Are you looking to start selling online? Well, it all starts with creating a well-designed storefront. There are several web-builders to choose from including Shopify and Squarespace. And while your needs will differ across industry and product, there are certain features that are common across all eCommerce websites.
Ensuring that your customers can find the products that they're looking for - quickly and easily - is essential for any eCommerce website. No one wants to spend hours searching for a product that they already know they want to purchase, right? Luckily there are some tried and trusted principles of a user-friendly website:
- Minimise clutter: No one wants to be bombarded with dozens of links plastered across the homepage. Customers want options, but there is such a thing as too many options. A complicated navigation will likely cause confusion in your customers and cause them to bounce off the site.
- Showcase your product range: As a rule of thumb, you want to feature 30% of your main product categories on your homepage. This. not only, gives your customers a quick snapshot of what your store is all about, but it also gives your store some credibility.
- Use breadcrumbs: Breadcrumbs are navigational links that sit above your product listing and make navigating around your site more intuitive from a customer perspective. Be sure to take time to think about your categories and make sure there's a logical flow in between categories and sub-categories. You can imagine how frustrating it would be to start browsing in the books category and somehow end up in the makeup sub-category.
2. Blog for Search Engine Optimisation
Chances are you've heard one or two gurus mention blogging as a method of attracting and informing customers at the top of the funnel. Typically, a eCommerce business will have different customer personas that their blog will target in search. An article should aim to target the phrases or keywords that their target demographic would be searching for. As a business owner, you want to find a website builder with:
- A user-friendly rich text editor
- Effective file management system that allows you to upload video, image or attachments
- Control of content metadata
3. Customer testimonials
Customer testimonials are the most effective type of content you can put on your website to drive conversions. In fact, 97% of consumers will consult product reviews before making a purchase. This is why you will often find testimonials above-the-fold on a website's homepage. It immediately provides that business with credibility. Some businesses even dedicate an entire page to showcasing standout customer reviews.
4. Support of popular payment methods
If you've ever purchased something online (and, let's face it, who hasn't), you've probably used a payment gateway like PayPal or Stripe. Most of the eComm giants like Shopify and Squarespace have these gateways integrated with their service and doing so saves you a lot of manual date entry hours when you can integrate these gateways into an accounting software like Xero or Quickbooks. With this integration you'll seamlessly transfer and sync information from your chosen eCommerce platform (orders, invoices, sales) directly to your accounting software.
5. Reporting tools
A vital component of any modern business is analytics.You want to know which products are performing the best, and which ones are underperforming. This gives you a better sense of the why behind your customers actions so you can tweak your listing or marketing. Most of the popular eCommerce platforms offer either their internal analytics dashboard or allow you to integrate with Google Analytics to track your site's performance. You want to make sure that your chosen eCommerce platform provides you with:
- Demographic information
- Traffic source
- Session duration
- Bounce rate
6. Email marketing integration
Building an engaged email list is a crucial part of growing your eCommerce business. In fact, email marketing is one of the most effective marketing channels around today. By integrating with an email marketing software like Hubspot, Mailchimp or Campaign Monitor, you're able to make sure your lists are updated and you can send targeted emails to targeted segments. You want to make sure that implementing email capture forms is easy to do on the home page, blogs, product pages and at checkout so you can start to build your community from the get-go.
7. Ability to manage orders and inventory
Nowadays, most eCommerce platforms either have a native shipping tool or integrate with one. What you're looking for is a platform that easily integrates with one software that completes the entire shipping process from order to delivery. Interparcel's Shipping Manager integrates with most top eCommerce platforms like Shopify, WooCommerce, Etsy, BigCommerce and Squarespace and takes the administrative work out of your hands. We combine custom pricing with top courier services and a local support team to support thousands of Australian businesses from one dashboard.
Mobile digital media is now significantly higher compared to activity on the desktop. In fact, 30% of mobile shoppers will abandon a transaction if the experience is not optimised for mobile. What do we mean by optimised for mobile? A responsive website should automatically resize and adjust to different (smaller) screen sizes. This makes for an optimal viewing experience by the reader and will undoubtedly reduce the bounce rate of your website. In addition, in 2012, Google confirmed that a responsive web design will help your site to climb the search rankings. Now, while most website builders will have ths feature included in their platform, there are a few things that you can do as a store owner to ensure that the experience of a potential customer is a good one.
- Never created multiple web pages for different platforms
- Keep the navigation uncluttered and minimalist
- Keep any product descriptions or large bodies of text to the point and easily scannable
- Make sure any buttons or links are large enough to be seen and tapped with a finger
- Compress your images and files