Now more than ever, an E-commerce website can help anyone sell over the Internet with less overhead than a traditional brick and mortar store. With the growth of the national and world market on the web, if you aren’t selling online, you are missing a lot of sales!
An E-commerce site is a fairly inexpensive and flexible way to sell your products. However, it does require some savvy know-how to navigate current laws and best practices.
You need to know what to look for and how to structure your site before you begin.
Mechanics of an E-commerce website
- Product or Service Introduction
- Product or Service Descriptions
- Check out Protocol
1. Product or Service Introduction
This will be on your home page (landing page)
This is where you hook your visitor, peaking their interest enough to further investigate.
You want to entice the visitor to a call to action: purchasing your product or service.
Most prospects will make a purchasing decision within 15 seconds or less, so you need effective copy that will entice the visitor and answer basic questions about the product.
Why do I need this? What does it do? How will it make my life easier?
If you sell more than one product or service, your copy and visuals need to be enticing enough to keep the visitor shopping and browsing.
2. Product or Service Descriptions
It’s just like a printed catalog, but on the web.
Once your visitor is enticed by a product or service, they will want to browse deeper into a particular product and find out details. The product descriptions must answer as many questions about the product as may arise in the visitor’s mind.
The product photos must be clear and attractive. Make sure your designer knows the kind of quality photo that is needed and how to create files for fast loading to make shopping more convenient for visitors.
You can create click-throughs for larger photo versions or sophisticated scripting to allow the customer to rotate the product with their mouse so they can see all sides.
By giving the visitor all the information they need, they will be convinced to buy with confidence.
If you don’t answer their questions, another website will and they will move on.
3. Check out Protocol
The shopping cart and check out process is another essential element. If your shopping card is too difficult to understand, and too many steps to complete, visitors will lose confidence and move on.
There are many shopping carts to choose from, again simple for smaller stores to high end for multiple products. It is essential that your shopping cart not only functions how you need it to, but also integrates well with your merchant provider.
Your merchant account provider is where the credit card transactions securely take place in real time.
Think of the shopping cart as a restaurant server (they take your order). Think of the merchant account provider as the line cook who executes the order (cooks the food). Your shopping cart is the interface that takes your order and gives you back the receipt.
Your merchant account actually processes the order and deposits the funds into your account.
You will also want to include several information pages about your store policy, shipping info, technical specifications, return policies etc.
Most online sellers are so excited to get their online E-commerce store going, they forget about how they are going to get their product to the buyer.
These shop owners are a lot like new parents; so excited for the infant but forget that you have to change a few diapers.
Choose a design firm with strong knowledge and experience in fulfillment and can help you choose the best process for handling shipping. There are many solutions that tie into your E-commerce site so you are charging the correct amount for shipping and also getting the correct product information to ship. If you don’t know how to handle this properly you will end up losing a lot of money, time and hair trying to fix it.
Developing an E-commerce website is a complicated business. You need a design and marketing agency who knows how to execute your plan and put the various pieces together. Have a plan before you go to your designer with all the info you will need in order to get your project off to a good start. Happy selling!