Critical Requirements For Building A E-commerce Website
The recent increasing trend of online shopping has made it inevitable for businesses to invest in an effective website. Businesses need to concentrate on their e-commerce website plan and treat it with the same importance that they give to their business plan.
Online marketplace is highly competitive and a rather difficult one to penetrate. Hence it is very important to understand the business and create the right kind of website which will portray the essence of the e-commerce business as well as establish the experience they want their customers to have.
Understanding the target customers would be the first step in any e-commerce website plan. A thorough research of the target customers and the age group would give the business an idea about the kind of design and their requirements for the website. While a certain group would visit an e-commerce site only for product comparison and to get information, a section of the customer group would actually make purchases. Determining the target customers would give a brief idea of the marketing strategy required and the amount of resources and time needed to reach out to the right customers.
Ideally the e-commerce website building process would start with the domain registration. An ‘easy to remember’ and catchy name is always the right strategy for a successful e-commerce business website. Nowadays with the increasing need for expert advice and help, e-commerce websites need to have an online chat facility and a toll-free customer care number which would enable them to connect with an official who can help them out with their purchasing decisions.
A good e-commerce website also has a secure and easy to navigate shopping cart. This helps the customers understand the payments linked to their purchases without any hassle and would enable them to process the payments without any security concerns.
There is more to a good e-commerce website than just a catchy name and a good design.
Critical Requirements of an E-Commerce Website
Now that we have understood the necessity of a good e-commerce website to make profits, let us look at what constitutes one. The main focus of any business while constructing a website must be to provide a good shopping experience. It is quite obvious that this happens by properly understanding your customers. Let us look at some common requirements which are essential for any e-commerce website to be successful and effective.
They say “Trust comes with time.” This is not applicable to an e-commerce site though. With the high levels of competition in the online marketplace, there is absolutely no “time”. People look for the stamp of assurance that the merchant is trustworthy before even going through the portal. Using a SSL or a Secured Socket Layer is the only way to build credibility. Investing in an enhanced Verification SSL provides better credibility when compared to the domain name certificates which validate nothing more than being the owner of the registered domain name.
However, this trust definitely comes at a higher price and is worth investing on. That being said, there is no point in investing in EV SSL if the business does not display the seal of trust that they use to provide attesting to their standards. A proper display of the trust seals would ensure increased conversion rates and aid in bringing back customers to the website.
Do but don’t overdo the decor
The design of a website is very important. However, it is used to only to form an impression. What’s more important is to make the entire shopping experience real and fun for the customers. So avoiding a lot of grandeur and keeping the webpage simple and user friendly would work just fine. The website must be responsive and easily navigable in all devices. The site must be mobile friendly with easy to click and simple call to action buttons with properly spaced icons and buttons, Clear and good resolution images of the products which has a good mobile version will ensure better understanding of the product.
Secure Payments and Easy Checking Out Process
This is where most of the conversion drops happen. An e-commerce portal with a good web responsive design, lovely aesthetics and easy navigation can still be rendered ineffective if the payment procedures are not secure and the checking out process is a hassle. Detailed payment information which does not include additional and unexpected cost additions, easy editing and deletion facility, clear display of shipping costs and any applicable discounts with a clear display of the product will make the check out process easier and comprehendible. Care must also be taken to ensure that the loading time is optimised and fast and the connection to the banks are quick, thereby minimising session timeouts. Displaying SSL’s here is definitely a plus.
Avoiding elaborate registration forms
Providing an elaborate and detailed registration time when a new customer is trying to check out can prove to be a big disadvantage to the business. Often, this drives off the customer and the business conversion does not happen. Providing the new users an option to sign in as a guest and later registering an account if required by the customer is a better option. One can also provide the users with a facility to login through a valid Facebook or Gmail account from where the mail ids can be verified. This ensures that the customer does not get distracted in the midst of a transaction and the entire check out procedure is quick and hassle-free for the customer. This increases the number of customers and increased business.
Intuitive Display and Structured Pages
When making online purchases, the last thing a customer would want is to search extensively for a product. The categories and sub categories must be labelled and structured methodically in a way that it makes sense to the customers and users. The labelling must be done in a way that is universal and commonly comprehendible so as to avoid confusion. A user testing and feedback section would ensure that the website is user-friendly and comprehendible for the customers. Including attractive, interesting and relevant content about a product/ category/ competitive products in the market and other related trivia would ensure that the customers are engaged and would not hesitate to come back.
Shopping is no longer limited to the women and is no longer niche. With more and more people engaging in online shopping, it is very important that the e-commerce website caters to the entire population of potential customers. It should be able to attract, engage and give them the ultimate shopping experience they are looking for and in turn, retain them. In this respect, There is no hard and fast rule of what will work and what will not. Every business will have its own methods and design that would work for them (sometimes exclusively!). What needs to be ensured is that the business knows its target audience and is able to cater to them effectively. Uncluttered display, easy navigations, special offers and deals, credibility and security is the basic things which one needs to keep in mind.
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