With over 100,000 e-business shopping sites now on the web, it may seem rather overwhelming when thinking about how to get your store to stand out among the many. Making sure your shop is functional, engaging, and gives the customer what they want is vital to ensuring your long-term success as a trusted online retailer or service provider.
If you’re reading this article, you are most likely in the final stages of preparing to launch your site. You know what platform you are using; you know what you are selling or providing and you’ve probably already begun to build your site. In these final stages of preparation, there are a few aspects of your website design that you should make sure are present before launching your business online.
Having a logo or brand that is recognizable is one of the most important features that will build trust in what you offer. Just having a business name is not going to make your business memorable. Having a logo that online shoppers can relate to your business will build trust and brand loyalty. Most of the most famous logos such as the Nike swish, the golden arches of McDonalds, and the apple with a bite taken out for Apple computer products, are recognized in households all over the world.
Your logo should also look professional if you want to be taken seriously. If your website is offering something less serious such a gag gifts, your logo can reflect humor, but should still appear professional and not look like something a preschooler drew with crayon. Use your marketing budget to invest in a graphic designer, or if you feel up to it, purchase products such as photoshop that will allow you to create your own logo using vector software. Steer clear of raster graphics such as what you will get with Adobe Photoshop. These graphics are created using pixels and can become distorted easily.
Have an Attractive Homepage
Having all your products listed on your homepage like a catalogue is not attractive or engaging, in fact, it can be rather overwhelming to many shoppers. Your home page should be inviting, engaging, and exciting. Having your logo across the top in a banner is important so that you set a tone of having a professional, unique product or service to offer. If you go to any of your favorite online shops, you will see that the logo and brand/business name are displayed across the top and probably in the text on the homepage content as well.
There is no secret to what excites online shoppers the most—DEALS! Shoppers love a good promotion or discount and will often buy products just because they are on sale, even if they do not need it. Although it may seem like you shouldn’t start slashing prices and offering discounts right away, getting traffic to your site is the best way to build your sales and offering promotions will get the traffic you need to start turning a profit quickly. The deal you are promoting, whether it be free shipping, a percentage off or a Buy One Get One sale, should be the center of your homepage, loud and clear. You should use moving graphics, video, and bright, vibrant colors in your banners to attract your potential customers.
Don’t Bury Product
If your dedicated to your E-business, you are most likely constantly sourcing new and innovative or unique products for your niche. Any time you introduce new product, don’t just lump it in with the rest. If you sell wreaths and get a new Christmas design in two months before Christmas, you aren’t going to want to just list the wreath under your regular assortment. You need to draw your shopper’s attention to the new, fabulous Christmas wreath that just came in and has limited quantities by featuring this item on your home page.
Another important aspect of your product placement is in how you organize. Your website should be easy to use and scrolling through hundreds of different wreaths, trying to find one that is perfect for Mother’s Day, is annoying, tedious and likely to have your shopper clicking elsewhere. Use menus that customers can easily navigate through to organize your product into categories that make sense. Products such as wreaths, you may want to organize by holiday and within each Holiday menu, you can break it down even further by allowing customers to preference a price range or what they are made from such as balsam or pine. If you are selling watches, you might want to organize by brand, price and gender. The picture below is a great example of how the newest product is featured front and center on the home page, a banner promotion, and the shopping menu is clear and easily accessible from across the top of the page.
How can you make money if your shopper can’t purchase? This seems like a no brainer, but simply adding buy it buttons in your product description is not enough. Any Ebusiness should have a search function that enables customers to quickly and efficiently search your website for the specific products they wish to buy, a shopping cart so they can track their purchases as they shop and come back to it later if need be, and buy it buttons on every advertisement or graphic on the homepage. Every page your customer lands on, should have sellable product as well as the proper link to purchase it. The shopping cart and search bar should be on the top of your homepage, usually to the right or in the middle. This is where the shoppers will expect and look for it to be.
Forms of Payment
Ecommerce sites do not allow international credit cards to be used. The four major cards—Visa, MasterCard, Discover, and American Express, are usually compatible. PayPal is another trusted payment system that can be used on your site. Many people prefer to use PayPal because of the identity protection paying with PayPal can give shoppers. There are fees associated with being able to accept different credit cards however that you, as the retailer, must keep in mind when deciding which payment options, you will, or can, accept.
Regardless of which payments you decide to accept, the choices should be very clear to your customer on the homepage. On most websites, the logos for the credit cards and other options will be posted towards the bottom where it is discreet, but don’t expect your customers to not care about this information. There is nothing more frustrating than getting to your shopping cart to check out and not having a form of payment that is accepted. This is a common reason for shopping cart abandonment.
Give Your Customers Your Information
You want to be able to connect with your shoppers wherever they are online. This includes social media platforms such as Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram, Twitter, YouTube and many more. 78% of adults in the United States have at least one social media account and 2.5 billion people worldwide are expected to be online on a social platform in the next year. Being able to connect with your customers and get product in front of them is crucial for your success. When you are ready to start advertising, using Facebook advertisement and Pinterest is a great way to stay linked to your shoppers because if they like your page, your advertisements will automatically show up in their newsfeed. You can also pay to have your ads generated through Facebook to show up to the right of timelines.
Getting your advertisements in front of shoppers faces more frequently isn’t the only reason to connect on social media however. Starting a blog, Pinterest board, or just having regular contact with customers will help to build trust in your brand and engaging your shoppers will keep them more drawn to your product and what your company represents.
The links to social media should be listed with your contact information such as an email address you can be reached at, or a customer service email, toll free phone number or live chat options. Make sure these links are all functioning so that customers can click and automatically be transported to your page.
Although this may seem simple, having a well thought out, engaging product description is vital to selling the item. A product description should be short enough to keep the reader’s attention but long enough to point out all the important details or aspects that makes your product unique. Simply putting the name of the product, size and color options is not going to entice anyone to purchase. Use adjectives that draw emotional responses and get the shopper excited to own your item.
You also will want to use a variety of pictures showing different angles and features of your product. Having the ability to zoom in on patterns or materials can be the deciding factor in a sale for many people.