What makes a successful ecommerce website?

What makes a successful ecommerce websiteAll online businesses that directly sell their products or services online need a great ecommerce platform; it’s essential to their ongoing success. It’s important that the website makes it as easy and convenient as possible for visitors to buy online.

In this blog we discuss some of our recommended features to help you increase your online sales by improving your visitor experience.

So which features should you consider for your ecommerce website?

Simple navigation
No one likes walking up and down the aisles of a shop unable to find what they’re looking for. Customers of an online store are the same – but with an even shorter attention span. A good ecommerce site must enable a shopper to find want they’re looking for quickly and easily. There are no hard and fast rules as to what makes a simple navigation system, but it’s generally agreed that the less clutter, the better – ie remove the less important destinations from the main navigation and place in drop down menus or the site footer.

An obvious ‘help’ function
Even more frustrating than not being able to find what you’re looking for is not being able to find anyone to ask for help. Make sure that your ecommerce platform includes a clear link to help – whether that be a list of FAQs, live chat, or a phone number.

Special offers and promotions
You only have a few seconds to grab a shopper’s attention and keep them on your site; special offers and promotions are a great way of doing this. Everyone likes to think they’re getting a bargain, so whatever your offer – free shipping, discounts, or a gift with every purchase – make it stand out on your home page.

Complete product information
Don’t leave your customers with any questions about what they’re buying. The more information you provide about a product, the more they’ll feel they can trust you (and the better experience they’ll have as they won’t be searching around for more detail). Always include a list of the product features and the full specification, including measurements where possible.

Appearance is key. Include multiple photos of your product from different angles (ideally the full 360 degrees), and enable customers to zoom into specific areas, so they know exactly what they’re getting.

Customer reviews
Reviews are key to building trust. Not only do they provide more information about the product, they also give an insight into the level of customer service that your company provides. Don’t be afraid of bad reviews – responding to them quickly and effectively shows that you care what your customers think of you.

Alternate product adverts
Amazon is legendary when it comes to cross-selling, and there’s no reason why your ecommerce site shouldn’t take a similar approach. Make sure you strike a balance between encouraging your customers to look at other products and being too pushy – what you don’t want to do is put them off completing the transaction they’re already committed to.

A ‘recently viewed products’ feature
Ideally, every visit to your website will end with a sale. Realistically, many shoppers will navigate away from your page and come back at a later date. Adding a ‘recently viewed products’ feature gives your customers a more enjoyable shopping experience when they return, as they’ll easily be able to find the items that interested them previously, encouraging engagement and, crucially, conversion.

What’s New categories
Hopefully your website will attract a loyal customer base, with most shoppers making repeat visits. Keep them interested by adding a prominent ‘what’s new’ category so they can get excited about recent additions to your range.

Easy-to-use check out
You’ve got visitors to your site and you’ve got them interested in buying one of your products; don’t fall at the last hurdle by making it difficult to complete the transaction. Keep this page as simple as possible – both in terms of the information you collect and the information you display. Help your customer to focus on the task in hand by taking away the navigation and leaving them with only the essentials (your logo, the form to fill out, and a next button), the fewer distractions, the better.

Secure online payments
Absolutely crucial to customer trust – and your credibility as an online retailer – is the ability to take secure online payments through your ecommerce platform. This is not an area where you can afford to cut corners.

Ultimately, your ecommerce platform is your shop window, your catalogue, your staff, and your reputation. It needs to be captivating, easy to use, convenient, informative and secure. There are lots of good off-the-shelf ecommerce platforms available such as Shopify, WooCommerce and Magento, but bear in mind that they can be difficult to modify to your exact requirements. If yours isn’t an off-the-shelf business, if you want to stand out from your competitors, and if you want to deliver first-class customer service, it may be worth investing in a bespoke ecommerce platform like Kick Commerce – a custom built application which can be tailored to your business’ specific needs. Your ecommerce website is a great opportunity to establish yourself as a leader of good user experiences – don’t waste it.

Published by

Ben Parrish

I've worked in digital since 1999 and founded Kick Interactive in 2007. Over the years i've designed, built, developed, sold and managed all areas of a digital project. I have a true passion for great design and excellent user experience.

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