As many people transition from shopping in brick-and-mortar stores to buying products online, the popularity of eCommerce keeps growing at a steady rate. There are currently between 12 and 24 million eCommerce websites on the internet and since it’s easier than ever to make your own website, that number will only keep growing.
However, just because it’s easy to create your own online store, that doesn’t guarantee it will be successful. If you’re hoping to find success in such a competitive market, your website needs to have some essential elements that will help you stand out from the crowd and attract loyal customers.
Before you even start building your website, you need to find a good web host. Hosting is a space on a server that is something similar to a personal computer which is linked to a high-speed internet connection. Without web hosting, you could never run any of the elements on your website.
There are a lot of different options to choose from when you’re looking for a web hosting provider so it’s important you find good hosting that can meet all of your needs. And if your budget is tight, you should look for cheap website hosting that is reliable enough.
Here is what you can expect from great web hosting:
- Webspace. The amount of webspace you get determines how much space you have on the server. Approximately 1GB of space would be enough for an eCommerce website, as that allows your store around 10,000 product images.
- Bandwidth. Bandwidth measures how much data is being transferred from your website to your website visitor. All of your pages have a certain bandwidth value which is also measured in gigabytes.
- Uptime. A good web hosting account shouldn’t have anything less than 99.9% uptime. If your hosting provider doesn’t provide great uptime, your website could be down for days at a time, which can result in losing a lot of profit.
- Security. A good web hosting provider will ensure your website is secure, which is especially important for eCommerce websites that store a lot of sensitive data such as credit card information.
Simple design with easy navigation
When you start building your website, you need to keep one thing in mind when it comes to design – more is less. A flashy website with a lot of elements and different colors will give off an unprofessional vibe. That’s why it’s best to stick with a simple color scheme and elegant typography.
If you include a lot of unnecessary elements on your website, you will distract your website visitors from your website’s main purpose. A minimalistic website will not only look good and get people to where they need to go, but it will also load faster, which is important for reducing bounce rates.
Simplicity should also extend to your navigation. When customers come to your website, they need to find everything they’re looking for in just a few clicks.
Here’s how you can ensure your navigation is simple and user-friendly:
- Include a search bar. Every good eCommerce website has a search bar at the top of every page so users can instantly find the products they want to buy. If you’re using WordPress to build your website, you can include a search bar easily by using one of the best WordPress search plugins.
- Main navigation menu. Study popular eCommerce websites to see common navigation designs so you could implement a similar menu on your website. The best and most common ways to include a navigation menu is to place it on the left side or the top of the page.
- Product categories. Use meaningful categories, subcategories, and labels to organize all of your products. This way, customers who have a basic idea of what they’re looking for will be able to find the perfect products for them.
A mobile-friendly website has become a necessity in the eCommerce world ever since it became easy to access the internet via a smartphone. More and more people are using their cellphones to shop online, so the share of mobile commerce is expected to rise to 72.9% by 2021.
In other words, unless your website is completely optimized for mobile users, you will lose a lot of potential customers.
It’s important to note that mobile optimization doesn’t mean it’s enough for your website to load on mobile devices. The mobile version of your website needs to be as intuitive and easy to use as the desktop version, clutter-free, and have all important functions and easy navigation.
Informative product pages
One of the biggest drawbacks of online shopping is that customers can’t physically see the product they’re interested in. Unless you provide enough information about everything you’re selling on your website, a lot of your potential customers will be hesitant to click the “Buy” button.
That’s why your product descriptions need to provide as much useful and relevant information about your products as possible, including:
- Detailed description. Great copywriting is crucial in product descriptions. In your descriptions, you should say exactly what your product is, say what it can be used for, and describe how it can solve a problem the customer might have or improve their life.
- Specifications. State what material your product is made of, its exact measurements in inches and centimeters, as well as all the different colors the product is available in. If you sell any gadgets on your website, their product descriptions must include all technical specifications.
- Rich gallery. You need to upload many high-quality pictures that show the product from every angle. If possible, you should also include pictures of the product being used so the customers can envision themselves using the product as well.
Simple checkout process
Abandoned carts are a source of frustration for all eCommerce store owners, but they’re unavoidable. However, just because you can’t ensure that all website visitors who place a product in their cart actually complete their purchase doesn’t mean that you can’t optimize the checkout process for conversions as much as possible.
A lot of people abandon their carts right before they convert because they find the checkout process too complicated or inconvenient.
Here is how you can avoid that problem:
- Remove all distractions from the checkout page such as additional boxes, pop-ups, and anything else that could distract the customers from completing their purchase.
- Allow customers to purchase items from your store without registering to your website.
- Include multiple payment options because most customers won’t buy something from an eCommerce store unless they’re able to use their preferred payment method.
- Don’t surprise customers with any additional charges just before the checkout, since that can lead to frustration.
Even though millions of eCommerce websites are trying to break through and find success in the online retail world, not all of them will succeed in that goal. Even though success depends on a lot of things, in the end everything comes back to your website.
There are many ways to turn people into customers, but no matter how many marketing strategies you implement, your website will be the deciding factor for potential customers. Whether they actually purchase something from you ultimately depends on the elements you have on your website.