Getting the basics right has never been so important for ecommerce platforms. America’s online shopping sector saw takings rise by a quarter in 2017, and an estimated one in seven dollars will be spent online by 2021. The unparalleled success of Amazon demonstrates what can be achieved with a robust website and a solid back-office distribution system. Rivals like Best Buy and QVC also offer dependable shopping experiences, combining plentiful choice with user-friendly interfaces.
Entering this increasingly mature market is a growing challenge, but not an insurmountable one. It requires text optimized for search engines, photos taken by a semi-professional, and social media accounts managed by someone with genuine enthusiasm.
Alongside these basic ingredients, WestHost has compiled ten tips that’ll make an ecommerce website builder out of anyone…
- Understand your audience. If you’re selling kids clothing, the website needs vibrant colors, large fonts and short sentences. If you’re a bespoke tailor, a monochrome background and a page about your expertise will be required instead. Competitor analysis gives a good indication of how to appeal to consumers. Don’t take a radically different approach unless you’re certain the market needs it.
- Use a dynamic website design. Our Online eCommerce Store is an established and popular ecommerce website builder. It has over 140 templates, which automatically adjust to fit the screen size of user devices. It’s ideal for displaying product options (size, color, etc) while monitoring stock levels. Each template places images front and center, with third-party apps like Google Maps and YouTube also available to add.
- Make a strong first impression. For most people, the homepage will be the first page they see. And for half of them, it’ll be the last thing, too. Minimize bounce rates by front-loading your site with compelling calls to action, from big-discount deals to news about awards or commendations. The homepage of an ecommerce site should be constantly evolving – and if you can’t choose one highlight, publish a slideshow.
- Add a sense of urgency. Those sliding homepage ads should drive calls to action. Classic techniques for imparting urgency include countdown timers, low stock warnings and limited edition products. Defy convention by introducing rarity indicators instead of stock levels, or discounting accessories for a main purchase if it’s completed that day. These techniques are well-known because they work so well.
- Simplify navigation. Every web page should contain a prominent Home button and basket icon, directing people to the two most important pages. Any good ecommerce website builder will support minimalist menus, which often reduce to hamburger drop-downs on mobile devices where space is at a premium. Avoid giving sub-pages pretentious titles like Our Journey, or oblique ones like Portraits for a photo gallery.
- Publish a News or Blog page. Either will boost SEO without reducing the effectiveness of finely-crafted Product and About Us pages. It might not be practical to update a News page daily, but weekly revisions keep your site elevated in search engine rankings. Cut down and reword each post, republishing it across multiple social platforms for maximum publicity. You can even tie posts into topical events.
- Sell everything in one place. Don’t just sell items – sell complementary goods. If you stock pasta measuring tools, why not sell the pasta itself? If you retail sneakers, stock spare laces and deodorizers as well. You can easily introduce an algorithm that suggests related products in a customer’s basket. These can be great for boosting profits on high-margin items that people don’t generally shop for in isolation.
- Reward larger orders. Economies of scale benefit the retailer, but they should be good for consumers, too. Offer free postage over a set order value, provide bulk-buy discounts, and reward completed transactions with a discount code off the next order. This is a very effective way to keep people coming back, making customers feel appreciated. Small rewards like loyalty points or referral codes leave a big impression.
- Streamline ecommerce transactions. Another feature of our ecommerce website builder is its checkout functionality. You can accept credit and debit cards, plus electronic payments via Stripe and PayPal. Shipping options can be customized for multiple locations or products, with tax and delivery settings for 29 countries. It’s crucial to avoid hidden charges, ensuring the checkout process runs smoothly.
- Minimize form fields. This builds on the last point. You don’t need to know someone’s title and date of birth, or their previous address. All you need is a forename and surname, contact email and phone numbers, a billing address and a delivery address. Don’t make people register an account to checkout – wait until they’ve finished, and invite them to register a username and password for future visits.