Wednesday, 1 August 2012

How To Maximise Sales with an Effective E-Commerce Website

Online Marketing Expert, Waseem Saddique, offers a ‘how to’ guide on designing an e-commerce website that has an impact.

The first rule of designing an e-commerce website is don’t design for the business, design for the customer. It’s imperative to consider yourself as a consumer, because this will ultimately help you to create a site that offers the most user-friendly experience.

Simple Web Navigation
Ensure that your site is well laid out. The purpose of the e-commerce site is to allow customers to find what they’re looking for instantly; if they can’t do that then they’ll look elsewhere. Simplicity is often a much more effective approach to e-commerce site design and a number of templates exist to provide you with design inspiration.
  • ·         Provide a prominent search bar – If a customer knows what they want, they will find it useful to have a search tool that will allow them to locate what they want instantly because it saves time.
  • ·         Categorise your products – This works for the casual browser, who has a vague idea of what they’re looking for, but don’t have any specific requirements in mind. Therefore, providing categories will give visitors an option and essentially lead them into a decision making process.
  • ·         Provide a guide – For customers who have no idea what they’re looking for, they are open to persuasion and can literally be directed to a sale by providing them with product suggestions.

Attractive Product Presentation
If a customer is browsing the web to buy products, it means they won’t be viewing the product in person. Therefore, your website will essentially need to bring the product to life. This is incredibly challenging as you need to convince a customer to purchase on a sight unseen basis.
  • ·         Pictures – Invest in the services of a professional photographer for your e-commerce site. There is no substitute for high quality images and make sure your photos are visible enough to ‘draw the eye’. Also implement a tool that will allow customers to zoom in and rotate in order for them to view items from various perspectives.
  • ·         Descriptions – Keep them short, simple and consistent throughout the site and make sure the content maintains the tone of your business brand.
  • ·         Reviews – Giving customers the freedom to post reviews on your website adds credibility to your products and makes your business much more transparent. It also offers another level of interaction with your e-commerce site.
  • ·         Price – Make prices prominent. One of the key factors behind the customer decision-making is the price. Waseem Saddique comments: “Customers do not appreciate prices being hidden from view; they want the overall price in plain sight with no hidden surprises.”
If you have items on sale make these products and their prices stand out.

Implement a simple payment system
Lengthy payment processes are statistically proven to be the biggest downfall of e-commerce sites and having done the hard work, losing a customer at this stage can be incredibly frustrating. Therefore, it’s advised to keep your check out facility simple.
  • ·         Keep your payment processing on one page – The more pages a customer has to endure, the more likely they are to avoid completing the process. The trick is to be minimalistic.
  • ·         Provide a choice of payment facilities – Tools such as Paypal and accepting an array of credit and debit cards leaves customers with a vast amount of options by which they can make payment.
  • ·         Terms and conditions should be clear – As customers, particularly new customers, are putting trust in a product they can’t view in person, they will instantly hunt for returns policies etc. It is therefore advisable to make them clear so customers know where they stand.
After Care
All good e-commerce sites should provide visible contact details in case customers are not satisfied with products they receive from your company. Implement innovative communication methods such as: live-web-chat and social media. This gives customers the impression that there is a humanistic touch to you e-commerce site.