BUILDING AN ECOMMERCE WEBSITE: THINGS WHICH GO UNNOTICED30Apr
E-commerce is one of the biggest inventions of modern times. Not only has e-commerce made our lives easier, smoother and faster but it has also opened new avenues of business and employment growth and productivity of countries (especially developing ones like India). Today, because of the magic of e-commerce, one can start a business from home; sell their products on a third party website, shop virtually for groceries, clothes, movie tickets, etc. This can be done regionally as well as globally. You no longer need a physical place for starting your business; you can take it virtually and introduce it to the world. Some experts predict that e-commerce will surpass $2 trillion sales in the next few years making it one of the most valuable industries.
The foundation of an e-commerce business lies in one of the most major aspect: WEBSITE. A good website has to make the audience understand the whole idea and workings of this business; it’s the spokesperson of the business. Hence, it is extremely important to have a firm and solid e-commerce website for any participant wanting to enter into the e-commerce world.
A lot of articles talk about different ways through which one can generate or create the best e-commerce website, ways by which an e-commerce website can be more valuable and unique. However, in this article, I will be going back to the basics and talk about one very important aspect with relation to e-commerce websites: forgettable or overlooked details.
A lot of times, many e-commerce websites are extremely appealing, beautifully designed, offering great products; however, they still do not reach the mark of being the best. Why is that? This is because they often overlook or miss out the smaller or minute workings which later come and bite their backs.
So let’s take a look at them:
There are certain pages which are mandatory for an e-commerce website, namely: the category page, the about page, policy page and other important pages as per the need and type of an e-commerce website. However, there have to be a certain number of additional pages, again depending upon the type of an e-commerce website and facilities that it provides in order to make a consumer a customer rather a satisfied customer and increase client base.
A sincere heartfelt THANK YOU page does not only evoke emotion within the customer but also makes them feel special. Almost all e-commerce websites either have a thank you page or a thank you for your purchase pop up which appears after the customer has purchased a product and chosen the desired payment method. However, these thank you pop-ups usually feel very computer generated or very insincere and artificial. Instead of having a pop up with usual bold letter word and smiley, an e-commerce website should have a visually beautiful thank you page with a small heartfelt message and additional information like customer care number, link to the various social media accounts of the e-commerce business and a link to the shipping and returns policy page. This will certainly make the user more aware and happy.
I cannot stress the importance of good HOME PAGES. A home page is a deciding factor for a website; it is the very first visual page that the future customer comes into contact with. It should have the right amount of information and should be extremely visually appealing and mesmerizing. A home page has to avoid over-cluttering of information, instead, it should be very welcoming, direct and appealing.
Seo are strategies are important for an e-commerce website with respect to their rankings on a search engine. It is a promotional tool, which if used correctly can bring in great success over search engines. SEO forms the standardized tool of promotion and is often overlooked due to the insane marketing and advertising options available today. An e-commerce website must have a well-tailored and structured SEO strategy and this needs to be planned well in advance, almost a year before the launch of the website so that the whole visibility process is carried out in a systematic and hassle-free manner. A lot of times there is less time spent on developing these strategies or the same old technique or hacks are used. SEO strategies are mostly overlooked as it felt that through a handful of SEO related strategies the website will gain visibility. Insane amount of money is spent by newly launched e-commerce websites and even the famous money generating e-commerce websites on PR activities and sales and marketing activities, however, one forgets the increased organic visibility and general web traffic which SEO provides for, such traffic cannot be provided even by paid promotions. Good content strategies, built in blogs of websites can provide greater visibility and attachment of customer than any other sales and marketing activities. In fact, not only visibility but it can also drastically reduce overhead costs of e-commerce websites. If a Newly launched e-commerce company has a good SEO strategy, then it can utilize the amount of money and resources spent on marketing activities into some other aspect of the website. Further, the main aim of every E-commerce website is to be visible over search engines and this can be done only through SEO related strategies. No matter how beautiful, luxurious or glamorous an e-commerce website is, if it does not land on the first page of any of the search engines it will be overlooked. Further, e-commerce websites having good SEO strategies not only increase their visibility but also appear more sophisticated and well established.
Many times it happens that although you have a perfectly designed website, you still feel there is some magic that is still missing, something still lacking but you cannot put a figure on it. This is what I like to call design and presentation overlooks. When I state design and presentation overlooks, I do not mean that websites which are simple have overlooked the design and presentation aspect or websites which look rich and glamorous are perfect to go websites. What I mean are the simple design and presentation tactics which can go unnoticed or overlooked while building a website. An overly decorated website can be sour to the eyes so does an overly plain one, what matters in terms of design is the perfect blend and balance, not only of designs but of the feel and emotion which the website want to showcase. Example: A fashion e-commerce website will have a very chic and hip feel whereas an online e-commerce library will have a very nerdy feel. The feel of the website is the one thing which a customer will attach itself to. Many websites are over-designed and can lack the emotions required to attract potential customers. Also, another very important aspect overlooked is the use of fonts. You don’t have to use huge fancy fonts for your websites, they will only make it difficult for people to understand or create problems, and instead, using simple right sized and easy fonts will give a good classic touch to your website.
