How to Create a Successful ECommerce Website

Building and maintaining a wildly successful eCommerce website is no small feat. The vast majority of eCommerce websites fail because of a lack of investment, too much competition, a lack of traffic, poor website design or giving up too soon. Creating a kick-ass eCommerce website requires a deep understanding of human psychology and testing your website repeatedly to ensure user-friendliness. Here, we will discuss some tips to help you build a more thriving online business. Rome wasn’t built in a day.

Unique Value Proposition

Defining your target market and value proposition before you start your website design is a crucial first step. Sometimes this takes some creativity in convincing your audience into something they didn’t even know they needed. Here are some questions your value proposition should answer:

  • What am I selling and what problem does it solve?
  • How does my target market benefit and why do they need my products?
  • How am I better than my competitors?

Here are some examples of unique value propositions:

  • Apple iPhone – The Experience is the Product
  • Uber – The Smartest Way to Get Around
  • Slack – Be Productive at Work with Less Effort

Launch a Killer Landing Page

Even if you are using WooCommerce, it can take many months to build an awesome mobile-friendly eCommerce website. During this time, you should secure your domain and launch a killer landing page with some information about your products, an email subscription form and contact details. While your website is being developed, you can start marketing your landing page, reaching out to your audience on social media and building your email list so there will be web traffic come launch time.

High-Quality Photos & Videos

Amateur product photos suffer from lighting issues, and poor product placement so invest in a good photographer and show your product being used. Integrating product images into your website search also helped to convert more visitors into customers. If a picture is worth a thousand words, then a video must be worth a million. According to HubSpot, 73% more visitors who watch product videos will buy.

Establish Credibility

People will only buy from websites they trust so establishing credibility is the key to increasing online sales. An updated, fast-loading mobile-friendly website design, listing notable press, highlighting your employees, listing customer reviews and showing off your large social following are all ways to prove to your prospects that you are a reputable company that they can feel comfortable buying from. If you do not have many followers or reviews, you should build those up first before featuring them prominently on your website so not to deter customers.

Simplify Navigation

The more you can simplify your navigation the better. Remove dropdowns and minimize menu items as much as possible. Mobile devices favor a flat hierarchical website structure because dropdowns get awkward. Opt to include recently viewed, top rated, popular, related or new items on your product pages to increase eCommerce revenues by 30% according to Shopify.

Advertising & SEO

Building a professional, mobile-friendly website engages visitors that are already on your website but what if they never find your website? If you think you build it, they will come, you will be in for a rude awakening when you launch. Before you write your website copy, you need to do keyword and competitor research to see what terms your target market is Googling. Your keywords should be naturally incorporated into your content, H1s, ALT tags and metadata to reinforce your SEO and advertising efforts. Here are some kick-ass SEO tips and free SEO tools to optimize your eCommerce website. It is impossible to rank for everything so you should also supplement SEO with pay-per-click advertising.

Mind-Blowing Contact Page

Far too many website owners put about and contact pages at the bottom of their priority list. Here are some essential elements to include on your contact page:

  • Explain why your visitor should contact you and describe how you can solve their problems.
  • Include a short form that asks them the essential information you need to know to contact them.
  • Include your email, phone number, and address so they can contact you directly if they do not like forms.
  • Include a call-to-action to keep them on your website
  • Showcase your company’s thought leadership with recent press or blog posts.
  • Link to active social media profiles like Facebook, Google+ Instagram and LinkedIn to grow your following and encourage engagement.
  • Redirect to a thank you page after the form results are submitted to explain when you will be contacting them.

Humanize your About Page

Your about page will likely be one of the most visited pages so it is vital to make your story compelling. People are more likely to buy from people they know so it helps to put a face to your company name. Here are some tips to humanize your about page:

  • Write for your target market and how you speak, not for search engines
  • Share your professional journey and not just the facts
  • Share values your company’s values
  • Include bios and photos of you and your team members to build trust
  • Explain how you got to where you are today and make it interesting
  • Explain how your products can help your visitors
  • Add customer testimonials (include video testimonials for added credibility)
  • Encourage prospects to reach out by linking to your contact page
  • Think about how you want your readers to feel after reading

Test, Test and Test

Even though your web development team has done some beta testing, you should do your due diligence and test on the popular browsers like Internet Explorer, Chrome, Firefox and Safari on mac and PC platforms. It is also crucial run test transactions on different mobile devices such as iPad, iPhone and Android vertically and horizontally. It is impossible to own all of these devices so we recommend visiting your local electronics store and doing some beta testing there. If you require changes outside the scope of work, prioritize them to see if they can be done post-launch.

User-Friendly Checkout

Simpler and user-friendly checkouts yield higher conversions. Here are some checkout strategies to increase sales:

  • Build shipping into the cost of the product & offer “free” shipping
  • Opt for a one-page checkout if possible
  • Allow guest checkout and only prompt for registration after checkout
  • Allow users to continue shopping after checkout in case they forgot something
  • Include security seals like Verisign to increase credibility
  • Let buyers save their cart or add to a wishlist
  • Include live chat support in case shoppers have questions
  • Include links to your privacy policy, shipping details, FAQ and returns policy
  • Include a product summary and the option to remove an item
  • Recommend complementary products before checkout
  • Track inventory so not to annoy customers when they try to purchase an item that is out of stock

Build Social Media

When it comes to eCommerce, being social matters. 9 out of 10 customers look to social media before buying something and 75% buy because they saw it on social media. People are talking about you whether you are on social media or not. If you are not active, you let your users control the story. According to Mintel, a global market intelligence firm, 70% of Americans check reviews before making a purchase. Here are some social media tips to engage your target market and nurture customer relationships. You can also improve conversion with social proof.

Continue Evolving

A successful website is never finished. You should never stop evolving because customer tastes and technology change all the time. Start with a super simple website to get your brand out there and build onto it based on customer feedback and user testing. Amazon did not become the largest online retailer overnight.

Blog Constantly

When you are writing interesting content that people want to read and share, you will rank higher in search engines. Every new page signals to Google that your website is active. Don’t know what to write about? Here are some blog ideas:

  • personal experiences about your business
  • how your products have helped customers
  • tips from your industry
  • social media contests
  • company updates
  • how your store got started
  • product demonstrations
  • tradeshows you are attending

Don’t feel limited. If you sell cosmetics, link to your favorite makeup tutorials. If you sell kitchen utensils, give advice on hosting the perfect dinner party. These aren’t difficult if you know your products really well.

In Conclusion

With these eCommerce strategies, you will be well on your way to creating a successful online store. Contact our San Francisco web design team to start your WordPress eCommerce website today!

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