How to Have an Excellent eCommerce Website


- Maureen Dillon 03.24.2015

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Online retail sales are increasing year by year. According to the US Census Bureau, online retail sales in the US were $304.9 billion in 2014, an increase of over 15.4 percent from 2013. It indicates that a growing section of people are now comfortable purchasing from e-commerce sites and why should they not? E-commerce sites give amazing discounts and most of them offer free home deliveries.

There are at least 110,000 e-commerce websites making decent money on the internet. So there is a lot of competition in the sector. If you own an e-commerce website, you need to do everything you can to make sure that your website attracts visitors. Here are a few tips.

Have a Good Value Proposition

Peep Laja from Markitekt says that the value proposition of your company is #1 thing that determines whether people will engage with your company or not. He says that if there was only one piece of advice he could give, it would be 'test your company's value proposition'.

A strong value proposition will convince customers to buy from you, when they have other options. Unfortunately, many e-commerce websites don't have good value propositions, to the extent that many of them are not able to communicate what they are really selling.

Have a Clear Logo

For an e-commerce website, a company logo is like a business card. When customers see a logo, they are reassured and come to trust the organization or company more, which eventually translates into increased sales.

Freebies, Deals and Free Shipping

The first few seconds after a visitor comes to a website are critical because that is when the visitor will decide if he likes the website or not. If visitors don't like it, they will leave your website and find another one. Shopping deals attract visitors to websites and encourage them to shop.

Most e-shoppers are interested in promotions. So, most visitors on e-commerce websites look forward to special deals and discounts.

Free shipping also pulls customers to e-commerce websites. Here is a tip. Most companies don't say it, but they add the shipping cost to the selling price. So free shipping is not actually free, but the cost is minimal (the companies are able to take advantage of economies of scale) so it really does not really deter the customer.

Pay Attention to the Product Descriptions

Product descriptions are important for products sold online. The customer does not have physical access to the product yet, which means he is dependent on the product description to tell him more about the product. Many e-commerce websites don't pay attention to this aspect of selling. An analysis of the TV and books pages on Amazon.com found that customers studied the thumbnails (photos) of books intently while they ignored the thumbnails of flat panel TVs. Just 18 percent of time was spent on the photos of the flat panel TVs against 82 percent of the time spent on reading the text.

Increase the Size of the Product Images on Your Website

Visual Website Optimizer has published a case study, which says that increasing the size of the images on your website, can improve sales by 9 percent. It is true, regardless of the product you are selling. When customers visit a brick and mortar store, they select some products and look at them closely before finally choosing the product that they want. If the product is to be worn, like a shirt or a pair of shoes, they will even try them on before making their decision. A nice product shot mimics this action.

Branded Products

No one can predict what product a customer is looking for when he comes to your e-commerce website, unless you have a niche website. It does not mean that you have to put all your products on your home page. However, you have to put something on your home page, so why not put your most interesting and eye-catching offers there? It pays off well, especially if you have a large product catalog.

If you have some offers on branded goods, showcase them. Sometimes, visitors don't know that they are looking for and these offers can encourage them to buy more from you.

Search Box, Login Box and Shopping Cart

The search box, login box and the shopping cart are placed together in nearly all e-commerce sites. An e-commerce website without a shopping cart is unimaginable. Many e-commerce websites also give their customer private accounts where they can see their old orders. This account also enables the customer to receive special offers and discounts from the store operators.

A search box is an absolute must, if you have a wide variety of goods on sale. Customers who need a specific product, but don't want to go through the hassle of browsing for it, will use this function to locate the product.

Linking to Social Media

Public opinion can make a huge difference to the sales of a product and social media websites are one of the best places to get public opinion. Social media also offers a wonderful opportunity to promote your e-commerce site. Your social media account will not only help you identify influential and active customers, but also help you find new customers, who have not yet tried your service. It can also help you stay abreast of recent news or offer special discounts.

'How To' Guides

A 'how to' guide is not obligatory, but it can help interest customers in products that they would not buy otherwise or don't know much about. For example, a customer wants to buy a washing machine, but he does not know what specifications to look for. Usually, customers do research on other sites in such cases, but there is a chance that you will lose the customer when he leaves your site.

So if you have your own 'how to buy a refrigerator' guide, the customer does not have to go elsewhere. Note that this section is not related to the help desk, which includes technical questions for solving issues associated with a purchase.

If you follow these tips religiously, more customers will be attracted to your website. If you have not already adopted these tips, try them and see the difference they make to your company.

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