Building an Ecommerce Website

24th May 2024

Ecommerce websites - take your business online

When designing and building an ecommerce website, current best practices focus on something we talk about a lot at Realnet – user experience. This includes simple navigation, clear product information and options, enhancing customer confidence by ensuring the site is secure and compliant, all followed up by a seamless checkout process.

As an ecommerce website design agency, here are some key aspects we think about during this process:

User Experience (UX) Design

Responsive Design: Ensure the website is fully functional on a variety of devices and screen sizes, from desktops to smartphones.

Simple Navigation: Streamline menus and search features to help users find products effortlessly.

Fast Load Times: Optimising site speed enhances user engagement and improve SEO rankings.

High-Quality Images and Videos: Using great media to showcase products builds trust and helps your customer to make an informed purchase.

 

Product Presentation

Product Selection Options: The ability to filter products by colour, size, price etc helps a customer looking for something specific, as well as the less decisive!

Great product images: These really matter when selling online, especially for higher value products. Make your customers feel reassured about the money they are about to spend.

Video: If you are selling a complex or high-value product, consider using video to demonstrate its full potential.

Product Variables: Provide easy ways to select product sizes, colours and other options.

Product Availability: One of the most frustrating ecommerce experiences is to find and configure a product, possibly even pay for it, and then find out it is not in stock, or won’t be delivered for six weeks. Be upfront about this, your customers will thank you for it!

 

Ecommerce SEO and Content Marketing

Search Engine Optimisation: Pinpoint target keywords to get relevant traffic and increase organic search visibility by building them into your website.

Product Listings: Write great product descriptions so that each product page is a potential landing page for anyone searching for a specific item.

Content Strategy: This serves a couple of purposes, adding new, relevant content to your website is great for SEO, but it also helps to build your brand. Become an authority in your field by writing articles, guides, and videos that inform your customers, answer potential questions and drive traffic to your website.

 

Customer Journey Optimisation

Easy Checkout Process: Minimise the number of steps from selection to purchase and offer multiple payment options, from credit and debit cards to digital wallets.

Communicate: Let customers know what is going on with their order. You don’t want to bombard them, but it is always reassuring to receive confirmations and updates.

 

Security

Security is a big deal for an ecommerce website, you are now not only talking about your data, but customer data too.

SSL Certification: A basic security measure is still sometimes overlooked – ensure that your ecommerce website is secured with SSL to protect user data.

Data Protection: Comply with data protection regulations such as GDPR, especially important in the UK and the EU.

Regular Maintenance and Updates: Keep the supporting technology of your website up to date to identify and fix vulnerabilities.

 

Build Customer Confidence

After you’ve done everything to make your ecommerce website secure, now make sure that your customers know that they can trust you.

Provide Customer Reviews and Testimonials: Provide real world feedback to build trust, influence and inform purchasing decisions.

Transparent Contact Information: Provide clear and easy-to-find contact information, including a physical address, phone number, and email.

Clear Shipping and Return Policies: Clearly outline your return and shipping policies and make them easy to find.

Social Proof: Build a community around your products on social media. Encourage your customers to post, share and tag your business in real world photos of your products.

 

Analytics and Feedback

Use Analytics Tools: track user behaviour and conversions, find out what works and what doesn’t to enable continuous improvement.

Customer Feedback: Encourage and act on feedback to understand customer needs and pain points. Plan updates and product offerings that are really needed.

 

Encouraging Returning Customers

Acquiring new customers costs five to 10 times more than selling to a current customer, and, on average, return customers spend 67% more than new customers, so once you’ve got them, keep them coming back!

Wishlists: encourage return visits by allowing customers to save items that they might return to buy in the future.

Abandoned Basket Reminders: with the right integrations, these can be completely automated. Maybe someone was interrupted or didn’t have time to complete a purchase. A soft reminder a day or two later can re-engage that almost lost customer.

Loyalty Incentives: target high-value customers with an exclusive email campaign.

Ongoing Engagement: encourage mailing list sign ups with a discount.

 

Woocommerce as an Ecommerce platform

Woocommerce is the most popular ecommerce plugin for WordPress, it is widely used, well supported, flexible and scalable. Everything discussed above applies to Woocommerce, plus some more specific points:

Theme Selection: Choose a theme that is compatible with Woocommerce and any plugins you might use to enhance customer experience. Make sure you can set up your product catalogue well, using suitable categories, supported by product filters and search.

Page Speed Optimisation: This plays a huge part in selecting a suitable theme and builder for your Woocommerce website, as not all of them are as quick as others, especially on mobile.

Great Hosting: WordPress dedicated hosting will provide a faster, more secure platform for any WordPress website, but most especially a Woocommerce website.

Payment Options: As Woocommerce is so widely used, most available payment options can be integrated quickly and seamlessly, with excellent support.

SEO plugins: The most widely used SEO plugin for Woocommerce is Yoast. Properly set up this is a powerful tool to setup meta data and important structural elements of your website.

Maintenance: Keep everything to do with your Woocommerce website up to date to keep it secure and performing at its best.

 

Other Ecommerce options

While Woocommerce is very popular and widely used, making it a fantastic option for many of our clients, it might not be quite right for you. Realnet can still help you, we offer a variety of ecommerce options.

 

Whatever platform you choose, the aim is to create a robust, user-friendly ecommerce website that engages customers and drives sales in both the long and short term.

It’s always easier said than done… that’s why our experienced local website designers at Realnet are here to discuss your current, or new ecommerce website! Contact us and we will work with you to find the best option for you.

Realnet is an established Cambridge digital agency, we have been helping all sorts of organisations with their online presence since 1998. From website design and ecommerce to digital marketing and PPC campaigns.

Contact us to make your website work harder for you.