Informative blog by Ryan Powszok (LakeShore branding)
Developing an e-Commerce site is an altogether different challenge from coming up with an official website or company blog. While the latter two are meant – in one way or another – to serve as means of communication and engagement, an e-Commerce site should be built to sell. And sell lots.
Anyone who has ever shopped online will know that it takes more than just a piece of shopping cart software to be able to succeed in the online retail game. It also takes more than eye-catching web design or an impressive collection of product shots.
Are you an online retailer or a small business owner looking to boost your online sales? To help you understand selling on the Internet, we present this list of traits that every e-Commerce site should have.
Easy accessibility and navigation
This is an absolute necessity. Your e-Commerce site should be accessible from various types of web browsers – Firefox, Internet Explorer, Google Chrome, Safari, mobile browsers, etc. You wouldn’t want to lose potential customers to utter frustration at having a page not load properly or fast enough. Moreover, you have to make it as easy as possible for your website visitors to find a specific product he or she is looking for. As a general tip, set your site up in a way that products can be viewed in a matter of a single mouse click. Your web design and navigation should be a guiding element, for if you lose your visitors, you lose your sales.
Many online retailers give in to the temptation of having to make everything flashy. The brighter and fancier the storefront, the more attractive: right? Not on the Internet. Forget the flashy introductions and the jolly background jingle. They just draw your visitors’ attention to your site design and away from your products or services. Opt for minimalism and always make sure your e-Commerce web design does not overpower what you’re selling.
Online retailers understand the importance of including privacy policies in their sites. These assure visitors and shoppers that whatever information they give away will be kept private. These also provide reassurance that you are not going to use private details, transactions, IP addresses, tracked cookies, and other similar sensitive information for malicious purposes.
A picture can paint a thousand words, but online retailers don’t necessarily have to abide by this saying. Make it a lot of pictures. Invest in photography service that showcases your products in various dimensions and views. You can even create promotional trailers, video demonstrations, or short interviews on how and why a specific product was designed. Shoppers will also find your product catalog much more attractive and useful if you accompany those product shots with informative text. This is not to mention the many SEO-related benefits of optimizing your photos for search. When providing descriptions, make sure you include specs, price, sales terms, reviews, shipping details, and other relevant in-depth information.
Easy-to-use shopping cart and checkout
A visitor may have arrived at your site after specifically setting out to search, browse, and buy your products. Don’t let them down with complicated shopping carts and checkout areas. Guide them throughout the whole sales process, and give them the confidence that they’re doing it the right way. If you’re looking for a platform that packs these usability features, check out Magento e-Commerce and you’ll find out that it’s more than worth a try.
Showcase of popular and related products
You’ve seen Amazon do it: provide a showcase of popular and related products that may stir or sustain the visitors’ interest. It’s a classic sales tactic that not only helps you promote whatever you have to offer; when properly done it also gives visitors the impression that you’re sincere in helping them find what they’re looking for.
Multiple ordering and payment options
Not everyone feels comfortable with shopping online. Which shouldn’t be surprising: security breaches on the Web are not uncommon, and a number of your site visitors may thus feel apprehensive about having to request orders, give out their credit card information, or make payments via the Internet. This is where multiple ordering and payment options come in. They reassure potential customers that they can shop howsoever they please, and that – should things go wrong – they have other payment options at their disposal, like PayPal, electronic checks, e-bullion, offline bank transfer, etc. As a best practice, highlight the availability of customer support – be it online or by phone – and respond in a timely manner to customer queries.
Guarantees aren’t just promotional in nature. Because online shoppers can’t hold or actually see and feel the product until it’s been shipped to them, they respond more positively to e-Commerce sites that provide after-sales, money-back guarantees. These help your visitors feel more confident about their purchase decisions as well as about the quality of products and services that they get from your online store.
Safety and security
Magento is one of the leading e-Commerce platforms that are designed for safer, more secure online transactions. Regardless of the shopping cart software you have chosen, prioritize the use of a secure transaction environment – or an SSL (secure socket layer) system – that renders encoded data unreadable except for the actual customer the data was meant for. It’s also highly recommended that you partner with security companies in order to come up with vulnerability scanning and secure certifications, both of which can minimize the risks of you and your visitors getting exploited by malicious hackers.