An ecommerce website should make it easy for your customers to shop as well as for you to manage your products and business. After all, both you and your customers want an easy shopping and check-out process. To make sure your ecommerce website supports both your business and your customer needs, make sure it can easily hande three types of tasks: inventory management, customer management, and business management.
Make sure your website is designed for visitors to easily shop your entire product catalog. For example, customers should be able to find products using multiple search options, such as browse by category, entering a text search, or exploring sales items. Once they find a product they are interested in, they should be able to quickly decide if they want to buy it and add it to their cart. This can only be done if your site allows you to properly manage, organize, and showcase products. Common inventory capabilities are:
An ecommerce site should be easy to update in terms of product description, dimensions, price, SKU, stock levels, weight, and photos. Keeping your product content up to date, comprehensive, and granular will not only help customers in their buying decisions but also when searching. It should also simple to mark a product as to “out of stock” or "on sales", if needed.
If you upload three images per product and have 300 products, you’ll need a way to sort, find, resize, and caption images. Image libraries can easily get out of hand, so make sure your ecommerce website has an image management strategy and associated features.
Creating categories and subcategories, and making those categories visible or not visible on your site, is an easy way to keep your inventory organized. A good ecommerce platform allows you to label products with categories as you wish, such as by product type or promotion level. It also permits an item to belong to multipic categories. Ideally, your categories will integrate with the store’s navigation, as that is how customers often begin or narrow their searches when shopping.
In addition to using keywords in your product titles and copy, you should insert them into a webpage’s metadata. Keywords on product pages will help people searching your site, but keywords in your metadata aide search engines in finding your webpages. Verify your website is designed to let you do this.
Recommendation algorithms vary, but it's the best way to ensure customer's find the right item or to cross-sell them. These features, often shown on product pages, can recommended items in the same category, frequently bought together, or accessories such as lightbulbs with a lamp.
Reviews can encourage shoppers to buy a specific item, but they require management. You might need to delete irrelevant reviews and reply when appropriate. Also consider a system that verifies a reviewer purchased the item. Alternatively, you can only let shoppers rate items.
Your website should have a way to manage customers themselves, allowing you to track and build a relationship beyond a single sale to increase their lifetime value. After all, encouraging a customer to return is more cost-effective than acquiring a new one. To do this, you'll need these features:
Encourage customers to create profiles for your site. Once they have an account, it can track purchases and store information such as credit cards, shipping addresses, communication preferences, and e-mail addresses. A profile makes it easier for a customer to make a second purchase while at the same time builds your customer database. Remember, you must secure this data as best as you can. You don't want database to be hacked.
Website visitors want a clear map of where to go. Your site navigation which should easily inform customers where information and products can be found. Also consider homepage banners that announce new releases, advertise sales, or promote a brand or category that link to specific shopping pages. While your navigation should be consistent to prevent confusion, homepage banners should change often as a way to encourage repeat shoppers.
From static web pages to blog posts, you will need to create and edit informational pages. A rich text editor is the easiest to use due to it's formatting capabilities.
The administrative capabilities of your website need to be strong. Built into your design should be how to manage the tasks and data that keep your business operational day-to-day such as:
For your customer, your website has to manage inventory. For you, it has to manage orders. Make sure you can keep track of and update order status and can easily find the right information (order number, SKU, addressed, name, etc) for each transaction.
Processing online payments is crucial to your business and your customers. Your site should provide shoppers with multiple, easy to use payment options that support at least the three major credit cards as well as payment methods such as Venmo, Paypal, Crypto, and others.
The back end of your ecommerce site has to handle taxes. Know your local tax laws, as well as the laws of where you ship, and set up your website site to calculate the cost correctly. If you collect the wrong amount from a customer, the government will still demand it from you.
Shipping needs to be seamless for both you and your customers. Decide how your business will set rates (usually a combination of weight, cart value, and distance) and what will trigger free shipping if you offer it. Don’t forget to allow shoppers to choose between shipping speeds. If you’re are limiting shipping options, such as only domestic locations, make sure your website informs users of such and doesn’t process that order.
You’ll need to create promotional codes, allow customers to apply them, and manage their use. This means setting a use limit, an expiration date, and the specifics of what products a code can or can’t be used on. A handy feature, from a customer perspective, is having a code auto apply when conditions are met.
Reporting is an essential part of any business. From daily sales numbers to cart analysis to top-selling brands, the more information you have the better business choices you can make. Make sure your website has the capabilities to provide you with the charts and data you need.
Sometimes it’s easier to look at and sort your data in an excel sheet. Exported data can also uploaded to a third-party system such as an e-mail client or digital ad marketplaces to create lookalike audience segments.
As your business grows, so will your staff. Makes sure your ecommerce website design will work as you increase your product offerings and customer base. It's also important that you'll be able to add additional administrator or manager level users to help manage inventory, customers, and orders.
Your ecommerce website must be designed to handle all these tasks if you want it to run smoothly and be successful. Bad management can at best stress you out and at worst make your business suffer. Don’t let your ecommerce website design hold you back.