E-commerce Website Design
E-commerce stands for Electronic Commerce, which is in itself a very basic term for selling on the Internet through a website. With the ability to process credit cards electronically through the Internet, e-commerce website design has flourished.
In fact, online shopping is now the norm. So much so, that it seems consumers expect to be able to purchase almost anything online.
Online stores are often able to reduce prices because they are able to eliminate overhead such as having to pay employees to run a physical store. In today’s busy world, convenience is everything.
Shipping times are so much faster now that when an item is ordered online it can often be at the buyer’s doorstep the very same day.
With that said, e-commerce is definitely a great way for any business, small or large to reach more customers and sell more products.
However when it comes to e-commerce website design, careful planning must be taken into account as there are a lot of decisions and costs involved that need to be considered when creating an e-commerce website. Most people who set out to have a full e-commerce website, eventually decide to scale back and start with a more approachable payment gateway such as PayPal or Stripe.
Our goal in this article is to help point you in the right direction so that you can get a better understanding of what’s involved in e-commerce website design and whether it makes sense for you to invest in this option.
It is important to also keep in mind that hiring a good e-commerce developer can help make the process go a lot smoother, as well as save you time and money.
Designing A Good Website For E-Commerce
E-commerce website design isn’t terribly different from the process for any other kind of website. Still there are some additional things to consider prior to actually designing and continuing throughout the process and right up until the launch.
First of all, if it’s an established product line or store, then there are likely already going to be a lot of design constructs already in place. One thing to consider is the existence of product photos, and whether there is a budget for new ones. If every product photo you’ll have to use has a very basic look, then designing a very elaborate website may not work. The sales funnel and how many pages exist between the website’s home page and the final checkout page is also a vital consideration, and should be mapped out from the beginning.
When it comes to choosing an e-commerce platform for your storefront you must also choose a CMS (Content Management System) for your website based on your specific needs. Think in terms of what kind of discounts, coupons, or sales you want to offer. Do you want to give returning shoppers the option of setting up an account to remember their purchase history? Will you offer wholesale pricing to retailers? These are some of the most important choices you will make because it helps to build the foundation for your website.
Different Types of E-commerce Website Design
For a self-hosted option, WooCommerce (free, hosting costs not included) is a great way to go because it uses a popular CMS like WordPress that is easy to use and gives developers full access to the server for easier customization.
For a hosted option, you can’t go wrong with Shopify (includes hosting costs and offers monthly pricing). It is easy to use and comes with a built-in CMS but does not give developers access to the server and is therefore limiting to developers for customizing certain aspects, especially the cart/payment process.
Promoting Your E-commerce Website
Your website should have a clutter-free and user-friendly interface. Users should be able to find whatever they are looking for easily, such as pricing, images, carts etc. The images and copy describing your products or services should be professional. People love to see what they are getting. If possible try to include videos for important products.
Always display the number of items in stock. You do not want to keep your customers guessing, or disappointed. Regularly promote sales and special offers on social media. Recommend related products when a purchase has been made. A bundle offer is great incentive and should turn out to be cheaper than buying different products individually.
Ways To Improve E-commerce Website Navigation
One-page Checkout & Cart Access: It is recommended that you make the checkout process as quick and easy as possible using a one-page checkout option (WooCommerce offers this option). This can help prevent shopping cart abandonment issues. Also, make sure that shoppers can see their cart total and product listings at all times. Make it easy for them to checkout from any page.
Taxes and Shipping: There are many e-commerce settings that you have to set up but taxes and shipping are a necessity so be aware of what is required in your state.
Payment Gateways & SSL (Secure Socket Layer)
A payment gateway is an e-commerce service provider that processes your payments and funnels the money into a merchant/checking account. Below are several options that should help you decide which one fits your budget based on your expected income. Almost all of the following solutions charge fees of 2.9% + $.30/transaction.
PayPal: No monthly fee but is limited to $10,000/mo. or you will have to upgrade to PayPal Pro for $30/mo. Some forms of PayPal checkout do not require a SSL Certificate. In these cases visitors are taken away from your website to their servers to process the payment securely. However, we recommend that you purchase this extra level of security to gain the trust of your clients. SSL also helps your website rank with the search engines. You must transfer the funds manually into your checking account of choice, which may take a couple days.
Stripe: No monthly fee and is the latest payment gateway because your visitors don’t have to leave your website to make a payment, instead it will display a popup overlay box for payment.
Authorize.net: $49 setup fee + $25 monthly gateway fee includes merchant account cost. No limit of transactions. SSL is a requirement.
Merchant Accounts: Some payment gateways don’t require a merchant account but some do (i.e. Authorize.net). Merchant accounts collect funds from your customer’s bank and deposit funds into your account automatically. International transactions cost up to an extra 1.5% and chargebacks may be assessed a fee of $25 by your merchant.
Tracking The Success of Your E-Commerce Website
Google Analytics is a terrific way to track your success to see where visitors are coming from, what keywords effectively led them to finding you, or what referring websites they came from. Google Analytics allows you to further evaluate the activities of your customer such as average time spent on the page, category performance, bounce rate, cart abandonment etc.
Make sure you are in control of your analytics and know exactly what is working, and what is not. Demographics also play an important part as far as target consumers are concerned. You want to display the right things to the right people. An FAQ section is necessary to answer any queries that may arise. Do not leave any room for doubt, as that will cost you a sale. Your contact information should be clear, complete, and up-to-date. Trust plays a very important role in online shopping.
Have multiple payment gateways available. Make sure you cater to everyone. Your return policy should be properly in place and one that suits your customers. In fact most people decide on buying only after looking at the return policy of an e-commerce website.
Before You Launch
Make sure your e-commerce website design checkout page works properly too. Try to include reviews and testimonials on your website. People love to read other customers’ experiences before becoming a customer themselves.
E-commerce has made the world a much smaller place, thanks to the Internet. It is convenient, fast, and easy. The number of people turning to online shopping is only going to increase in numbers worldwide. If you’re looking for help with your e-commerce site please reach out, we can help.
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