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8 Things Every eCommerce Site Should Have

eCommerce is a competitive industry, so shaping your website to suit your customers’ needs is key to getting and keeping business. Here’s an overview of what your site should include to give your customers’ what they need, want and expect.

Appealing Appearance and Design

First impressions are often the biggest ones, so make sure your customers get a good first impression of your site. Your layout needs to be simple and easy to navigate, yet appealing. Use high-quality images of your products and display featured products on your homepage. Short customer reviews, store ratings, and security badges will also give you credibility with first time visitors. This is particularly important if you’re not a household name.

Easy Browsing and Searching

Part of your design needs to be making your website user-friendly and easy to navigate. Allow customers to browse products by category or by brand and sort them by relevance, price etcetera. A search feature, along with proper product descriptions, will make it easy for customers to search for and find exactly what they’re looking for. Product descriptions should be concise but informative, giving all the necessary information on the product.

Clear Pricing and Shipping Information

“Sticker shock” - unexpected inflation of prices due to shipping and tax additions - is something that frequently causes online shoppers to abandon their cart and shop elsewhere. To minimize the shock factor, include taxes in your display prices. Using a cost calculator to give customers a total cost estimate based on quantity and shipping and handling requirements will drastically reduce checkout abandonment.

Reliable Payment Options

Customers like to have a variety of payment options available to them, but more than that, they want to know that however they choose to pay, their information will be kept confidential. Payment Gateway Services offer your customers the security they need through high-grade encryption and fraud protection. You as a merchant have full control over incoming and outgoing payments and can view payment history anywhere, anytime through their virtual terminal. To reassure your customers, you’ll also be given a trusted merchant seal to display on your site.

Speed

Though a couple of seconds doesn’t feel like it should make much difference, site speed is a huge factor in conversion rates. A faster website, where pages take no more than a second or two to load, will simply be more successful than a slow one. Two quick and easy ways you can speed up your site are by ditching unnecessary plugins and using a CDN. To make sure your images load fast, and are still high quality, make sure you use JPG or PNG formats.

Social Media

It seems social media isn’t just a great means of self-promotion. According to research, as many as 20% of online purchases are made after browsing social media. Because people set so much store by public opinion, they’re likely to respond to a post by or about your site that their friends have shared. A social media following is also one of the best ways to keep your customers abreast of news, and to publicise special deals and promotions.

Product Selection

Having a fairly wide variety of products makes sense in sales - the more options available, the more likely customers are to choose one. It doesn’t always work that way though, as too many products can be overwhelming and hinder the decision-making process. Too many products can also interfere with your inventory and cause delays delivering product to customers, which will bring customer satisfaction - and your ratings - down. If you’re equipped for the logistics and you’d rather not limit your products, limit results per page, so users only see a handful at a time.

Compatible Across Devices

You’ll naturally want your site to be compatible with the most popular browsers (Chrome, Safari, Opera, Firefox), and as many others as possible, to avoid limiting your target market. Something else that’s absolutely essential is a mobile-friendly site. Online transactions are now being done far more often on a smartphone or tablet. A mobile-friendly site or a mobile version makes this easier. Better yet: create an app for your store to keep you just one tap away from your customers.

A fast site that’s visually appealing and easy to browse will attract customers. The next thing they’ll be looking at is your products, so make sure you have a good selection at competitive prices. Finally, everyone loves a freebie, so take advantage by offering 2 for 1 deals, bonus products and free shipping on purchases over a certain amount.

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