Being an online retailer is a wild and wonderful journey, but unfortunately it’s one that doesn’t come with a very good map. You can always follow in the footsteps of your predecessors, but that takes all of the fun out of it. Make sure you pack plenty of useful knowledge and good information with you before you strike out on your own into the Internet wilderness, otherwise you might find yourself becoming a cautionary tale.
Get Yourself a Zippy Site
People are used to blazing fast Internet connections and accessing information in less than ten seconds. It’s said that every two seconds of load time is a roughly ten percent rate of abandonment. If you have a site that’s too slow, then you risk losing out on tons of business and hundreds of customers. Make sure there aren’t any unnecessary graphics or images to weight things down. Third party plug-ins and a cloud-delivery network can also turn your site into a tar pit. If it’s not vital to your business, dump it overboard.
Make Buying a Breeze
Not only do you want your actual site to be uncluttered, you want the buying process to be the same. What’s the use of having the best products if it takes ten steps to actually buy them? It’s best that you par everything down to:
- Cart/Welcome page
At the end of the buying process, don’t forget to thank the customer and try to give them a rough estimate of when their products should arrive. When you make those estimates, try to stick as close to them as possible and let customers know the minute that anything changes for the better or the worse.
Give Customers Credit
While you’re making your own path, it’s okay to take a few pointers from the rest of the ecommerce world, and that most definitely applies to credit card entry systems. Make it easy for customers to put in their credit card information by creating an entry system that’s similar to what everyone else is using.
For instance, are customers used to entering their name, address and zip code first and then their credit card number? If so, don’t make them start by entering their credit card number or security code first. That will only confuse them and possibly frustrate them.
Have an Open-Door Policy
Let’s say that a customer wants to thank you for shipping their order so quickly or say what awesome items you have…only they can’t because they don’t know how or where to contact you. Make it easy for customers and visitors to find your fax number, phone number, email address and any social media profiles that you might have. If you have a physical location in addition to an online store, make sure they know where to find you if they ever want to put a face to such an awesome business.
A Picture is Worth a Thousand Sales
Think of how much more appetizing a dish is when you can see a picture of it. You can practically taste and smell it, and the same rules apply to your products. Not only do you want to have images of your products, you want to have high quality images that users can zoom in on to really get a look at the detail.
Underneath those photos you can have descriptions, reviews, price and bullet points that outline the main features of the product. Get their fingers itching to click on that “Add to Cart” button. Something else to keep in mind is that you want to make sure that you have up-to-date images and information about your wares. Don’t advertise features that items no longer have or sales that have come and gone. Having a strong hold on your product management can help infinitely in this area.
Use What You’ve Got, Not What You Want
It seems as though there’s an app for everything and every retail store out there. While creating an app for your ecommerce store is a great idea, it’s only truly great if it’s actually useful. Is it not enough that customers and visitors can access your store through the mobile site on their phone? If you were to have an app, how different would it be from the mobile site experience? If an app won’t add anything new to their shopping experience, then you’re better off optimizing your site for tablets since not many businesses are doing so.
Take out some time to figure out what you’re doing right with your website and what you’re doing wrong. Review the mistakes of others so that you don’t wind up making them yourself.
About the author:
Please feel free to contact Ella Gray at firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions that you may have.