How to Engage Customers with the Perfect E-commerce Website
A successful e-commerce website makes it as easy as possible for customers to find the products they want, pay for them, and receive their packages quickly. It also gives customers an engaging experience that builds trust and compels them to come back to your site again and again. If you’re planning to set up an e-commerce website of your own, then this guide will teach you how to make it as engaging as possible.
Step 1: Determine your goals
The first step in building an effective eCommerce website is clearly identifying your goals. Start by asking yourself these questions: What do I want my eCommerce site to achieve? How many sales do I want to make per day, week or month?
How much profit do I want to make each month from my eCommerce store? By answering these three simple questions you will be able to determine exactly what you need and what you don’t need on your eCommerce website.
This will help save you time and money as well as allow you to focus on a few key areas that will have a large impact on your business success. If you are not sure of your answer to any of these questions it might be worth investing in some research.
There are plenty of tools available online such as Google Analytics which can give you valuable insight into how customers interact with your website and where they go when they leave it. It is also important to consider customer service and support. Do you want to provide phone support for your customers? Will your website offer customer service via live chat? Email? Social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter?
These decisions should all be made at this stage so that you can include them in your plan moving forward. Remember, there is no right or wrong way to run an eCommerce website but there are better ways than others. Having a clear idea of what you want to achieve and why will make things easier later on down the line. You will be able to see whether or not your eCommerce website design aligns with your goals and objectives.
In order to fully understand how you want to engage customers with your eCommerce website we must first understand what makes a good one.
The goal of any successful eCommerce website is essentially twofold; generate traffic and convert that traffic into paying customers. If either part of that equation fails then you lose money – if both fail then you lose a lot of money!
There are many ways to achieve these goals but there are some key elements which can be found on almost every high performing eCommerce website. Let’s take a look at them:
Step 2: Identify your target audience
First, you need to identify who your target customer is. This is a crucial step and will determine how you reach out to them in order to sell your product. Will they be searching on Google or Youtube? Who are they as individuals? Do they have any preferences when it comes to brands or colors? Use relevant keywords that relate directly to your website’s services and products.
For example, if you own an online clothing store, use words like fashion and style in your title. You can also include other words such as blogger or vlogger if you want to appeal specifically to social media influencers.
Another important thing to remember is that customers usually don’t buy from websites, they buy from people. It is vital for business owners to create a personal connection with their customers so that they feel confident about buying from them.
A great way to do so is by sharing behind-the-scenes photos of your brand or by creating blogs posts that focus on topics related to your industry. This helps build trust between both parties which makes it easier for customers to purchase items from you in the future.
Step 3: Research competitors and determine market trends
Before you can create an e-commerce site that stands out from your competitors’, you need to know what they’re doing right (and wrong). Pay attention to how your competitors are engaging customers on their sites.
Visit as many of their websites as possible and study them carefully, looking for details like what kind of images do they use? How do they organize products? Do they have a customer testimonials section? Are there any social media integration features? What about SEO optimization? The more time you spend analyzing your competition, the better equipped you will be to differentiate yourself in a crowded marketplace. Don’t reinvent the wheel if you don’t have to! Find a successful business model online and adapt it to fit your needs.
Step 4: Set up website navigation
Navigation is how customers move around on your website. Your navigation can be visual (via menus and buttons) or textual (via links). Regardless of what type of navigation you choose, make sure it’s simple and easy for customers to find what they’re looking for.
Choose a menu structure that makes sense for your site and contains only items that relate directly to one another. Add menus for new pages as needed. If you have an e-commerce site, consider adding both top level and sublevel categories so customers can easily find products.
Make sure your links are intuitive and clearly state where they will take visitors. For example, if you link to About Us in a main menu item, use About Us in any submenu items. Linking to Company Info instead of About Us in a submenu item would confuse customers because they wouldn’t know which page they were headed toward until after clicking through.
If you plan to add social media icons or other navigational aids, include them at the bottom of each page within your header tags—but don’t include too many; remember that these navigational aids should complement your primary navigation and not replace it.
Also, avoid placing links in sidebars. Research shows that users often ignore sidebar content completely. It’s best to keep important information up front and center. A common mistake people make when designing their websites is to create too many options in their navigation bars. They feel compelled to include everything possible on every page.
