3 Essentials of a Successful E-commerce Site


Whether you’re an independent retailer or a large-scale multi-national, a well-designed and carefully structured online store can successfully open up your brand to a huge international market and bring valuable revenue into your business.

In fact regardless of your businesses size the goal of your e-commerce website will remain the same; to drive customers to conversion and encourage them to enter card details and make those all-important sales.

Online shopping is an extremely competitive space, so it’s vital to consider the following essentials when it comes to building out your virtual store and welcoming customers.

Consider your mobile shopping experience

There’s no denying that the market for mobile shopping online is growing at an astounding rate. In fact, take a second to think about your own shopping habits, ever browsed or purchased a product via your mobile phone? The answer is likely yes and official stats show mobile sales accounted for 42.3% of all Christmas retail sales, a frankly staggering figure. View Source

But have you ever delved into your online stores Google Analytics and taken a peek at the bounce rate from your mobile visitors? It could make for interesting reading if you’ve not considered their user journey in your website build.

Specifically, try to ensure the following:

  • Make sure your mobile navigation is simple to use with clear calls to action.
  • Thoroughly test the end-to-end process (from browsing, viewing and adding an item to the cart to checking out and paying for the item via mobile) so you’re confident it is seamless for the customer.
  • Consider the call to action (CTA) buttons on the mobile version on your site and ensure there is enough space for fingers and thumbs to tap away freely.
  • Use responsive typography and imagery so products are appealing and eye-catching across all devices.

Ignoring the growth in mobile traffic to your site could be extremely costly for your online business and it’s vital you or your website developer regularly mine your analytics for useful data. Better yet, your store should have a mobile first strategy so that you’re getting valuable conversions no matter what the device used.

Decent quality product photography

Decent quality, visually appealing photography can be the deciding factor that turns browsers into buyers on your e-commerce site. In fact we’d go as far as to say that your product photography could be the single most important aspect of your e-commerce site. This is what helps visitors buy in to your brand and is often the first tangible experience of your product or service, so it’s really important you make that touch point count.

Here are a few important things to consider:

  • Ensure your product or service imagery is consistent throughout your store, of high quality and is taken with good lighting.
  • Include a gallery of images to show all of the features of the product, specifically any finer details and from multiple angles.
  • Where applicable, give your customers the option to see the product in context so they can relate to the experience of using your product.
  • Allow the customer to view a larger version of the product photograph either via a zoom or lightbox function.
  • Consider adding video content showcasing your product or describing your service to add multi-layered content to your site.

What’s clear is that the importance of product photography should never be underestimated on an e-commerce site. These product pages are a last chance to convince the customer that the product they are considering is right for them and each item should be showcased effectively.

A wider Digital Marketing strategy

The harsh truth is that it doesn’t matter how beautifully designed, confidently structured or mobile-friendly your e-commerce site is, if you’re not strategic about attracting regular and relevant traffic your storefront will sit forlornly in a dusty corner of the Internet. Therefore, it’s critical that you complement investment in your e-commerce site with appropriate marketing plans that drive targeted visitors to your online store.

You can do this by implementing the following tactics:

  • Growing a healthy social media presence with signposting to content on your e-commerce site.
  • Investing in search engine optimisation (SEO) methods that are the right fit for your business.
  • Cultivating an engaged email list and encouraging recipients to visit your site regularly.
  • Considering social media advertising (e.g. Facebook advertising) to re-target visitors who are yet to follow through with purchases on your site.

What’s clear is that the importance of product photography should never be underestimated on an e-commerce site. These product pages are a last chance to convince the customer that the product they are considering is right for them and each item should be showcased effectively.

By having a clear plan in place and a way of measuring its success – whether that be via tools like Google Analytics goal setting features, Facebook Insights or email click-through-rates (CTR) – you can be confident your online store will encourage repeat conversions.

What’s clear is that the future of commerce is digital, so even if you have a physical storefront which is thriving, moving online presents a huge opportunity to bring your products and services to the masses.

By ensuring your online store has a user-centric design and works across all devices you’re giving yourself the best possible chance of securing valuable online conversions. Furthermore, by regularly user testing and setting conversion goals in Google Analytics you can successfully track how your site is performing and set a realistic baseline target for initial review.

To discuss your own e-commerce requirements or wider digital marketing strategy get in touch with the Douglas experts

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