Running an eCommerce business is tough. There’s a lot to learn and you already have a lot of competition out there. You have to figure out everything from how to create the site to how to start drawing customers in.
If you do this wrong, you could find that your eCommerce business fails to get off the ground. To help you out, below are 6 things that every great eCommerce website has in common. You can use this list either when you are about to create a new eCommerce site, or if you want to modify your existing one to get better results.
A Great Domain Name AndHosting
Before you even get started creating your website and selling products, the first thing you’ll want to think about is your domain name. This is a decision you won’t want to rush through. A good domain name will accurately reflect your business and be easy to remember. Unfortunately, because of the number of websites already on the internet, finding the perfect domain name may be difficult.
Take some time to brainstorm domain name ideas related to your business. After that, you’ll want to find a reliable and cheap domain provider, then use their search feature to try out the names on your list and see if they are available. Most domain providers will also offer you related suggestions, so you should be able to find a great domain name that works for you.
After settling on a domain name, you’ll then need a hosting provider. Many domain name registrars also offer hosting, but you don’t necessarily need to go with them. You should find a hosting option that suits your budget, while also offering plenty of storage space and speed. Using the same service for a domain name and hosting often makes creating your website easier, but if you do go with two separate services, you’ll just need to research how to connect your domain name with the hosting provider.
A Simple Design
The next thing you’ll want to think about is the design of your website. It’s important that your site’s design is simple and clean, as you don’t want to draw attention away from your products. Look to use only a few primary colors throughout your design and make sure your text is easy to read. Designing an eCommerce site on your own isn’t easy, but luckily there are two options to help make it easier.
First, you can use a premade theme. Most web providers offer simple themes you can use that will take care of all your design needs for you. The great thing about these is that you’ll have a great looking website with just a few clicks of your mouse and you can change it to another theme whenever you want. The downside is that it’s hard to customize these themes, so if you have specific needs, this will be a bit harder.
The other option is to hire a web designer. Working with a web designer is more expensive, but they can create a website that looks and functions exactly how you want it to. If you’re unsure of which method is best for you, start off with using a free theme, and if you find that there are too many limitations on it, look to transition into your own custom design.
An Easy To Use Cart
According to a study on OptinMonster, 26 percent of users will abandon their plans to purchase online if the checkout process is too complicated. That’s a lot of sales you’re missing out on from a problem you can easily fix. To do this, you’ll want to find the best shopping cart software.
Shopping cart software will allow your customers to add your products to their digital shopping carts, then complete their checkout process. This process needs to go as smoothly as possible, as the more complicated it is, the more likely that your customer will abandon their cart and you’ll lose the sale.
If you’re working with an eCommerce platform, they may have shopping cart software already available for you. If not, you should explore what options are out there. There are many shopping cart applications you can use, each with their own features and costs. Once you pick one that suits your needs, the cart creator will likely have easy instructions you can follow to integrate it into your website.
After installation, be sure to test it out and ask for feedback from your customers. This is the best way to know if you’ve chosen the right software. If it turns out your customers are still unhappy with the checkout process, you should look to adjust it as quickly as possible, so that you don’t miss out on any sales.
An Organized Structure
When customers come to your eCommerce site, it should be as easy as possible for them to find what they are looking for. The key to this is a good site structure. Products should be listed in categories and subcategories that make sense.
For example, if you are running an electronics eCommerce store, some of your top-level categories might be “Computers”, “Tools” and “Batteries”. Then under “Computers”, you would have sub-categories like “Hard Drives”, “Memory Cards” and “CPUs”. On each page of your website there should be a menu that links to your top-level categories, and perhaps even has a dropdown menu that shows the sub-level categories. This makes it easy for customers to get from one product to another without having to go back to your main page.
For more information on how to best set up the structure of your eCommerce site, you can check out these tips.
Great Product Pictures
One of the downsides of selling online is that your customers don’t get the opportunity to see the products they are considering before buying them. To help make up for this, you need excellent product pictures for each item. Your pictures should be of high quality and well-lit so that customers can clearly see what they are buying.
Also, consider uploading 2 versions of the image – one small thumbnail used on pages where multiple products are listed and a larger image on the individual product page. Just remember that the more high-quality images that appear on a page, the longer it will take to load your website, so upgrade to a faster server if things start to slow down too much.
A Customer Service Feature
Finally, your eCommerce site should have a customer service feature. Your customers are buying things online, which comes with a level of risk. To assuage them, you need to offer customer service options. At the very least, you should have a way for customers to contact you listed clearly on the website. You can upgrade this further by creating a knowledge base, which is particularly easy if you’re using a CMS like WordPress. Here’s how to create a knowledge base on WordPress for more information.
Another great thing is to include a live chat feature. With this, your customers can quickly contact you and start a conversation. Live chat has been proven to help boost conversions, so you should definitely consider it. If you need more convincing, have a look at these live chat stats.
Start Improving Your eCommerce Website Today
A few small changes can make a big difference in the performance of an eCommerce site. So, whether you’re thinking about starting one or you already have one running, make sure the elements mentioned above are all a part of your site going forward. Doing so will make your customers happy and give you the best chance at success.