25 Essential elements

of an Ecommerce website.

We all want to achieve results quickly and easily through creation of an online store, which also is the purpose of this article. I will explain what is inside the box, so that you, dear readers, can assess your situation and come up with valuable ideas creating your own online store. In my suggestions I will be technical, because technical improvements are much easier to implement than conceptual business changes. Before you go through all the suggestions, here are some tools that will be useful for analyzing your existing online store:

 

  • Google pagespeed insights – lets you understand what needs to be improved in the mobile and desktop versions
  • Pingdom speed test – finds out how fast the online store loads
  • Built with – what marketing tools and programming technology other online stores use
  • Similar Web – a Chrome extension that displays traffic statistics for popular online stores
  • Webmaster tools – Show your online store positions and keywords on Google (requires activation with Analytics or Tag manager account. Data will appear in 2-3 days)
  • Yandex metrics – When installed in your online store will display visitor behavior videos and click heat maps
  • Moz authority tool – determines authority / power of you and your competitors’ domain and website
  • SEO Analysis – a comprehensive tool for online store SEO analysis. Try several right-hand menu tools.

1. Great and memorable first page

The first impression is often decisive, so when creating your online store, pay attention to the details, imperfections, images and banners you choose on the home page. A visitor compares you to other competitors. If the products are more or less similar, then the choice will fall on the online store, which seems more emotionally acceptable and sympathetic. Here are some examples where you can look at examples of good first impressions for a successful online store.

2. Functional and transparent navigation

Navigation is more important today than ever. The task of a successful menu is to deliver the products you are looking for with one click. Yes – just with one click. Visitors spends some time searching for products. If the product is not found quickly, then a visitor feels dissatisfied and unhappy. Unhappy visitors rarely buy goods from online stores causing such inconvenience.

 

3. Product images, gifs, videos, augmented reality

Product images are an outdated thing. The least you can do to create a great online store is to insert multiple, high-quality images with the ability to zoom in. Image of the product must simulate the product in reality, and visitors of online store must have a feeling that the product is being viewed in real life. The product image can be replaced by a 360-degree image, a video of how the product is used, a gif, or even augmented reality. This will give you a huge advantage over your competitors.

4. Ask your customers

When setting up an online store, I suggest you to use a survey, online surveys or just call regular customers to talk about what they like and dislike about your store. Use the Hotjar survey tool to ask, “How can we improve the openness of this product?” or “Did you find what you’ve been looking for today?”. By listening to and understanding the needs of your customers, you will be able to successfully create an online store and significantly increase the number of customers, repeated purchases and sales figures. Listening is one of the ways you can significantly improve your sales with conversion optimization.

5. Export goods to global online stores like eBay and Amazon

To facilitate the process of creating an online store, look for new opportunities and markets by selling your products. We are hearing more and more success stories from local stores that are successfully selling their products on eBay, Amazon and other international giants.

6. Unique offer (value offer)

Stand out from your competitors and offer something valuable and unique. Of course, this is difficult to invent and implement. It may take years to come up with the right offer, but if you find it, it will help to build trust and set you apart from your competition.

7. Elements of trust

Elements of trust are various, for example social elements of trust, such as feedback, likes, comments. People trust them because they see that a lot of people use it. When setting up your online store, I would suggest you to think about social networks for your product. Among leaders you can look at Amazon, however, the best I’ve seen is the Dollar Shave Club.

Use trust-building elements in the process of creating an online store, especially in the shopping cart. Insert a security certificate (SSL) icon, transfer security and data protection information. The buyer should feel 100% safe when shopping at your store. 

8. Maximum short registration and cart, and also a free gift

Ask only the most necessary information. The most necessary. The more a customer has to do, the more a number of successful transactions decreases. Use guest shopping – without mandatory registration. If registration is required, sit down with the programmers to create an online store and reduce the number of fields required for registration.

 

A great example of a cart from Hardgraft

 

9. Product descriptions and names

Product names are important! Create them by highlighting the product’s strengths in both the title and description. Example: instead of “Men’s shirt” – “Top quality cotton men’s shirt for everyday use”. Even if a product is the same as the competitors` and you have a higher price – find a way to create quality descriptions for the most popular products, even if you have specific products and “everyone knows” their good qualities. This is not the case – your product can be bought by ignorants in large quantities, such as mothers buying football equipment for their children. Think about this when you create an online store.

10. Delivery ASAP and everywhere

The new term in business is ASAP, which stands for as soon as possible. The more delivery choices the customer has, the better. Latvian post office, parcel terminals, courier, receipt in the store, Parcel booth, etc. The more the better. When setting up your online store, include a possibility to deliver the product by express delivery at a higher price. Customers will appreciate it in the long run.

