A successful eCommerce website is always a work in progress. It is ever evolving and is subject to change at all times as you continuously try to refine and improve it without trying to blow your marketing budget.
Although things are constantly changing, there are some aspects that remain the same. These are some of the key ingredients that are needed in every successful eCommerce website. You just can’t do without them.
Let’s talk a closer look at 7 such design elements that are a ‘must use’ to ensure your eCommerce website’s profitability:
1. Shopping Cart
All eCommerce websites have a shopping cart feature for their customers. Online shoppers add the product/s finalized by them to their cart and continue browsing for other products.
Some websites get this cart right, others get it terribly wrong. No prizes for guessing that it’s the websites that have got their cart right that go on to lead a profitable existence.
Generally, there are two distinct types of shopping cart implementations. The first one is when shopping cart appears every time the item has been added; the second one only notifies the customer about the addition of another item.
Regardless of the variant you prefer to use, it is important to place the shopping cart where it is clearly visible to shoppers.
These days one of the biggest problems for eCommerce businesses is shopping cart abandonment. 67.91% is the average documented online shopping cart abandoned rate. That’s a huge number and you don’t want your website ending up with such a high abandonment rate.
This is why you must optimize your shopping cart to ensure maximum number of customers go through the complete purchase funnel on your site. The idea is to do everything in your power to decrease shopping cart abandonment on your eCommerce website.
2. Call-to-Action Buttons
Call-to-action buttons on your eCommerce website play an important role in converting your online window shoppers into customers. ‘Add to cart’ and ‘Check-out’ are the two most important call-to-action buttons of an eCommerce website. Their purpose is to entice customers to purchase an item.
Getting your visitors to take action is difficult.
Call-to-action buttons should be such that they persuade your customers to take action. For this, make these buttons clear, consistent and highly visible. Ensure they exhibit urgency.
The wording, color, size and placement of these buttons matters a lot. Use direct language like ‘Add to Cart’ in large and bold fonts. Use negative space around the button and make it the largest clickable button on your product page.
The ‘Add to Cart’ button should appear on each individual product page. Once the shopper selects an item and adds it to their shopping cart, a ‘Checkout Now’ option should also appear on each page they browse thereafter.
Patagonia’s ‘Add to Cart’ and ‘Checkout Now’ button clearly stands out from the rest of the content.
3. Quality Product Images
eCommerce sites often have more accurate and in-depth description of a product than a store’s salesman can provide you with. But at a store, a customer gets to see and touch the product. People see the product they want to purchase, touch it, feel it and only then go onto purchase it.
But, eCommerce is all about buying with your eyes as you won’t get to touch the product until it is delivered. As an online merchant you must offer plenty of quality images for each product, to help customers make an informed buying decision.
To boost eCommerce conversion rates, showcase every product on your site with large high-quality imagery and offer elements like dynamic zooming, different angles, color variations, 360-degree spin and context view.
Made.com gets it right by using beautiful, high quality product images.
4. Product Videos
According to a study by Invodo and the e-tailing group:
- Half of all online consumers are more confident about their purchase decisions after viewing a product video.
- Two-thirds of consumers who watch product videos multiple times ultimately buy the product.
- Quality videos have been shown to increase cart size by an impressive 174%.
These stats clearly show that for eCommerce vendors, the question is not whether video content should be a part of their brand’s eCommerce strategy, but how to harness video content effectively and efficiently so that it generates measurable returns for the brand.
Videos, if used effectively are a powerful way to showcase products, especially products whose correct use needs to be explained with an instruction manual. Adding product videos not only generates returns, but also helps boost search rankings.
Filters are an integral element for every eCommerce website. For users searching for a product on a site, filtering within a category is crucial to enhance product findability. It helps the user narrow down the search results, especially when the results stretch across multiple pages.
Filters can be based on price range or different attribute types. Shoppers should be able to refine items based on whether they’re on sale or new arrivals. Users should be able to choose criteria which are important to them and view only relevant products.
Amazon does a good job by offering a number of filtering options for products.
Providing effective filter options for product listings plays a major role in helping users find and ultimately buy the product/s they are looking for.
6. Product Recommendations
According to an infographic from Monetate, recommendations can increase revenue by up to 300%, increase conversions by 150% and boost the average order value by 50%.
Providing related products in an easy-to-locate manner will let more visitors complete their purchase without having to exit the funnel completely. Product recommendations are generally based on user profile or a user’s past search history.
7. Clear Checkout Process
The customer has come this far. They’ve visited your website, viewed your range of products, picked a product they want to buy, and put it in their shopping cart.
How could the eCommerce website screw up now?
According to a Webcredible survey, 10% of people abandon a cart due to a lengthy checkout process. A lengthy checkout process includes multi-page checkouts that keep presenting customers with additional forms, questions, or products.
An eCommerce site should exclude such additional forms from their website to make the checkout process smoother for their customers.
But what if they are necessary? In this case provide an ‘Express Checkout’ feature to minimize the steps customers must complete when they checkout. Express Checkout stores a customer’s payment information securely. The next time a customer makes a purchase on the same eCommerce website, his/her payment information will be pre-entered.
The checkout process should have as few steps as possible to avoid confusing the shopper.
Consumers want choices and convenience when shopping online. Including these 7 ingredients in your eCommerce website will make sure your online shoppers can make purchases quickly and efficiently, thereby increasing your profits.
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Lori Wagoner is the Web Community Manager for Ink Colour, a prominent printing equipment retailer in the UK. Lori has blogged at Tweak Your Biz, Get Entrepreneurial and many other business and tech blogs. You can reach her @LoriDWagoner on Twitter.