Developing a new e-commerce site will inevitably pose a number of challenges. Along with suppliers, design, fulfillment, and payment processors, the website itself must be built to optimize sales and provide a positive user experience. Certain choices might be clear from the beginning, but there are various elements that can be overlooked. The following elements should all be considered for any e-commerce venture, offering the chance to improve the buying experience for all visitors.
Gaining an SSL certificate will indicate that your site is secure. Using the standard HTTP protocol will be flagged by all the major browsers, with many visitors being suspicious from the moment they land on your site. There is an argument to be made for all sites using HTTPS, but it is particularly important for anyone who takes payments.
A wishlist feature helps visitors to remember the items they were considering for purchase, increasing the likelihood they will eventually buy. Most people browsing your inventory will forget the items that were of interest, so a wishlist helps them jog the memory. You could even send email reminders about particular items subscribers were interested in.
Contact details show your business is legitimate and not trying to stay hidden. There are sites that have been set up for illegal purposes, attempting to take money and credit card details from customers. Contact details help to increase trust while allowing visitors the chance to get in touch.
A live chat facility offers the chance to get a quick answer to a question. While email and phone numbers are suitable for some questions, a large number of visitors would rather speak to someone immediately via chat. The presence of a live chat option also works as a trust symbol, showing a professional level that many sites don't achieve.
Some of the most common questions for an e-commerce site relate to shipping and returns. Hiding this information will only irritate many visitors, ultimately leading to lost sales. Make shipping and returns information as clear as possible, simplifying your own processes wherever possible.
Payment icons are useful for customers and help to earn trust. Quickly seeing the payment options available removes a doubt that some customers might be experiencing. Additionally, the trust factor of seeing well-known symbols works to provide credibility to your own site.
The simple addition of social buttons can add an extra promotional element to your e-commerce site. Social buttons can be featured on a product page, allowing visitors to remind themselves and their followers about a product. Also, including social buttons on the purchase confirmation page will add social proof to your site.
Navigation will vary depending on the size of the store. It is important to make navigation prominent, accessible, and user-friendly, helping visitors to find the items they want. E-commerce stores tend to follow similar design structures, so there is no need to radically overhaul a standard design. However, focus on ensuring products are correctly categorized in a logical hierarchy.
Of course, it is essential to include a payment button on your product pages. Simply using any button or a text link, though, won't be enough. Your payment button should stand out, typically using an orange or red color to draw attention. Create a standardized button that can be used across the whole site, but test a few options first.
A great deal of additional revenue can be earned through recommending products to customers. You can include complimentary items on a product page, offer similar products during the payment process, and make suggestions after the purchase is complete. While it might seem like a minor element, you can greatly increase revenue by recommending products in the appropriate places.
Not every e-commerce site has to follow the same template, with individual elements helping you stand out. However, there are certain features that work consistently, helping to increase sales more often than not. Including these elements can be a starting point, but there is always the opportunity to experiment with your site using A/B testing. Ultimately, you should look to develop your e-commerce site using standard best practices, run some tests to ensure you are fully optimized, and benefit from a fully functioning platform. If you would like assistance developing your new e-commerce site venture, or simply want a sounding board, Welch Law has your back and offers free consultations, as well as reduced rates for startup companies.