E-commerce has gained more popularity than ever before. An e-commerce website provides the target customers with the convenience of choosing the items which they wish to purchase, adding them to an online cart, and finally making the payment for the same. However, there is more than what meets the eye as developing a website from scratch takes time and effort. From deciding a URL to dividing the products into different categories, there’s a lot of work that needs to be done.
These are the top 10 things that must be considered during the process of e-commerce website development.
1.Making use of links and web pages instead of stuffing content in a single page
Imagine opening up two e-commerce websites. One of the websites has a page where 10 different products have been listed on a single page, whereas the other website shows a single product on one page and shows related products below it. It’s quite natural to be more interested in browsing a website where there are separate links for each product.
Even before purchasing anything from a particular website, the customer starts to build up first impressions about a company from its layout.
Information overload can take place if a customer in the mind of a potential customer if an excessive amount of information is provided about multiple products. This happens as a customer finds it more difficult to compare between many alternative products at the same time. Too much content on a single page makes the website seem messy and has an adverse impact on the user experience. Using separate links for each product, the payment gateway, the shopping cart, and customer support is important.
2. Making the website aesthetically pleasing
Did you know that 75% of a website’s credibility comes from its design? (Source: Webfx) A poor design can create the impression that a website can steal personal information or is a scam. This can hurt the potential of an e-commerce company to grow in the long run as customers are highly unlikely to trust the website and its ability to serve customers in the best way possible.
The following techniques can help in improving the design of a particular website.
A. Incorporating relevant and high-quality images on the website
A website must have high-quality images, or else the customer will develop a negative attitude towards it. The image should be shown in a manner through which it is fully visible- it should not be such that a customer can clearly notice that parts of it have cut from the original. A business can also consider hiring a professional photographer.
The selected images should be relevant to a web page. For instance, an e-commerce company selling the latest version of a mobile phone should not include a picture of an earlier model in a new promotional banner on the website.
B. Choosing the most appropriate colors, fonts and text lengths for the website
Using appropriate colors and fonts grabs the attention of the viewers. For instance, using contrasting colors, such as black and white can make it easier for people to read the text. The kind of colors that are used will depend upon the target audience as well. Using bold colors is a good idea if your business is targeting a young audience. Some colors may go well with a brand’s persona. For instance, a women’s fashion company may decide to use pink.
Using common fonts, such as Arial and Times New Roman makes the text of a website easier to read. Other fonts can be used for promotional purposes, such as for including discount banners on the website. Stick to using a maximum of one or two fonts on your website, which will make sure that the appearance of the website remains satisfactory.
Apart from the fonts used, the lengths of the text on the website should also be considered. If all of the lines on the website are too short, the reader’s “flow” of reading will be disrupted. However, if the sentences are too long, it becomes harder to communicate with the readers.
C. Creating a logo for your website
A website is incomplete without a logo. A logo is more than some fancy text and graphics as it represents your brand’s individual identity. It will help you in differentiating your e-commerce website from others.
According to an article published in T-Sciences, the human brain can process images 60,000X faster than they can process words. Logos can help in facilitating brand-recall as the target customers will start recognizing the logos after viewing them a couple of times.
3. The website must be mobile-friendly
How many times have you tried to browse through a website on your mobile phone and realized that it can only be opened on a laptop or a personal computer? A website that cannot be browsed properly on a mobile phone can harm the user experience.
According to statistics released by Webfx, people spend 70% of their time on their mobile phones. Hence, it’s important to make sure that people don’t have to keep zooming in to read the text on the website.
4. A contact-us/ locate us page must be made
It’s not enough to simply launch a new e-commerce website. A contact-us option must be available, or else you can risk losing your customers if their inquiries are not resolved. Customers may want to have a word with the customer care executives for many reasons. For instance, a technical issue might arise on the website and a customer may want to track the package that he/she ordered or a customer might want to inform the delivery executive that he/she is not at home to collect an order. Including an e-mail id or a phone number is essential for any e-commerce website.
The phone and the mobile number should not be included as stand-alone text: clicking on them should make it easy for the customer to send an e-mail or directly call the customer care executive.
Remember that no replies to e-mails sent by the customers or unanswered phone calls will discourage the customer from buying from the website as well.