This approach is actually counterproductive. When there are more choices than necessary, people get confused about where they should go next. Overwhelmed by all those options, they’ll simply leave your site rather than taking time to decide what’s most relevant to them right now and then click through accordingly.
That’s why it’s critical to limit your navigation options and make them intuitive. To do that, ask yourself: What are my customers’ goals? What tasks do they want to accomplish? How can I help them reach those goals faster? The answers to these questions will help you determine what types of navigational aids you need.
Step 5: What do you want them to see?
In order for your website to be successful, it’s important that you maximize its exposure. This can be done by implementing call-to-action buttons and optimizing its design for search engines.
It’s also important that your homepage reflects what potential customers are looking for; as previously mentioned, you want to make sure that your homepage clearly presents each of your company’s primary goals, along with a CTA button directing users down a path of easy access. Your other pages should be just as clear in their purpose. If they aren’t, consider restructuring them so that they provide information on a single topic or goal.
Step 6: Focus on Quality Product Photography
What is product photography? How do you know if you should have it done or just take your own? What is necessary in a professional product photography shot? Can anyone do it or do I need to hire a professional photographer? These are some of the most common questions that business owners ask when they’re looking into setting up their first eCommerce site.
Fortunately, product photography doesn’t have to be intimidating or confusing, and we’re here to help. Here’s what you need to know about how to get started with product photography for your online store. What exactly is product photography? It’s essentially taking pictures of products for use on websites, social media sites and print marketing material such as brochures.
Product photos will show potential customers exactly what your products look like before they buy them. The better quality photos you have on your website, the more sales you’ll make.
There are two different types of product photos: white background images and lifestyle images (or people in them). Both can work well depending on your industry. White background images are great for showing off products from all angles without any distractions.
White backgrounds also make it easy to place text over top of your image so you can include details such as pricing, descriptions and shipping information.
Lifestyle shots are good if you want to show your product being used by real people in real situations because they tend to resonate with consumers better than plain white backgrounds. They also give buyers an idea of how something might fit into their everyday lives which helps build trust between you and them.
As you may have guessed, lifestyle shots require props or models to be present. If you don’t have access to either of these things, then it’s best to stick with white background images instead. Who needs product photography? All businesses selling physical products online need high-quality photos on their website.
Step 7. What makes your product different?
A Differentiator is an aspect of your business that separates you from your competitors. When you are defining differentiators, consider both tangible (features, design) and intangible (service or brand values). You should have at least three differentiators for each product or service; more is better!
Write these down in a table on your worksheet so that you can see them clearly. If you want help identifying differentiators, think about how people describe your products/services to others. If they use words like best or unique, then those might be good differentiators to include. If they say things like cheap or fast then those aren’t likely good differentiators because everyone says their stuff is cheap and fast. Think about what makes your products unique –
What do you sell that no one else does? Why would someone buy from you instead of your competitor? What is it about your products that make them superior to other options out there? How are you able to deliver such high quality at such low prices? These types of questions will help you develop differentiators.
It is important to remember that just because something sets your company apart doesn’t mean it’s a good differentiator. For example, if you sell organic vegetables, being organic is not necessarily a good differentiator since many other companies also sell organic vegetables.
If you sell cars and all of your competitors have cars that can go 0-60 in 5 seconds, having a car that can go 0-60 in 4 seconds isn’t really much of a differentiator either. The key here is to think about what makes your products unique –
what do you sell that no one else does? Why would someone buy from you instead of your competitor?
Once you’ve identified some potential differentiators for each product or service, review those against the criteria above to ensure they are actually compelling reasons for people to choose your product over another. Not all potential differentiators will make sense or be effective for every product or service so take time to reflect on these decisions as it will impact how successful your business will be in executing its mission and purpose!
Step 8. Is the design user friendly?
User experience is about more than just creating a visually attractive website—it’s also about making it easy for your customers to find what they’re looking for. More than two-thirds of consumers expect a company website to load within two seconds or less, according to Google. If yours takes longer than that, you risk losing potential business.
And if you don’t offer mobile access to your site and content, you could be missing out on even more revenue as consumers increasingly turn to their smartphones and tablets for shopping and research purposes.
