As much as it is exciting and lucrative to build an e-commerce application, businesses have their task cut out when it concerns the dynamics of setting up an e-commerce website that makes for a successful and sustainable use case.
Imagine a prospect that is keen on purchasing a thing or two from your e-commerce website. However, there arises a need to sift through several silos and a colossal amount of information to make that one purchase decision. Not an ideal scenario, isn’t it? 95% of users indicated that positive user experience is the most important factor when they visit a website. Therefore, it is clear that developing an e-commerce website for your business is no mean task. It involves serious consideration of several factors that come together to make that one website that can serve a variety of functions.
Ultimately, your e-commerce website represents your brand, and it is meant to serve as a one-stop source of information platform for all target consumers.
A successful e-commerce website should score brownie points in aspects such as user-friendliness, quick navigation, seamless payment integration and so on. Here are some of the essential factors required to develop robust and useful e-commerce applications.
Choosing the right technology platform
One of the most challenging decisions that have a significant impact on the overall functionality and business value of the website you build is the technology platform on which you choose to develop the e-commerce application. How do you zero in on one that seeks to address all needs across a diverse consumer base? The fact that there are many e-commerce tech platforms to choose from doesn’t make the decision any easier. While some offer a handy feel to them and are reasonably priced, others may promise a host of features that add significant value to your business goals.
• Factor in what programming language the tech platform uses. The programming language is particularly important if you have a good bit of customization up your sleeve much customization. It also influences the web host you plan to use.
• Consider the price of the platform and the availability of a free version from the tons of platforms in the market. Paid platforms often offer better support than free ones, but otherwise, there are fully-featured solutions in both categories.
• Identify whether the platform supports the types of products you plan to sell (digital vs. physical products, for example).
• Ensure that the payment gateways supported by the platform are streamlined in their approach.
For instance, Shopify is an excellent choice for selling clothing, digital books, and furniture. Equipped with broad themes and add on directories, it is a non-open source platform that allows you to scale up your business alongside offering dedicated customer support.
As a lightweight e-commerce platform, PrestaShop provides an extremely user-friendly interface that is arguably one of the best open-source solutions. It also comes with a multi-vendor support system, enabling businesses to run multiple stores.
Creating precise product descriptions supported by coherent images
It is essential to ensure that the information on your e-commerce website is current, precise, with the right amount of detail, and user-centric. Clients need a clear, detailed and easy-to-understand text. It is best advised not to use long sentences or academic terms in product descriptions, support sections or any other part of the site. Lacing it together with appropriate images adds a more lively and visual appeal to the website, increasing the interactivity quotient as well. There is a reason the phrase, “a picture is worth a thousand words” has for long stood the test of time.
Quick tip – Showcase bigger pictures, zooming options, and different angled views of same product allow site visitors to perceive a near real idea of the product. The 20Jeans website is a classic example of detailed product descriptions done right.
Simplifying Checkout Process
Asking users to sign up and create an account to make a purchase isn’t a good idea, often becoming a barrier to making the purchase. There can be exceptions, like the need for ongoing support when making the purchase. However, it would be wiser to ask the shopper to create an account as the final step. He has already seen the product and may have liked it enough to compromise his time on a few extra steps to complete the purchase.
Integrating it with other social media login platforms may seem a smarter alternative to help users finish their purchase within minutes, without having to spend much time creating a registration account.
Even if an account is unavoidable to complete a purchase, incentivize them with some promotional offers and rewards.
Design a fully-equipped shopping cart
Your shopping cart design also plays a significant role in your e-commerce site. The shopping cart layout should be simple, and logical. It should effectively display company branding through colors and logo design, and also include checkout buttons the standout.
A shopping cart page should have the critical elements that your customers might need. The customer should have the option to return to the shopping page, change quantities or specifications of the products in the cart, select shipping options with shipping prices, enter promo codes, select a payment method from a wide variety of options and even tracking options.
Multiple-payment and Enhanced Shipping options
Multi-payment may be a bit extensive and expensive on the development side of things, but you could be losing business if you are not going the extra mile. it is also essential to make as many payment options as possible available to your customers. In the same vein, it is essential that the payment system seamlessly integrates with the website UI and promises an extremely competitive performance level concerning processing times and transaction rates. It should have a reliable customer support channel.
Enhanced shipping options also add on to your business. The rise of courier services over the last few years has made it possible for smaller e-commerce companies to offer substantial shipping services. As per this report, 65% of retailers are expected to provide same-day delivery services in 2019, and a good 61% percent of shoppers are willing to pay extra for same-day convenience!
Enabling Site-specific Search functionality
Users today have a very short attention span. Therefore, wading through scores of data may seem like a humongous task to them, which will, in turn, take away their interests. An increasing body of evidence suggests that search functionality within a website is especially crucial for converting prospects into buyers. A good 30 percent of e-commerce platform visitors routinely use the search function on site. Autocomplete functionality is also popular, and it’s a great way to narrow search queries based on manufacturer, prices, product lines, category, variety, and so on.
Optimizing the website
The best way to approach SEO for your e-commerce website is to ensure that your website structure is usable, you’re always updating content for your blog, and that you’re correctly naming the pages of your website with accurate keyword rich titles and descriptions that work for both the user and the search engines. Amazon is one of the most quoted examples for great SEO-driven content strategy that almost always gets it on point.
Using Responsive Design
We live in the digital age where purchases are usually made on the go. Instinctive buying is what drives sales more than well-thought-out purchase decisions. As a result of this, the primary goal of a successful e-commerce website is to consider mobile users as a large chunk of the customer base. In 2018, 25 percent of all e-commerce sales happened on mobile devices. This statistic is only poised to grow every year. Responsive design refers to a website’s optimization for mobile functionality across multiple platforms and devices. Several content management systems use responsive design with add-ons, plug-ins, and extensions. It is essential to adopt e-commerce platforms to the mobile market to ensure most extensive possible coverage with customers.
Beyond all this, there are several other factors to take into consideration depending on what a business’ end goals are. The primary aspect that one needs to always adhere to is to develop a neatly organized e-commerce website that ensures visitors find what they are looking for and can weigh their options while making a purchase decision. Visibility and usability are two core aspects that form the cornerstone of a successfully manage e-commerce application.