content marketing specialists and SEO gurus, we can help you claim your place in Google Search, be seen on Social Media, and really help you to drive your conversion rates and see a strong ROI. Our ecommerce website development and marketing services have proven to be incredibly effective for our clients - check out some of our ecommerce case studies.
If you're interested in finding out more then don't hesitate to get in touch. Email us at email@example.com or call us on 0161 402 3170.