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  • Over $10 million in combined sales.
  • 87% customer retention rates.
  • 302% Average traffic increase over 6 months.
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Tips for Creating a Successful Ecommerce Website

  • Create a Customizable Ecommerce Experience

    Give your customers options. Allowing users to determine how they’d like to view products will make it easier for them to find the items they want quickly. Allow customers to sort items alphabetically as well as by price and shipping method. Include filters that can be used to exclude similar, unwanted products. No one likes clicking around for extended periods to find what they want, so do what you can to make people’s shopping experiences convenient.

  • Implement Dynamic Shopping Carts

    When users make the decision to add items to their shopping carts, the process should be seamless; it shouldn’t interrupt the shopping experience. Many shopping carts bring users to new pages in order to view items. This interrupts the experience, confuses the user and often results in fewer items being purchased.

  • Here’s how it should really work.

    The item that’s being viewed should appear within a small window that dynamically populates the products that the customer is adding while shopping. This way, users are confident that the items have been added, which gives them the freedom to select more or checkout at their leisure.

  • Automatically Calculate Shipping Costs

    Many users will cancel their transactions after finding out that the cost of delivery is too high. By presenting this information up front, you give visitors the confidence to move forward, modify their orders or add items to their wish lists. Regardless of the outcome, this simple feature reduces shopper frustration and results in happier visitors that will convert more often.

  • Offer Wish Lists

    All too often, ecommerce sites force visitors to make immediate buying decisions. Shoppers often arrive at checkout with several items in their shopping carts that they like but aren’t quite ready to buy. Rather than having users discard and forget all about these items, why not allow them to create wish lists? Items that shoppers like can be added to these lists, and shoppers can revisit these lists to buy what they want later.

  • Provide Payment Confirmations

    For first-time buyers on your website, completing the checkout process can be stressful. They have invested significant amounts of time to finding exactly what they want and are asked to enter highly sensitive personal information. Alleviate this sense of angst by displaying a page confirming receipt of their payment. Better yet, send them email confirmations with detailed receipts too. Make sure to include information about what they can expect going forward, including shipping information, as well.

  • Give People Options for Shipping

    Limiting people to single or flat-rate shipping will turn some of them off and prompt them to go elsewhere for what they need. Offer expedited delivery for a higher rate, or deliver at a slower pace for more affordable shipping charges. Let customers decide, and your conversion rates will be better for it.

  • Provide Tracking Information

    It’s natural for people to be concerned about their orders. That’s especially true when they are new customers. A great way to reassure them is by providing tracking information as quickly as possible. The tracking number alone should suffice, but it’s even better to include a link to real-time tracking information.

  • Put Search & Auto-Complete to Use

    Users want and expect simplicity as well as convenience. Providing the ability to search for a specific product or service will keep users coming back. Suggesting popular items and auto-completing search queries will encourage people to buy more, so make sure to put this technology to use.

  • Provide Brief Previews

    Visitors are often reluctant to click on items due to concerns that the resulting pages will load slowly. Offer an alternative by displaying a brief preview of each item on category pages. These previews should include a bit of information about each product and clear images. People can then click through to specific item pages if they so desire.

  • Showcase Special Offers and Promotions

    Feature select promotions on your site. They can be event-driven, seasonal or based on inventory demands. These promotions drive traffic to products and services that you feel will sell well. Our client Sunshine Baskets features baskets for Mother’s Day and flowers for Valentine’s Day. These promotions help customers find what they need more quickly. They also increase sales on the packages that Sunshine wants to sell the most.

  • Include Detailed Product Information

    A few words can mean the difference between idle curiosity about a product and an actual sale. It is critical that your site provide as much information as possible about your products. Without finding the information they are looking for, end users may not feel secure in making purchases. Be concise with your language, but leave nothing to the imagination.

