Are you selling products and services online? Research has shown that e-commerce retail sales will reach up to $4 trillion by the end of 2020. However, to get your hands on a piece of this pie, you will need a well-designed, visually appealing website, and that will entice people to make a purchase.
What are e-commerce websites?
E-commerce websites are online shops where people can buy and sell goods electronically. Amazon is one such example. The advantages of having an e-commerce website include:
- It is always open for business.
- Customers can easily find your products and services.
- Transactions are concluded much faster than in the traditional way.
- You can sell to customers anywhere in the world.
- The costs of establishing and operating a virtual shop are lower compared to a physical store.
- It takes less effort to build a virtual shop.
How can you ensure that your e-commerce site attracts as many customers as possible? Here are some tips.
General design concepts and ideas
Remember, the objective of web design is to create a positive perception of your brand. Keeping customers happy is a sure-fire way of increasing sales and promoting brand loyalty.
It is also essential that you engage your visitors long enough for them to consider making a purchase. Therefore, you should always strive to find a way of making their visit a pleasurable one.
The good news is that you don’t need a website that is loud or full of flashy images. Instead, consider using design themes that will accurately depict your brand values. An e-commerce website should assure customers that it is:
Now, how can you improve your website? You could include a trust seal, but you must make sure that it comes from a legitimate third-party company.
Web designers may propose various ideas for your website. However, before deciding on the final design, remember the following advice:
- Minimize the clutter and create a visual hierarchy by using white spaces
- Consider customizing the fonts to match your desired theme; you can obtain them from various online sources, such as Google Fonts.
There are also elements that you should avoid, such as:
- Flashy carousels and other videos or images which can slow down your website
- Long blocks of text (which make your site difficult to read)
- Too much information on the homepage as this can distract visitors from your product offers.
1. Make your website mobile-friendly
A 2015 mobile web study revealed that more than half of online traffic in the US comes from mobile devices. This means your online shop must be accessible on any device, including mobile phones and tablets. Moreover, if your e-commerce site is optimized for mobile, you will obtain a considerable amount of online business from potential customers. If that’s not enough, here are some additional reasons why online shops need a useful mobile-friendly website:
- Google considers mobile-friendliness to be a significant ranking factor
- More than half of the US population use a smartphone to purchase items online
- Many people favor brands that provide a pleasant mobile experience
2. Prioritize your products and services
When it comes to online sales, most customers won’t buy a product that looks unappealing. If it is a high-quality item, but people are still not buying it, you should search for possible reasons. Perhaps poor lighting or a lack of focus has made the product appear visually unattractive. It is essential that you only post product images that look clean, professional, and desirable.
3. Enable efficient communication
If an online visitor is impressed by your product, they may need to contact you. Therefore, you must incorporate your information on your homepage and in the footer of each of your other pages so that potential buyers can easily reach out to you. Your contact details should include:
- Email address
- Contact number
- Physical address
- Social media accounts
4. Encourage customers to go to their shopping cart
Items placed in the shopping cart do not equate to a guaranteed sale. For example, people may abandon their carts because they are confused by the process. You can prevent this from happening by keeping your navigation menu clean and clear.
Another reason why people hesitate to proceed to the checkout page relates to trust. They must feel comfortable providing you with their sensitive financial information, such as their credit card details.
So, how can you assure them that your website is trustworthy?
One way to assure and protect customers is to have your website SSL certified. This means that your online shop is using a secure online protocol. In the URL section, if you see ‘https’ or a padlock image, this means that the site is secure. This will reassure customers that their personal information will be safe.
You could also introduce features that provide instant positive feedback for every item placed in the cart. Comments, especially positive ones, can increase people’s trust and confidence in your online shop. Pop-ups could also encourage buyers to continue shopping with you.
There may be instances when prospective buyers don’t push through with their payment. This is called shopping cart abandonment. Fortunately, your site can still collect valuable data that can help prevent this from happening in the future.
5. Market your products and services
Use content to promote your products and services to your customers. Create or improve the positive emotional connection to your brand. Tell a story about yourself. For example, you could tell them:
- Why you set up an online business
- The benefits of doing business with you
- Why your products and services stand out
One social media study concluded that around half of all brand followers buy a product that they have seen on Twitter. If you have a business presence on Facebook, remember that many customers prefer Twitter for product updates. The latter is also the most popular social media platform for sending complaints or queries.
Email is another excellent way of directly connecting with customers and sending them the latest product information. You could even offer discounts or gifts to entice people to subscribe to your emails.
Other ways to engage customers
FAQs and general information
You should provide detailed product information to increase your chances of making a sale. Also, create a frequently asked questions (FAQs) page that includes vital information such as:
- Delivery procedures
- Returns and warranties
- Sizing chart for clothing and footwear
Reviews and testimonials
Reviews and testimonials will depend on your type of business, products, and customers. For example:
- Feedback is useful for product distributors
- Brand-holders prefer testimonials
The only way to determine whether reviews can help or harm your virtual shop is by conducting tests. Naturally, it is preferable only to have good reviews. Nevertheless, a few bad ones may convince readers that you are at least honest and open. If you do receive a bad review, make sure you follow up on the matter quickly and efficiently. This will impress customers and convince them that you are willing to resolve any issues.
The focus of your e-commerce website should be on winning the trust of new customers and developing their loyalty. You should also ensure that you always provide a pleasant user experience. Remember to continually improve your site’s efficiency and make it easy for visitors to navigate between pages. Also, still, maintain and enhance your product selection and payment process.