While there are many elements that contribute to an effective e-commerce venture, your website is undoubtedly the most important.
After all, this represents the store-front for your business, and your ability to optimise the site for search and create a viable platform for your products will have a direct impact on your bottom line.
While the design of your website may be central to e-commerce success, however, what exact steps can you take to engage in best practice? Consider the following ideas:
Make Conversion Optimisation Your Core Objective
Regardless of the nature of your e-commerce business and the products that it sells, your core objective must always be to optimise conversion. This is the only way to ensure a profitable business, and it is something that should influence every single design move that you make.
While achieving this goal relies heavily on the execution of your design, there are some steps that you take at the concept stage to optimise conversions. The first is to distinguish between the numerous types of conversion that exist, from earning direct sales to driving new registrations and newsletter (or e-books) subscriptions.
In addition to this, you should strive to determine and clarify your value proposition to customers. Remember, visitors tend to form an opinion of your brand in less than two-tenths of a second when shopping online, so it is imperative that you use text, layout and primary messaging to make your proposition clear from the outset.
Focus on Simplifying the Navigation
When it comes to the actual design of your website, it is imperative that you focus on navigation. More specifically, you should strive to simplify and expedite the consumer journey where possible, according customers convenience and enabling them to complete purchases as quickly as possible.
In an age of responsive design, it is particularly important that websites can be consumed on numerous devices, while providing intuitive navigation that quickly becomes second nature to customers.
The key to this is minimising the number of options available at every given stage of the customer journey, chiefly by strategically organising content and using subcategories to drive navigation.
If you can invest in a responsive and fluid design that minimises the amount of clicks that take customer from lead generation to conversion, you can set your e-commerce venture up for sustained success.
Use Relevant Product Features to Help Customers Make Informed Decisions
This is a crucial, if somewhat understated, element that contributes towards optimised sales conversions. It also underpins a surprising gap in knowledge among brands, as while many customers have only a loose idea of what they want to buy when shopping online, an estimated 42% of e-commerce businesses do not leverage category-specific filter.
While you do not want to overdo this, you should consider the criteria and potential filters that offer the most value to customers (depending on the nature of your venture and observed consumer behaviour).
In general terms, however, you should consider adding price and size filters as fundamental aspects of your product pages. In some instances, you may also want to include a filter for different brands, alongside those pertaining to categories such as material.
On a final note, make sure that filters are placed prominently on relevant pages and accessible through an actionable, drop-down menu. This helps customers to find exactly what they want, which in turn optimises your conversion rate and the amount that each individual consumer spends per visit.e