Successful online businesses take a lot of their core facets from retail stores and store fronts when building their Ecommerce website. Typical of store front locations in busy downtown cores, or in mall, very visually appealing window displays or flashy colour schemes attract passing customers to enter into their store and look around. Once you enter into the store, you are able to see first hand what that store has to offer: Where to check out once your have chosen your item, friendly staff to answer any questions that you may have, and clear signage that distinguishes parts of the store to help guide you where to go.
Running a successful ecommerce website is no different. Applying the same strategies that successful retail store have adopted to drive customers into their store are the basics in driving traffic to your ecommerce website, and converting those visitors into customers.
I’ve listed the 5 most important rules for ecommerce success below to help you navigate through this growing industry and provide you with the tools for success online.
1. Simple and clean design
It is always important to have a modern looking website, with the latest technologies to engage our your visitors visually as soon as they arrive at your ecommerce website, but be careful because over designing or clouding your website can have a negative effect. The goal of your ecommerce website is to generate intrigue for your brand and encourage visitors to look around and eventually convert to a sale. Clean and simple design with easy navigation is important to remove unnecessary distractions and essentially guide your visitors to the checkout page.
Some basic ecommerce website design tips are:
• User-friendly navigation
• Clear menu and search bar
• Hi-Res product images
• Detailed and catchy product description for each item
• Easy to find contact and support page
• Readily available terms and conditions, return policy, shipping FAQ
2. Have an integrated payment solution
One of the biggest red flags for any online shopper is being redirected to a separate pay page when they are wanting to checkout after choosing some items from your ecommerce website. Your customers are choosing to shop online because of convenience, and adding additional steps to their checkout process doesn’t instill trust in your ecommerce website.
Also, having an integrated payment solution to your website provides the ability to customize your checkout page, making it unique, secure, and fast. As ecommerce continues to increase, you want to make sure that you don’t alienate your visitors with re-directed pay pages, which bring up security concerns, and extend the check out process. Keep it simple, secure and straightforward.
3. Only ask for relevant information
No matter how long a customer has spent on your ecommerce website looking for the perfect products, adding items to their shopping cart and getting ready to make the purchase; having a lengthy check out process with too many unnecessary required fields is a deal killer.
Regardless of how long a visitors takes on your website looking through catalogues or browsing, when it comes to making a payment and moving on to the next part of their day, speed and security is the most important factor. And just to be clear, you do not have to sacrifice security when discussing an efficient and fast check out page. Your goal is to get your customer to complete a purchase.
You can ask for additional info after the payment is complete if you feel so inclined, but it is important to keep the information fields to a minimum. These are the main fields of any successful checkout:
• Shopping cart review – To ensure all items selected are what you wish to purchase
• Payment information – Credit card details
• Billing and shipping address – For AVS security check
• Confirmation/Thank you - To let you know the purchase has been approved
4. Fast and functional page transition
As we discussed above, having a painful and lengthy check out process can deter visitors and potential customers from completing their sale, the same goes for having a slow website. I am not just talking about loading speed of images, or video streaming etc., I am focusing on the transition time between the inner pages of your website. The longer you make your potential customer wait, the higher the chance they will lose interest and focus their attention else where, or head to another site. This is drastically decrease your conversion rate, and that means, reduce your opportunity to generate revenue.
Once it becomes a pain to shop online, your customers will go to a competitor with faster page load times. If you are working with a web development firm, ensure that they take the proper steps towards testing the load speed of your website, and provide you with the results. If you are building your own website, through a theme or a simply on your own, use free metrics online to test your website speed and optimization performance, there are a number of them.
5. Constantly communicate security assurances
A common obstacle that any ecommerce website is trying to communicate trust and security to your visitors and potential customers. The easiest and most effective way to convey that you’re a trustworthy and secure website is to ensure that your consistently outlining your return and refund policies, contact information and product or customers reviews.
Providing this type of information will instill the necessary comforts that all online shoppers are looking for in order to make their purchase. The most important security information and general information about your ecommerce website should be provided in the following ways:
• Security badges and icons
• Contact/support information
• Return policy
• Shipping information
• Product ratings and reviews
Take these 5 important parts and implement them into your ecommerce website to set your online business up for success.