The internet is the defining factor for business labeled as eCommerce as it is the essential medium to make it work.
Following a few simple rules are all that is needed to elicit a positive response from visitors.
The sales process is better with fewer steps
In good eCommerce design it has been demonstrated that there is a direct correlation between the number of clicks a person has to make in order to complete a purchase and the volume of people who abandon their shopping cart before checking out.
You need to make the checkout process as simple as possible on your eCommerce web site so that potential customers are not discouraged easily through poor navigation.
Ensure customers are aware of stock levels
Make sure that customers can check the availability of stock early on in the sales process.
Customers will quickly leave your site if you do not show them what stock is available. Purchasing on the web is easy and it is also easy to find another site to make your purchase.
Ensure web browser compatibility
Make sure you view your site in a variety of browsers to ensure that it is presented correctly. This really is a good rule of thumb for any site that you might be creating. Make sure that you at least view your site in Internet Explorer and Firefox as these are the two most commonly used browsers.
Use sensible words in your hyperlinks
Name your links appropriately using a sensible description that means something to your customers. For instance, ‘Music players section A’ is much less descriptive than ‘iPod Nano range’.
Double check your hyperlinks
Make sure that all the hyperlinks work on your site and that they click through to the correct destinations. Broken links will make your visitors think that your site is not professional.
Use Web graphics that are simple, clean and small in size
Graphics are great for illustration, but you need to ensure they are optimized for the web.
This means that you should use a graphics program such as Adobe Photoshop or Macromedia Fireworks or perhaps one of the free ones that you can find on the web to reduce the file size of your graphic images in order to ensure that your eCommerce internet solution does not take too long to load its pages. Visitors tend to leave sites that load too slowly.
This exercise becomes a balancing act between quality versus file size, but usually a good compromise can be obtained.
Create a straightforward checkout process
The final stage of your eCommerce process is also the most stressful for your customer. You need to ensure that your customer is feels safe using your site to make a payment. That of course means that you need to provide a secure payment process in which they can entrust their personal details.
Most web hosts will offer the Secure Socket Layer method that ensures your site is encrypted to protect your customers personal details. Tell your customers about the security arrangements you have in place on your eCommerce web site in order to protect their personal information.
If you follow the tips outlined above then you will avoid most of the common pitfalls that you might encounter when developing your eCommerce web site.