There are many benefits of making your products available for sale through your ecommerce website—increasing revenue and expanding your customer base to name a few.
But simply setting up an ecommerce website, and dumping your product catalog into your shopping cart software isn’t enough. Usability, navigation, and design make the difference between just browsing and actually buying.
1. Keep It Simple
The whole point of having an ecommerce store is to sell your products, so why make it difficult for your customers to find what they’re looking for? Finding a product to purchase shouldn’t be a scavenger hunt, so it’s essential to simplify your site navigation. Create a clear hierarchy/dropdown menu for customers to browse by category. Customizable sort options—by price, arrival, brand, etc—can also help your customers find what they want, fast.
Additionally, consider simplifying the registration process if you require it to complete a purchase. Complex and lengthy registration can cause customers to abandon their cart at the checkout.
2. A Picture is Worth a Thousand Sales
The downside of making purchases online is not being able physically see the product yourself. It sounds simple, but having a picture to accompany a product can be the difference between sale and no sale. Depending on your merchandise, you may also want to add multiple images of the same product from different angles. When a customer can actually see what they’re getting, there’s a considerably lower chance that they’ll return it.
3. Go Into Detail
Your customers should never have to leave your site to find information on a product you sell. If they do, you risk losing the sale—especially if another ecommerce site comes up in the search results. It is essential that your product catalog—descriptions and specs included—be seamlessly incorporated into your ecommerce site.
4. It’s All Relative
If you aren’t linking to related products, you’re missing out on a huge selling opportunity. When a customer views a product on your site, they should be offered a list of products that fall in the same category your customer is searching. Not only does this provide customers with options, but it also helps to establish return business.
5. Cover Your Customer Service Bases
Just because ecommerce sales take place online doesn’t mean you don’t have to work for the sale. Businesses can sometimes forget that a successful ecommerce website requires support team manpower. Easy to use, easy to find contact info can help customers address any issues or ask any questions efficiently and privately.
It’s always good business practice to have your customer service policies listed up front, and most merchant providers (including us) actually require it. Return and refund policies should be prominently displayed to avoid any headaches down the road—i.e. chargebacks.
Likewise, consider including a shipping rates calculator or make the various shipping rates visible throughout the shopping experience. Sites that don’t clearly state shipping costs up front risk losing sales when the final total is added up.
6. Take the Process Out of Processing
And last but certainly not least, make payment processing easy. The customer has made it this far, but functionality issues at checkout can cause a potential purchaser to cut and run. Your customer should be able to select, purchase and confirm the sale without hassle—thus the need for integrated shopping cart software. Many shopping cart providers also offer open support, and can act as an additional safety net should any glitches appear.
Also, make a point to accept a wide range of payment options. Simply accepting Visa and Mastercard will lose you AmEx, Discover, and gift card users who were planning on purchasing. If you are hesitant about adding American Express to your list of accepted cards for fear of high fees, don’t be. In fact, the cost of accepting AmEx is (literally) pennies compared to the cost of losing a sale. Check out our pricing page for a detailed breakdown.
At Arrow Payments, we review the ecommerce sites of all our merchants to make sure they have all of these elements in place before they begin processing with us.
Arrow Payments provides a Simply Better solution for processing payments online. Have a question? Tweet Antonia at @ArrowPayments