11. Extensive payment options

As with delivery, online store must provide a wide range of payment options. Bank cards like Mastercard, Visa, Paypal, e-money, to pay locally or by invoice. Customers will appreciate it if you implement such options when creating an online store. In a recent conversation with clients, I presented the total amount of their annual transactions, while the client’s accounting showed 2x !!!  smaller amount. It turned out that customers have completed basket purchase process, but have not paid the invoices sent (because company did not offer payments with bank cards). Thus, half of all buyers did not pay for the product, even though they had already agreed to the purchase.

12. Mobile first

Mobile design is a priority. The more expensive the product, the more buyers research and analyze. They analyze while in public transport, sleeping after a tiring day on the couch, going to work or sitting on the toilet. Time is a scarce commodity that a mobile device can save – today it is no longer enough for you to be mobile friendly – you have to be “mobile first”! This means that design for mobile devices must be planned and developed separately from the overall design development process.

13. SEO visitor flow

There are some thirty different client profiles in my Google Analytics account. When looking at their sales reports, the absolute sales leader is a visitor who comes in from Google. The thing is, natural search results are more credible than other sources of new leads, so find a good SEO provider – it is a big part of success. By the way, the better designed the content and openness of the product, the better your chances of being at the top of Google search.

 

14. Sales report data

This requires a Google Analytics specialist who will prepare and adjust sales reports for you so that you can get complete information about the most profitable advertising channels and can include them in creation of your online store. It is important to be aware that advertising channels interact with each other and pass on customers to each other. For example, a FB ad generates the first interest about your store and a customer visits it. After a while, customer is already using Google to find your store. After a week, the customer is ready to buy the product and opens your online store by typing in its domain address and buys the product. So it all started with FB, which introduced the customer. This path can be measured with Google Analytics, and you need to know that.

15. Re-addressing existing customers

If a customer has made a purchase from you, then there is a much higher chance that he will repeat it if there was a positive experience, that you can achieve with a good online store. Create Facebook remarketing or email campaigns that recommend already other products for similar amounts. If your customers are large and difficult to manually segment, use automation options to automatically create ad campaigns with recommended products.

16. Maximum information about the product

Provide as much information as possible. As I mentioned before, the more expensive the product, the more a buyer analyzes it – include instructions, catalogs, videos for customers when creating an online store, create icons for good properties of products, such as “waterproof” or “made in the EU”.

 

17. “Thank you for your purchase” screen

If a customer has bought a product, it means that he is “hot” and there is a good chance that he is ready to buy more. Remember yourself or an acquaintance during times of sale outs, the time when people are taken over by buying fever, the same thing happens in an online store. When a purchase is made, offer other products.

18. Sales in a cart (upsell)

Upsell works – whether you offer related items or already cart item attributes – it works! If you understand what the customer needs in relation to this product, sales will take place. As a best selling experience, I remember a time when I urgently needed business cards. I chose Vistaprint.com. It was so upsell. Exceptional. I created my business card and I was offered cups, shirts, hats, pens, sticky notes with my logo, and it seemed to be  the right time and place. I was offered a very customized product. This is definitely an example to get ideas for creating your own online store upsell cart.

19. Online chat

No matter how much I don’t like pop-up online chats, from customers and various studies I’ve seen a positive effect. When creating an online store, use chat unobtrusively and in the right place – where the customer may have questions or problems. For example, use chat only in the cart in case a buyer has any questions or concerns.

20. Tracking of goods

How cool it feels when I receive a text message that the item has been shipped or already in my mailbox. This is a great service that I appreciate. When creating an online store, provide your customers with accurate and fast information about the order, its status and location. This is another thing that customers will appreciate in the long run. Notice how ao.com chat appears only in the cart:

21. Breadcrumb navigation

Users tend to get lost in the store, so create an online store in such a way that you can help them navigate, use convenient navigation links.

 

22. Search with automatic suggestions

Have you seen Amazon? An excellent example. The search must first work quickly and accurately – test it personally. If it automatically offers results and other extras, even better!

 

23. Customer feedback collection tool

Feedbacks are fundamental if you want to develop serious sales and it is important to be aware that they will not happen of themselves. That’s right – collection of feedbacks is an automated process that is driven from an outsourced system. We often recommend our customers to start directly with feedbacks in order to significantly develop their e-commerce sales

24. Product filtering

Importance of filtering increases as the number of products in a category grows up or when buyers make searches. Heat maps show that larger product lists are read only superficially by visitors and thus they tend to overlook the important. Using product filters increases visibility and inevitably converts.

25. Easy to find contacts

If your business involves a wide range of buyers, don’t wait a moment. Convincing a customer through a phone call will be much easier than communicating via website. Give him a chance to call right now! If necessary, you can even request his call in different ways!