Ecommerce has been a major player in the retail market place for more than a decade now. Initially invented in 1979 by Michael Aldridge, a British entrepreneur, the trend only exploded with the widespread popularity of the internet. Industry statistics this year estimate that 44% of consumers will shop online for holiday gifts this year, and as the market share is ever increasing, a number of companies continue to turn to the world of online shopping almost every day. For most companies looking into this type of website, however, there are a number of different concerns that must be addressed before you can ever begin to build a site that attracts customers and promotes sales.
Industries where Ecommerce May be Useful
Before a company ever starts down the path toward online sales, it may be helpful to take a look at which industries get the most out of the process. The answer is a pretty simple one – almost any industry. Take the city of London, for example. Long a mecca of shopping for people around the world, you couldn’t visit this city’s unique shops without actually visiting the UK. With the popularity of ecommerce, however, everything from famed department stores like Harrods to much smaller venues like Honest Jon’s are finding real success in the online marketplace. Whether you market auto parts to do-it-yourselfers or used books, you’re likely to find a home in the world of ecommerce.
The Site Design
Designing your site is key to the process of online shopping. That, however, is the case with any online venture. Customers must be able to find exactly what they’re looking for. Wandering around the forlorn virtual aisles of your e-store will do little but make them abandon their shopping cart and visit a competitor, leaving you without the online sale that is so essential to your bottom line. Here are just a few of the most important tips necessary to help your customers find the product they want:
Keep the Number of Clicks Required to a Minimum: If your customer has to click eight times to buy a single used book, you have a real problem on your hands. Perhaps one click is the search through the various categories. The next click leads them to a category description. From there, perhaps they have to click on a sub category. The process can get endless and frustrating. The rule of thumb is that more than four clicks to the point where they must provide their personal information is unnecessary and can cause a poor buy rate.
Add to Cart or Buy Buttons Must Be Obvious: It’s the first rule of any website design. Your customers have to understand what they are supposed to do, and nowhere is this more true than in an online shopping experience. Your customers should never have to scroll below the fold to find the right button to push to purchase their item from you.
Show the Price: This one may seem like an obvious marker, but many online retailers require more than one click before the potential buyer can look at the price of any given item. If you don’t show them what the item costs immediately, you risk losing them right away.
As essential as site design is with ecommerce, perhaps the most important factor is the security of your customers. You must implement all of the necessary security protocols and scripting requirements during the actual site build for two major reasons. First, online shoppers are savvier than ever these days. They understand the risks of identity theft and poor transmission of information via the internet, and not creating the secure environment necessary to purchase an item from your shop will only lead them somewhere else where they can have the security they need before they make a purchase. The second reason security concerns must be addressed involves your company. Without the right level of security, products could actually disappear from your warehouse without the proper payment from customers, and that could put your entire company at risk.
Choosing the Right Web Design Company
The key in addressing all of the concerns surrounding getting a functional ecommerce site that actually improves your bottom line is working with a web design company experienced with a variety of different platforms that can address the needs of your company. As you choose a web design company that’s right for you, you may want to consider the following:
Look carefully at the company’s portfolio. Any good company will have many site designs they can point to so you get a feel for their past work. Navigating these sites, and maybe even making a purchase from them, will help you get a better sense of how your final product might look.
Evaluate their services carefully. Great looking products aren’t all a web site design company needs to get your business. They also need to have an extensive list of services that meet your shop’s needs. Creating the site is only half the battle. Having a site design company that can teach you how to interface with it is another thing entirely, and it must be part of the services if you’re going to have a successful experience online.
Read reviews, and talk to other customers. Looking carefully at feedback is the final essential component. Find out if there are other customers you can speak with, and look extensively at the available online reviews to find a company that best meets your needs.
Ecommerce sites are only increasing in popularity as more and more retailers discover the power of online sales to help boost overall numbers. The key, however, is addressing all potential problems before you begin to launch.