E-Commerce Setup Beginners Guide
If you’re reading this, chances are you’re looking tap into the potential of the ecommerce market, and you’re looking to get a piece of the action that is on an exponential rise.
Setting up an online store is expensive. As a result, you have an extra incentive to make it a success. And that means converting visitors into customers. But it isn’t always clear how to do that.
Remember that customers aren’t just looking for the right products at the right price. They are looking for a complete shopping experience. That starts with selecting the right product, and it goes all the way past the purchase to dealing with your store after the product arrives — in the case that something goes wrong.
E-Commerce for Dummies
- Ensure your site speed is up to scratch
It’s rare that shoppers head directly to a product page, and check out there and then. Most will search, browse, filter, and explore different products. A slow site leads to a frustrating user experience, and people may back out and look for the same products somewhere else.
Aim for each page load to take less than 2 seconds, including images and live chat scripts.
- Make your navigation a breeze
Whether you offer goods through a website or an app, you must consider users that are visiting your website for the first time. If they’re used to online shopping, there are certain conventions they’ll expect to see, such as the placement of navigation links, and the position of the cart icon.
Going against the grain can lead to interesting experiments in controlled tests. But when it’s done on a whim, it confuses people. A website that is unpredictable and hard to use will curtail sales and conversions.
It’s not too late for you to rectify the navigation on your site, and it will have an instant effect. Provide clear ways for customers to search and refine results, including filters on size, color, and brand.
- Product descriptions should be accurate and informative
Product descriptions have come into sharp focus since many stores were using thin or generic text. If you’re still using those old descriptions, you’re probably frustrating your customers, as well as limiting your organic traffic.
Spelling mistakes and typos are sure signs of a rushed or neglected website. On an e-commerce store, the content represents your brand. You need to build trust. If your content is careless, how does the customer know that your service won’t be careless when you ship their goods?
Like all content, product descriptions should be primarily aimed at human readers, not crawler scripts. You must provide meaningful descriptions and accurate product details.
- Make sure you have stock of what you’re selling
When customers buy online, they’re looking for predictable time frames. Often, a customer will check stock levels and use the delivery calculator to work out when the item will come. Inaccurate stock levels can destroy trust in your store.
This isn’t just about convenience; it can make all the difference between an item arriving on time for a birthday, or arriving two weeks later. It’s crucial that stock levels are accurate, and you don’t advertise stock you don’t have. Most e-commerce platforms allow you to set stock levels in the back-end, and will automatically count down when items sell.
- Make form completion easy
Your potential customer has a cart full of goods. They check out. Out of nowhere, they’re hit with a gigantic form. Nobody likes filling out forms, particularly on the internet, and this is where you might lose your customer forever. If you must have a long form, present it one section at a time. It will look less intimidating for your visitor.
Payment issues will frustrate your customers. Security, convenience, and speed are key. If you’ve spent time building trust through the shopping experience, you need to make payment as easy as possible to avoid losing that trust. You could be losing orders because your payment processes are slow or confusing.
Your customers expect you to have an SSL certificate (indicated by https, not http) so that their payment data is secure. Additionally, they’ll want to see payment methods that are convenient for them.
After solving all these problems, you may well find that your online shop is still not converting browsers to customers. But before you move on to more complex things like conversion rate optimization and testing, you should make sure you’ve at least tried these guidelines.