Ecommerce has been the recent buzzword for many merchants small and big. Ecommerce has that promising feel that attracts merchants; new and existing. Thus, there are a lot of merchants willing or planning to set up shop online. And it is in their haste to get online and selling that they forget to take the basic steps in making their website appealing, secure and something that the visitors would trust enough to buy from. There are several basic features that an eCommerce must possess like good usability, being aesthetic, easy to browse and find what you are looking for, be secure enough to gain the trust of the users and have and quick and easy checkout.
Ecommerce is one of the best things that have happened to mankind. Scores of people now browse online stores, discovering new goods, finding their daily necessities, checking on what is hot and what is not. They browse through the hot sellers section, the latest fashion section sometimes with no aim of buying instantly but storing items in their wish list instead for quick reference when they actually wish to buy. In a sense eCommerce makes our life much easier and even more enjoyable by bringing the latest trends and fashion right to our living room. No longer do you need to dress up and look fabulous, just to go out and browse the latest fashion in the Super Malls. You can also sit back relax with a cup of coffee and browse through the scores of catalogues online without any pesky salesman hounding you. You can even read about the product information, getting more details about products you are interested in via online forums and blogs. It is quite common for eCommerce websites to have a blog describing their products as well. At the same time you can even read the reviews posted by other users prior to actually buying the product yourself. Thus, it is basically a win-win shopping experience.
This makes you wonder what the secrets of making a successful eCommerce website are. The eCommerce website that you develop must be appealing, capture the visitor’s imagination and make him go “wow!”. It should make a good first impression by making the visitor want to at least browse through the products whether he wants to make a purchase or not. Thus, eCommerce websites must possess that wow factor, be unique, have good functionality and be aesthetic overall.
Making an online eCommerce website and setting up shop online may seem a quick an easy task but that is where most shop owners or new ventures make a mistake. The internet is not just about having an online presence with a list of products for visitors to browse from. It needs to represent your thoughts and ideas thereby making it more appealing to visitors.
What does the customer want?
It is imperative that you give the customers what they are looking for. Customers are looking for lower prices and good quality products to start with but are they willing to spend their entire morning just searching for that one product? The answer to that would be a big NO. Hence, one of basics of developing a good ecommerce website would be to make your products easier to find. You need to make sure the visitor needs to pass through as few steps as possible to find your products. This can be done in several ways. For example, you could have a category listing for those who wish to browse via category. You could even have direct links to several categories in the footer region. Besides, it is also possible to highlight common categories and products by making them featured products or categories and displaying them at places that catch the eye (by using good design techniques).
Usability over aesthetics:
The usability level of your website is of high importance as is the aesthetics. But it is essential to strike a balance between the two. Just having a pretty looking website is going to do you no good if it is not functional with all the bells and whistles. Thus, in a way, it is hard to judge which is more important but the fact remains that if your website is very user friendly with all the functionality easy to understand and operate it is likely to have a positive effect on your sales even if it is not the prettiest site. On the other hand the same is not true for a website that is aesthetic but has a low usability level.
Trust is an important factor when it comes to attracting visitors and making sure he makes a purchase. It is possible that you may have the latest products and even at the lowest price around. But if the visitors don’t trust your eCommerce website they are never going to make a purchase. Trust can be built by a combination of good design, usability, textual content and even seals from trusted partners certifying the authenticity of the website. Besides, it also pays if your website is popular since, if you own an eCommerce store that not many have heard off with an obscure name, it is likely that visitors may seem a bit wary while making a purchase. Thus, what you do require is a combination of good web design, good marketing and some level of authenticity to gain the initial trust of a visitor.
If all else is fine on the site the place where the visitor are likely to have an issue is the billing and checkout. This is the process during which the visitor is most wary and looking for signs that comfort him about the security of the website and his information. At the end of the day the spending money part is not the fun part of shopping. Any signs or flaws in the website can set alarm bells off ringing in the customer’s mind making him think twice about making a purchase. Besides, it pays to have a short and pretty checkout process that is done quickly instead of having very long forms that go on forever. This can be done by providing some basic features like having a one page checkout, not forcing the customer to register. This is in addition to having a good customer service.