5 tips for a successful eCommerce website

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eCommerce is a bigger business than ever, with more sites appearing each day. There’s never been a better time to enter the fray, but competition is, of course, high. You’ll need to stand out, and that starts with a quality website. Here are some tips to help.

#1 Keep things simple

First and foremost: the best eCommerce sites are simple. They use a clean theme, leave plenty of white space, and don’t clutter their layouts. Clutter makes it more difficult for customers to find the items that they want and looks unprofessional. The same applies to menus. A maze of menus and links only confuses and makes it harder for customers to find what they need. A web design agency will be able to help you construct a clean site that’s easy to navigate. Your website is your storefront, after all, so bringing in professional designers is always a good idea.

#2 Don’t ask for unnecessary details

Too many eCommerce sites do all the hard work only to fall at the final hurdle. They lose customers at checkout because they demand too much information. All you need to process a payment are card details, name, and (if you’re selling physical goods) an address. Despite this, lots of eCommerce sites ask unnecessary questions and force customers to create accounts for one-off purchases. Do you really need to know, for example, where the customer found out about your site? Cut these superfluous questions to facilitate a more streamlined checkout.

#3 Use the right security protocols

Any website that handles card payments and asks for private information needs to be secure. Web users weren’t always aware of the various security protocols on offer, but customers are nowadays much savvier and will only use well-protected sites. HTTPS is a must. This is a development on the common HTML extension, and the “s” stands for security. HTTPS encrypts data between your site and customers so that it can’t be intercepted and stolen. SSL certification functions in a similar manner and offers an additional layer of protection.

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Social media is, of course, one of the best forms of advertising in the world. Not only does it offer a convenient space to showcase your products, but it gives you a place from which to draw customers. People who discover you via social media are more likely to follow through and explore your website, making purchases. There are lots of ways to run a successful social media account (including regular daily posting, mixing media, replying to all messages, and following people in your niche), but some eCommerce businesses opt to hire specialist teams to manage their platforms.

#5 Optimize for mobile

Since mobile traffic now represents a substantial portion of all internet usage (and will likely soon overtake desktop), eCommerce sites limit themselves by not taking advantage. Mobile optimization requires a responsive theme (which adapts when viewed on mobile) and a range of design tweaks including compressed images, the removal of plugins and some formatting changes geared towards the smartphone screen. The effort is worth it though, as mobile custom continues to grow.

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