Traits of an Effective E-Commerce Website

What makes an effective e-commerce website? Millions of employee hours and hundreds of billions of consumer dollars are tied up in this question. Even before 2020, e-commerce was a key part of the sales market. But now, e-commerce is beginning to dominate. E-commerce sales in the US are expected to jump 18% this year despite an overall decline of 10.5% in forecasted total US retail sales. It seems clear that if not now, then soon, e-commerce will be what makes the retail world go ‘round. 

In light of these changes, many businesses are creating websites for the first time or giving a much-needed upgrade to older e-commerce sites. If trying to create an effective e-commerce website has got you scratching your head, we’re here to help! Check out the most important traits of a retail site below, and make sure to contact us about a project consultation!

1. Mobile Friendly

By 2021, more than half of all e-commerce transactions are expected to take place on mobile devices. If your website isn’t optimized for mobile users, they aren’t going to wait until they get on their laptop or other desktop device. Instead, they will either buy from a competitor or not purchase at all. In today’s environment, you are doing your business a massive disservice if your site isn’t easy to access on mobile. The easiest way to overhaul your site to make it mobile friendly is to consult with a developer and see what needs to be done and how much it will cost. In the long run, trust that it will be well worth it.

2. User Friendly

As far as users are concerned, the most important characteristic of a website is not that it is beautiful or professional. Instead, a whopping 76 percent of users say the thing that matters most is ease of use. Too many site owners and developers try to reinvent the wheel when it comes to e-commerce. The vast majority of the time, a simple, intuitive site will be the most successful. Keep your menu and navigation clear and basic. Keep products, sizes, and prices in familiar spots. Your users will appreciate ease over innovation when it comes to online shopping. The last thing you want is frustrated site visitors. Difficult sites can be especially hard for seniors to use – check out our tips on interface design for older adults here.

3. Great Product Displays

E-commerce shoppers range from people looking for one specific, specialized product to those just browsing around with no needs in particular. What unites all these buyers is the fact that they are looking for something eye-catching. Great product photography or eye-catching videos are a huge selling point on e-commerce sites. Regardless of whether your business is apparel, auto parts, or grocery delivery, customers won’t be interested if they can’t see what they’re buying. Great product descriptions might be the final selling point for some products. However, customers are unlikely to click on a product in the first place if it isn’t eye-catching and appealing. Rely on professional photographers to capture your products, and then let a professional developer put those images in place to achieve maximum appeal.

4. Urgency

How many times have you bought a product due to a one-day sale or conditional discount? If you’re anything like me (or most shoppers), the answer is many, many times. When designing your site, brief sales or discounts for signing up to receive a newsletter can be one of your best tools. Everyone loves a bargain. By giving your customers sales coupons with an expiration date, you encourage them to make their purchase sooner rather than later. 

Similarly, low stock alerts when there are fewer than 5 of a product remaining in your inventory can move the needle for some shoppers. If they’re on the fence about a certain product, this can convince them to buy it instead of leaving it for later and forgetting about it.

5. Secure, Varied Payment Options

You want to assure your customers that their payment information is safe and confidential. A qualified developer can make sure your site has an appropriate ssl certificate in place, and set up payment gateways that are always protected and secure. Having multiple payment options allows you to access a broad sector of the market. While not everyone has every payment method, having at least three or four options will accommodate most customers. 

We are excited to see what 2021 and beyond bring to e-commerce markets! What other tips about developing an effective e-commerce website do you want to see? Leave a comment below.

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Chantelle Gossner

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