eCommerce - Starting off right
Working with one company that came on board with us to help them go from Northwest Indiana to a system that could better expand nationwide. One would think any eCommerce platform would work. In fact, they are presently using an eCommerce platform that is promoted as being for nationwide use. They found it to be slow and unfriendly as they've grown over the past year. The search engine aspects are less than desirable, and customers have been complaining about the difficulty the system is to use.
We started by evaluating over 12 eCommerce platforms and through the process added even more to evaluate. Platforms that worked well for our clothing or industrial clients would not work for this client. The undertaking of checking each one took 1-3 hours. As we looked at each platform we based all of our criteria around a set of ten core items that the client wanted as well as items they didn't want. In this article we are not going to about each eCommerce but some of the main items we feel should be in any eCommerce system.
It's all about trust
This is one area one wouldn't think about until it's time to check out. We have never done and we never will do an eCommerce system that doesn't have every page encrypted with SSL. Adding https to a website is not only a great item to build trust but another valid way of protecting your customer shopping on your cart. We always choose Digicert certificates as we have not had any issues with them and all of the latest vulnerabilities that have come out Digicert did not have any issues with.
Let the search begin
When it comes to finding any product you need to have a great search engine. One that can understand the products and pages within the site but also one that understands the arcane nature of us humans. As products surpass a few dozen items a search engine that understands natural speech is key.
Another aspect of search is that it is accessible on every page and can be filtered to narrow the results down while also remembering what that user previously requested. This remembering though also needs to be smart enough to comply with local and international "cookie" laws and not inhibit their privacy.
Clean User Experience and User Interface
Having a system that is easy for a user to use and learn while also being clean and unobstructed with ads is crucial. The purpose of any eCommerce system is to generate money for the business. This means that any extra branding, advertising, or links that are unnecessary should not exist. The use of white space to make information more readable and inviting is key.
Mobile is key
Nearly half of the visitors for all of our clients with eCommerce have their customer orders through tablet and mobile devices. With a small screen information can appear more pushed together. Having a solid mobile strategy and a system that fully supports mobile is key to the success of your online store.
Speed is key
We have seen more lost sales when the speed of your eCommerce online store is slow. A user wants results quickly and a system that provides feedback timely to them. Make certain you choose a system that can handle your few products today and your thousands of products tomorrow.
Not something every business needs but eventually you will want to track inventory. As you track this inventory you want to make certain you can have separate distribution centers, backorder capability, re-order capabilities, and more. When it comes to eCommerce having a lot of options that can be used when you are ready is key.
Keeping the bean counters happy
With money and orders coming in you need to have the ability to track this information in your accounting system. One of the most used for business is QuickBooks. Having an option to export information to QuickBooks, or your accounting system, should be paramount in looking. Even with it as an add-on down the road make certain you have that capability within your system.
Specials and promotions
The ability for specials and promotions are critical for turning over stale inventory. Make certain there is a way to market these items so that you can get them out of your inventory and be able to refresh with a new set of products.
Lost sales suck!
Often users will add items to a shopping cart only to leave your site and never return. If you know who that user is after a few days send a reminder email that they left items in their cart and a link direct to the check out screen so that they can close the sale. Another great option for recovering a potential lost sale is using coupons to draw them back to you.
Upselling that is unobtrusive
As your customers add items to your cart and view product pages having recommended items to add, similar items, and ways to upsell is crucial. Suggesting other products based on what others have bought is another great incentive for increasing sales and generating your company more money.
Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
When it comes to search engine optimization for eCommerce it does not work exactly the same as it does for regular websites. The techniques are the same overall but you need to phrase and word items differently. You also need to incorporate a lot more structured meta data to improve your SEO results.
Social Media Integration is Key
No eCommerce platform would be complete without full social media options. Not just in sharing information about your site but also integrating the products you are selling into the social media platforms.
A beautifully crafted site is one key aspect. Hearing words from true customers will help push you over the top and strengthen that trust with your customers. They will then know they have a product that others have trusted.
As you can see there is a lot to do for eCommerce online shopping systems and we haven't even covered many. We actually removed large portions of information to keep this article short. eCommerce systems are about creating revenue for your business. Finding the right one can take a considerable amount of time. Choosing the wrong one can not only cause you to go back to the drawing board but also lose sales which costs you even more money.
If you want to receive help in choosing the right eCommerce system for your business through a company that puts out new eCommerce websites that convert every month JM2 Webdesigners from Valparaiso Indiana is ready to assist you. We take a personal and vest interest in your company in helping it grow. You can reach us at 219-229-1633, email at sales@BusinessYETI.com, or through our online contact form here.