Over the last few decades, eCommerce has come a long, long way. Indeed, what started out as little more than a bulky, bloated and categorically user-un-friendly experience — and we haven’t even started talking about shipping costs and fulfillment gaps — has evolved into an impressive omnichannel process that, according to eMarketer.com, will top a staggering 4 trillion dollars in annual sales by the year 2020. To put this enormous number in some kind of in perspective, the entire U.S. gross domestic product — i.e. the total value of all goods and services produced in every industry, sector and field — is about 18.5 trillion dollars a year.
Whether you’re new to the eCommerce game or a seasoned veteran, there’s always room for improvement. With this in mind, here are four tips for creating a killer eCommerce site:
Go Simple for the Win
With so many tools to play with — widgets, apps, integrations and so on — it’s tempting to load up an eCommerce site with so much cool stuff, that it’s less a business portal, and more of a museum of advanced technology. While this may inspire some technophiles out there, it generally doesn’t impress customers who, frankly, don’t care about tools: they care about finding what they want simply, quickly and enjoyable. That means simple and intuitive is in, and needless feature creep is out.
Responsive Design is a Must
An increasing number of B2C and B2B customers are browsing eCommerce websites through mobile devices, from large screen tablets to compact screen smartphones. It’s essential for the site to display properly on all screens, and through all popular browsers (e.g. Firefox, Chrome, Edge, Safari, Opera, etc.).
The Need for Speed
Customers are reluctant to stick around on slow-loading corporate sites in general, but they’re particularly adverse to it on eCommerce sites; because whereas with the former they may be browsing for information, generally speaking when they’re on the latter, they have a goal in mind — i.e. buy something — and anything that slows them down it going to diminish, if not wreck, their experience and send them to the competition.
Include an Elevator Pitch
While it’s never a good idea to load up on home page content — since the function of eCommerce sites is to connect customers to products as quickly and easily as possible — this doesn’t mean that businesses should hide in the background. It’s important to convey a clear, compelling elevator pitch on the home page that helps customers confirm that they’re on the right site, at the right time. To see this best practice done to perfection, check out the site run by aircraft parts company AERO.
The Bottom Line
eCommerce — and eCommerce sites — have come a long way, and doubtless, we haven’t reached the end of the road. Businesses that adopt the best practices noted above will find their journey on this path smooth and straightforward, rather than bumpy and scary.