In 2016 it was recorded that 58.3% of worldwide internet users were online shoppers, by 2021 that is expected to surpass 65%. We’re talking billions of people buying the things they need and want through a website instead of a shop, and that number is growing by the day. But there’s more to it, studies suggest that 85% of consumers start a purchase on one device and end it on another, whilst 52% of customers say they’re less likely to re-engage with a brand after a bad mobile experience. The big question here is: How can you capture and maintain the attention of customers when you’re up against so many distractions? With more and more people shopping and engaging with brands on the move, eCommerce website owners are finding they need to diversify at a rapid rate just to keep up. Some of the biggest and the best in the field (think Amazon and Ebay) have developed a finely tuned system, moving beyond simple listing and selling to use affiliates as an extra source of income. But with consumer demand growing and not letting up anytime time soon, this really is an exciting time for ecommerce startups to find their space in the market.
In short, an eCommerce website is potentially a fantastic way to attract customers, build brand trust and of course, make money online. ECommerce is essentially any form of business transaction (be that a product or service) over the internet and is at the moment, one of the most important aspects of the internet jumping into our lives. It might sound simple but the real beauty of eCommerce is the way it completely removes any barriers of distance and time in the shopping process. Meaning consumers have the ability and power to purchase from the comfort of their own homes. But the concept has been around for a while now and so whilst shopping online may be second nature to most of us, the speed and ways in which the process is developing is nothing short of amazing. The way eCommerce looks now is likely to be very different in years to come and there’s something very exciting about that.
How can Design and Creativity Play a Part?
Finding a picture and writing a description is only the very beginning when it comes to making an eCommerce website, in this busy market the biggest and most successful brands understand it’s about so much more than that. It’s about selling a lifestyle, a feeling, and the only way to do that is with some incredibly creative content and effective design to run alongside your eCommerce objectives. Here are a few ideas we like the sound of:
Learning as you buy. Building expert advice and ‘how-to’s’ into your customers shopping experience is a brilliant way to not only engage them further in your site and its products, but also build trust in your brand.
Inject a bit of humour. If your brand allows, why not hire an SEO copywriter to write some (discreetly) entertaining product descriptions? Giving your visitors something a little different can really help get them back through the door again, it’s all about human connection with a brand.
Product tutorials. Often effective with tech-heavy products or services, providing a user’s guide can help the customer choose you over competitors, hire the right SEO copywriter and you’ll have some carefully placed CTA’s in there too.
When it comes to the design of your eCommerce website, one of the first things to get right is your landing page. The way a customer feels and what they see when they step through a shop door is something that all leading superstores and highstreet giants work hard at and invest a lot of money into. There’s no reason it should be any different for eCommerce sites. A good website designer will get the colours, imagery and customer flow right whilst the perfect web developer will get the inner workings spot on, so your eCommerce website does all the hard work of your most reliable salesperson, and some.
What Makes a Good (or Bad) eCommerce Website?
There’s a couple of key functions that separate a website with an eCommerce website, and they are primarily the basket and the checkout. Anyone who’s bought anything online knows that the process of selecting items and paying for them has to be flawless. Shopping should be fun, and parting with hard earned cash to get something lovely in return is exciting! The last thing a customer wants from an eCommerce website is error messages, technical faults and delays; they don’t make for an enjoyable experience and certainly won’t have them coming back again.
To get it right, you’ll need to work through how all of this will work with your web developer; fairly fine-toothed comb in hand. Testing, testing and more testing in the development stage should eliminate this problem, and a good web developer will have a fully comprehensive system in place to pick up on any bugs or hiccups that crop up.
When it comes to making a good eCommerce site, there a few design and website flow considerations to think of too. Adding unexpected extortionate shipping and handling costs can result in the customer leaving with a slam of a door behind them, be as honest as you can with your customers, it will pay off. You should also ensure your eCommerce site has plenty of payment options available and to be inclusive of as many people as possible. Also, if your shopping basket has that 'enter promo code here' field, pre-populate it with something, lots of shoppers see that field any then hunt for a promotional discount for your eCommerce website, and if you don't have one, they might just find a competitor has one, and therefore even though they were ready to buy from you, your basket made them think, can I get this item discounted elsewhere. So either remove it, or prepopulate with a free promo that doesn't cost you anything! Lastly, try to avoid making people feel they should create an account before being able to buy something, this method of data collection whilst effective at times, can also put shoppers off.
When and why hire an ecommerce specialist
If you’re after a simple eCommerce website and have the time and inclination to do so, you can use a simple platform to get yourself on the scene, there are a few around and a quick search should you give you some ideas. But if you have a few more complications and require something a bit more bespoke in your eCommerce platform you’re going to need to start looking around for web developers and web designers who can help.
Depending on the complexity of your shopping and payment process, the amount of work, skills required and in turn, cost, of your ecommerce site can vary greatly. You’ll need to speak with a number of web developers and possibly some web design agencies too in order to work through your shopper needs and come up with a working solution.
Diligence Digital is a web design company that offers web design graphic design, brand identity, website maintenance and online marketing.
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