Do you have all the makings of a great e-commerce site?
What exactly goes into it that makes it great? What does a good e-commerce experience look like for customers?
A well-designed site with all the right ingredients is a recipe for e-commerce success.
Get ready to boost your sales with a few simple best practices that will make your e-commerce site pop, entice customers, and leave people loving your business.
What are the ingredients of a good e-commerce site?
2 Cups of Content
Content is key on any website, and e-commerce is no exception. Just because people are there to buy doesn’t mean you can get away with stingy copy! Well-done SEO can double your online sales by helping customers find your business. And people want to know what they’re getting into if they purchase from you – give ‘em a hearty dose of information so they feel informed and reassured that they’re making the right choice.
- Include unique (and descriptive) item descriptions. It’s so important to clearly describe your product, its specifications, what makes it special and any relevant details that might help a customer make their decision. Don’t just import the basics from a database!
- Provide extra-detailed content for your most popular products. Maybe they hold special feature positions on your homepage or within their category. If these are the items people come to you to find, make sure you’re giving them an extra helping of detail to prove why you’re the best source for those items.
- Focus on product categories. If you’re pressed for time or just don’t have enough to say about each item, put your energy towards category content. Customers find you online by searching for keywords – use those long-tail phrases in your main product category pages to help Google (and customers) notice you.
- Use reviews and social media content. Not feeling chatty? Your customers are! Take advantage of their positive feedback and fill your product pages with glowing recommendations from real-life customers.
3 Tablespoons of Navigation
Nothing ruins a customer’s e-commerce experience faster than poor navigation. Struggling to get around a website deflates a consumer’s purchase enthusiasm like a underdone soufflé. SEO comes into play here, too, in how you organize your website’s technical side. Labelling pages appropriately goes a long way in making your site easy to navigate.
- Use keyword-y url strings. Unique, “speaking” urls (the page address like http://www.mybusiness.com/product/purple-bear) make finding your products easier for both search engines and customers. They include keywords that relate to the product or category on that page so everyone knows where they’re headed.
- Label category pages broadly. That is to say, have a page called “TVs” and then get into the nitty-gritty details of HDTVs and LED and Plasma types in the content on that page. Just make sure people who are unfamiliar with your business will understand what each page will contain from a glance at your navigation.
- Provide redirects and Out-of-Stock notices. If a product no longer exists or is simply out of stock, make sure your customers know what’s what. After following a link to a page that has been taken down, make sure your site automatically redirects them to the new version or to the product category page. It’s also a good idea to provide customers with an option to be notified if an out-of-stock item becomes available (and lets you add to your customer email database!).
A Heaping Spoonful of Design
A beautiful site is much more appetizing to customers than one that is cluttered, confusing, or just ugly. High-quality website design creates a great user experience from first glance, and allows people to focus on the products for sale rather than the overwhelming appearance of your site.
- Quality images are indispensable. High-resolution photos help customers get an even better idea of what a product looks like in real life, which gives them the confidence to buy from your business. Give them high-quality images from multiple angles and they’ll be ready to bite.
- Interesting pictures get shared. Attractive images get shared on social media! Just look at Pinterest – it’s full of photos people have pinned and shared from businesses of products they love and want to buy. That could be you! Let them do the work for you, building awareness and strengthening your brand as brand advocates.
- Optimize your images. Take advantage of meta-data. Make sure your alt-descriptions on images are detailed and keyword-friendly to help search engines understand what the image is and get found by customers when you catch their eye in search results with a stand-out photo.
- Design for mobile use. Trying to use an e-commerce site that’s not optimized for mobile is like eating soup with a fork: it’s a struggle. Mobile (smartphones and tablets) makes up more than 50% of e-commerce traffic. Make sure your site is mobile-friendly – but always offer a link to your desktop site version even on mobile.
Mix it all together and what do you get? A well-crafted e-commerce website, baked to perfection for your customers to try. With these tips in mind, you have a recipe for success and a treat for your site visitors every time.