5 essential tips for setting e-commerce up on your website
Nearly all websites in the commercial and retail sector have an e-commerce element. It makes sense, as you’ve spent a lot of effort in email and digital marketing to get consumers to your website, and now you want to convert their interest into a solid sale.
Whether you’re attempting to add plug-ins or other e-commerce elements to your website yourself, or you’re briefing your web designer, here are the 5 essential tips you need to know:
- Be trusted. This is incredibly important, because internet users tend to be a wary, sceptical bunch who are terrified of getting scammed. You can reassure them and build their trust through a number of measures. Start by using recognised payment platforms such as PayPal, and get your website verified and certified by Google as a safe site. You should also display clear contact details (including a registered business address) and have a clear and reassuring returns policy.
- Make sure your web host can cope. Before setting up an e-commerce site, it’s recommended to check with your hosting provider or speak to an expert about whether your website can cope with a predicted influx of visitors eager to make purchases. If your website crashes, that’s lots of sales and revenue down the drain.
- Make the buying ‘journey’ as quick and easy as possible. This is one for your web designer, who will ideally create a process that requires as few clicks as possible to get from viewing product details to confirming the purchase. Internet users have expectations about the purchase process online, so try to stick to these when considering streamlining the process. If you miss out a vital step or go too fast, you could scare customers off. Make the buying journey user-friendly, logical and intuitive and avoid common mistakes. An Econsultancy survey from a few years ago found that 54.5% of people would abandon a shopping cart before making a purchase because of technical problems, while 25.65% were put off by the requirement to register an account before buying.
- Don’t forget the terms and conditions. These need to be clear, easy to find and cover every part of the purchase process. If you’re unsure what to include and how to word it, get a legal professional to look over your terms and conditions, because mistakes with e-commerce (i.e. breaching consumer rights legislation) can prove very costly.
- Test, test and test again. It is absolutely essential that the e-commerce side of your site works without a glitch. Any problems will spook potential purchasers, who will simply click away and then that’s a sale lost. Test everything extensively, and SellerDeck’s Phil Rothwell, writing on smallbusiness.co.uk, recommends getting friends to test the site too.
Have you recently set up e-commerce on your website? What did you find the most challenging part, and what tips would you give to other retailers looking to monetise their websites? Please feel free to share your thoughts.