The world of eCommerce today is a fiercely competitive one. Particularly in the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic, almost every consumer brand has turned to online platforms to cater to customers shopping from the safety of their homes – whether it is groceries, health and safety products, or shelf-stable F&B goods.
With the holiday season around the corner, one can expect to see cross-border eCommerce sales to rise an average of 63% YoY. That is not surprising since free shipping and competitive pricing are important factors for choosing a retailer during festivals.
In this day and age, standing out amidst all the competition may well seem impossible. However, if you have some basics in place, you are already miles ahead of eCommerce brands who ignore them. Is it something that interests you?
Here are 10 must-haves for an eCommerce website site that will boost your credibility and improve your customer conversion rates:
1. Attractive yet clean design
First things first: an aesthetically pleasing website might catch your consumer’s eye, but if the aesthetics get in the way of the browsing experience, you will lose sales.
Be sure to pick an eCommerce website design that does not distract from or in any way hamper the actual browsing and buying process, which is why the potential customer has visited your site in the first place.
A clean layout with a judicious mix of text and images and plenty of white space is always a good practice to follow.
2. Simple navigation
A buyer’s first impression of your eCommerce mobile app & website is crucial to their buying decision. If your site is hard to navigate or has a cumbersome browsing and checkout process, chances are your customers will click the Exit button before long.
Even if you did not start with a hard-to-use site, it could have become slower or clunkier over time as you added new product categories or changed your checkout process. Therefore, you must keep upgrading it periodically.
Additionally, tweak the browsing and buying process to minimize the number of clicks it takes to complete a purchase. Needless to say, be sure to have a clean layout with everything explained in simple text.
You must also ensure your eCommerce site meets ADA website compliance to make the content more accessible to consumers who live with a disability (such as visual impairment or hearing problems) or often navigate websites through screen readers, by voice, or via other assistive technologies.
To ensure your site is compliant, deploy an informative UI/UX and user-friendly features such as skip navigation, closed captioning, hyperlink differentiation, and other alternative modifications to give an enhanced user experience to all.
3. Quick on-site search
Customers who know exactly what they want should have the option to use a search box and get there without delay. The key to a successful on-site search feature is understanding what people are searching for and the search terms they are using to search.
Therefore, be sure to have a prominently positioned search box and allow for typos, synonyms, and the use of symbols wherever possible.
Try to optimize the auto-complete feature to include the most commonly searched-for items on your site, and have faceted search as well so that consumers can apply multiple filters and modify their search accordingly.
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4. Clear buying policies on eCommerce website
Having your shipping/return/exchange/cancellation policies mentioned on your eCommerce website benefits both you and your customer.
For instance, if a buyer knows exactly how soon they can return or exchange a product without penalty, they will be more confident about buying something that might need modifications later (such as a different dress or shoe size).
And suppose you state your refund policies clearly. In that case, you must have a disclaimer in place on the website or specific product pages that can protect you from needless hassling later if a customer demands a refund beyond the liability/warranty period.
5. User-generated reviews
According to a BrightLocal survey, about 57% of customers will only buy from a business if rated four stars or higher in reviews. Clearly, you need to have as many user-generated reviews as possible on your website to build credibility.
Most website builders will let you add plugins from popular review platforms such as Foursquare, Yelp, and Facebook so that your customers can quickly leave their thoughts.
Moreover, it is a common misconception that having negative reviews on your site is a bad thing. In fact, if you don’t have a single negative review, customers might think that your positive reviews are fake and actually avoid buying from you.
Therefore, showcase user-generated reviews on your site to enhance your credibility and take the feedback constructively to make improvements.
6. Security features
With the proliferation of online shopping, eCommerce stores have become a significant target for cybercrime. It is crucial, therefore, that your site securely protects your buyer’s personal and payment information.
An SSL certificate from a reputed vendor is a must-have – buyers will typically look for the HTTPS and the green lock in the address bar before they trust you with their information.
7. Advanced payment options
There are multiple payment options for online shopping, many of which allow for one-click transactions that customers love. As an eCommerce multivendor site owner, be sure to support all the popular payment options such as Apple Pay, PayPal, and Stripe and any regional payment options in the countries you operate in.
8. Comprehensive shipping information
One of the biggest reasons for cart abandonment on eCommerce sites is the appearance of unexpected shipping costs. A FreshRelevance study shows that 56.82% of potential customers literally abandon carts when they come across shipping charges or other unforeseen taxes during the last step of the purchase cycle.
Shopping sites should mention these sites early in the checkout process, including a ZIP code cost calculator, along with approximate delivery times for different locations.
If you can offer free shipping or at least provide vouchers that deduct shipping costs, do so. Shoppers tend to spend 30% more on their orders if free shipping is included, and if you can offer this benefit during the holiday season, there is nothing like it!
9. Security badges
Displaying your security badges on your website boosts your trustworthiness. However, not all security badges are designed equal.
In fact, a survey found that 76% of respondents did not purchase something from a website because they couldn’t recognize where the security badge came from. According to the study, the most trusted badges were from PayPal, Verisign, McAfee, BBB, and TRUSTe.
Ideally, therefore, you should have one or more of these on your site to boost your credibility.
10. Fast, high-performing eCommerce website
If your website takes too long to load, is full of bugs or broken links, and has frequent downtime, shoppers may equate the poor browsing experience with poor-quality product offerings and move on.
Moreover, today’s customers tend to switch to another site if yours takes more than a few seconds to load. Therefore, before publishing your site, test it for loading speed and responsiveness, and weed out any slow-loading elements or broken links.
You should also monitor your site frequently to ensure that it is consistently fast and has a high uptime.
Are you ready to overhaul your website?
If you are, start with sharing your eCommerce website with a focus group of consumers in-person or online and get their feedback on how they felt using your site. That will help you conveniently identify the areas where you need to improve the website.
Achieving a credible eCommerce website is possible with modest effort. But if you don’t have the capacity or resources, you can always hire a developer to help you implement changes on the website.