5. Making sure that the website load time is fast enough
According to research conducted by Google, 53% of all mobile users abandon a website that takes more than 3 seconds to load.
In a world where your competitors are trying their best to update their e-commerce website, not focusing on the website load time can be a huge mistake.
6. Use call-to-action buttons and expand on the payment options
A customer carefully selects some products, adds them to the cart, and decides to make a purchase. However, there is only one payment option that the customer sees in front of him/her at the checkout page: Pay using a debit/a credit card.
Running an e-commerce website is not just about the products and the prices that a customer is being charged. A customer should have many payment options available to him/her. A single mode of payment such as a credit card or a debit card might lead to people seeking out similar products on competitor’s websites. To avoid losing a customer right before the moment when a customer can make a purchase, options like internet banking, cash on delivery, and mobile wallets must be added. A payment option that’s preferred by one customer might not be convenient for another.
A call to action button must also be present on the website for performing tasks like adding a product to a cart (“ADD TO CART” button) or for purchasing a product (“BUY NOW” button).
7. Using the power of social media to your advantage
According to the Digital 2020: Global Digital Overview, (Source: DataReportal) the number of active social media users has already crossed 3.8 billion as of January 2020. The report had also stated that more than half of the world’s population will have access to social media by the middle of 2020. The current global coronavirus situation has also led to an 87% increase in social media usage, and there is no better time for companies to start reaping the benefits of using social media than now. (Source: Business Today)
Without using the power of social media, it’s difficult for you to communicate effectively with your customers in the long run. The contact us page of your website can include the links of social media platforms where the target customers can receive updates regarding new products and categories on a regular basis.
Apart from informing customers about new product offerings, posts on topics like online webinars by industry leaders, contests like spin-to-win, cashback offers, and customer testimonials can be uploaded on the social media accounts of the company. Platforms like Instagram and Twitter do well in terms of such posts. By using social media, customers who visit the e-commerce website on an infrequent basis can be encouraged to buy from the company again.
Social media also helps an e-commerce company to quickly resolve any common queries that customers may have about a product or complaints about the quality of a product. For instance, a company can upload a social media post about its recently launched hair vitamins and questions about hair vitamins can be answered. For example, people might want to know whether or not the vitamins can be taken by children.
The only thing that you need to take care of while integrating your website with social media is to not link to the company’s social media networks from the top of the page, but from the bottom of the page instead. This reduces the chances that the customer will leave the website altogether to explore the company’s social media accounts. You should also use your social media for branding.
8. Engage with your target audience
Engaging with the audience is necessary for any brand in today’s era. An e-commerce website can easily set itself apart by including elements like a video of its offerings on its website or a GIF. Videos related to recent events, such as the hygiene practices followed by the delivery executives with respect to COVID-19, can also help in building brand trust. Sometimes, videos might interest visitors to an e-commerce website more than text or images.
9. Make sure that users can navigate through your website
While most businesses believe that their target audience will start browsing a website after visiting its home page, this is not always the case. Customers might not know exactly what they’re looking for, and they might simply be “exploring” by clicking on multiple links at once.
A search box helps the target audience to find the product which they need according to the category in which it belongs. For instance, searching for “cakes” can show two different categories of items: one category is recipe books and the other category is cakes like fruit cakes. This avoids any confusion in the minds of the target audience as well.
Users can also navigate through your website with the help of footers, which are located at the end of a webpage. These footers are usually divided into sections like Customer Support, About Us, Explore (The Site’s Name), and more.
10. Use tools like chat boxes to provide a better user experience to your customers
You must’ve opened up a website and seen a bot pop up on the website. A bot helps new customers who might not be able to access the website the first time. For instance, bots can aid the customer by asking about the customer’s requirements. A customer might type “skincare products for women” and the bot can direct the customer to a webpage where skincare products like moisturizers and creams are sold. The products which are exclusively for women could be shown.
Chat boxes also come with options like enabling the customers to fill out feedback forms related to the customer’s overall experience with using the website. Some chat boxes ask for the customer’s name and e-mail id which makes it easy for companies to directly call customers and respond to their questions.
If you need help in building a user-friendly, eye-catching e-commerce website using web design tools that help your brand stand out from other players in the market, head over to our services page.
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