Whether you’re starting a new ecommerce website or yours has been running for a while, you’re likely looking to make it as good as it could possibly be. After all, ecommerce is an incredibly cutthroat world, and if your site isn’t up to scratch, you can bet that one of your competitors’ sites will be.
Several best practices differentiate an excellent ecommerce site from a merely average one, so if you want to make your site the number one destination for whatever you happen to be selling, then they’re practices you need to follow. Here’s what makes a great ecommerce website.
First and foremost, your ecommerce site should offer your customers clarity. They should know exactly what they’re buying, where they’re buying it, and how much it will cost them as soon as they land on the page. If you obfuscate or obscure any of the information on your ecommerce site – that is, if you make the purchasing process difficult (more on which later) – you’ll drive customers away from your site and towards a more streamlined one. Make sure your site is as clear and concise as it can be.
It’s also important to demonstrate expertise on your ecommerce platform. Customers should know that they should come to you not only for their retail needs but also to learn more about the thing you’re selling. Demonstrating expertise isn’t just about building your reputation; it’ll likely increase conversions.
Many customers will be accessing your ecommerce website on mobile devices and desktops, so it’s essential to emphasize responsive design. When Google crawls your site, it will see how responsive it is. This means ensuring your site looks great on smartphones, tablets, laptops, and desktop PCs. Most ecommerce platforms, like Shopify, will optimize your site automatically, so you shouldn’t need to worry about this. However, you should test your site regularly to ensure it looks great across every platform.
Whatever your product might be, you should think about setting up some video demos for it on your page. This will help people know exactly how to use the product, which might entice them to buy it. If they see a product and it’s not immediately obvious what it does or what benefit it might have to their lives, then they’ll be more likely to look elsewhere, so make sure to create some well-shot, well-lit product videos that show off what you’re selling.
An easy purchasing process
Not only should your site have clarity, but it should also have an easy, straightforward purchasing process. The more difficult it is for customers to buy your product, the more likely they are to abandon their baskets and look elsewhere. Keep them interested at every purchase stage; if they seem like they are losing interest, don’t be afraid to throw up a popup asking if they still want to go through with their decision. Don’t let their attention slip!
If your product is excellent, then you should have absolutely nothing to fear from customer reviews (unless they’re dishonest or trolling you, of course, in which case, don’t be afraid to reject them from your site). Displaying customer reviews shows that you have faith in your product. The best way to foreground customer reviews is to let them speak for themselves, highlight the positive reviews, and let the negative ones explain themselves. Customers can make their own decisions.
A good returns policy
As an ecommerce site owner, you don’t want to be “taken for a ride”; you don’t want to offer customers the chance to essentially indefinitely return items, as you could be taken advantage of very quickly. However, it would help if you provided your customers with an excellent returns policy, as this will entice them further to buy your product. After all, why not take the chance to buy something if they know they can return it if they don’t like it? Make sure to display your returns policy clearly, so customers know what it is.
A loyalty program
Naturally, you want to foster as many repeat customers to your ecommerce platform as possible. That’s why it’s essential to have a loyalty program in place. Rewarding customers for repeatedly shopping with you is a great way to create lifelong “brand loyalists,” which sounds like a horrid phrase, but it will help you commercially (and if your brand is excellent, why not encourage loyalty to it?). Bonus points if you can call your loyalty program something fun because that will make customers feel like they’re part of a broader family.
Great customer service
A chatbot just isn’t going to cut it if you want to ensure that your ecommerce site has excellent customer service (although you should offer one anyway). Offering good customer service means making customers feel like they’ve always got somewhere to go if something should happen to go wrong with their product, which can, unfortunately, occur from time to time. Installing and training friendly, efficient, and helpful customer service representatives can elevate your platform, but remember that customer service professionals are still people, so don’t expect them to take abuse from angry customers.