Building Shopfronts With Clever eCommerce Website Design
There are certain essential things that a typical eCommerce website design should incorporate to match up to the flexibility of bricks and mortar stores so that the entire shopping experience is a good one for the customer.
Shopping online used to be a bit of a novelty but nowadays it is a common part of the whole shopping experience. With the massive growth of online shopping, we’ve also experienced the growth and improvement of eCommerce websites. While some would argue that it’s easier for companies to sell online, rather than carry the overheads of a bricks-and-mortar store, others would say it’s a double-edged sword.
For it can actually be harder to lure in and impress a potential customer with an eCommerce website than with a shopfront. And therein lies the challenge for eCommerce website design.
How Does The Shopping Experience Differ in Actual and Online Stores?
Shopping in a bricks-and-mortar store is clearly a very different experience than shopping online. There are certain elements you can’t replicate exactly, like the face-to-face interaction with ‘real’ sales staff. There can even be a ‘trust’ issue, as a shop is a solid entity that can be seen and touched, whereas an online store has an element of the unknown about it.
Potential customers may have fears about online transactions and fraud. But there are a range of eCommerce website design solutions that can overcome these potential barriers. Perhaps one of the first things customers are looking for on a eCommerce website is the ‘feel’ of a real retail store. And much of that comes down to the way in which products are showcased. In a bricks-and-mortar store, products are arranged and displayed to make them as attractive and desirable as possible.There are also certain psychological tricks that retailers will use – one of the most common – and annoying for parents – is placing confectionary near the check-out!
How Does A Good eCommerce Website Mimic The Qualities of Brick and Mortar Stores?
Good eCommerce website design can mimic these qualities online. The moment visitors come to your website they should know what you sell without having to search high and low. So consider highlighting some of your products with a simple flash intro, and make your specials stands out. If you offer free shipping or a money-back guarantee, this should all be visible at first glance. Focus on strategically positioning your products or, better still, list your product categories on the homepage. Ideally you should have a side bar with a list of all your products, as well as a product drop down menu on the main menu bar.
Ensure That The Website is User Friendly:
One of the most essential things customers look for in eCommerce website design is usability. Make it as easy as possible for visitors to the website to find what they want, open pages, view products, and continue shopping once they have made a purchase.
Don’t Make Your Customers Wait:
Nothing puts off a potential new customer more than slow page loading! Let’s face it, if you were waiting in line too long at a bricks-and-mortar store to ask a question or make a purchase, the chances are you will walk out, without the item. Online shopping is no different. Therefore special attention must be given to the loading time of your website. Slow loading times will be interpreted as a lack of customer care and service. Research shows that a page loading time of 3 seconds can result in 25% page abandonment (KISSmetrics)! That’s why professional eCommerce website design solutions are the wise choice for any online retailer.
Give Your Customers The Power to Search Easily:
Another area where Sunshine Coast website design shines is by ensuring powerful search capabilities. Run-of-the-mill on site search engines are not always the best choice, as they may be slow, and unable to correct spelling or grammatical errors made by your potential customer, and still deliver useful results.
Today’s online surfers are used to Google and Bing; they expect fast results, optimum number of search results per page, and the ability to make those small spelling errors and still land on the correct pages. There are a growing number of web development experts on the Sunshine Coast who specialize in this.
Promise Your Customers a Personal Feel:
Earlier we referred to the human touch. In a ‘real’ store shoppers can approach a member of staff to ask a question, ask for a larger size, and help them make a purchase. Your eCommerce website design should incorporate online chats and customer support to mimic these retail stores.
If your potential customer has to leave your site to research the product, the chances are they won’t return.
Assure Customers of Credibility:
Sunshine Coast website design businesses will also encourage you to use trust marks – online accreditation certificates that prove the website is real, trustworthy and secure. Online fraud is a major concern these days, and could potentially put off your prospective customers.
Give Customers The Freedom To Move Around and Shop at Leisure:
It goes without saying that your login area should be easy to use and reliable, and that your eCommerce website has a well set up shopping cart system. A good eCommerce website design will incorporate this.
And remember, some shoppers don’t like to be pressured, so consider adding the option to check-out as a guest, rather than forcing them to create an account immediately.
Don’t force your customers to create a user-account that stores their information if they don’t want to. It may lead to you losing the sale. As a guest, you can still capture their email information to send offers, order confirmation and a thank you during the checkout.
Neil McNulty is the founder of Suncoast Web Solutions with 15 years of experience in web development and hosting. Beng a Microsoft Certified Professional (MCP), he has extensive knowledge in eCommerce website development and design. The recent write up is all about the many important things that customers prefer in an eCommerce website design.