Creating an e-commerce website is no joke, but you probably already know that by now.
What you want to know is how to make it a success. And, quite frankly, that won’t be a walk in the park, either.
You have to be prepared to spend days learning the ropes, figuring out what strategies work for you, and spotting opportunities to improve.
The good news is, you don’t have to go alone through this massive undertaking.
In this post, we’ll help you develop clear goals by revealing the components of a successful e-commerce website.
Ready? Then let’s dive right in.
#1. The Mandatory Search Bar
As an e-commerce website, it’s in your best interest to help visitors find exactly what they need.
Sure, you can organize your products according to categories. But why let your customers spend a minute or two scanning your website when you could just provide them a one-click access to exactly what they need?
That’s why your e-commerce website needs a search bar to help them find a specific product.
Fortunately, most e-commerce platforms and content management systems support a native search bar that can be easily implemented to any site. It’s only a matter of finding the option that will enable it on specific pages.
#2. An “Offers” Section
Plenty of times, customers come to e-commerce websites with no idea whatsoever on what to buy.
This is where an offers section may come in handy. It can function as a “front page” for your e-commerce website — providing visitors with product promotions, usually offered at a special discounted price.
A special offers section provides some leeway for the creativity of an e-commerce brand. The best approach, however, is to align offers with specific events throughout the year, such as Mother’s Days, Cyber Mondays, Black Fridays, and so on.
#3. The Category Pages
Small e-commerce websites typically focus on a narrow niche, which makes it easier for them to target keywords for SEO and develop high-quality content. However, most of them grow horizontally and gradually add new products to their online catalog.
Category pages ensure customers can find products they may need regardless of the number of items you offer in your online store. Not only will this give the user experience a quick boost, it’ll also enable you to create a “silo” structure for your e-commerce website — thus, making your content more SEO-friendly in the eyes of search engine crawlers.
#4. Product Rows
Speaking of category pages, customers can view more products if they are presented in rows instead of being stacked into columns.
According to marketing professor and director of Jay. H. Baker Retailing Center, Barbara E. Kahn, humans have higher “perceptional fluency” when viewing things in rows since our eyes are aligned horizontally.
“The notion is you will take one when goods are stacked vertically and more than one when they are stacked horizontally,” says Kahn. “Retailers have figured this out.”
#5. Fluid Performance
Sometimes, it’s the factors you don’t see on the screen that make the biggest difference in a website’s profitability.
Statistics from Kissmetrics show that 40% of users won’t think twice about leaving a website that takes a little over 3 seconds to load. Google paints a similar picture with 53% of mobile users abandoning said sites.
For e-commerce sites, that means you could be missing out on roughly half of your potential conversions just because you failed to optimize for speed.
How to be sure you get to keep more of your traffic? Consider the following website speed optimization speeds:
- Get Actionable Steps with PageSpeed Insights: When it comes to website speed optimization, the first order of business is to run your website through Google PageSpeed Insights. This works by automatically scanning websites for issues that affect page speed, as well as actionable optimization suggestions that are specifically tailored to those issues.
- Leverage a CDN: A lot of e-commerce websites nowadays, particularly those that target the international audience, use a CDNs to reduce latency. A CDN is basically a network of proxy servers distributed across the globe, which share the load of transferring web data to users.
- Implement Image Compression: E-commerce websites definitely have to rely on high-resolution product images to enhance the experience of their customers. To make sure these images won’t use too much bandwidth, use a tool like Compressor.io or TinyPNG to reduce their file size without compromising quality.
- Upgrade to HTTP2: Put simply, HTTP2 is the significantly faster version of the traditional HTTP. It’s currently supported by Apache, Nginx, and other major server implementations along with most mainstream browsers like Chrome, Firefox, and Opera.
#6. Customer Reviews
You don’t need decades of marketing experience to realize that positive customer reviews have a huge impact on your audience’s buying decision.
Remember, if there’s one thing the online audience trusts more than branded content, it’s the recommendations of their online peers. According to the Nielsen Global Trust in Advertising Report, 66% of people trust opinions posted online by other consumers.
As such, providing a platform for your customers to voice out their thoughts in the form of reviews is a must-have for e-commerce websites.
Just like search bars, built-in reviews is also another feature that’s widely supported by most major e-commerce platforms. The key here is generating them, which can be done in different ways, such as:
- Scheduling an automated review request via email
- Engaging customers on social media
- Using social media listening tools to scrape existing customer reviews and opinions
- Using a user-generated content platform like Yotpo
#7. A Solid Value Proposition
Finally, a strong value proposition makes sure you get the attention of newcomers.
The usual route is to make it front and center to the audience with a high-quality background image above the fold.
Of course, your value proposition must be backed with a straightforward call to action (CTA) to enforce your message. You don’t have to overcomplicate it — just see to it that your value proposition and CTA resonate with your target audience.
Designing successful e-commerce sites can be challenging, but it’s also an enriching experience for aspiring entrepreneurs. You just need to dissect their anatomy, understand how each element works, and determine which ones fit your online goals.
Have anything else you’d like to share other readers about e-commerce success? Feel free to leave a reply below!