An important question every e-commerce business owner will ask when launching a new website is ‘How to stand out on a crowded web among thousands of other websites and become successful?’
Here is a list of important and essential components of a successful website. They are not in an order of importance, and this doesn’t give you a 100 per cent guarantee, but if you take this advice into consideration when creating an online shop or e-commerce website, you will be closer to the success than those who ignore any advice.
Establishing customer trust is a very important, perhaps even the most important component of an e-commerce business. For gaining new customers and retaining them means customers need to believe in your ability to run a honest business.
* First opinion of your website – is it attractive and easy to navigate. In addition to logical and easy navigation website’s loading speed also plays very important role in making a good first impression. People like fast sites and every second counts.
- Security features – E-commerce security is a set of protocols that guards e-commerce transactions. Security requirements must be in place to protect customers and companies alike from threats such as credit card fraud, scamming and malware. HTTPS protocol (https:// ) should be used on all websites and pages that collect data and sensitive information. SSL Certificates encrypt sensitive information to ensure that any data is unreadable to everyone other than the destination server.
- Contact us page and business address – Having your e-commerce business registered address and phone number(s) displayed on your website (on the Contact Us page, Home page or Terms and conditions page) when you sell your products or services online only gives you credibility as a business. If you have a physical shop or office in addition to online presence, you should add this address to your website, too; this will satisfy people that might want to visit you. With the amount of shady businesses that exist on the internet that do not display any addresses and contact information, your business will be seen as more trustworthy by some if you display this information on your website.
- About us page – Tell your story, write it for your target audience, and people will trust your website more.
- Blog – E-commerce blogging builds trust in your brand. Content and blogging is among the major ways most marketers are building customer trust and loyalty.
- Live chat – Studies have shown that customers that use live chat are three times more likely to make a purchase compared to those who don’t. A large number of online consumers say that having questions answered by a live person during an online purchase is one of the most important features a website can offer. Offering live chat can help customers feel more welcome on the website. It is also an effective way to begin to establish your company’s service offerings early on, and set the foundations for earning your user’s trust.
- Excellent return policy – Providing a comprehensive and excellent policy for returns and exchanges instils confidence in you, your business and your products. And trust has a huge impact on your bottom line. Make your returns process easy.
- Company policies – Returns, privacy, GDPR, cookies etc. policies and Terms and Conditions should be simple to understand for the average consumer, and easy to find. These policies are foundational for building trust between the website and the user, as they outline every way in which your website will interact with users and their personal data.
We live in a multi-screen society. So, it’s important for your site to be viewable across as many devices as possible, because you never know what device someone will be using to view your website. Responsive and mobile-friendly design of a e-commerce website improves user experience. You want people to like your website and come back to your site, therefore whichever device they use the content and images should be viewed quickly and with as little scrolling and zooming as possible.
Responsive design is also good for a website SEO because Google gives preference to websites which are mobile-friendly.
Easy Checkout Process
One of the most important requirements for e-commerce websites today is fast, secure and easy checkout. Confusing and slow checkout often prevents customers from finishing completing their purchase and they leave disappointed.
Here are some proven tactics for smooth checkout:
- don’t force registration, allow guest checkouts
- ask minimum information from customers to fill in (most important is email and delivery address)
- make available optional social login
- basket content should be always visible and easy to understand
- delivery and handling charges should be shown as early stage as possible
- always provide order summary and review before payment
- more than one secure payment gateway options should be available to choose from.
- make your delivery date clear and visible
- have the newsletter opt-in box unchecked
- try removing all distractions like footer, and minimise or replace header if possible
Use customer reviews to pump up credibility. User reviews play a crucial role for an e-commerce website to become successful. Your customers, current and potential use reviews to make decisions if to purchase or not. Product reviews help build trust and loyalty. Reviews also help to improve your website’s ranking the more people talk about it, search engines consider it very important.
Definition: Social proof is a demonstration that other people have made a choice or partaken in a product/service — such as reviews, testimonials or social shares — thereby encouraging others to do so.
How to use social proof in e-commerce?
- include customer/expert/celebrity testimonials (with name, logo and face) on your home page and under the product description
- indicate the number of people who bought/ recommended a product
- point out and display your best products as “best selling”, “best price” etc.
- recommend similar products “ People also bought …”
- display the number of Facebook “likes” next to your product
- mark your best products as “popular choice”
- use real-time stats – show how many people are currently on your website
- certificates – if your business has certain industry certifications or accreditations, you can proudly display these qualifications on your website
There are 6 types of social proof: customers, crowds, celebrities, experts, certifications and friends.
For conclusion: all the components and tactics mentioned in this post is only one part of creating a successful e-commerce website. There are many other ways how to gain customer trust and stay successful for longer period. We will be discussing other e-commerce topics in our next posts. Please visit our Blog to find more useful ideas.
Comments are welcome.