Year over year, worldwide ecommerce sales continue to increase. More people are becoming comfortable with ordering what they need online and having it delivered to them. At Yas, we’ve built more ecommerce websites this past year than any other year we’ve been in business.
If building an ecommerce website is on your to do list, here are the pieces we believe will help make your store run smoothly so you can hit your sales targets.
Quality Product Images
I started with this one because I think too many people overlook it–to their detriment. When your customers are online shopping, they need to be able to see clearly what they’re purchasing. Great quality images also help sell your brand and get people excited about the products.
As well as having good photos, make sure to size all photos the same, or build the site so that all products appear uniform. Having lists of products of all different sizes can be off-putting and hard to read.
A great example of a site we’ve built that has consistent product images is Sweet Nutrition Canada.
Organizing your products into categories is a great way to keep them easy to browse for your customers.
However, be careful not to create too many categories; this can be just as long and overwhelming to use as having no categories at all.
Do your best to group your products in a small set of main categories and use subcategories as needed. Tags can also be useful for linking products that might not necessarily all fit in one category. Think of tags as keywords used within your article. You can then set filters on your products to search by tag.
Check out Sweet & Sprouted’s website for a good use of categories.
Effective, Easy to Find Search Box
This is particularly important if you have a lot of products in your online store. Placing a search box in a prominent place so people can start searching for exactly what they want is a great user experience. Amazon is the classic example of this, as I’m sure most of you will already know.
Once your buyers have placed items in their cart, the checkout process should be simple and seamless. At Yas, we use WordPress and Woocommerce to build online stores, and Woocommerce comes built-in with simple checkout pages. On the cart page you can adjust your quantities and view shipping options/estimates, and the checkout page asks for the minimal info needed for you to pay and complete your order.
Don’t over complicate your checkout pages with unneeded questions or steps. This can lead to people abandoning their carts.
Free Shipping (if you can)
I know this one might not work for everyone, but online ordering becomes much more enticing when you’re able to offer Free Shipping. This doesn’t mean you have to ship everything free, but if you can, have an offer such as ‘Buy $XX and get Free Shipping!’.
Harden & Huyse Chocolates offers free shipping above a certain price tag just like this.
Everyone has different needs. Offering different shipping options allows people to get their stuff when they need it. Tie in your shipping options with a service like Canada Post or UPS to allow your site to auto-calculate Express and Standard shipping rates.
It’s important to make it easy to find out what your policies are regarding purchases and returns. Nothing is more frustrating than buying something only to find out it can’t be returned if it isn’t what you expected.
Common places to add a link to your policies page would be in the footer (bottom section) of the site, and also on the cart page.
When someone completes an order, give them the option to automatically create an account. This will allow them to easily log back in to track the status of their purchase or review past purchases. More importantly, it will also simplify the checkout process next time they purchase something on your site as their details will already be there.
Good Site Design
I can’t leave this one out. Having a well designed, easy to navigate website is a no-brainer. This doesn’t mean your website needs to be unique and flashy, it just means it has too look good and be organized well. Check out our article ‘Top 8 Most Important Qualities of a Great Website’ to ensure you know what’s needed for a well-designed site.
I’m actually surprised at how many websites I come across that don’t use an analytics tool to track website stats. Make sure to include Google Analytics on your website so that you can track and monitor the activity. There are many insights you can gain that can be used to optimize your site for better conversion and sales.