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What makes a good ecommerce site?

24th Apr 2012

It’s a tough selling ground, the internet. Ecommerce is massive business, and it can be hard to stand out. There are, however, a few simple steps you can take to ensure maximum customer acquisition from visitors. Get it right, and you’ll convert these acquisitions into repeat business, generating leads and maximising sales in the process. 

Functionality is key

Make your website as functional as possible. No one wants to try and navigate their way around a labyrinth of menus just to buy a new spade. By having a visible search box on every page, customers can easily find the products they want without having to return to a specific ‘search’ section.

Give your visitors as many sorting options as possible. These could be price (ascending or descending), bestsellers, customer rating, or any number of other things. Combine this with lots of images of your products to keep customers engaged. Suggest alternatives, joint purchases; give your customers as much information as you can.

Remember, your website is your selling tool. Make it as visually attractive as possible. This is actually more important than you might think – a recent Stanford University study revealed 42% of visitors to ecommerce sites do not trust them if they’re poorly designed or look shabby.

Poor design and functionality are indicative of a lack of professionalism. Show your customers you know what you’re doing by building a website that looks great and works flawlessly.

A smooth transaction

Once you’ve got the browsing process sorted, you need to get the purchasing part right. Security is paramount. No one will buy from a website if they fear that someone could steal their credit card details. Include all the relevant security details to let your customers know they’re safe.

When your customers get to the checkout, make it as easy as possible for them. Encourage them to sign up for an account - this will help with lead generation. You should also allow for purchasing without registering, just to make life a bit easier for your customers. There’s nothing more frustrating than having to go through three or four sign-up pages before you can actually buy the thing you came for in the first place.

There isn’t much more to it. Make sure you send a confirmation email, but don’t bombard your customers with messages. Have an easily reachable customer service team to deal with complaints and enquiries. Remember – customers don’t want to be bothered but they want you to be there whenever they need you.

Easy, attractive and functional – the three key facets to a great ecommerce website that will lead to acquisition, conversion and retention.