E-commerce websites are available ready to go right out of the box these days. With platforms like Magento and WordPress available at no cost, business owners can have a website up and running in no time. However, what most of these rookie businesses don’t realize is that there’s so much more to a successful e-commerce website than what an out-of-box template has to offer. Specifically, there are four major elements that platforms don’t address through templates or the initial installation that must be taken care of before you even think of launching your site: Trust, Promotions, User Experience, and Marketing.
If you’re not an established e-commerce website, there isn’t much that says that the user can trust your business. In an online world that is saturated in fraudulent transactions, people will be very weary of giving up personal information, including credit card data. Start off by using security symbols such as the Norton Secured Seal, BBB information, and secure http sites during checkout to at least give the consumer a little bit of comfort in their purchase. You’ll also want to establish contact information, including a phone number. Simply leaving an option to be contact be email is often a sign that a consumer should turn in the other direction, so this part is a necessity for your success. Keep you contact information predominantly displayed on your website.
People who shop online want products cheap and with free shipping. If you can’t compete with the low price points online, you need to start by getting your product costs down or you’ll get eaten alive. Once you’ve established good price points, make sure to feature your most popular products on your homepage. There’s a reason product sell well, and whether you can figure it out or not, you need to capitalize on the data that’s in front of you. Always consider a free shipping option. You don’t need to offer free shipping on products when it simply doesn’t make sense. But if you can still pull in 20 points on a products cost, there’s no harm in shipping it for free. Consider doing a free shipping over X amount of dollars promotion to attract new business.
Out-of-the-box templates are often generic looking and consumers know it. Consider investing in several extensions or plugins to enhance your website, including a drop down menu, featured manufacturers, and product lightbox enhancements. You’ll also want to take a crack at editing CSS files to get your content well-spaced. Often several sites are built with large white space which can make it difficult to get content in front of your customers eyes.
Possibly the best promoter of new and return business is in-site marketing efforts. Email campaigns offer a highly targeted opportunity to advertise to consumers who have an interest in your brand and what you have to offer. Clearly display an Email sign up option, and you’ll grow your base quickly. Make sure to also offer a downloadable or even printable catalog on your website. Whether users are looking for a specific product or not, it’s nice to know that you can get every single product in front of them at any given time.