eCommerce is a boom industry. It has become as simple as finding a site and hosting provider, entering your product details in a template, and clicking ‘publish’. However, this ease of use doesn’t necessarily translate to success and there are key elements that must be done well to give a site the best chance of converting leads and making money.
Below are considered the three absolutely imperative factors to get right from the start. An eCommerce site encompasses a wide range of elements that must come together for a complete experience, but ensuring these three are at the highest standard will go a long way to making your site a success.
Probably the biggest concern users will have when using an eCommerce site. It is vital that their minds are put at ease, both by having your credentials on display and by having a secure online payment gateway. Your SSL certificate must be correctly installed and up to date, as users will receive a big warning message that will invariably deter them from proceeding with your site.
If users can’t find their way around your site easily, they won’t stick around for long. A well-thought out menu system is imperative for conversion and user experience. Your site’s navigation must take users from browsing to finalizing a transaction in as logical and straight forward a manner as possible. Each step, from using the menu system, to placing items in the shopping cart, to entering the payment details, should feel like the logical conclusion of visiting the site.Your site design should be flat, with as few steps as possible for visitors to find what they are looking for. Too many categories and the lack of a breadcrumb navigation system will lead users to get lost and confused, which are two key indicators of a poorly designed site.
This includes product descriptions, static pages such as the About, Contact and Home pages, and the images and videos across the site. It is tempting when rushing to get a site live to simply use manufacturer descriptions and images, with the time required to create original content prohibitive. While this might be adequate to an extent, your business won’t look as professional and enticing as it could, and the duplication issues will put a ceiling on its search engine ranking potential. Taking the time to put your own spin on the product is a valuable branding opportunity, and enables your business to take control of what the user associates with your business from the start. Often the manufacturer content is done cheaply and the descriptions are written by people who have English as a second language. They generally contain mistakes, awkward phrasing, and are usually written to communicate the dry facts of the product, rather than highlight the benefits.
The sum of the parts
Your site will only be as good as the time you put into the details. While it is possible to make sales and have a successful store without bothering with the finer points of design, it won’t give your site a cohesive brand experience, which is important for long-term, sustainable success.