Nine things every ecommerce website needs

6 Minutes

In today’s fast-paced and digitally connected world, almost everything can be found and bought online. Most companies and brands have ecommerce sites built out and ready to go. But can all those companies say they have all the elements needed to evolve beyond the minimum ability to sell products? To be able to offer a great user experience for their shoppers to turn them into lifelong customers?

By the year 2040, an estimated 95% of all purchases will be done through ecommerce.

In this blog post, we’ll explore the top 9 things we think every ecommerce site needs to have in order to be successful.

1. Choose your own adventure

As an ecommerce brand, you’ll want your site to have multiple ways for your customers to explore your products. Think of featured blocks set up in key spots on your site. Or promotional and seasonal categories that pull your customers in, such as Summer Sale or New and Exciting. Another slightly sneaky but very effective move is to add related product pages.

2. Professional imagery

Look, we all want to help out that one friend who’s getting his photography business started, but when it comes to your business, you should have professional photography or graphics for your website. High-quality product shots help legitimize your business and ensure your customers know what they’re buying. 

You can use a site such as Unsplash or Pexels as an easy way to build up imagery when you’re getting started. Eventually, you’ll want original shots or graphics for your site to have an authentic and original feel that matches your business. So make sure you’ve got that in mind (and in the budget!) as your business evolves and grows.

3. K.I.S.S.

Ecommerce = sales and conversions. That’s what people are usually looking to get when they build out an ecommerce site, right? So it follows that you’ll want to make it very easy for your customers to find what they’re looking for on your site. By creating a seamless transactional experience, you’ll be more likely to get that sale. One way to help create that experience is to keep things simple. Products should be intuitively organized. If you have a lot of them, make sure they can also be easily categorized and filtered to make things even simpler. 

Keep an eye on your analytics to see where people are getting bounced during their transactions. You’ll know what needs to be adjusted, moved, or changed completely.

Want to know what tools you should be using to monitor your site’s health? Learn more about that over in Using Analytics to Improve your Website.

4. Benefits, take the wheel

Same ecommerce sites spend so much time talking about the features of their product or service that they might forget to tell you about the actual benefits, or the “Why?” of choosing them over others. You probably know and believe in what you’ve designed/created/built to sell to people, so it should be easy enough to give them that “Why?”.

5. Buying into the brand

Since a brand’s digital space is the first, and sometimes only, point of contact for most consumers, ecommerce sites need to stand out and leave a lasting impact on audiences. Brand-forward features such as voice, tone, and storytelling throughout your site, not just on the About Us or blog pages. Or, letting your company’s values shine through in every aspect of the site. Learn more about why a brand-focused and customized experience may help with your site and your sales.

6. In reviews we trust

Look, none of us wants to give our personal or financial info to a website that looks like it might be about to steal our identity. You can create trust with your customers through the addition of customer testimonials and reviews on product pages. If you’re a brand that also sells wholesale to retailers, add their logos to your homepage. Won any awards? Now’s not the time to be humble – shout that from the rooftops, or at least a corner of your website.

7. Snug as a bug.

Speaking of your personal information, your site should have safety and security firmly in place to ensure none of your customer’s data or information is compromised. This can look like multi-factor authentication when they’re logging into accounts. Or maybe it’s you carefully choosing your plug-ins when building out your site. Thanks to years of experience, our team has trusted plug-ins that we use when building ecommerce sites for our clients. 

8. Underpromise, overdeliver

Having clear expectations on things like added fees, shipping costs, and return policies can really help your customers have the best user experience possible when shopping with you. There’s nothing more frustrating than making your way through a whole checkout and then realizing that a company can’t ship to you or that there’s going to be added fees that double what you were expecting to pay.   

9. Connect your campaigns

So you’ve built out a whole campaign for Black Friday, or you’re running a back-to-school sale and want to create ads to get more reach. It may seem like more work when you’re already feeling a little overwhelmed but building out a custom landing page that reflects that campaign goes a long way for your customers. When they click through from ads or social media, and the experience continues, you will look more pro and more likely to close the sale. 

There’s a little more to building out an ecommerce website than just populating a homepage, adding a few product pages, and setting up a way to take people’s money. That might’ve worked when direct-to-consumer sites were starting out, but now, if you want a site that draws people in, performs well, and converts window shoppers into long-term customers, you need to do the work. 

Planning out user journeys, anticipating what a customer may need or want to ask you before placing an order, or even curating great reviews to ensure trust are all things to consider. These 9 things are just the beginning of getting you well on your way to a successful ecommerce site. Want to learn more? Get in touch with our team!