From a purely statistical point of view, it isn’t easy to compete in the e-commerce business. The number of new eCommerce businesses is growing every day, totaling well over 25 million. You’re going to need a stronger foundation and planning if you want to stand out.
While eCommerce web development itself is a tricky process, e-commerce adds another layer of trickiness. Here are some key points to consider if you’re planning to set up an e-commerce website.
- Know your market and business opportunities. Develop a business model accordingly.
- Mobile users make up the bulk of internet users, so trying to optimize your site to be mobile-friendly is the best practice for any eCommerce website.
- Businesses should be authentic, and users should be safe from scams with proper identification.
- If customer checkouts aren’t smooth, i.e; a customer has to go through slow loads, multiple pop-ups, logins, and transaction notifications, it decreases user satisfaction.
- Increased user satisfaction leads to higher use and loyalty among customers.
5 Things to Consider Before E-Commerce Website Development
- Understand the Business Model/Shopping Experience
Knowing what type of business model you are following is essential to know your market and opportunities. Perhaps your model is business to consumer? Or business to business model? There are many business models out there and each requires careful business model strategy and discussion. The shopping experience is an even greater factor in your e-commerce business. A bad shopping experience leads to losing customers. A good shopping experience on the other hand leads to a growth in customer loyalty and brand growth.“Retaining an existing customer is 5 times as more cost-effective than acquiring a new one”. The following statement is not a business secret. By just having a little higher customer retention, your sell rate jumps drastically.
- Know Key Competitors
No industry in the world is without any competition. It’s essential to know your competitors to stay ahead of your business. Competitor analysis is a method to learn about your competitor’s strengths and weaknesses.If your competitors are ahead in the eCommerce business, you’ll have to analyze why they’re so strong, and what tactics they use to retain and gain customers. How you can strategize and take advantage of their weaknesses? Competitor analysis isn’t always about toppling others but learning the ways to become better. It’s a researched based analysis that includes research of their products, marketing strategies, social media presence, and other loopholes they follow. Knowing your key competitors is a surefire way of devising a good plan to kickstart your business.
- Discuss platform options
As far as building an e-commerce website goes, platforms are essential. E-commerce platforms provide essential tools and infrastructure to manage an online store. They allow you to manage products, create a shopping cart, do payment processing, and order management. Even more, developers can use inbuilt SEO tools and look at the overall report of the website. There are many popular e-commerce platforms available for you to choose from. What platform you choose depends on your particular needs and budget.
- Developing a proper marketing strategy
Marketing strategies play a huge role in gaining customers. Have a great catchy advertisement on a good platform, and you’ll reach out to thousands. Marketing has never been easier. From social media to newspapers and billboards, we have it all. Catching up on the latest trends, fashion, thoughts, and ideas can be one great way to analyze what the current market demands. If you’re wondering if some jokes can do well, humor too plays some role in brand identity.
- Research the proper layout of the site
From where to put the checkout button, to how to navigate the page, everything requires proper research. Tiny details like the placement of buttons can play a huge role in a customer’s buying. A site needs to be decorated well with graphics so that a user doesn’t have to navigate through a dull-looking site.
10 Must-have Features for E-Commerce Website
- Responsive Design
Responsive web design is a method of programming your website in such a way that the website can adapt to different screen sizes so that all images, content, and structure look the same.
Adding a responsive design to your eCommerce website can enable mobile users to freely navigate your site. Mobile users make up the bulk of internet users, so trying to optimize your site to be mobile-friendly is the best practice for any eCommerce website.If you encounter a website that has enlarged or pixelated graphics, it’s definitely unresponsive. A good responsive eCommerce website ensures users of all types of devices have a smooth, uninterrupted experience and a clear view structure of the website.
- Website Security
Security is the main factor for any business. This proves especially so if you want to establish an e-commerce website. E-commerce websites are victims of many online cyber-attacks. To protect customers from cyber-attacks, e-commerce security is essential.E-commerce security is the guidelines and protocols that ensure transactions between the user and business are safe. Safety is the biggest concern. By any chance, if your customers get scammed through your website, they’ll lose a lot of trusts.
Basics of your e-commerce security include
- Privacy: Protection of user’s data from unauthorized third parties.
- Integrity:Ensuring customers’ shared information remains safe and unaltered.
- Authentication: Businesses should be authentic, and users should be safe from scams with proper identification. Includes login information with security measures so that buyers can keep their accounts safe.
- Non-repudiation: Non-repudiation generally means “non-denial”. Having your transaction or order canceled can be a major dissatisfaction to both customer and the business. Non-repudiation is a legal principle that stops the cancellation of actions in a transaction.
