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5 eCommerce Website Development Tips

computer online shopping

July 24, 2017

The e-commerce world is growing, and the U.S retail sales are projected to surpass 485 billion dollars in 2021. To retailers and online sellers, this means that the future holds lots of growth opportunities for you.

But, to optimally leverage these opportunities, you want to invest adequately in your eCommerce website development. This means you can only expect to benefit from this significant eCommerce growth if you approach it the right way.

Offering the best products online at low prices doesn’t matter in growth. Instead, you should focus on improving your website’s usability to ensure a feasible user experience.

Well, this post is going to help you learn how to make your eCommerce site design usable.

Let’s get right into it!

1. Keep the Search Field in Sight

When visiting an online shop, most customers usually know what they’re looking for. So, they prefer using the site search field to determine if the product they want is available.

So, you want to ensure that the search box is easy to spot. Its visibility and prominence should reflect its importance to your site. Typically, the search box should be impossible to miss. Amazon’s and John Lewis’ search boxes are great examples.

You also need to ensure the search field is big enough to fit most queries. Customers should not struggle to see what they’re typing into the field. For example, some electronics have long product names that can’t appear in full when the box is small.

Also, make things easier for customers by using auto-complete for site search.

2. Improve Site Navigation

This is one of the most important elements in eCommerce website development. Typically, eCommerce site navigation differs widely from a normal website. It takes into account user preferences, experience patterns, branding, and conventions.

First, the navigation should be intuitive and familiar. Don’t try to be overly creative when designing the global menu. It should contain a set of general product category labels. The labels are often single words that describe a range of products.

Ensure the top-level navigation is clickable. Unlike typical sites, eCommerce sites still use mega menus. Ensuring the main menu is an active link helps to boost the overall user experience.

The general rule is, always keep the site navigation at the top of the page or on the left side of the page.

3. Think About SEO

During website development, you want to pay close attention to search engine optimization (SEO). The online retail industry is already crowded, so SEO is your best tool for improving site visibility and rankings.

Ensure you have target keywords for your homepage and product pages. It’s advisable to choose keywords that are relevant to your brand and products. Google’s Adwords Keyword tool is a useful resource to start your keyword research.

Another vital element is competitor research. You need to know who your competitors are and what they’re doing to improve their rankings. Take the time to review their site architecture and design.

Look at how they have displayed and optimized their:

  • Top rated products
  • Recently viewed products
  • Related products
  • Popular products in a specific category

Also, find out if they have content on the landing pages and whether each category has a description. Typically, you need to add and optimize category descriptions and landing pages.

Review your site to ensure the right HTML coding is used. This helps search engine bots to crawl your pages and categories easily.

4. Check the Product Details and Content

Make it easier for customers to shop by providing everything they need to know about a particular product. Ensure the product descriptions are detailed and provide every key feature of the product.

Typically, you want to use the feature-benefit approach when describing the products. This helps to add value to the descriptions and shows the usefulness of the products to the customers. Plus, you should conduct a quality check to ensure all the details are correct.

Also, invest in quality images for each product. Customers want to see the products they’re buying before adding them to the cart. Provide photos from different angles and ensure they’re all zoomable.

When designing the product pages, ensure they’re capable of carrying a lot of images. Each product should have at least four to eight images.

Don’t forget to highlight the availability and scarcity of a particular product. Letting customers know how many items of a product are left in stock is important. This also helps to boost purchases since buyers may not want to miss out on them.

5. Simplify the Checkout Process

Strive to ensure that the checkout process is easy, smooth, and fast. A typical process starts with clicking the “BUY NOW’ button, which adds the product to the shopper’s cart. The standard details of the process, include:

  • Checkout
  • Delivery details
  • Payment details
  • Purchase confirmation

Basically, this process should be as simple as possible without any distractions. Keep in mind that you want to ensure your conversion rates stay high. Plus, don’t force new customers to register for an account in order to purchase a product.

Add a visual process indicator bar to help customers know what information will be required at each step. This helps them to have the necessary information ready.

For a new eCommerce site, try to limit the number of steps to 3 or 4. Companies, like Amazon, have 8 steps and still make huge sales because they’re stable brands. Also, they have loyal customers that use them often.

eCommerce Website Development – The Bottom Line

Before rushing to launch your new ecommerce site, take the time to review it and ensure everything is okay. Typically, you only have one shot at launching it and you can’t mess it up.

It’s okay for your domain to be live with a coming soon page. For the main site, you need a lot of ground work. This includes social media, content marketing, SEO, and advertising.

There are usability test services that can help to review your new site to help you know what’s missing and what’s wrong.

We’re here to help, so feel free to get in touch whenever you have a question.

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