Whether you’re building an online store or establishing a site that will advertise a service, there are certain features you’ll want to make sure are present to maximize your chances of achieving a reasonably successful outcome with your e-commerce venture. Launching and promoting any online endeavor will inevitably involve a gauntlet of individual steps that need to be taken to design and popularize the new business.
However, the uncertainty about which resources you’ll need to get the job done can be overcome by preparing with a bit of preliminary checklist building. Below we’ve listed 10 components that most lucrative e-commerce business have, and which you should also strive to include in your e-commerce site:
1. Integrated Shopping Cart and Checkout Process
Nobody likes buying things from a website when it’s difficult, time-consuming, and frustrating. Nowadays people expect streamlined purchasing processes. They want to click a button to add an item to the cart, click another button to checkout, enter their payment information and be done with it. The faster and more convenient you make the checkout process, the better the shopping experience will be for your customers. There are plenty of options in this space, so it might be best to start by comparing a list of the top ecommerce shopping cart solutions.
2. Optimal Merchant Services
At the end of the checkout process, when it comes time to pay, your customers should be met by a payment processing service that is trusted and well-equipped to prevent fraud. Choosing the right merchant solutions ensures that your customers will be comfortable and safe while shopping on your site, while also allowing payments in multiple currencies. If you plan on conducting transactions that involve high amounts, you might want to consider a merchant solutions provider that specializes in high-risk e-commerce.
3. Detailed Product/Service Descriptions
Few people will pull out their wallets (digitally or physically) to buy a product or service that they don’t know much about. There should be enough imagery and descriptive text on the product listing page to give a prospect the confidence needed to make an informed buying decision.
4. Well Organized Catalog
Just as each individual product/service listing page should be made informative and graphical, the entirety of the catalog should be well organized and easy to browse through. Be sure to categorize as thoroughly and accurately as possible, and consider upselling methods like listing featured products or services on your home page.
5. Adequate Support and Contact Methods
Online shoppers tend to trust e-commerce sites that have multiple methods of responsive communication. At the least you should make it easy for your sales staff to be contacted be via phone or email at all times. Having live chat support embedded in a floating window on each page is another great way to build trust and satisfy customer inquiries expeditiously.
6. Informative ‘About Us’ or ‘Meet the Team’ Page
When’s the last time you saw any kind of site doing business online without an ‘About Us’ or ‘Meet the Team’ page? Potential customers need to be convinced that your brand is trustworthy, reputable, and legitimate. The best way to do this is to help them become familiar with your company background and/or the career accolades of your key staff members. If you have no clue where to start with this, you might want to check out some ‘About Us’ page examples first.
7. Easily Navigable Structure
While super menus and modern design features can be great, an over cluttered structure that has too many sub menus can be a hassle to navigate and may discourage some users, especially those using mobile devices. Studies have shown that a significant percentage of e-commerce is being conducted via mobile devices, so make sure your site design is fully responsive or create a mobile version of the site to accommodate.
8. Robust Yet User-Friendly Administrative Interface
In addition to having an appealing and easily navigable front-end interface, the back-end control panel should be just as user-friendly for site admins. Using a content management system like WordPress or even e-commerce platforms such as Shopify can give you an out-of-the-box solution that comes with plenty of options and minimal learning curve.
9. A Blog for Increased Traffic
You might have noticed that may e-commerce stores have sections of the site devoted to a blog. This serves to provide a platform for discussing company news, new products/services, industry-related topics, informational guides, and any other content that can help generate additional traffic and brand recognition.
10. Associated Social Profiles
Finally, once all of the on-site components have been taken care of, don’t forget to link your e-commerce store with its own social profiles on sites like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, LinkedIn, etc. This will provide the obvious benefit of helping you spread awareness and attract new brand ambassadors.
Successful E-commerce Requires a Holistic Approach
If you’re thinking of adding different components here and there to see how things develop as you go along, don’t. The only way to ensure the best chance of success in e-commerce is to introduce and optimize all ten of the components listed above, while also continually doing research to discover new tools and resources that can further your cause of attracting potential customers and increasing conversion rates.
Lastly, it’s worth mentioning that one great way to stay up-to-date with what other online retailers are doing is to join e-commerce specific communities made up of other online shop owners. You can find these communities all over, one place we would recommend checking is on Facebook — just look around for e-commerce groups and you are guaranteed to find a bunch.