- Good UI and UX
User Interface is a user-facing design that appears on a webpage or application. A good UI provides a good shopping experience. Best user interface practices include a clear call to action, well-optimized and colorful product images, ratings, clear site navigation, and related products.A good clean user interface leads to a better UX (User experience).We know how much important user experience is in customer retention.
A clean, uncluttered UI is the best practice for user experience. Customers shouldn’t be overwhelmed with unnecessary products or information. A common mistake with e-commerce websites is the matter of hiding prices. Prices for products should not be hidden but transparent between customers and buyers. As many as 50% of the users are reported to leave the site due to unexpected cash outs.
- Multiple Payment Options and Checkout
Just limiting your customers to pay through a single payment option is a bad practice. Having multiple choices gives customers options of paying through options they find convenient. Giving customers multiple payment options also makes them feel secure while carrying out transactions. Another key importance of multiple payment options is internalization. If you plan to expand your business for multiple reasons, chances are some payment methods do not work.
Adding more payment options increases the chances of sales. Checkout options include features such as guest checkouts, favorite items, wishlists, social logins, remember me, and such. This information can be used to improve the shopping experience through flash sales, offers, and promotions. If customer checkouts aren’t smooth, i.e; a customer has to go through multiple pop-ups, logins, and transaction notifications, it decreases user satisfaction. A clean, quick, and anonymous checkout page can help a lot in boosting your sales.
- Optimizing Site Performance and Load Speeds
Site responsiveness is another factor of site optimization too. The amount of time it takes for a site to load for a user is known as load speed. In easy words, a site that takes longer to load will lead to higher bounce rates. A well-optimized site and faster loading speeds are important. They directly impact the user experience on the site. Faster loading times lead to higher user retention and ultimately a higher placement in search engine results. The slower it loads, the worse it gets. A good practice for a faster page load is reducing file sizes of media using efficient coding and proper management of resources.
- Good Product Description and Placement
Many e-commerce websites use psychological tactics to manipulate a user’s mood. Even if a customer does not have a need for certain things, a cleverly placed promotion can make them want a product. The same goes for a product’s descriptions, imagery, and placements. We discussed how a good UI can help customers stay on your site longer. Good product placement goes hand in hand with UI. The longer customers stay on your site watching well-placed advertisements, the more likely they are to buy your products.
- Queries, Feedback, and Complaints
Customers will need a place on the site where they can voice out their queries, concerns, and feedback. They provide customers with a way to communicate with the business. It also makes the business look approachable, open to feedback, and caring for customers.When such queries, feedback, and complaints are answered and solved, it builds trust and loyalty with customers. It ultimately leads to a positive relationship between consumers and businesses. In the end, it’s all about customer retention and loyalty.
- CMS Integration
Basically, a Content Management System (CMS) is an integration that helps you manage and update your content easily on the site. While an eCommerce platform provides you with tools to manage an online store, it cannot assist you in managing blogs, marketing, product, and order management. With a CMS, businesses can easily update their products and contents keeping them fresh. CMS is also responsible for managing blog posts, landing pages, and online forums. CMS helps businesses save time with easier management of their entire site’s content. Content relevancy is an important aspect of a business and your content management system makes it easier.
- Shopping Cart Design
A well-designed shopping cart can make the process of checking out easy. The smoother the transaction is, the more trust a customer builds toward the business. A good shopping cart looks friendly and has visible buttons so users can interact without confusion (clear calls to action). Customers should be able to easily add extra items to the target shopping cart, view it or remove items.
An example of a Shopping cart design from Amazon . Clear, unclustered with a clear call to action.
- Shipping and Rate
Ever had a time when an online advertisement featured a product on sale for an unbelievably cheap price? Only to be bombarded with a massive shipping fee during checkout.
The following practice gives a very negative user experience due to sudden unexpected fees.
According to an e-commerce survey, around 55% of the users leave the site due to unexpected shipping rates. Be transparent with your shipping fees and other hidden rates. If a featured product is free shipping, mention it. If your product has sales, feature it. Do not hide anything.
E-Commerce is a massive growing industry and is a great way to reach a wider audience. There are many things legal and ethical that businesses have to follow in order to gain user trust and loyalty. In the end, user experience is the most essential factor to any business. Keeping the above factors in mind before proceeding with your e-commerce website will give you the required skill to have maximum user retention.Make sure your site is well-optimized and not following any false practices. Google is quick to catch up on such practices and you do not want to be penalized.