Developing an eCommerce website is developing the technical aspects of your eCommerce website – how it works, accepts payments, behaves in response to a user action, and looks aesthetically pleasing.
Eleven things to consider when developing an eCommerce website
1. Security and protection of the website
No internet user intends to catch a bug while browsing the web, but it’s not just the security of their computer that’s at risk. As an eCommerce business, you store large amounts of data about your products and the users who register to buy from your website, so security is one of the essential requirements for an eCommerce website. Any breach of this data risks your business; your customers’ contact information could be stolen and resold, or you could permanently lose essential data.
An unsecured website will earn you a bad reputation with Google and other search engines. Not long ago, Google started flagging websites without an SSL certificate and HTTPS protocol. These are not just warnings or recommendations; users cannot visit websites without these two components, and you might lose potential orders if your certificate has ended.
2. Optimization before and throughout eСommerce website development
Speaking of a bad reputation, Google’s new benefit for users is marking websites with slow loading speeds. While users used to click on a link, wait for it to load, and then go back if it didn’t load fast enough, now they may even refrain from visiting a website with slow loading speeds altogether. According to a study by Think with Google, the likelihood of visitors abandoning a page increases by 90% if it takes up to five seconds to load. All the more factor to think about optimization and ensure your website is in top condition.
Search engine optimization aims to increase your sales by using various strategies and techniques to make sure they rank better in search engines. Part of this is adding keywords to the content you add to the site and the pages’ meta-information – titles and descriptions – and images. Many professionals forget that customers can find you through image search, but only if you add “alt” descriptions to your visual content.
Another point that many companies forgo is the involvement of an SEO specialist in the early stages of eCommerce website development. At the very least, the site should start with all the necessary meta tags. Still, an SEO specialist can also help you organize the site structure and internal linking, create a content strategy, build a mobile-friendly design and improve loading speed, among other vital aspects.
3. Website search and filter functions
The search bar is also used on websites that don’t sell anything, and if this is the case with your website, it should offer advanced search features. For instance, an advanced feature can be a visual search where customers can upload a photo of a product they like, and your search engine will try to find a similar, if not the same, product.
Searching for categories is only necessary when users don’t know what they are looking for and need some inspiration. In other cases, a simple search is enough to find the desired product with a few clicks.
Some users don’t remember what a product is called. Therefore, you should provide your products with keywords or synonyms.
4. Registration and related issues
Registering on an e-commerce site has certain advantages, such as saving purchase history or shipping address, but some users prefer a guest checkout or one-click purchase feature.
Consider how many various accounts you have on the Internet. Like the average individual, you probably have numerous accounts for different purposes, and some people want to avoid registering on yet another site for a one-time order.
If sales success outweighs adding some customers’ personal information to your database, consider adding a guest checkout feature to your e-commerce site. There are other ways to remind your customers of your website address, such as on the order product packaging or at the end of the message with the shipment number.
A sign-up form is not the only option. You can also ask a customer to sign up via social media or a minimal form with their name, email address, and phone number. You can automatically create an account and email them the login details in both cases.
5. Payment options
If you are developing an eCommerce website, it may be too much to offer all possible payment options, but limit yourself to buyers who use that option if you only offer one. Although unexpected delivery costs (55%) and a lengthy checkout process (26%) are the top reasons buyers abandon their carts, 6% of them would abandon a purchase because there aren’t enough payment options, according to the 2019 Payment Methods report.
6. Shipping charges
As mentioned earlier, unexpected shipping charges are why 55% of customers abandon their shopping cart. It could be because they do not know the rates or expect a lower amount or additional fees.
Online shopping is about convenience, and if you don’t offer free shipping, detailed information about shipping options and rates should be on the menu with a link on each product page.
7. CMS integration
A content management system (CMS) helps you store and manage all visual and written content and your marketing materials in one place. You can edit or add new detail, and the changes will automatically appear on the website once published. A CMS can also help your staff respond quickly to customer inquiries.
8. Mobile functionality
According to Criteo’s 2018 Worldwide eCommerce Review, more than half of online transactions are conducted on a mobile device. While customers are more likely to buy through a mobile app, you’ll still get a better conversion rate if your eCommerce interface can be easily adapted to the mobile web.
Considering that more people are using mobile devices every year, it makes sense to invest in responsive design, such as adaptable typography and image size and mobile-specific features like hidden menus.
9. A website style that matches the products you sell
Let’s say you’re designing an eCommerce site for games or fan merchandise – a font or background that relates to that should be self-explanatory for the variety of items found here. The color design of your website should match and complement the products you sell. Food e-commerce lends itself well to a green, yellow, and purple color palette, as these colors stimulate the appetite. There should also be white space so that the website design and the food items do not conflict.
10. The marketing strategy
Whether you are setting up a website based on a physical store or new to the retail business, a good marketing strategy developed in conjunction with the website can give you a head start on the first orders. But it also establishes the website’s structure and determines the elements that contribute to a good website.
Early on, developing a marketing strategy can help you figure out what features you need. For example, you might want to set up social media sharing options or push notifications on desktop browsers and mobile devices. It’s more efficient to do this during the development of a website than after it’s launched.
11. Supporting articles
Essential features for eCommerce websites
That could mean clickable images, so users don’t have to search for text or an autocomplete feature in a search bar. The secret to a user-friendly design is to get users to what they want in as few steps as possible.
High-resolution visual content
Product shots from various angles and video reviews help shoppers make informed decisions. However, traffic may drop along with page loading speed if you don’t think through the technical part.
A feature that allows customers to share their experience with a positive or negative product helps other users make purchasing decisions and adds credibility to your website.
According to Hootsuite’s Digital Report, 48% of time spent on the Internet is spent by 5.112 billion mobile device individuals: 2/3 of the world’s population. Another analytical report shows that 79% of smartphone users have purchased something through their device in the last six months. Given such statistics, adapting your website’s design to the mobile web is necessary.
To say that there is a lot to consider when developing an eCommerce website is the understatement of the year. We know from experience what features, intricacies, and technologies you need to create a convenient, functional, and robust online store that attracts customers. It’s no easy feat, even if you’re using WordPress, or eCommerce plugins.
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