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Building a succesful e-commerce website

24 June 2019

With an estimated 1.9 Billion people shopping online and e-commerce sales accounting for nearly 14% of all retail sales worldwide there has never been a better time to have or to start an e-commerce website.

But as there are approximately 20 million stores worldwide it is important that you understand your potential customers, what they look for when choosing which store to buy from and the user experience that they expect when they get there.

Gone are the days when users are willing to click through numerous pages to find the item they were looking for and no one will want to wait more than 7 days for the item to be delivered… this new generation of online shoppers expect so much more.

Think about why people choose to shop online in the first place:

  • No need to travel
  • Your shop is open 24/7
  • They can compare items and prices
  • They can (and expect to) get the item delivered in a couple of days
  • They can send it back if they don’t like it

These are compelling reasons and are also why shopping online is expected to grow to 2.14 billion consumers by 2021.

So what do users expect and how can you make sure your customers shop at your website and stay loyal?

1. Make the experience easy

This is the number 1 reason why people will use your site and keep coming back. Make it easy to find items and buy them. Don’t just make it easy… make it easier than your competitors.

2. Delivery

Consumers want your products delivered quickly. And they want to return it if they don’t like it… make this as easy as possible. And don’t complain when someone sends in a return with a bag that’s ripped or it was a day or two late… accept it and send a nice automated message… this is what makes your brand stand out and I can guarantee they’ll tell their friends.

3. Price

Keep an eye on your competitor’s pricing. 65% of consumers will check prices on other shops before clicking that ‘Buy Now’ button.

4. Be visible

None of the above are any use at all if no one can find you. We still get businesses who put the Digital Marketing last (Think Adwords SEO, FB Advertising, etc). It is probably the best ROI you will get, so do it well and do it right.

So what about those pesky customers? What do they expect?

The Nielson Norman Group have recently finished customer experience research and have confirmed big changes in the following expectations of eCommerce web site users:

  • Convenience
  • Speed
  • Assurance
  • Accuracy
  • Options
  • Experience
  • Convenience

When online shopping started we as consumers, accepted that if we shopped online, the experience would be different to shopping in person in a store. Now though, users expect to be able to search online, then try items on in a physical shop, maybe come home and make up their mind before purchasing online again… they have blended the two experiences into one and this is what they are now expecting.

Speed
This is not about how fast your website is (Although if it’s not fully optimized you’ll lose 85% of shoppers in the first 30 seconds while your site loads!) this is about receiving your item with 2-3 days.

Assurance
Gone are the days of no returns because you bought it online. Consumers now want to be able to try items on, and if they don’t like them, stuff them back in a bag badly (I’m afraid so) and return to you for a full refund.

Accuracy
Don’t exaggerate the quality of something to get a quick sale… you’ll get it back, get bad feedback on social media and all of their friends will know about it.

Options
Yes, they want it in black, brown, grey, and pink with blue spots… oh, and it should also come in 10 different sizes and be exclusive!?!?

Experience
The whole experience of shopping with you should be a joyful one. From the minute they open your site and see pics of people smiling wearing your clothes, to the little handwritten note you put in with the delivered item, it all matters.

There are a wealth of opportunities out there in the e-commerce world, so make the most of them and build your online empire by understanding the market and your consumers.

Contact us for more advice or to discuss your e-commerce project.