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How to create a great e-commerce website

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Running a successful online store doesn’t have to be a difficult task

Nowadays, we can do just about everything online, including shopping. Sellers can use their e-commerce websites to attract potential customers, connect with them and drive sales. Researchers predict that 95% of purchases will be made online by 2040.

However, if a website doesn’t offer users a suitable customer experience (which includes customer service, logistics, shipping, pricing strategies and – most importantly – a good user experience), they will lose sales.

For instance, 60% of individuals will abandon a website if they can’t find what they are looking for and 64% believe that the quality of customer experience provided by a brand is more important than price.

Due to this increase in consumer demand for e-commerce, Appetite Creative has seen a surge in interest from brands for e-commerce website design services. As website design experts, we want to share our top tips for creating an effective and valuable e-commerce website.

Keep it simple

Don’t distract users with clutter. The more elements you have on your web page, such as bells or notifications, the more you might distract them from your calls to action (CTAs). Instead, create a clean, easy-to-use and simple design that keeps the focus on selling your products or services.

Also, simplify your menu options to organize and group your products. You should have categories that are easy to navigate. Having too many will confuse your customers, prevent them from finding what they are looking for, and make it harder to complete a purchase. Take for example the natural supplements brand Hello Day.

When Hello Day needed to refresh its website’s look and feel, Appetite Creative optimized its website navigation, simplifying it to only three main higher-level pages. These were ‘Shop’, ‘Our Story’ and ‘Take the Quiz’, among other improvements and implementations. As a result, the website generated an increase of 284% in the e-commerce conversion rate during the launch week.

Check here to find out more about Hello Day’s new e-commerce website.

Have an easy and simple checkout process

Ensure your entire checkout process is straightforward, easy to navigate and crystal clear. Eliminate unnecessary steps and focus on getting the essential customer information, such as billing information and shipping address.

Supplying as many payment options as possible, including alternative payment options such as PayPal, ensures every buyer can easily make a purchase.

Make SEO a priority

Many consumers start their buying process through a search engine (such as Google), so if your online store isn’t in the top results, they will go to your competitors instead.

For that reason, you should focus on ensuring that your website is SEO-friendly and do everything you can to reach the top of Google rankings, which is based on searches related to the products your store is offering. Include SEO keywords in your product titles and descriptions, blog posts and other pages, and utilize tools to find less competitive keywords that have high monthly search volumes.

You could also run an SEO-driven informative blog to gain more website traffic. Your blog posts should contain interesting and valuable content for your consumers that would encourage them to check out your product pages and make a purchase. It’s also a great way to profile your products or services, share updates, better inform customers about what you offer and your benefits, and tell your company’s story.

Have a responsive web design

Having a responsive web design means offering a standardized online shopping experience to all customers, regardless of the screen size of any of their devices. This includes smartphones, as mobile device shopping figures are increasing every year.

One example is clean air filter specialist Nosy, which needed a new website as part of a wider rebrand. Appetite Creative stepped up to the challenge and delivered a modern and mobile-first e-commerce website design, with improvements in user experience (UX) design and the best customer relation management (CRM) system.

The new responsive website delivered more than 10,000 users in the first weekend after its launch.

Give incentives

Unlike high street shops, online stores have complete control over their customer experiences. Taking advantage of this opportunity by offering different types of incentives to customers in non-obtrusive pop-ups on the homepage or in promotional emails can contribute to increased website visits and sales.

Build an e-commerce email list

Email marketing is an excellent way for sellers to engage with customers, drive traffic to the website and increase sales. For instance, you could ask them for their email address in a pop-up window during the checkout process (giving them the option of receiving messages and notifications) or even by offering an incentive such as a discount for the next purchase if they give you their email address.

Once you have their contact details, you can send subscribers personalized offers and promotions or valuable content such as monthly blog posts or newsletters.

Be there for your customers and offer easily accessible and friendly online support

Whenever users experience issues, you need to let them know that they will have the support they need as quickly as possible. Provide support through multiple options such as email, phone or a live-chat feature that works 24/7. You could even use social media, as many online stores are now using Twitter and Instagram direct messages (DMs).

Include reviews to add credibility

Use social media, customer reviews and testimonials to add credibility to your e-commerce experience. For example, you could add a testimonials section to your website with customer quotes and recommendations, or implement a ratings section where users can rate your products.

After a customer makes a purchase, you could ask them for their feedback in a follow-up email.

Use high-quality visuals

If you want customers to buy your products when they can’t see them like in a physical store, you need to display high-quality product images, giving them a clear sense of what they’re buying. Ensure you can zoom in and out of the images – and be sure to highlight the top features and benefits.

In addition to high-quality images, you could also include videos, especially if you’re selling a product that requires a demonstration.

Designing and running a great e-commerce website isn’t an easy task, but now that you know some of the best practices, you can start identifying what changes need to be made to improve your conversion rates and drive more sales.

At Appetite Creative, we create website designs of all shapes and sizes. This includes bespoke websites that fit with the brand, taking care of all technical aspects to ensure that everything works efficiently and effectively, and delivering strong sales and lead generation.

So what are you waiting for? Give your e-commerce website the overhaul it deserves today.

Jenny Stanley is managing director at Appetite Creative.