Almost all of the e-commerce website is in the English language, English being a global language, however, having an e-commerce website which is multilingual can be extremely beneficial for international business, especially in countries where English is not their first choice of language. Having a website in their native language will not only make the customer feel special and important but also make them feel at home and safe. Going an extra mile will fetch a memory in the customer’s mind and they are likely to come back to the website only because it speaks the local language. I know it might be a difficult task to have a bilingual website, however, once an e-commerce website has a solid base and good sales, you can add this detail to your website as it will definitely make you stand apart from other websites. This point is applicable to Global Websites only.
GOOD CHECKOUT SYSTEM
How many of you have faced this one common problem: you purchase items from your favorite website but get too bored or back out or get confused with the checkout system and payment method of the website? I know I have. Many times most of e-commerce website owners feel that if initially, the checkout system has not faced any problems while testing that means it will not face problems even on various user interfaces. However, this does not seem to be the case. The number of steps involved in a checkout process can have an impact on conversion rates of users to the customer. Many websites have an easy checkout process; however, there are websites which have a tedious line of steps to go through before the final purchase is made. Today, when instant gratification is all we need a long process can bore us. Hence it is very important for e-commerce websites to have a short and well explained and fast interface speed for a checkout process. Further even the payment systems have to be concise and easily understandable. Many times when a customer has to do online payment for their purchases, a common problem seen is the problem of payment failure or slowly loaded gateways, hence it is very important to keep a constant check on the speed of the payment processes and ensure a smooth running of it.
Although not directly related to an e-commerce website, the customer care does affect the sales of an e-commerce website. According to statistics, about 50% of consumers pay attention to the customer care provided by an e-commerce website and the help which they provide with relation to queries and additional information. The very first aspect an e-commerce owner should keep in mind is having the customer care number and email id and additional related information displayed clearly on the website. Further having a well-trained and professional customer care staff is extremely crucial for an e-commerce website. I am stressing on an e-commerce website having a good customer care staff again as it shows the attitude of the website and its team. Call waiting or automated messages can be very frustrating and might even lead to unsatisfactory results, further also reflects the company’s values and ethics.
IMPORTANCE OF INCENTIVES
I love the incentives provided by websites when I am shopping. It makes me feel special and let’s face it who does not like paying less or getting free goodies on purchases. However, what I have noticed is that there are a handful of websites providing actual customer loyalty programs or offers. These loyalty programs can be in the form of earning points and using those points for your next purchase, loyal customer discounts or getting informed about sales or new products in advance via emails. If an e-commerce website offers good loyalty programs for its loyal customers then it will definitely stand out and build up a good customer base. You can get extremely creative in terms of offering loyalty programs depending upon the budget you want to set aside for it, the easiest and safest is having the points system, wherein for every purchase made by a registered customer, they earn points which can be used instead of actual cash for their next purchase, this means that a certain amount will get deducted from your final amount while transactions. Another way is offering memberships, wherein a customer can pay a certain amount and become a part of loyalty program which provides them with freebies, discounts, special rates; this will not only increase their interest but also increase the profit and publicity of the website.
A well-pictured product having at least 5-6 different angled photos is extremely crucial for the sales of the product. Many websites have 8-9 pictures of each product, however, these pictures tend to have a lot of photography errors, they are not clear, too pixelated or shot from the wrong angle. One very important thing to keep in mind is that the customer cannot try out the product and see how it looks on them. The only way they can understand this is through the images provided by the website. Hence it is very important for the website to have concise, clear, well sized detailed pictures of each and every product with specifications. For example, if it’s a website selling clothes then it is very important for them to have models of every shape and size to model their clothes as the customer can then relate to it. If their budget is less than the websites should have good images of the clothes so that the customer can actually feel the product on them, virtual cameras showing customers trying a product on them is a good way.
I hope through this article you have noticed and known the minor details or things which can go unnoticed while creating an e-commerce website. Today, the competition is highly cut-throat and these little things can have a drastic effect on your sales and brand image of the website.
ABOUT THE BLOGGER
Kamakshi Ray is a 22 year Sociology student who is currently in her final year of graduation. She is an avid reader and an extremely passionate writer. Currently, She is working as a social media intern for Infozzle Software solutions where she writes about various topics related to SEO, Web Design, E-commerce, etc. and manages the company’s social media profile on Linkedin and Facebook.