eCommerce shopping trolley exploding with bargains
It might feel like e-commerce websites are popping up everywhere and that’s probably because they are. Even physical retail shops and businesses will have an e-commerce website to meet consumer demand of being able to buy online. In fact, consumer e-commerce makes up 30% of the UK’s total retail market. But it is a highly competitive marketplace so, how can you enhance your e-commerce website and turn it into a successful online business? Here’s our ultimate guide to e-commerce websites. 

What is an e-commerce website? 

An e-commerce website is essentially an online store, a business’s shop window, where consumers can purchase products or services online. Although many retailers and businesses have physical stores or locations, thanks to Covid, they also launched an e-commerce website that allowed them to continue to trade. The trend of buying online has surged over the last few years. Indeed, it is predicted that the e-commerce industry is set to grow by more than 10% this year alone. By 2026, it is estimated that 24% of retail purchases will be made via the internet. 
But what makes an e-commerce website successful? What should it look like? How should it work and what do consumers want from the site? E-commerce websites are forever evolving but there are certain aspects that you should pay attention to. 
Cardboard boxes in a trolley to symbolise online shopping

Building a successful e-commerce website 

There are a number of things you will need to focus on in order to build a successful e-commerce website. 
1. Make it user-friendly. This has to be top of the list because if you don’t have a user-friendly site where it is easy to navigate, and easy for a customer to find what they are looking for, buy and checkout, they’ll be off elsewhere. The key to this is selecting a user-friendly e-commerce platform, like Shopify, WooCommerce or our Shop package. Before you make your selection, think about customisation, scalability, integration with payment gateways, mobility and shipping options. 
2. Make it mobile. Did you know that 91% of online purchases are made via a mobile device? This means optimising your e-commerce site for mobiles is crucial to online success. You will need to consider the website’s design and navigation, your CTAs, page loading times and the checkout process. A fully mobile-optimised website will boost customer engagement, improve the customer experience, enhance your search engine ranking and ultimately increase your revenue. 
3. Choose the best imagery. Keep in mind that a customer can’t feel and touch the products you are selling, as many would in-store. Therefore, your product imagery has to be able to convey these senses to the customer and to do that, it has to be high quality, realistic and show your product from multiple angles. Investing in a professional product photographer or buying high-resolution stock photo resources will show off your products and services in the best possible way. Using video is another great way to make them stand out and really helps the customer make a purchase decision. However, make sure all photos and videos are compressed correctly to avoid slow loading, particularly for mobile devices. Remember, sometimes less is more. Don’t forget your product descriptions and always add metadata to all imagery and videos for searchability. 
4. Make checkout quick and easy. One of the quickest ways to cart abandonment is a complicated, long-winded checkout process. So, the simpler and more streamlined it is for the customer, the better. So, think about as few steps as possible with one clear CTA that’s easy to find on each page. Offer guest checkout options and multiple payment methods, including PayPal and Stripe. 
5. Make it secure. If your e-commerce website and payment gateways aren’t secure, you’ll be in trouble. Customers want to know that not only are they browsing safely but any purchases they make online are completely safe. The more robust your security features, the safer and more confident your customers will be. 
6. Enhance functionality. How your website works is important for a customer and great functionality will boost the user experience. Add filters so customers can narrow down their options, such as size and colour. Include other products related or similar to their browsing history that they may prefer. Include a search bar that incorporates specific categories or sorting options. 
7. Personalisation is key. Everything is personal these days and customers want their shopping experience tailored to them. This was always a difficult task in the past but with AI, you now have a plethora of data to help you provide bespoke, personalised shopping journeys your customers will love. Show products based on their latest searches or purchases, and deliver exclusive offers and/or discounts. Customer data also allows you to create automated email marketing campaigns for your customer database and the retargeting of online/social ads. 
8. Build trust and credibility. A great way to build trust and credibility with your customers is through social proof and online reviews. Integrate your social media buttons and encourage your customers to share their experiences. Make it easy for customers to leave a review and rate your products, services and customer service. All this positivity will boost confidence in your company brand. 
9. Deliver on customer service. No matter how online and digital customers want their digital buying experience to be, they also want exceptional customer service, too. Delivering customer service that is a cut way above your competitors will help you stand out, build trust and empathy and enhance engagement. Customers want 24/7 access to help so, think about live chat options, FAQs on the website as well as other support channels, like your social media pages. Also, think about your website pages; can you offer more information about your company, products/services, suppliers and resources, or other useful details your customer may need? One other area that needs to be the best is your delivery service so choose wisely. It’s not always the best option to go for the cheapest if you want to incorporate a 24-hour or overnight delivery option. 
10. SEO is a must! Search engine optimisation (SEO), and particularly local SEO, really is vital for online success. Generating organic traffic will lead to conversions and increased revenue. Take some time conducting keyword research to discover the search terms customers are using so you can tailor your content accordingly. Don’t forget to complete all product descriptions, URLs and metadata, such as tags and headings. Become an authority in your industry by including blogs, ‘how to’ guides and other useful content that customers (and sometimes competitors!) can share with others. 
Three magnifying glasses
Although not in our top ten list, there is one other aspect that will put your brand ahead of your competitors – sustainability. The environment is a hot topic right now (and so it should be) and customers want to buy from a company that not only supports and champions the environment, but that also has green values that are aligned with their own. So, from supply chains and resources all the way up to packaging and delivery, the more environmentally friendly you can be, the better. 
Three staff members sat around a table having a meeting
At it’seeze, we have a comprehensive network of website consultants throughout the UK and Ireland who are experienced in designing and building exceptional e-commerce websites. Our exclusive Shop Package makes it easy for you to manage your online shop and delivers an exceptional experience for your customers. Find out more about how it’seeze can build a professional and powerful, secure online store that you and your customers will fall in love with. Get in touch with us today to start your it’seeze journey. 
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