Principals Of An Effective e-Commerce Website
What is e-Commerce? e-Commerce or commerce is either an action: the sale of products or services over the Internet or an online store.
Buyer’s advantages of using e-Commerce websites to make purchasing decisions:
• Accessibility – buy anytime, anywhere regardless of location.
• Speed – buy quickly without the need to travel or stand in lines
• Price comparison – ability to check out and compare multiple sellers at once to save money.
• Variety – better selection
• Time saver and cost reducer
• Convenient online access
Seller’s advantages of having an e-Commerce website to sell products:
• Time saver & cost reducer
• Brand reach expands beyond local customers
• Paperless environment
• Less time resolving invoices and order discrepancies
• Lower Overhead
• Ability to provide multiple payment gateways
• Affordable marketing, advertising tactics
• Easier Catalog and product management
• Streamlined communication
Converting your target market into online customers or simply: helping a visitor make a positive purchase decision is the ultimate goal of an online e-Commerce website owner. Let’s take a look at basic principles that make all websites great and e-commerce website convert.
Every website needs to possess the following basics:
• Professional branding & attractive design to foster trust and help legitimize the business.
• Graphics and other visuals must enhance not hinder the online experience.
• Well organized content in order for visitors to easily find what they’re looking for.
• Website’s core message and text must be legible, clear and understood by the the visitors.
• Appropriate website architecture, technology and features to yield desirable results.
• Free of errors (broken links, buttons, forms etc)
• Enable easy contact with the company.
• Basic SEO in order for the site to be found by users and crawled by search engines.
If above is true for all websites regardless of business goals, what makes e-Commerce websites conceptually different than other sites? Plenty!
For starters, e-Commerce website’s core focus is to convert (turn a visitor into a customer by inspiring them to make a purchase). There are selling principles that must be followed in order for that sale to occur, otherwise visitors will continue browsing and possibly finalize their purchase with your competitor.
e-Commerce website differentiators:
• Website’s User Experience must have a strong call to action that drives customers to make a purchase, provide feedback, share info, respond or whatever else you want them to do. Call to action is usually driven by the use of clearly defined buttons, links, action oriented messaging and content, banners/ads, promo codes etc… Telling your visitors what to do and when is key.
• Professional look and feel of the website, page elements and correct design principals (color, scale, location of important features, balance) should aid customers in their decision making, purchasing process, grab their attention, keep them on your website and inspire them to come back. If the site is too busy, unorganized, low quality, outdated and poorly built, the visitor will hesitate to buy from you. Why would they take your business seriously if their perception is that you don’t take it seriously.
• Well organized, keyword rich content that is informative, helpful and inspires purchase is crucial to the success of an e-Commerce website.
Too many e-Commerce sites lack basic product descriptions, provide incorrect information or repetitive product labels that do not help visitors make up their minds. Why are the products superb to competitors’ offerings? What sets them apart, makes them unique and better? Why should they buy from you is what must be clearly conveyed while writing each product description.
• Establish strong “Trust Factor”.
Unlike shopping at the mall or a grocery store where store owners can influence shopper’s sense of smell, taste and touch to influence their decisions, Internet relies on our vision and emotional state which can be altered depending on the visitor’s experience with your website and your brand. Communication and the ability to relate to the audience and offer them what they need and want becomes crucial.
“Content is King” <– have you heard this phase? When it comes to Search Engine Optimization (SEO) strategies, marketers create keyword rich content to influence website’s ranking score as search engines rely on content to evaluate how relevant it is to search terms. But content is even more important for eCommerce shoppers as it plays a direct role in impacting the visitor’s sense of trust and how they feel about your company and products.
Ensuring consistency between brand image, communication and content determines how much time each visitor spends on your website as unlike with a brick and mortal stores, e-Commerce website visitors have the convenience of leaving your website with 1 click and accessing hundreds of competitors from the comfort of their living room.
A great e-Commerce website design will make shopping a breeze and lead the visitor to the right page in 1-3 clicks at the most. Knowledgeable website designers create user experiences that are intuitive, inspirational, exciting and swiftly move visitors through the shopping experience and checkout.
• Great Custom Service is very important with e-Commerce sites to build loyalty and get repeat business. Pre and post purchase interaction such as abandonment shopping cart communication, follow up emails, confirmation emails, onsite messaging, user specific content, browser cookies, future discounts and exclusive deals build rapport with customers and eliminate confusion or hesitation as well as inspire future purchase.
If you are about to start an e-Commerce website or already own one and need to update it / redesign it or perhaps you already have a great site that requires SEO / SEM to take things to the next level contact us for a free consultation and site evaluation.