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8 Elements of an Effective Ecommerce Website

by Olufisayo
Published: Last Updated on
eCommerce Website

In 2018, American consumers spent USD 517.36 billion shopping online according to the U.S. Department of Commerce. Retail eCommerce sales globally, on the other hand, stood at USD 2.8 trillion during the same year according to the market research firm eMarketer.

As emerging economies mature and digital technologies become more pervasive globally, eCommerce sales worldwide are only expected to grow even further, with some estimates pegging the figure to reach a staggering USD 4.9 billion in 2021.

Therefore, it behooves anyone operating a retail business—especially the brick-and-mortar kind—to ask themselves whether or not it is wise to tap eCommerce and see it not as a threat to the survival of their business but as a tool to boost one’s sales. After all, eCommerce has emerged to become a crucial part of modern life, seeing that it is arguably the most convenient way to shop these days.

Indeed, using just a computer or a mobile device, consumers can now browse hundreds of products in the comfort of their own homes or offices. You can even do your browsing during one of those other quiet moments when they’re sitting in a cab or bus, or perhaps while waiting for the queue into the concert hall to start moving.

Furthermore, eCommerce has also become vital in helping new and emerging retail players to be discovered by potential customers. As such, if you’re planning to go online, it’s very important to develop a platform where you can sell your products efficiently and with as little hassle as possible for your buyers.

In short, to start your own eCommerce business in the US, you need an effective eCommerce website that can serve as your virtual storefront in the world wide web. If you’re not familiar with the best practices for creating such a website, we’ll be happy to fill you in on the details.

Appropriate Design Elements

Gone are the days when webmasters tried to pull off all sorts of gimmickry and tried to insert all kinds of gaudy content into their websites without anyone batting an eye. These days, customers simply want eCommerce websites that are easy to use and relaxing to the eyes.

It is, therefore, a good idea to develop your website with help from skillful graphic designers and web developers who can put together the right mix of images, typography, motion graphics, colors, and spaces that will appeal to your target market.

Easy Sign-Up Process

Having your customers sign up with your eCommerce website (and not just purchase as a guest) will allow them to view and track their orders, and it will also help you in terms of building your list of contacts. However, you should never burden your buyers with a long list of blanks to fill in.

Initially, you should only ask for details that are absolutely necessary, like their name and email address. They can add other details like their telephone number, billing address, and shipping address later on when they end up buying from your site.

Effortless Navigation

Users should also be able to easily navigate your website and find what they are looking for. Menus, categories, and links should be placed where they can be easily identified and accessed, and their ordering should be logical and self-explanatory.

Easy navigation is an element of good user experience, one that will encourage customers to keep coming back to your eCommerce website.

If you need a more comprehensive plan to keep your customers engaged, consider hiring an experienced web design or user experience design firm. Make sure to get one that has a high success rate in online retail websites.

Effective Onsite Search Engine

Incorporating an easy-to-use and effective onsite search engine in your eCommerce website is very important. It is related to the previous point about easy navigation: if you have hundreds or thousands of products on your website, this feature will make it easier for your customers to find the items they are looking for. It is nevertheless recommended to install an onsite search engine even if you’re selling just a few products.

Well-Thought-Out Product Descriptions

One of the biggest advantages that brick-and-mortar stores still have over eCommerce shops is their experiential nature. Customers can walk-in any time into the store and hold, examine, or even try on the products they intend to buy.

If you’re selling online, you won’t have this advantage, but you can make do with accurate and impeccably written product descriptions. Make sure to include at least one clear image for each product, and write about all of their important features.

Transparent Pricing and Shipping Costs

One of the biggest things that can sour the mood of customers is seeing “additional” charges just when they’re about to pay for the product they intend to buy.

Prevent this from happening by being transparent about all pricing details right from the start. Provide not just the base price of the product but also other elements that will affect the final price of the order. These include state taxes, customs duties, and shipping costs.

Easy Checkout Process

The principle of simplicity not only applies to the sign-up process but also in the checkout process. Ideally, you’ll want to include all the important details (billing address, shipping address, payment details, and shipping options) in just a single page. However, if this can’t be done, then make sure to limit everything to as few pages as possible.

Generous Return Policy

These days, most eCommerce customers also want the assurance that they can easily return the product they just bought if there’s anything wrong with it. On top of making sure that you have a liberal return policy, you should also ensure that the procedures to follow for returns are provided on your website and be easily seen by your buyers.

With these elements in mind, you’re on the right track to creating an eCommerce website that will be a hit among your target customers.

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