Read Time: 4 minutes

TL;DR

  • There’s a well-designed set of best practices and features that help to ensure a successful e-commerce website, no matter the industry or type of products.
  • Ensure product descriptions answer as many potential questions for the customer as possible.
  • Shoot imagery that shows off the product from every angle.
  • Provide testimonials for potential customers.
  • Displaying a related items section is a great way to make the consumer’s product search easier and increase sales.
  • Include a wish list function that visitors can use to flag items while they mull over a purchase.

 

E-commerce sales in the United States were worth $127.3 billion in the second quarter of 2018. That’s a pretty significant market that no business can afford to ignore. To gain a foothold in that crowded market, businesses must consider how they can best design and maintain a solid online presence that can drive sales.

Making that happen isn’t as simple as creating a pretty webpage and waiting for the customers to roll in. There’s a pretty well-defined set of best practices and features that help to ensure a successful e-commerce website, no matter the industry or type of products for sale. To shed some light on this business-critical topic, we’ve created a guide to the five most important elements that every e-commerce website should have to enhance sales and keep customers coming back again and again.

Thorough, Detailed Product Descriptions

In a traditional brick and mortar retail environment, a fair amount of sales are derived from people browsing through a store and happening upon an item they didn’t necessarily come to purchase. Online, customers tend to arrive at e-commerce sites knowing exactly what they’re looking for and they want information – lots of it. That means it’s very important to provide product descriptions that answer as many potential questions for the customer as possible and are written in a way that is designed to influence a purchase. Remember, e-commerce product descriptions are the equivalent of a retail store’s sales staff, so it’s up to those descriptions to do the selling for you.

Attractive, Complete Product Images

Another element that consumers expect on a quality e-commerce website is a full set of product images that provide a clear look at the items for sale. They can’t provide the kind of tactile experience that a consumer would have in a physical store (and why so many retailers function as ad-hoc showrooms for Amazon), so it’s crucial to provide potential customers with the ability to examine the products from every angle. Product photos should be clear, professional and provide the ability to zoom in to see every last detail of the item.

Customer Reviews

In the world of e-commerce, consumers have more power and flexibility than ever before. They have an almost unlimited number of places to buy any given item and don’t have to deal with any high-pressure sales tactics when they arrive at a site. They’re also not content with a business’s assurances of quality; they demand proof – social proof to be exact. That’s why customer reviews can make or break an e-commerce website. Potential customers rely on the experiences of others as a means of gauging the likelihood that they’ll be satisfied with a purchase. Customer reviews (and an all-out effort to keep them positive) are the best way to provide potential customers with the experiential evidence they need to make an informed, intelligent purchase.

Related Item Displays

Once a potential customer arrives at an e-commerce website, one of the best ways to ensure a sale is to make the shopping experience as quick and effortless as possible. One of the keys to creating such an experience is to understand that most purchases don’t happen in a vacuum. For example, if a customer is buying a flashlight, it’s a safe bet they’ll be looking for batteries next. Displaying a related items section is a great way to make the consumer’s product search (and therefore a purchase) easier, while simultaneously increasing sales via companion products the customer may also be shopping for.

Wish Lists

Last, but not least, it’s important to recognize that not every visitor to an e-commerce website will complete a purchase on the spot. Some tend to conduct plenty of research and may visit several times before deciding to buy an item, while others may be browsing for items they plan to buy at a later date. To accommodate this behavior, you should provide a wish list function that visitors can use to flag items while they mull over a purchase. Doing so can mean the difference between the customer returning to buy something and simply forgetting their visit and moving on to another store.

Putting it All Together

If you’re still in the planning stages of creating an e-commerce website, now’s the time to make sure your design incorporates these elements so it will be ready to convert visitors into customers on day one. There’s no substitute for starting off on the right foot, and now you know how to do just that.

If your existing e-commerce website is missing any of these all-important features, there’s a good chance that it’s not providing the type of results your business needs. Not to worry, though. In many cases, it’s possible to retrofit existing e-commerce sites to bring them in line with these best practices and turn them into the high-performing sales portals they were originally intended to be.

No matter your situation, Comit Developers can help. Our team of talented developers and designers can upgrade your existing e-commerce website or create a new one for your business from the ground up. Contact us today and let us get to work making your e-commerce website as successful as you know it can be!