Does your site have a clear call to action? A clear call to action tells visitors exactly what you want them to do next. Do you want them to sign up for an email newsletter? Click buy now? Download an app? Whatever it is, make sure there’s no question in visitors’ minds about what they should do next once they arrive at your site. Is your site optimized for search engines? Make sure your site is properly optimized so that when people search online for products like yours, your page comes up. This will help drive traffic to your site from places like Google and Bing, which can translate into more sales over time. Is your navigation intuitive? Visitors shouldn’t have to hunt around for information on your website; instead, navigation should be intuitive so that users can easily find what they need without getting frustrated.
Step 9. Does it have customer reviews and testimonials?
Customer reviews are an important part of your e-commerce business’s social proof. If you are selling an item that people have never purchased before, they will want to know what others have had to say about it.
The same goes for businesses – if people see a list of all of your customers on your website and how many people have reviewed you, it will lead them to feel more comfortable in purchasing from you. A good way to make sure that you get plenty of customer reviews is by offering incentives or discounts to those who leave one.
You can also offer discounts or free products as a thank you for leaving a review. Another thing that helps is making sure your product descriptions are detailed and helpful so that customers can easily find information about what they are buying without having to ask questions or contact you directly. This saves time for both parties!
Step 10. Who is behind the site? Downloadable Information (Sizing, Reviews)
How a website looks may be enough for some people. But if it’s not, customers want to know who is behind it. And if you can tell them that you are behind it and are willing to back up your products, they will be more comfortable buying from you than from a site that doesn’t have much information about its own character or reliability.
The same goes for sizing charts and reviews of your product. People want to know what they are getting before they commit their money to something.
Contact Information: There is no point in selling anything online without providing an easy way for people to contact you if there is a problem with their order or questions about an item on your site. You need to include your business name, address, phone number, email address, and Web address so that potential customers can easily find out how to get in touch with you.
You should also make sure all information is correct because even one typo could lead someone astray. In addition, keep your contact information as simple as possible by using just one main email address. This makes it easier for customers to remember where to go when they have a question or concern.
Social Media Links: As mentioned earlier, social media has become a major source of traffic for many businesses. If you aren’t already involved in social media marketing, start now! Even if you don’t have time to actively engage in Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, etc., consider adding links to your profiles. If nothing else, putting these links on your website gives customers another way to connect with you.
A note of caution: It’s important not to overdo it here; too many links can look spammy and turn away visitors rather than attract them. Make sure any links you do add are relevant to your business.
Reviews: Reviews from other websites or blogs can help drive new customers to your store. Take advantage of review sites like Yelp and TripAdvisor, which let users post opinions about local businesses—and then rank those businesses based on customer satisfaction (and sometimes popularity).
Make sure any reviews you display were actually written by real customers who purchased items through your store; otherwise, Google might penalize you for trying to manipulate search results.
Shipping & Returns Policy: These policies will vary depending on your business type and location, but most e-commerce stores provide detailed shipping costs and return policies in hopes of increasing sales. Be sure to spell out any restrictions (such as a specific timeframe for returns) clearly in both sections.
Payment Options: When setting up your payment options, you have two basic choices: PayPal or accepting credit cards directly through your site. Both have advantages and disadvantages. PayPal is a well-known, trusted brand that provides security for buyers and sellers.
However, it does charge a fee for each transaction. On your end, you can accept credit cards directly on your site via a merchant account or Stripe. While credit card fees are lower than PayPal’s, you still have to pay to set up an account with a provider and meet certain requirements in order to accept payments directly on your site. No matter which option you choose, be sure to list your accepted forms of payment on your site. Not only will it give customers peace of mind knowing they can pay with their preferred method, it’s also a good way to show off your business’s transparency and integrity.
In short, think of your business like a vending machine: The design and layout need to catch your eye and make you want something. Once you get inside, there needs to be a lot of variety. And once you have what you want, it has to be delivered in an easy way or it won’t last long.
That’s why your company needs great SEO: It makes sure that customers can find your website easily. Great content is also important because it keeps people on your site longer and encourages them to return again and again.
Finally, you need some sort of loyalty program—whether it’s coupons or points—to keep customers coming back for more. You may not be selling candy bars at first, but if you follow these principles as closely as possible, they will serve you well as your e-commerce venture grows!