Year after year, the shift to online shopping has been climbing exponentially. In the last couple of years, the COVID-19 pandemic magnetized this trend. It prompted many first-time buyers to go online and shop for the services and goods they need, resulting in explosive growth in eCommerce worldwide. Even now, as COVID fades, eCommerce continues to climb.
In 2021, retail eCommerce sales were around $4.9 trillion worldwide. This figure is forecast to grow by 50% over the next four years, reaching about $7.4 trillion by 2025. In other words, you need to ride the eCommerce wagon now. And to do it successfully, you need to get your foundation right, i.e. build an eCommerce website.
But before starting your eCommerce website development, make sure to think these five tips through.
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1. Choose the Right Platform and Theme
When it comes to eCommerce website development, the first step is to choose a platform. If anything, choosing the right platform and theme is the bedrock of ensuring a stellar online shopping experience for your customers. With the right platform and theme, you can build a website that loads at lightning speed, works virtually on any device, and offers easy checkout options.
Fortunately, there is no shortage of reliable and well-established eCommerce platforms like WooCommerce, Shopify, Magento, etc. You can choose the one that best suits your business goals and budget.
After choosing a platform, you can decide which theme best suits your online store. Remember, the theme plays a critical role in defining your overall eCommerce web design. So, on a baseline level, make sure your theme is:
- Customizable to your brand voice
- Functional on all major browsers
- Visually appealing
2.Plan the Site Around SEO
SEO is at the heart of all things digital, especially eCommerce. You have to plan your eCommerce website development around SEO because it goes hand in hand with site performance and conversion rate.
For example, take page loading speed, which is one of the critical SEO factors. According to Bidmanic, the conversion rate improves by 17%, for every second your site loads faster. Make sure to build your website for better speed, optimized URL structure, and other on-site SEO elements from the get-go.
In other words, you should work out your SEO strategy before you build an eCommerce website. Here are a few things you should consider.
- Always use HTTPS
- Avoid duplicate content
- Build backlinks and internal links
- Do away with broken links
- Focus on user-friendly navigation and structure
- Improve page speed
- Optimize your entire website for keywords
- Use responsive eCommerce web design
- Use structured data markup for Rich Snippets
3. Understand the Importance of the Mobile Experience
Mobile accounts for almost half of the global web traffic. In the fourth quarter of 2021, mobile devices (excluding tablets) generated 54.4% of website traffic worldwide. This number has been consistently hovering past the 50% mark since 2020.
If your website fails to deliver an excellent mobile experience, you are going to miss out on nearly half of your potential clientele. Your target audience should be able to navigate your eCommerce website easily. When you build an eCommerce website, do the following to improve its mobile experience.
- Add stretch points
- Avoid pop-ups and flash as far as possible
- Focus on omnichannel digital experience
- Keep the content short, to-the-point, and user-friendly
- Make it navigable by using just your thumb
- Optimize images, videos, and other media for mobile use
- Position CTAs appropriately
- Showcasing best products front and center
- Streamline the checkout process, including guest checkout
- Use a viewport meta tag
4. Make the Checkout Process Painless
The checkout process needs to be as painless as possible. Shopping cart abandonment is a prevailing problem for online stores. In March 2021, almost 80% of online shopping orders were abandoned and never converted into a sale.
The longer your checkout process drags, the more likely your potential buyers are to abandon the purchase. For example, asking your customers to share additional personal details or requiring them to register creates an opportunity for them to back out. Other hurdles include unexpected shipping costs, lack of a clear return policy, and limited payment options.
Before starting your eCommerce website development, consider the following steps to streamline your checkout process.
- Collect only essential information
- Provide as many payment gateways as you can, think PayPal, Apple Pay, etc
- Add digital or mobile wallets
- Provide a clear return policy
- Keep shipping costs as low and transparent as possible
5. Don’t Skimp on Security
Online stores have to handle hundreds of transactions. Winning over customer trust would be impossible without trusted and secure ways to make payments. One misstep and your online reputation will take a hit, followed soon by dwindling sales and revenue.
Given how critical security is to the very survival of your online store, it needs to be a part of your eCommerce website development from the beginning. The first step in this direction is to use HTTPS everywhere. It encrypts the data, making it harder for cybercriminals to steal payment or personal information.
Chances are, you would be processing credit card payments. So, you will also need PCI compliance. It includes a set of requirements such as specification frameworks, tools, measurements, and support resources to make credit card transactions more secure.
Every website needs to have PCI compliance in place. That said, you should never store vital payment information like credit card details on your website. Should your website get hacked, you will lose the data, not to mention customer trust.
Moreover, you will be held liable for not securing consumer data. With a lawsuit like that, your brand will suffer immeasurable damage. And you may also have to pay fines and settlements that will cost you a pretty penny.
Creating a frictionless shopping experience is the crux of building a successful eCommerce website. That means you have to look for ways to improve the website’s user experience and performance. Hopefully, these five tried and tested tips can help you get started.
Our seasoned team of eCommerce developers will help you navigate the complexities of building an online store from the ground up. If you are looking for eCommerce website development services, try Go Watermark first.
For more information, call us and schedule a meeting with one of our eCommerce experts.