The 9 Most Important Elements to Building an e-Commerce Website

Gopinadh Gulipalli
October 6, 2016
 Mins Read

The design and layout of an eCommerce site plays an important role in driving sales. Usability is particularly important. If customers find it extremely difficult to find the products that they need, they might navigate away from the website and search for the required product on a search engine. When it comes to eCommerce websites, customers can interact with the brand from anywhere. But if the website is not setup properly, there will not be enough brand engagement with the customers which might affect the reputation of the brand and prevent the visitors from coming back.

According to Statista, 40% of global internet users have purchased products from e-Commerce websites. To come up with an eCommerce plan that works, it must be first decided what kind of experience the online customers will have when they visit the website. Once the target customers, their needs and the information that will be provided on the website are decided the time and money that will be required to maintain an online presence can be determined. Online shopping is quite diversified and is not aimed at a particular audience. All efforts can be ruined by a minor developing or design blunder. Some crucial elements must be considered while developing an e-Commerce website for it to be a success.

Here are some essential elements of a successful e-Commerce website:

1. Choose a Good Domain Name:

There are millions of websites out there and finding a domain name that has not been already taken will need some creativity. A domain name that is unique and is owned by the ecommerce company exudes professionalism and makes it relatively easier to promote the brand. A good name is essential as when people think of the ecommerce website, they think of it by its name. If the URL is same as the name of the website, navigation becomes easy and potential customers will not find it difficult to find the site. There are thousands of domain names to pick from and choosing the right one will greatly impact the success of the website in every area including social media marketing and search engine optimization.

2. Clear Logo:

Logos are a part of everyone’s life. They are everywhere. Logos are the face of the brand with which the consumers can recognize and identify themselves with. The job of a logo is to define the brand in such a way that it satisfies everyone including the company, the designer and the customer. A recognizable logo for eCommerce websites installs an element of trust in the company. Popular brands can build their own online stores having a fashionable homepage but display least features as these designs require just a well-known logo, video, image or a ‘buy’ button. Ecommerce websites must aim for a logo that has customized artwork which is designed to convey a specific message and have a lasting identity.

3. Responsive Design:

A study conducted by eMarketer has found that, when it comes to responsive design, 22% of marketers feel they are way ahead of the curve, 29% have average experience, 23% are behind times and 4% feel they are hopeless. The way of the future is responsive eCommerce website design. It is a waste of money if a website is built and it gets outdated very soon. The only logical choice for eCommerce websites that are built today is responsive web design. Responsive web design has various benefits as it can work on any screen be it desktop, tablet or mobile and even provides a consistent experience regardless of what device the customer is using.

4. Clear Calls to Action:

The call-to-action is more than just a phrase in the web advertisement and marketing parlance. It is a critical aspect that has tremendous potential in converting a visitor into a customer. For ecommerce websites, the call-to-action (CTA) button represents a key conversion point where awareness is turned into sales. The featured banner space at the top of an eCommerce homepage is one of the most coveted spaces on the website. Usually the space is occupied by slider images and eCommerce websites must make sure that the CTA button is clearly visible and the slider images must highlight a hot product or promote an upcoming sale.

The visitors must be given a sincere reason to click the call-to-action button so that it increases the customer’s trust and loyalty rather than enticing the visitors to click using irrelevant content or click bait which unnecessarily wastes the visitor’s time. The images on the slider must be bold, big and eye-catching as it can pique the interest of the customer and create an emotional connection.

5. Credibility:

People closely watch their expenses and want to know everything about a product that they are going to purchase from the eCommerce website. They even want to know the payment methods, the complete purchase process, warranties, delivery service, etc. that will help them to make a purchasing decision. The eCommerce website must make sure that they reach out to every visitor in a professional manner which clearly explains to them the reason why they should buy the product. Links to appropriate pages must be provided at the home page as visitors can find the answers to their questions, thereby saving the support team’s time and reducing the number of pre-sale help requests from the customers.

6. Convincing Content:

Content is the key to a successful site. Site visitors must be given a lot of valuable information, ways to contact the customer care and incentives to visit and buy. Until the customers purchase a product and receive it, they won’t actually feel the product. Therefore it is extremely important that the best possible information about the product must be given which is possible only through informative content. Even expensive brands can be made to look convincingly cheap with the help of beautiful and interactive content. Videos too are a great addition as visitors can get a good idea about how an item, especially footwear, will look on them. Stunning images which convey some kind of message or emotion is a great way of selling a brand.

7. Navigation:

The visitors to an eCommerce website must find it easy and enjoyable to browse the site. Links to major areas in the website must be limited to two or three and the visitors must never be left at a dead end. The best possible eCommerce platform must be developed that provides the best experience and keeps the customer satisfied. The homepage of the eCommerce website must not be made to look like it is too focused on conversion.

The slider on the homepage must inspire the visitors and link them to a product list slide that is triggered every time the visitor scrolls to the next page where the price and available colors can be immediately checked. For simplicity the product search option must be based on gender, price range, type of product, color, etc. Though this might feel like a burden to some visitors, the right visual balance must be achieved.

8. Social Media Links:

According to Nielson’s Global Digital Shopping Report, close to 46% of online users depend on social media platforms when they have to make a purchasing decision. There is a natural inclination towards considering public opinion. Social media websites such as Twitter and Facebook are the best places to find honest and credible feedback about a particular product. These platforms also provide huge opportunities for self-promotion and virtual communities play an important role in identifying the most influential customer. Social media is critical for spreading information and it can be used not only for selling an item but also building relationships and providing valuable information to the right people.

9. Easy Checkout Process:

One of the most critical elements of an eCommerce experience is a good checkout process. There will be few necessary steps such as typing the delivery address and selecting the shipping method, but if done correctly, the complete checkout process can be quick and painless. Customers might love a product but if doubts arise during the checkout process, they will definitely abandon the purchase.

Customers hate it when they have to navigate more than two pages to purchase a product. Both the customers and the eCommerce website will be benefited if the checkout process is no longer than one page, but practically that is not possible. A feasible option would be to allow the customers to enter important details such as shipping and billing address, shipping option and credit card details on the first page and then confirm the order in the next. Any more pages and the customers might abandon the purchase and choose never to return.

An eCommerce website must be designed in such a way that it is appealing and inspiring. To create the right emotion, branding is an extremely important factor. The customers must be made to feel confident in their purchase by giving them the best possible impression. The services of an expert ecommerce support provider can be taken to build a successful e-Commerce website. Once customers make a purchase, efforts must be made not to lose them. With the large amount of time, money and effort that is put in to achieve a commendable online presence, applying the above mentioned essential elements can be helpful in building a successful e-Commerce website.

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