“My dream was to set up my own e-commerce company. In 1999, I gathered 18 people in my apartment and spoke to them for two hours about my vision. Everyone put their money on the table, and that got us $60,000 to start Alibaba.” – Jack Ma – Chinese Businessman and Investor
We all know something about the roaring success of Alibaba and Jack Ma, but not many people are interested in knowing how it all started. From a mere 60,000 dollars, Jack Ma has created an empire worth more than 500 billion dollars. And he has redefined how businesses worldwide use ecommerce to their advantage.
Ecommerce is not a new phenomenon or a buzzword anymore. According to a report published by eMarketer in 2013, worldwide ecommerce sales topped 1 trillion-dollar mark in 2012. That’s 7 years ago, and companies like Alibaba and Amazon are doing mind-boggling business for over 2 decades now.
Small businesses and startups can learn a lot from them in terms of marketing and strategy. But at the start, it’s all about web design and development of the website that makes a difference. To get the eyeballs glued on an ecommerce portal, there are certain aspects that are vital.
Following is a checklist of 10 most important aspects that can make an ecommerce portal attract the visitors and offer easy shopping and every information they need on their fingertips.
Design for all the Success
If you think that design doesn’t play a key role in changing the decision of a visitor, think again. A product showcased well, just like it is displayed in a shopping mall, will make visitors give a second thought to it. Use of colors and high-quality images can make a design look authentic.
Choosing the background and font colors for a shopping portal is critical to its success. Colors can inspire and draw different actions, emotions, and feelings of people looking at them. For example, for a purchase button, a bright red color is usually used. As per the color psychology, red color makes a person excited and passionate, and that’s the ultimate goal for a company to make visitors excited for a product.
Professional images go a long way in building confidence among the target audience. It’s common knowledge that images increase conversions. A recent study shows that relevant images can increase the conversion rate by over 40 %.
The CTAs on the landing page and homepage are important but to make things work for you; an apt design is needed. Design of buttons where a CTA is mentioned must be immaculate along with the color to excite the visitor to check out the offer.
All the Information about Products
Don’t take anything for granted as thinking that your customers know everything about your product is wrong. As your customer can’t touch the product just like in a physical store, you need to offer them all the relevant information, especially related directly or indirectly to the products you are offering. Some of them are:
- In-depth product descriptions
- Zoom-in and 360-degree rotation capabilities
- Ability to view products in different colors
- Product videos
- Correctly tracking inventory numbers
- Correct tax rates
- Correct currency according to the region
- Precise product weight and shipping weight
Management of Ecommerce Portal
Even a single blog needs management, so you can have a good idea of how much you need to take care of an ecommerce portal. There are several aspects that can be crucial in this concern. Some of them are:
- A link to Legal information
- A link to your Contact Page
- A link to the FAQ page
- Links to your social pages
- Links to return and exchange policies
- Links to supplier information pages
- A shopping cart at the top in case people saved items
- Tabs leading to your support pages
- Include security certificates and reminders that the transactions are safe throughout the website
This list is not a definite one as some more aspects related to particular business needs to be taken care of. For example, a company offering a new gadget they have invented must offer its patent number and other relevant information.
Branding and Logo
Using apt branding through a unique logo design is what companies should be looking at. A fresh logo that doesn’t feel like a copy of a famous one can remain in the memory of a visitor long time after visiting a shopping portal. The logo must be prominent on the home page and landing page for best results.
If a website sells big brands, all the logos must be displayed at prominent positions on the home page and subpages too. It can bring a sense of authenticity and prestige to that website.
The content of a shopping portal can easily be customized once a customer has logged in with his username. This can save that visitor and many others a lot of time as they can see the most relevant information and products they usually like to buy. There is always the option of searching for any product they like to buy.
Customization of the cart page and checkout process with information of a customer can further make him checkout with his desired product pretty quickly. An overly complex checkout process can result in a customer abandoning the cart halfway. Form fatigue can set in as a customer can feel exhausted in filling out the details of a form. Customization is the answer.
If certain security features are not applied, an ecommerce portal will be flawed and vulnerable to hackers. People doing a transaction online have to give their personal and sensitive information like a street address, credit/debit card number and PIN to name a few. That’s why ecommerce websites are a prime target for cybercriminals.
Offering sophisticated security is, thus, a necessity rather than just another feature on the website. Some of the most common security features are:
- SSL Certificate
- Two-Factor Authentication
- Use of Firewall
- Timely updates of Operating Systems and other Software
- Payment Gateway Configuration
- Shipping Methods
Social proof is simply the feedback from your current customers to your potential ones. Providing such feedback through rating system is also possible as people can rate your product on a scale of 1 to 5. A testimonial section is similar to the ones above and only add credibility to a website. Companies can ask their customers about a product and add reviews/feedback to their blogs.
Ecommerce websites need to connect to their customers on an emotional level, which is what every brand tries to achieve. Linking social profiles and content generated by current customers can be highly beneficial for websites and shopping portals. Thus, showing authenticity and association through customer’s feedback can work wonders for a business.
Shopping Cart and Checkout Process
Companies who commit the mistake of thinking of shopping cart as not an important factor, pay the price. It is not merely a place for customers to store products they have bought, it’s rather a touchpoint that can open up new potential opportunities for companies. Cross-selling at this juncture can help a shopping portal not only achieve its target but over-achieve it.
The checkout process should be easy as most customers would feel annoyed and frustrated if they find anything difficult to comprehend. Around 30-40% customers each year don’t check out after filling their shopping cart and difficulty in using the cart is one of the reasons. That’s why a smooth check process is required.
Customers’ information must be quickly filled with only the most relevant ones. Pre-filling of form or auto typing is another important factor. Ability to store information of a regular customer like his credit card details (Number/Name/Expiry) through customer login helps in minimizing the frustration of this long process.
Social Media Sharing
Social media buttons must be present at all times. Word of mouth is one of the best ways to make any product tick, and the same is true for a website as well. Thousands of online shopping portals are available, and I am just talking about big portals with hundreds of thousands of products. Social media buttons through which a person can share what he likes can offer such sites free advertising.
The links to the website’s social media accounts must be visible so that visitors can connect to their social networks with the company’s accounts.
For an ecommerce website, videos are one of the basic features. A product video is a valuable communication tool for shopping portals that can make them seal the deal. According to a survey, 73% of the people are persuaded after watching a product video or video review, which can offer them in-depth information concerning how a product looks.
Short 10-30 seconds video preview and ads about a product can make customers excited about it and look forward to knowing more about it. Effective use of these short videos can enhance their impact.
Over to you
If you want to add something valuable to this blog or have some questions in mind, you can always use the comments section below.