What an Ecommerce Website Needs to Be Profitable
To be profitable, an ecommerce site needs speed, user-friendliness, detailed product pages and a logical structure. And those are just the major requirements! The best way to create a new ecommerce website (or optimize an existing one) is to consider the customer’s perspective.
We’re sharing the guidelines you need to attract customer, meet their needs and improve brand trust.
What Do Customers Want in an Ecommerce Site?
While different audiences have varying preferences, there are general aspects of an ecommerce site that everyone expects to see. In short: Create an experience that is easy, trustworthy and fast.
Here are the top things customers want in an ecommerce site:
- Good Design. When customers come to your site, they expect the design and interface to smoothly (or even delightfully) take them through the purchasing journey. Make sure you have easy navigation, scannable content, and mobile-friendly pages. You might consider using subtle animations to guide the users’ actions.
- Excellent Product Pages. From high-quality photos to keyword-optimized titles and product descriptions, there are many factors that go into optimizing your product pages. Learn what’s required for top-notch product page SEO, and prioritize it all.
- Site Search Function. An easy way to make customers happy is allowing them to search for specific items, rather than manually digging through navigation. Include a site search function!
- Fast Site Speed. Nobody likes a slowpoke. Few customers will wait for a slow site to load. When you optimize your website for speed, it not only makes the user experience pleasant but also improves your chances of ranking for your most valuable keywords. Have you improved your Core Web Vitals and optimized your images?
- Reviews and Ratings. Including product reviews on your website achieves several things: (1) It helps recreate the brick-and-mortar experience by giving users details about the product that the description may not contain. (2) It establishes credibility and trust. (3) It can help prevent returns by allowing users to self-qualify for the purchase. Reviews inspire consumers’ confidence in converting!
- Content Marketing through Blogs. Blogs are a great way to meet prospective customers at different stages of the sales funnel – especially the upper-funnel Awareness and Consideration stages – through SEO. For example, if a user is Googling “are cockatiels good pets?”, they are probably in the consideration stage of buying a cockatiel. If you sell cockatiels, you can publish a super informative blog, rank #1 for that keyword, and get a positive brand impression from that person. When they finally decide to buy, it’s likely that they will consider your brand.
- Optimized Checkout. Your checkout experience should say, “Finally! You’ve been looking for this product your whole life, even if you didn’t realize it!” The experience should also be clear and informative, which you can accomplish with both UI and words. Eliminate all points of friction in a checkout experience, such as requiring registration or account setup (just make it optional!) and not having a badge proving secure payment processing.
- No Surprise Costs. Include all pertinent information as it is needed. Top reasons for cart abandonment are unexpected fees or shipping charges. If free shipping just isn’t feasible, explore options for flat-rate shipping fees with a chosen carrier, or introduce a shipping calculator so customers know that carriers decide the rate, not the business.
Technical Requirements for an Ecommerce Website
As your ecommerce presence grows, you’ll quickly understand just how important picking the right website hosting service can be. Choose your service based on factors like site security, website traffic capacity, CDN capabilities and PCI compliance.
Some of the more popular hosting companies available are:
Quality CMS & Other Solutions
There are plenty of ecommerce solutions that package a content management system (CMS) with a CRM, live inventory and hosting. These companies offer tools to build a store, showcase products, and successfully manage your business. For example: Shopify, BigCommerce and WooCommerce allow for tens of thousands of products and potentially hundreds of thousands of SKUs.
Finding the right CMS for your business will likely depend on how many products you offer now; how many you plan to offer in the future; and how much control you want to have over the design, structure and content of your site.
When looking for the right platform, find out if any technical elements of SEO are automated by the platform. Shopify, for example, automatically generates schema markup for products, though most experts advise double-checking those schema tags and adding additional ones to make sure you’re giving search engines the best chance of understanding your content. Google recommends JSON-LD formatting, which has caused some companies to update older schema markup already on their product pages.
We recommend basing your ecommerce CMS and other tech decisions on the following criteria:
Pricing. Many ecommerce CMSs, plugins, etc., charge monthly or by the number of products available. Some ecommerce solutions may take a cut of your sales – depending on which services you sign up for.
Scalability. The whole point is to grow your business. CMSs tend to cater to specific business sizes, so avoid choosing a solution that won’t grow with you or scale up customer support.
Security. Providing secure transactions and protecting personal data is a big responsibility. The ecommerce technologies you choose can take some of that weight off your shoulders. For example, some ecommerce CMSs have automatic SSL/TLS certification.
SEO Tools. Even SEO pros love working on an ecommerce site with basic SEO tools built into the frontend. Make sure you’ll be able to customize title tags, meta descriptions, page URLs, pagination and more to improve both SEO and accessibility.
Implementing What Every Ecommerce Site Should Have
If you’re creating an ecommerce site from scratch, start small. Identify your best products, and support them with all the tools you have available. Then expand your offerings based on customer feedback, performance data and what is next for your brand.
If you already have an ecommerce business and are trying to ramp up your website’s visibility through SEO, paid media and other marketing, consider all the tips from this article to optimize conversion rate. Then you’ll be ready for all that extra traffic.
No matter how established your business is, it’s important to analyze website performance through weekly or monthly reports and improve your strategy as you go.
Finally, envision the ecommerce site you would want to use. What does it look like? What information does it feature? Does it let you make an account? Does it show reviews? How would you get to the site in the first place?
An ecommerce site is never done being built. Your digital presence requires maintenance, creativity and constant attention. If you need help with that, trust your ecommerce success to the content, SEO, design and development experts at Oneupweb. This is what we do best.