With the ongoing pandemic forcing us to limit our out-of-home ventures, online shopping has become the way many people choose to buy. The e-commerce industry has been growing exponentially since long before this crisis and according to this 2020 study by Oberlo, the number of digital buyers in 2020 is expected to be 2.05 billion, which is over 25% of the world’s population.
If you have been mulling over the idea of launching your online store, now’s the time to get started. However, be mindful and realistic about the stiff competition that you may have to face and how you plan to combat it.
One of the first things you need to consider is how you will design and develop your e-commerce website where you’ll deliver a seamless, easy and intuitive buying experience.
Mentioned below are eight things you need to keep in mind when creating your website.
8 elements of a successful e-commerce website.
1. Find the right online identity for your website.
There are thousands of websites selling similar products, offering impeccable services and aggressively vying for the attention of the customers. So, how do you differentiate?
Smaller details play a huge role here. For example, for two e-commerce stores selling similar merchandise, the domain name can be a key differentiator. One website could be www.comictees.com and another could be www.comictee.store.
Which one of these two websites would you say for sure is an e-commerce store?
A simple domain extension such as .store can help you stand out and create a unique space for yourself in the industry. With a category-defining domain extension such as .store, you immediately establish that you’re an e-commerce website that’s selling something.
It gives you a unique opportunity to brand and market yourself differently.
2. Match your website design with the products.
Every website needs to be aesthetically pleasing and easy to navigate. However, as an e-commerce website, it is even more crucial that its look and feel is in sync with what you’re selling.
For instance, if you are selling niche tech products, your website’s design should ideally include crisp visuals or animations, clean lines and digital fonts. A loud or cluttered design may not help you attract the right audience.
On the contrary, if you are selling casual apparel and home accessories, use of bold, bright colors and playful fonts will do a better job of reflecting your fun personality.
3. Showcase your products properly.
In a physical store, customers are able to see, touch and try out products and speak to experts to gain a better understanding. This is not possible on an e-commerce website. Therefore, it is your duty to make sure that the customers have all the information they need to be able to create an accurate picture of the product in their heads and make an informed decision.
- Use large, clear and high-quality images of the products you are selling.
- Include images in various angles so that people can examine the product properly.
- Ensure the colors and sizes in the images truly depict the actual product.
Apart from images, you must highlight the key features of the product such as:
- Different ways in which it can be used.
- Tips to take care of it.
- The audience it is intended for.
- Its warranty period
For instance, if you are selling clothing, your product information should include size, material, washing instructions, brand name and information (in case you are selling multiple brands). Make sure to include a size chart because sizes vary across different brands. Images of models wearing the clothes will allow people to better picture what they intend to buy. Some items do not qualify for returns, so make sure you clearly indicate that information.
4. Provide an easy checkout process.
A lengthy and complicated checkout process can cause people to abandon their shopping carts without completing the purchase. Ideally, your checkout should include no more than three steps:
Step 1: Basic information such as name, email address and phone number
Step 2: Shipping address
Step 3: Payment information
You can provide customers with the option of creating an account on your website as it provides valuable information about them, allows you to track their purchases, customise your communication and personalize recommendations.
However, don’t make it mandatory. Several customers, especially first-timers, are wary of giving out too many personal details and forcing them to do so may make them abandon their purchase.
5. Provide multiple payment options
Different customers prefer different modes of payment. Many of them may only be comfortable using a credit card. Yet others will want to pay by an eWallet or by card on delivery. They may not feel comfortable divulging their card information on the Internet or they may want to receive and see the physical product before they pay. As a business, do the best you can to cater to all kinds of customers and thus provide as many viable payment options as possible.
6. Secure your e-commerce website.
Security is of utmost concern when you’re running an eCommerce website. Your customers are required to share sensitive information pertaining to their address and credit/debit cards and any compromise of such information can put them in grave difficulty. It can also potentially ruin your business.
Every website that collects the personal information of others needs a Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) certificate, this provides a secure channel over which sensitive information is transmitted. It will further assure customers that their private details are safe on your website. If your website URL begins with HTTP and not HTTPS (Hyper Text Transfer Protocol Secure), that’s another sign that your website is not secure. This may dissuade a customer from doing business with you.
7. Be accessible to your customers.
Unlike in a brick-and-mortar store, people shopping online do not have access to a salesperson or an expert to address their queries. Nevertheless, it is your duty to assure them that you are there to help them out at every step of the way.
Apart from sending regular and accurate updates about the status of their order, you should also provide contact information for your customer care team that can promptly address their concerns.
Create a full-fledged “Contact Us” page on your website where you provide clear details and a variety of ways in which people can contact you, including email, phone number and/or a contact form. Make sure to include your social handles because a lot of people use social media channels to contact businesses or raise their concerns. If you have the manpower for it, a built-in live chat is the best and fastest way to address a customer’s query.
8. Encourage and publish reviews.
According to a BigCommerce study, 69% of online shoppers want more reviews from e-commerce websites, while 77% say that they read product reviews before making a purchase. If you have been receiving positive feedback on your products and your customer services, it will serve you well to highlight these on your homepage as well as on specific product pages.
Encourage people to write reviews for you by sending them follow-up emails after their purchases, thanking them for shopping with you and letting them know that you value their feedback.
Ready to launch your e-commerce website?
An e-commerce website needs to be the right blend of aesthetics, easy navigation, robust security systems and relevant and accurate information which can translate into a wholesome shopping experience. By ensuring that you incorporate the tips mentioned above into your website design, you increase your chances of converting visitors into revenue-generating customers.
You can launch your e-commerce website today using Domain.com’s AI-powered WebsiteBuilder.
Alisha is a Senior Content Marketing & Communication Specialist at Radix, the registry behind some of the most successful new domain extensions, including .STORE and .TECH. You can connect with her on LinkedIn and Twitter.