With the e-commerce market expected to be worth a whopping $24.3 trillion by 2025, the pressure to venture into the e-commerce space is more than obvious. A powerful e-commerce website can not only aid in reaching more people globally, it can also help ensure the evolving needs of existing customers are met.
The pressure on businesses to have their own online store has further been necessitated by the ongoing pandemic, as millions of people across the world prefer to safely shop online. If you’re looking to offer your products and services using an e-commerce platform, here are the top eight components to keep in mind:
Simple design: Embedding fancy text and extremely high-resolution images might seem tempting, but they carry the probability of turning your customers away while also being extremely time-consuming to develop. Offering a minimalistic e-commerce experience with a simple color scheme and elegant typography has more chances of appealing to the modern customer, who seeks simplicity over intricacy. A simple design is not only easier to develop, but it also ensures pages load fast – which means reduced bounce rates and better engagement. It also means customers are easily able to find things they are looking for – no matter what device they use.
An intuitive user experience with easy navigation: Creating a great first impression is extremely critical. Providing users with a seamless, gratifying, and enjoyable shopping experience requires building an intuitive and clean UX. This means ensuring operational simplicity, offering a design that is easy to understand, products that are clearly displayed, and rich visual elements that are pleasing yet attractive. Today’s users also demand speed, so make sure the website you build loads quickly. Two vital aspects of user experience are the website’s responsiveness and navigation. In this era of mobile phones, it is critical to embed a responsive design so that the website can automatically scale according to the screen size on which it is being viewed. When it comes to navigation, allow shoppers to find products quickly and easily.
Robust search functionality: It is common for users to get lost in the sea of products that most e-commerce websites offer. This problem can be solved by integrating a robust search functionality, so customers can directly lookup the product they’re interested in – without scanning through pages and pages of non-relevant products. A robust search functionality with features for autocomplete and related searches can augment the overall customer experience. It can also reduce the time taken by customers to look for the product they need, while giving insight into search history to assess their buying behavior and provide personalized recommendations.
Rich product descriptions: In the e-commerce world, product descriptions have to do the job of an enterprising salesperson, delivering all the information your customers need to make a product purchase. Therefore, it is important that your product descriptions provide relevant and useful information about your product: right from features and capabilities to images, videos, manufacturing and warranty information, pricing, ratings, and reviews.
Straightforward checkout process: A straightforward checkout process is also one of the most critical elements of a powerful e-commerce website. Delivering a great checkout experience means making it easy for buyers to add items to their shopping carts and quickly proceed to the checkout page. Make the process as quick and seamless as possible; keep forms extremely simple and to the point and offer an auto-save option for future purchases. If possible, offer a guest checkout option – so shoppers can quickly make purchases without having to fill in many details. Also, offer multiple payment options and a detailed cart summary.
Secure payment gateway: Since online purchases require customers to provide critical bank-related information, keeping this information safe from the prying eyes of hackers requires you to work toward ensuring security around-the-clock. This means enabling encryption, ensuring PCI compliance, and integrating authorization requests to keep customer data safe and secure, and your business compliant.
Seamless integration with third-party systems: Building a powerful e-commerce website is not just about implementing a handful of modern features. Integrating it with existing systems, including your ERP and other LOB systems, is critical to ensure seamless communication between your front-end and back-end systems. Proper integration enables the flow of information between your systems, so data is constantly updated and reflected in all the systems simultaneously. It also means data has to be entered only once, minimizing the time needed for entering or updating information, as well as the risks associated with manual entry.
A strong backend admin console: A modern console can not only help in processing orders and adding/updating product information, it will help manage features such as multi-language and multi-currency. An admin console makes it easier to carry out efficient order tracking and fulfilment, as well as quote to order conversion and return management. It also helps ensure accurate order delivery lead time calculation, so your customers are aware of the time it will take for their products to be delivered.
Debbie Zelten is the director of application development and business intelligence at Synoptek, and Seema Nair is a delivery manager of app development at Synoptek. Combined, they have over three decades of software and technology experience.