How to design a quality e-commerce site?
Getting into e-commerce is possible for virtually “anyone”. But doing it well and professionally is something that only a much smaller number of people have managed to achieve. Confidence, data security, proximity, customer service quality… How much do you want to make your customers’ lives easier? You need to give them the most comfortable browsing and shopping experience possible.
This article aims to provide you with a set of tips, leads and above all good practices for designing an e-commerce site worthy of the name.
A quality e-commerce site represents a site that has:
- A healthy volume of regular visitors.
- Good conversion rates.
- Pleasant and comfortable navigation.
- A more-satisfying-than-average shopping experience.
Let’s design an e-commerce site that gives confidence and is secure
When you are thinking about the design stage of your e-commerce site, the first condition that your site needs to meet is: it must be trustworthy. Otherwise, no one will be buying anything from you.
Indeed, given the countless number of e-commerce sites indexed by search engines, saying that competition is fierce would be an understatement. If your merchant site doesn’t provide a new visitor confidence in its reliability and trustworthiness, then you have very little chance of breaking into the market.
Another broader reason for the importance of web security is the explosion in the activity of hackers. On the one hand, trust comes from the impression a user receives upon visiting your site (is it professional, is it clear, is it useful?). In parallel, your site must be secure at all costs. A technically insecure site decreases its chances of selling products and services online by more than half.
Highlight verification and proof of security of your site using icons and other logos. Third party accreditation can only work in favor of your online business.
Best UX practices to implement in your e-commerce site
In one of our previous articles we defined and presented using examples the concepts of UX, or user experience, and UI which concerns the design and interface of a web or mobile application.
Below, we list some suggestions and proposals for best UX and UI practices to integrate in your e-commerce site:
Best practice #1 – Display recognized trust marks
It might sound trivial, but many sites don’t do this. Displaying a trust mark that confirms the security of your online sales site is very important: it reassures and gives confidence from the first glance. Using company logos or stamps that ensure transactions are secure on your site is the bare minimum you can implement to give yourself a better chance of serious online selling.
Best practice #2 – Be clear, concise, transparent and professional
It’s often said that “The devil is in the details”. In the case of an e-merchant, their e-commerce application must avoid a number of detailed yet important faults in order to even qualify for the race against competitors.
You might think these details are basic, but think again – after reading this list you’ll quickly realize that if you ever landed on a site that exhibits even 2 of these minor faults, you probably wouldn’t order from them, and would simply move on to the competition.
Details that kill selling on a website:
- 404 error pages (also known as “page not found”).
- A non-professional graphic charter or messy visuals.
- The presence of spelling mistakes (imagine reading the description of a product that contains huge spelling mistakes …)
- Missing images.
It takes less than a second for a user to determine whether they like the site they just landed on or not. Make sure yours doesn’t trip up on its first impression.
Best practice #3 – Make the humans behind your e-commerce site visible
Internet users like to know who they are dealing with before they pull out their credit card to make an online payment. This point is more or less valid regardless of the product you happen to sell. But it’s also becoming clear that proximity and local credentials are also becoming more and more appreciated and even sought-after by buyers.
With that in mind, we advise you to:
- Provide information on your team or the history of the company, in an “About” page for example.
- Include photos of your team. This provides a human dimension to your site that can be reassuring to first-time buyers. Consumers will be more comfortable if they see a photo of Martine, who takes care of the after-sales service or even shipping packages.
- Display a contact page! It might seem incredible, but it’s very difficult if not impossible to find a contact form on a site such as Amazon. Try for yourself – you’ll see. Having a real and quality customer service is essential for an e-commerce site trying to build trust – it makes all the difference.
- Provide links to your social media channels. Your social networks bear witness to your business life and track record, highlighting your news and your ecosystem.
- Prepare a Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) page: this page is very practical. It allows you to anticipate questions, issues or other obstacles that visitors may encounter alone on your site. Take a deep dive into your site and post the answers to the most common questions that may arise.
Best Practice #4: Give clear and easy access to sales and store policies
Think about your future buyers. When a visitor buys a product, they are entitled to ask themselves questions such as: once the product has been received, can I return it if it no longer suits me? Under what conditions can I return the product? If the item of clothing I purchased was not in my size, how much time do I have to return it? Are the return costs payable by me? Etc.
Put yourself in the shoes of your visitors and customers. Your goal is to make their life easier, in this case by ensuring that the store’s policies – delivery conditions, returns, shipping costs, etc. – are easily accessible. This information should be an inherent part of the internet user’s shopping journey.
It’s also important to consider respect for privacy and the processing of private data (personal, financial data) that you collect from your users. Be transparent about what you do with it.
Be clear and straightforward with your policies, and avoid using vague language and obscure or misinterpreted terms. Don’t use incomprehensible jargon – make information easy to access. Try to communicate in the same way as you would in a physical store if a customer asked you how long they have to return a product.
If you are not a technical expert in computer development and web design, you might be discouraged from getting started after reading this article. This is where Bocasay teams come into play. We support and advise e-merchants during all phases of design, development and launch of their e-commerce application. You can count on us to develop a site that prioritizes and respects best security practices (SSL certificates, encrypted data, secure payment modules, etc.) and builds confidence in your customers.