Online trade has changed the way that people shop. From retail to B2B, eCommerce has made it easier for consumers to find exactly what solutions they are looking for, compare prices and even source items from all over the world.
This year, as people and businesses were forced to reconsider how to navigate lockdowns due to the pandemic, eCommerce proved itself as one of the most valuable assets that technology has provided. People could order essentials without leaving their homes and businesses were able to continue operations and supply chain logistics with little disruptions if they were set up as an eCommerce. For those businesses that weren’t, lockdowns have been tough, forcing many brick-and-mortar stores to close, perhaps permanently.
However, many businesses eCommerce websites would do well to recognise that now is the time to really pay attention to the essential elements that will ensure that their businesses remain viable. Without these 10 essential elements to eCommerce website design, businesses risk alienating customers and losing sales to competitors.
The rise of social media has also resulted in a desire for highly targeted advertising that reaches audiences in personal ways. It does not require a huge budget, just smart marketing.
Businesses should take advantage of social media targeted advertising, use of data analytics, and other segmentation techniques to ensure that any marketing is directed at those who are the most likely to be responsive to your marketing.
You can also use email marketing to contact people directly, using their name on messages, chatbots and other AI that is responsive not only to the person’s name but can communicate effectively fast, allowing your customers to feel that you are giving them the personal attention that they demand.
2. Bestsellers On Homepage
When people navigate to your website, they want to know in just a few seconds what you are selling. People want to see your product and, just the same as walking into a physical store, people want to see what products are your most desirable.
By presenting your most popular products on your homepage, you are letting people know what you are selling, the same way a person passing on the street looks in your shop window. If the customer likes what they see they will venture in and shop more. The same principle applies to your website.
3. Product Collections
When you bundle similar products in one location, this is called Product Collection. Products can be bundled on the basis of season, festivals, new arrivals, sales discounts, or anything that reasonably could be considered a category or collection.
Product collections rank highly on search engines, but they need to be updated on a regular basis to maintain interest.
Adding a list of recommended products for visitors using tracking data makes shopping more personal. People are often influenced by what their peers have bought, so a scrolling screen, reviews, product pairings or other on-screen purchase recommendations can help influence people to buy more.
4. Zoom Option
Most eCommerce sites are filled with pictures and descriptions of products. However, one of the biggest mistakes people make is not including a zoom function.
People want to be able to inspect items such as shoe or clothing very closely before purchase, so ensuring that your site has high-resolution zoom functionality for each item will help to secure more sales from those who are first-time buyers from your website, or those who are sceptical about buying online.
5. Shipping Details
Make your delivery details as obvious as possible. This information in the header should inform site visitors immediately about any restrictions you may have on delivery, such as location, additional costs or time delays (such as the delays encountered by most consumers during the pandemic).
This information can make a big difference to the credibility of your website. If a visitor in the EU knows immediately that they are on a site that only sells in the US, and you also have an EU site, then you can redirect them immediately so that they don’t feel that their time has been wasted. This will help to secure sales, improve your reputation and give customers confidence in your brand.
6. Contact Info And Feedback
If you are an eCommerce, you must provide contact details for your customers as part of banking requirements. However, providing contact details is about more than regulations, it is also about providing excellent customer service and developing consumer confidence.
You should make it easy for people to find your address, phone and email contacts and business details. Most businesses provide this information in the footer on the home page, and many have a ‘contact us’ tab in the menu. You can also provide a call to action link to a form that makes it easy for customers to send you messages.
Chatbots have also become a hugely popular way to chat with customers as if they were in a physical store. People can ignore them or ask for help by simply replying to a pop-up, usually in the bottom right of the screen. Be warned, pop-ups can be distracting, so you should try to timelimit them to disappear if the site user has not reacted to it within a few minutes.
7. Ratings And Reviews
By including customer reviews on your website, you are telling potential customers that you trust in the value of your product so much that you are willing to open yourself to public criticism, or praise, and allow your customers to have an active voice in the publicity of your brand.
Negative reviews can actually work in your favour, so allowing people to be honest about your products or services can benefit you. For example, if a customer were to receive a product, such as a pair of shoes, and on your website, you advise people that your sizes run slightly small, then the customer complained that the size they ordered was smaller than their normal size, this reflects on the customer – not you because you have been upfront. Often you won’t even need to reply as other customers will, but your reply should be cordial and problem-solving, such as ‘we’d be happy to discuss an exchange of your unworn shoes’ or ‘sorry to hear your product isn’t as you’d hoped. Can we discuss how we can help you further?’.
Use reviews and testimonials to control the conversation about your business by replying, problem-solving and trust-building.
8. Price Filters
Price filters give your customers the ability to sort through your products based on their price (you need to also say that the price does not include shipping in many jurisdictions).
Filters help customers to search more easily for the products that they want at the price point they desire, especially if your site is using a dropshipper and offering thousands of products.
For example, in B2B, a company might want to buy 20,000 pens at 10 cents per unit, so creating a price filter makes it easier for a site visitor to see what products are available and compare them with others in your catalogue.
Online shopping should be made as simple as possible and adding filters helps people narrow their choices.
9. Wish Lists
A wish list allows your customers to save products in a basket that they might want to buy later. It’s a great way to support your customers when they are shopping, especially if your website is one that customers return to often. For example, online bookstores often offer wish lists so that people can build a small library of books they’d like to buy in the future, books as gifts or even books for special occasions, like buying a new house or taking a holiday to a new location.
You can also send people reminders and discount offers when they have a wish list to help encourage them to finalize the purchase.
10. Adaptive Design
Customers should be able to move easily from their smartphone to their tablet to their laptop and still recognise your store, have their purchases saved in the cart and payment made easy.
Adaptive web design is like having two completely different websites, one to fit smartphones and the other designed for desktops or laptops. This allows customers to move between their devices while accessing your website seamlessly. Omnichannel shopping is reality. People browse on their phones, then wait until they are in front of their computer to make a purchase.
If your website is not capable of supporting your customer journey across devices, you are losing customers. You need your cart to link, logins to sync and payment options to be simplified, while still offering maximum security.
This is the future of sales, and at least until the end of the pandemic, it is the normal state of consumerism. If your eCommerce website isn’t following these basic rules, you are in danger of becoming as obsolete as high street stores in 2021.