  • Make Shopping Social

    While it’s not difficult for a user to copy and paste the address of something they are looking at, many will not think to do it. Provide an easy-to-use social media button, and your products will be shared far more often and with much larger audiences. The keys to social media marketing success are simplicity and accessibility.

  • Include Out-of-Stock Items

    Many websites eliminate pages for out-of-stock products, but this is a big mistake. Show customers that you offer the best selection possible by giving them information about out-of-stock items. At the very least, tell them when your inventory will be replenished. Doing so will not only increase your rate of conversions, but it will make shoppers less likely to look for what they need from competitors.

  • Don’t Forget to Cross-Sell

    When customers seek out specific products, they show a clear interest in those items or in the product category. Why not show them similar products or products that complement the ones they’re already considering? Showcasing related products tends to keep users on your site longer, which prompts them to view more pages, makes it easier for them to find precisely what they need and causes them to spend more money. Another great time to do this is after checkout. The typical online sales transaction ends with a thank-you page, which most people navigate away from right away. Why not show a few related items or special post-checkout promotions to draw them back in and pique their interest?

Designing an Effective Ecommerce Site

  • Give Each Page a Specific Purpose

    Every page of your ecommerce site should have a clear goal. For example, a landing page’s goal is to prompt action. This can be in the form of completing a form or even making a phone call. The goal of a homepage is to quickly engage visitors and get them to continue to a category page, informational page or product page. Each page needs to have a clear goal, and the goal should be intuitive and apparent to the user. If it takes more than a few moments to add an item to the cart, proceed to checkout or make contact, the page is not functioning to its full potential.

  • Keep People Coming Back for More

    Like anything else, a website only provides value when it’s in use. Find ways to incentivize regular visits to your website. Ask visitors to opt in to regular emails by offering access to special sales, information and other promotions.

  • Make it Easy for Visitors to Get in Touch

    Make your business accessible to users. This can be done simply, and it significantly increases user comfort and future sales. Provide support via live chat, provide contact forms for simple product inquiries, integrate social media sharing and include user reviews or even videos of people putting products to use.

  • Don’t Make Shoppers Work

    If your website is designed to allow shoppers to easily find products, it should be even easier for them to complete purchases once they’ve made the decision to proceed. Don’t make users search for the checkout. Once they start the checkout process, don’t ask for unnecessary information. Many sites get lost in the world of “knowledge is power,” but nothing is more powerful than a sale. The more fields users have to deal with, the less likely they are to complete transactions at all. Make checkout simple, streamlined and clutter-free. How much do you really need to know about shoppers, anyway?

  • Remember that this isn’t a Brick-and-Mortar Store

    In the world of brick-and-mortar sales, the store controls the environment. Visitors can’t easily comparison shop when they’re in a store. If another store has better displays, lower prices or slightly better service, people are not as willing to deal with the hassle of driving across town to enjoy those perks. Online, people typically visit several websites while searching for specific items. Making your website stand out from the pack comes down to details and execution.

  • Price Matters

    If you are selling a non-proprietary product, keep an eye on your competitors and make sure you aren’t charging too much. With quality service and a first-rate website, you don’t necessarily have to sell it for less. You need to stay competitive, though, and the only way to do that is by keeping your prices in check.

  • Find Your Niche

    The Internet gives businesses access to unlimited virtual space. This prompts many entrepreneurs to offer inventory lists that rival those of multinational corporations. Buck the trend by starting small and finding your market. Once you’ve established yourself, you can start to expand.

  • Keep Your Doors Open

    Find reliable hosting for your website. Many people are lured in by inexpensive hosting packages from large, seemingly credible companies. While this is fine for the average person, this is not an area in which an ecommerce site should try to cut corners. On the Internet, your business hours are 24/7. When customers are ready, you never want to force them to shop elsewhere.

  • Never Skimp on Security

    Online shopping is convenient and commonplace. However, there are still plenty of people who are worried about having their information stolen. Security measures like SSL certificates and badges increase client confidence and can lead to increased conversions.

