The field of e-commerce is very competitive with rival businesses and competing websites just a click away for consumers. While a poorly designed website is a liability for any business, even minor site design issues can spell disaster for e-commerce businesses. Failing to make e-commerce website design a top priority is a costly misstep that many online businesses never recover from. The following seven steps highlight the ways to ensure that when you’re building your e-commerce website, you will be able to provide visitors with a more enjoyable browsing and shopping experience.
1. Optimizing the Search Function
Never overlook the importance of search functionality when creating a website. Even online merchants with a limited range of products will benefit from ensuring their customers are able to find what they are looking for more quickly and easily. Forcing visitors to navigate through multiple pages or browse through an expanded selection of inventory, items and services can result in considerable lost revenue. Visitors that become frustrated in their efforts to find the right product in an online store are far more likely to take their business elsewhere.
2. Allowing Purchases Without Requiring Registration
A common mistake that many e-commerce providers make is requiring shoppers to undergo a long and tedious sign-up process in order to make their purchase. While user accounts may be helpful for improving customer relationships and ensuring repeat business opportunities, making them a mandatory requirement in order to finalize a purchase needlessly complicates the checkout process. Ensuring fast issue-free checkouts for all customers is a proven method for increasing sales, improving customer retention and lowering instances of cart abandonment.
3. Ensuring Secure Transactions
A significant percentage of all online shoppers hesitate to make purchases because of concerns regarding their identity and financial account information. Ensuring that customers are able to make purchases with greater confidence may go a long way towards ensuring the future success of an e-commerce site or business. Third party security certification can help make ecommerce website security concerns a less pressing issue. An SSL certificate is a proven an effective resource for building customer trust and ensuring security concerns do not result in lost sales revenue.
4. Focus on Providing the Best User Experience Possible
For many merchants the limitations of selling their products through a digital process can be severe. Customers who are unable to examine products firsthand before making a purchase are more likely to suffer reservations. Ensuring that all site visitors are provided with the best browsing experience possible is often the only way to compensate for such limitations. Perks like lower pricing, free shipping and a streamlined checkout process can go a long way towards luring customers away from conventional brick and mortar retailers.
5. Test All Aspects of the Site
Launching an untested website can lead to countless problems and issues many businesses may not be able to recover from. Professional site testing and analytics are both important resources for ensuring that a website is ready to go live. Technical problems and issues can lead to increased customer frustration, limit businesses ability to make a good first impression and can even harm their brand or image irrecoverably. Comprehensive testing of every aspect of a website is always a crucial concern and is never an issue that should be taken lightly by online retailers.
6. Take Advantage of Social Media
Social media is often the cornerstone of an effective marketing campaign or advertising effort. Delegating social media or outsourcing the efforts that serve as the public face of an e-commerce provider is a serious problem that is all too common for new business owners. When properly utilized, social media posts can increase inbound site traffic, increase exposure and allow e-commerce businesses to attach and acquire the clientele they need to enjoy greater commercial success.
7. Mobile Site Optimization
The falling costs and growing sophistication of smartphones, tablets and other mobile devices has been a real game changer for the e-commerce industry. Customers are using their mobile device to make purchases in greater numbers than ever before. While a well-designed website is an essential asset for any e-commerce business, mobile site optimization may prove to be just as important. Ensuring that mobile visitors are provided with an easy to navigate website and a superior overall experience is a concern that no e-commerce business can afford to overlook.
Other Steps to Increase Sales Revenue and Build Brand Recognition
Other ways to ensure your e-commerce website receives higher volume inbound traffic can also be beneficial. Marketing methods and opportunities to improve customer retention and satisfaction may include:
- SEO services
- Customer reward programs
- Implementation of a mobile applications
Whatever your marketing and promotional strategy, ensuring that your website is well-designed, easy to navigate and provides customers with the opportunity to make convenient and secure purchases is always a key consideration. Internet-based retailers and e-commerce businesses that discount the importance of their website may quickly find themselves struggling just to remain competitive.