Creating a website can be a daunting task for any business and for many there are a lot of traps to fall into. But while there is a lot you should consider when creating your online store, there are a few simple rules that you can follow to ensure that you create an effective e-commerce store that generates sales.
The first step in creating an online e-commerce business is selecting a product that you can sell and understanding who it is that you’re selling them to. Once you have a sense of direction, the next step is to create an e-commerce website that’s both visible and engaging to customers. Here’s how.
Whilst many believe SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) comes after building your site, it’s actually the first thing you should be considering before anything goes live on the internet. Websites should be built with SEO in mind.
Generating rich content at the beginning, gives your website the best start in life and helps you grow visibility from the get go. Keyword research, competitor research and content optimisation will help you get your website in front of your customers, giving you the best chance to grow your business and generate sales early on.
SEO also allows you to organise content in a way that not only helps Gooogle understand your website’s value, but it also helps your audience digest, navigate and understand your products.
A great example of SEO can be seen on this Landing page for Electric Bikes by EcoMove Bristol.
EcoMove has worked hard to create a landing page that’s full of valuable information for its users. Using H2’s and H3’s they have broken their content into easily digestible sections and used keywords to match the search terms of their customers.
By optimising their website landing pages for search, EcoMove are able to appear on the first page of the search results and get in front people searching for products like theirs.
Tools That You Can Use For SEO
There are a wide range of tools that you can use to track your website’s SEO performance such as MOZ and AHRefs. These platforms can be used to carry out keyword research, track your rankings, and get insights on competitors.
Another useful tool is the Rank Math Plugin for WordPress. The plug-in is packed full of useful features that will help you optimise your website for search.
2. UX & Design – Create the Shopping Experience
Much like shopping in a brick-and-mortar establishment, customers are looking for a positive experience when they shop online. People enjoy browsing, but they also like to be able to find what it is they are looking for.
As you would in a physical store, you should organise products in a way that the customers can navigate. Product categories and search bars enable your customer to browse your products in a way that makes sense to them. This ensures that the customer is in control of how they shop and doesn’t feel like their time is being wasted.
Cross-sells are another valuable tool that you can use to showcase products that your customer may like. Organizing products helps you showcase the relevant items to your customers, and when you show customers what they want, they are more likely to make a purchase.
The most famous e-commerce platform that uses categories in an effective way is Amazon. Customers are able to find the products they want quickly, and efficiently whilst still being able to browse at their own leisure.
Browsing Smaller Ecommerce Stores
This concept however is easily transferable to smaller sites, as shown here on EcoMove’s shop page. Customers are able to filter the page using the categories on the left and browse items.
It’s also important that customers can see key information about the product, at a glance on the shop page, to determine whether or not it’s an item they might be interested in. This saves the user time as they can simply scroll past the items they are not interested in buying and find the ones they are much quicker.
An optimised shop page can also increase the value of the clicks that a product receives, as the customer enters the page further on in their buyer’s journey. For example, those looking to buy an electric bike are able to find the product page that best suits their requirements, based on the product features highlighted on the shop page, instead of landing on a page that might not meet their needs.
Here’s a few more examples of effective e-commerce design to get you inspired:
3. Make Buying Simple – Clear Pricing and Add To Cart
Probably the most simple step in creating your product pages is making sure that your pricing and call to action are clear and stand out from the rest of your content.
Using contrasting colours is a great way of doing this. If a customer can not find the price of your product, trusting your brand becomes difficult and customers will be less likely to buy.
If you’re selling a product that’s maybe a little expensive, you should work to justify the price by displaying your unique service offerings. Perhaps you offer free delivery, loyalty discounts, or bonus packages.
Customers are likely to spend more if they feel they have something extra to gain. Hiding your price, however, causes confusion and a lack of trust.
On the product page below you can clearly see the price in green, the call to action, and a list of unique offerings that the retailer offers.
4. Show Off Your Products – Use Rich Media
When shopping online, we not only want to learn about how products function, we also want to know how they look and get a sense for how they might feel in our hands. That’s where rich media comes in. Bigger images make sites look better, and furthermore enhance shopper’s experiences, which means more leads and more sales.
Reading about a product may help us understand a product, but being able to see the product is often what convinces us to buy. By using high quality images we can show customers how amazing our products are.
Videos are also a fantastic tool for showing customers the products in action and demonstrating their value. 90% of the information that gets transmitted to the brain is visual, therefore customers are more likely to digest and withhold the information we share through images and videos.
Seeing is Converting
Websites that use rich media are more likely to convert their users, therefore it’s vital that you take time to consider the images that you use. Using low-resolution or poor-quality images give a negative impression to users, and will usually turn them off from your products.
One of the most visually impactful websites that come to mind for us is niubristol.co.uk. The site uses high-resolution and visually stunning images throughout their site to highlight the beauty of its electric mopeds.
The colours and angles used in the images have been carefully selected to show the products at their best. This not only highlights their branding but also shows off their products in a way that is most appealing to the user.
Products that look good, sell. And images that stimulate us, will often cause us to act and react and most importantly buy!
5. Keep Checking Out Quick & Easy
A relatively simple one here (but one that’s often overlooked by online retailers) is keeping your check out simple. For many shoppers, a lengthy check out process is time consuming and often irritating.
Now that shopping online is the norm for most, websites are expected to be simpler and quicker, and if it takes too long to check out, customers may grow impatient, abandon their carts and shop somewhere else.
Make sure your checkout is simple, only ask for information that is 100% necessary, and make sure your site speed is fast, otherwise customers may give up halfway through and leave your website.
It’s also worth mentioning that the more payment options you offer, the more customers you are likely to convert. If you sell high end goods or pricier products, it may be worth offering a finance or pay-in-installments option. The key is to make your products more accessible.
6. Build Trust and Offer Support
One of the most important things to do as a retailer is deliver great customer support. How many times have you been walking through a store and needed to ask a friendly employee for help? Well the same thing happens online. Often customers will have questions or need help with a particular product and it’s up to you to help them.
Ecommerce stores that offer no support may find that they struggle to get returning customers and that’s because if the service sucks, people will move on.
However, by delivering customer support, contact forms, FAQs or even a chat feature, you can support customers at every stage of their journey and create a more positive experience for your users. Customers will often return to a store, regardless of cost, if they find that they have received great customer service.
Remember your customers are the most important part of your business, so always consider how you can make your ecommerce store better for them. This is also a great way for you to stand out against your competitors – research what support they offer their customers, and think about how you can do it better.
And Don’t Forget Reviews
Last but not least, don’t forget that people are more likely to buy products that other customers enjoy. Therefore it’s essential that you collect reviews from your customers and address any dissatisfied customers in a polite and considerate way. We can’t please everyone but by showing you care about every individual, you can leave a positive lasting impression.