Business advisors and investors often say there are four people who are critical for starting a business: a banker, an accountant, a lawyer, and a therapist–as entrepreneurship is not for the faint of heart. But as much of the economy moves to the digital realm, people are relying on ecommerce experts and managers more than ever. They act as critical components to launching and growing a business online.
Whether you or someone else on your team is charged with managing your business website, be aware of the best practices for successful ecommerce. It is so much more than just monitoring inventory and uploading new products. Here is a roadmap for ensuring your approach to ecommerce is in line with your business goals:
1 – Cleanliness is key. Here is where the fundamentals of design come into play. Little details like brand imagery, typography, font, layout and color scheme all come together to speak volumes about your company. So make sure the elements of your website reflect what your brand is all about.
2 – Prioritize UX. It doesn’t matter how beautiful your website looks. If images aren’t loading properly or if links are taking customers to error pages, then the entire operation falls flat. User experience is key to empowering the customer to complete their purchasing journey on your website. Test your website regularly to make sure everything is easy to navigate.
3 – Mobile-friendly. Your website on desktop must also translate to good design and UX for mobile customers. According to OuterBox, about 56% of online purchases were done on mobile in 2022, a figure that continues to grow year-over-year. A simple web layout with clear call-to-action buttons are typically the key to a solid mobile version.
4 – Easy checkout. The most important aspect of your customer’s UX is setting up a checkout and payment process that is secure and works seamlessly. Offer as many payment options as possible, from traditional credit cards and secure options like PayPal to newer systems like Apple Pay, Google Pay and Klarna. A payment that fails to load properly will only lead to abandoned carts, and lost sales. Give online customers the confidence they need to buy from your ecommerce.
5 – Make sure it meshes with your marketing strategy. Your business website cannot operate in a vacuum. Review your marketing, public relations and even your social media strategies and make sure your go-to-market plans are all in alignment. For example, if you’re running an online sale, make sure it’s promoted on social media. Determine whether you must launch marketing campaigns via emails and newsletters. Loop in your public relations as well.
6 – Let your brand story shine online. A website is an incredible way to own your story and connect with your audience. Tell the stories behind the founding of your business, the company’s mission, the dedicated team behind the scenes, and even customer success stories. Human interest stories that are funny, heartwarming or inspiring can strike an emotional chord with your customers and help you stand out from the competition.
7 – Get savvy with SEO. Optimize your content with relevant keywords, so that it can rank well on search engines like Google. Content creation via blogs and proper product headlines and descriptions should echo a customer’s search habits. But good SEO also starts with a strong domain name. The overarching rule is that a domain that is short and memorable, without hyphens or special characters, is usually a strong start.
9 – Create content for collaborations. Brand partnerships are an incredible way for new ventures to grow online. Review your content and think about what you want your company to be known for, and what kind of like-minded brands you’ll want to lock in as brand allies. Whether you want to partner with a company for a special edition collection, launch a social media giveaway, or co-host an event, always aim to create premium content to attract the right collabs.
9 – Create a customer service hub. Your business website needs to operate as a living extension of your business. While a FAQ section can answer basic questions about returns and exchanges, be prepared to go the extra mile by allowing the ecommerce toserve as a gateway to a live representative of your company. You need not install a fancy live chat bot. Simply provide a contact email or number for customers to reach you, and make sure you or someone from your team answers in a timely and professional manner. Give them the confidence and satisfaction to never hesitate buying from you again.
10 – Create connections. Go above and beyond the FAQ and Contact Us sections. Update your websites not just with new products or services, but lively blogs and updates. The company blog can serve as a platform for sharing your expertise in a certain product, and what’s new about you or your company. It’s a powerful way to keep your website fresh and current, and keep your customers coming back for more.