The best way of approaching this is by thinking about it from the customer’s perspective. What are the three most frustrating things that you avoid like the plague, or simply click off, when you shop online? Seeing it from this angle can really show you what not to do on your e-commerce website.
1. Don’t waste your customer’s time
Simple in theory, but you might be surprised just how many businesses get this one wrong. There is nothing more valuable than time, especially online. The aim of the game is to allow your customers to get what they want, in the shortest amount of time. For some unknown reason, at checkout many e-commerce websites ask for additional information or registration thinking that the customer will go ahead and fill out the details. Some do, but too many will leave before they have completed the sale. Make it easy for them to buy from you, and they will be back, I promise.
If your website is loaded with too much dynamic content, it may look terrific, but may take forever to load – this is a definite no-no. Customers will leave your page immediately and probably never come back. Plus, these days customers generally like simple, clean and professional looking pages they easily browse through.
2. Terrible overall web design
Hinted at above, the way a website looks as well as the way it functions is everything in e-commerce. Your products should always be at front and centre. Professional looking images and consistent branding make all the difference. Your website needs to have good functionality – a search option, a sort option, good working links, a streamlined shopping cart and multiple payment options are the minimum requirements.
Customers expect a lot from e-commerce businesses, and so they should. Ensure your website is well organised, not overfilled with fluff that confuses the customer and gets the job done.
3. Don’t have a bad customer service area
This sounds easy enough too, but again, it’s amazing how many sites don’t provide adequate help or information sections.
At the very least, you should ensure there’s an in depth section on the basics – like information on the return policy, payment options, delivery options, product information, company information, contact details, etc. Always reply to any customer constant asap, or within 24 hours. Don’t leave them hanging for an answer, otherwise they will lose interest, and you will lose money.
Remember, if it’s too hard for the customer to find what they need, they will be gone in a flash.
Always remember what you like and don’t like as a customer yourself, and that will give you a great indication of what your e-commerce website should be like.