With all the talk of how online stores are one of the easiest ways to start businesses today, a lot of people are interested in having their ecommerce websites—maybe hundreds of thousands of them. However, not every e-commerce website/business is bound to be successful, and this is exactly what happens. A large number of e-commerce businesses fail, and only a handful can build a permanent footprint. So, what it is, that makes an e-commerce website successful or at least elevates the chances of its success? Here are some.
1. The Website Design
Of course, you are talking about a website, and a website is a visual experience. For an e-commerce website to be successful, it needs to provide a memorable and pleasing visual experience. The first rule to remember is to make the website easy for your visitors. You do this by keeping the website design simple by not overloading it with content. Keep the thumbnails clean and the image quality high. Provide breadcrumbs so the visitors can go back to the desired pages when they wish to no matter how deep into the page layers they are.
2. The Security
An e-commerce website is completely different from a brochure website in this particular aspect – security. Your visitors come to your website not to look at images only but to make purchases. They have to provide their banking, social security and credit card information to make those purchases. Unless your website is protected with proper SSL security, most of the visitors will leave your website in the middle of the checkout process. Similarly, you want to keep visitors on your website as much as possible. When you take them to a third party website to make a payment (due to a third party payment gateway), they feel uncomfortable. Look for on-site payment solutions, so your visitors never have to land on a third party website while giving credit card information.
3. The Shopping Cart
Your shopping cart is the backbone of your e-commerce website. Your customers’ experience of shopping on your website depends on your shopping cart. You have to make things easier for customers while at the same time optimizing them for your success. The shopping cart should always give customers a clear view of what they have in the cart or on their wish list. Going from a list of favorite items to payment gateway should not be difficult. A payment calculator should give an accurate calculation of what the customer will pay.
4. Conversion Rate Optimization
A successful e-commerce website is one that converts, not the one that gets a lot of traffic. For you to convert leads into paying customers, you have to work on conversion rate optimization. First, you will have to create luring and converting landing pages. Secondly, you will have to work on your call-to-action buttons. They should be big, luring and easily searchable on the page. In fact, they should stick out—you do that by making the area around them, white or contrasted and using 3D or other animation effects on the buttons. Use different versions of CTA buttons, website content, and colors, etc. to know which combination works the best.
5. Data Analytics
Detailed data analytics and taking proper actions based on them are important for any website, not just an e-commerce website. How would you know what is keeping your customers from completing the checkout process if you are not collecting any data? By collecting data from every page of your website, you can tell which from which page the visitors are leaving your website. Knowing the exact page from where your visitors leave your website will give you an idea of where you need to make improvements. Could it be an unimpressive landing page or is it that the upsell/cross-sell during the checkout process turns your customers off? Only data can reveal the truth.
There are dozens of other things that can play a role in making your e-commerce website successful or a failure such as your promotions, social media marketing strategy, customer service, etc. However, once you have fixed the areas that we have mentioned above, you can rest assured that you have laid the foundation for a successful e-commerce website.