When you’re setting up an eCommerce site, the primary focus should be on the business itself. Having a good product to sell is the most important thing; not even a perfect website will sell an inferior product, at least not for long.
However, a great site can give you a boost, and help to set you apart from your competition. There are ultimately very few wholly unique products in online markets - but there are good ones with exceptional websites, and it’s these that often seem to win out.
Keeping this in mind, here are a few tips for how to set your eCommerce site apart once you’ve figured out the underlying product and business.
Emphasize Visuals First
This can seem like an obvious idea for any old website, but not necessarily for an eCommerce site, with which it’s so easy to hone in on functionality at the expense of appearance. However, the truth is that great visuals should come first with just about any website. They hook visitors and give them a reason to want to see more.
For example, one of the web development platforms is use is Squarespace. That doesn’t mean you necessarily have to use these platforms, but sites built with Squarespace arguably emphasize visuals more than any others.
The service makes a huge point of offering attractive examples, and indirectly encourages its users to place a premium on how things look. Just looking through some of the examples, you can see in a way words can’t quite express just why visuals matter most. An attractive site is often a successful one.
Make Navigation Visible & Intuitive
Another thing that’s true of just about any successful site of any kind is that it should have intuitive, visible navigation features. This may be particularly important where an eCommerce site is concerned though.
Simply put, if people can’t easily see what to click on to reach a new page, go back to the homepage, check a shopping cart, read reviews, or whatever else may be necessary, they’ll be less inclined to stick around. Making sure these features are visible incentivises people to look around and spend time on your site, which in turn makes it more likely they’ll end up seeing (and buying) something they’ll like.
Display Multiple Payment Options
When people are prepared to make purchases on eCommerce sites, they don’t want to be faced with options they’re not familiar with, or for which they don’t have accounts. Thus, it’s in your best interest to make sure a variety of payment options is on clear display. Here we’d recommend looking at the UK's gaming sites, particularly in the casino category, for inspiration. Your site is likely entirely different, but casino sites handle a virtually endless stream of deposits and purchases, and have thus become strong examples in this specific area. They boast of choices from credit card processors to the ability to pay by phone bill, and everything in between.
You may not need to go quite this far with an eCommerce site, but the general idea should give you something to strive for. Be sure to set up multiple options, and make sure they’re easily seen by potential customers.
Display A Blog
Lastly, you should also strongly consider making sure that a blog tab and accompanying articles are visible on your site. Written content - even in the form of simple lists, brief reviews, one-paragraph write-ups, and the like - gives visitors something to engage with. If, for instance, someone visits your site and isn’t ready to buy something but does like the products or find them intriguing, he or she might find an excuse to stay on your site by reading through relevant blog posts. It may not lead directly to a purchase, but it makes your site more memorable (not to mention more shareable), which can lead to purchases or even new customers down the road.
Abi Fawcus designs and builds ecommerce websites on bespoke, squarespace, shopify and woocommerce Contact me for more information.