Setting up an online store has never been easier, especially with the wide range of options out there. You can even work with template sites that are ready to sell your products in as little as day!
Setting up a good online store, however, is a different matter altogether. The myriad details you have to deal with can distract you from what truly matters. This is why it is worth keeping your eyes on the following ‘pillars’ to help boost the efficiency of an e-commerce website:
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Visibility: How Will Potential Buyers Find You?
The first and arguably the most important pillar involves making it easy for people to find your online store.
Your store aims to meet a particular market demand. Potential customers are looking for those that can supply that demand. Marketing bridges the gap. The most commonly used way to do this is search engine optimization, or SEO. This involves ‘optimizing’ your website so potential visitors can find your website by using search engines like Google, Bing, and Yahoo. Other tools that support this pillar include pay-per-click advertisements, social media marketing, content marketing, community engagement, and good old-fashioned word of mouth.
Experience: How Will Visitors Interact With Your Store?
Once people get to your site, they need to be able to move around while easily finding relevant products and services.
This is where web design comes into the picture. Good web design means that visitors will be able to make quick, productive use of their time as they land on your site. They should be able to digest what your website is all about within a few seconds, while being able to easily make sense of all the text, images, links, buttons, and tabs they come across. Then there’s the aesthetic. How your website looks and feels matters just as much as how it functions. A distinct yet professional-looking website helps you stand out from your competitors.
Checkout: How Will Customers Buy Stuff?
The means by which customers make their purchases will play a large role in the success of your online store.
Anything that delays this process increases the chances that a customer will abandon his or her shopping cart. These delays include convoluted and confusing forms, having to supply too much information for registration, having to re-enter login credentials all the time, waiting for multiple pages to load, and working with a different log-in page for the checkout services. Long story short: a customer will be more likely to commit to a purchase if the checkout process is fast and painless.
Support: How Will Customers Talk to You?
And last but definitely not the least, there’s opening up a convenient channel of communications for customers to use.
Trust skyrockets when a customer is able to talk to another human being, whether through tweets and private messages or email and live chat. This isn’t just related to customer support, though. While it is important to address customer concerns, it is also important to proactively get in touch with customers as well. The easier it is for customers to talk to someone, the more likely a customer will start business with you – and keep doing business in the long run.
Keep these four pillars in mind, and you’ll have a much easier time focusing all your efforts to make your e-commerce website a more attractive (and lucrative) portal for your customers!