Ecommerce Website Design Tips

Keep it Clean and Simple – When it comes to ecommerce design, less is generally more. Think about which components help visitors understand products and make purchasing decisions. Once you have created this list, make it a priority. Display information to buyers in order from most important to least important. Product images, prices, descriptions and titles are all important. Everything else is just a distraction.

  • Make it Intuitive

    When a user clicks on a button, there should never be a surprise. Look at major online retailers and search for consistent patterns and elements. Use them on your ecommerce website. Make navigating around your website an enjoyable and trouble-free experience. Every option presented to a visitor should have a corresponding result that the user can intuitively expect.

  • Include an Ever-Present Shopping Cart

    Create a shopping cart that remains in front of users while they shop. The constant presence and accessibility of the shopping cart reassures them that they have the items that they want to purchase. This feature also reassures the user about pricing. Finally, it gives the user the ability to check out at a moment’s notice.

  • Stay Consistent

    Variety may be the spice of life, but it is not the key to a friendly shopping experience. Users like to know what to expect. It’s why shoppers tend to visit the same department stores regardless of where they travel. They expect a specific experience and seek it out. Keeping layouts consistent across all pages, using matching calls to action and displaying products in the same format all increase comfort. It encourages customers to continue browsing the site knowing they have learned the system and feel at ease.

  • Clear Calls to Action

    Every page on your site that requires a user to do something in order to progress through your sales process should have a clearly defined call to action. Keep your audience focused. Multiple options will lead to indecision and higher drop-off rates. Give users one prominent option. In situations that involve money, it’s okay to offer a secondary option, such as a demo video or a trial, if they are not ready. Otherwise, give them a single option and watch as your conversion rates skyrocket. Don’t Let Visitors Get Lost – It’s important to give users a constant sense of where they are within your site. Drop-down menus and breadcrumbs are two great ways to show visitors your website structure and to ensure they never feel lost.

  • Make Checkout Simple

    When a customer makes the decision to buy, the checkout process should be as simple as possible. Amazon has gone so far as to implement a single button checkout option for returning guests. It automatically chooses preset profile payment, shipping location and shipping speed options. On your site, remove redundant steps and unnecessary clutter. All form fields should be properly labeled, and the order should clearly visible and defined.

Essential Back-end Ecommerce Features

  • Custom Store Management

    Every part of your website and product catalog should be easily editable through the back end of your ecommerce website. This applies to categories, subcategories, promotional showcases and products. Everything should be accessible and simple, from adding and removing products to the worry-free modification of product attributes like color and size.

  • Dashboard

    The dashboard is a centralized location where you can view every aspect of your website’s performance as the administrator. An effective dashboard should be fully customized to suit your needs and should only display information regarding the most important aspects of your online business, which may include sales numbers, performance metrics, support requests and inventory levels.

  • Multi-Level User Management

    If you have the support of a team, you need the ability to dictate how much access each team member has. A well-built site customized to your needs should provide the ability for you to specify which sections of the content management system each team member can access and modify.

  • Inventory and Order Management

    It is imperative to have a complete understanding of your site’s key success metrics, which may include the status of orders, shipping information and access to customer data. This can be done through the site, or it can be facilitated by integration with third-party software.

  • Sitemap.xml

    Your sitemap.xml file informs search engine robots which pages are on your website. Without this your site will not get crawled effectively and its traffic will suffer.

  • Robots.txt

    The robots.txt file gives you the ability to determine which pages and content areas search engines are able to crawl. An effective CMS will allow the administrator to edit this file and upload it as well.

  • CMS Meta Data Access

    Without well-structured meta data, it is unlikely your site will ever rank well organically. It is crucial to have a content management system that enables you to easily edit the title tag for each page. You also need the ability to establish rules for the pages that handle title tag creation. This will allow your site to create a rule and automatically generate the same tag for specific products. Whether your site has one hundred products or over a million, this is a massive time saver.