What Makes an Effective e-Commerce Website?

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According to Forrester Research, a technology and market research company, electronic commerce will account for about six percent of all retail sales in the United States alone, with online sales reaching an astounding $335 billion this year. Truly, e-commerce is increasingly becoming an industry staple, with more and more businesses opting to reach the global market through electronic means.

With this in mind, many e-commerce sites have sprung up to provide services to customers on behalf of the companies. E-commerce sites are fast becoming a lucrative market as well, taking advantage of the growing demand for quick purchases and transactions.

An e-commerce may be as simple as a blog with links to PayPal or Alertpay, or a more professional-looking website completely sponsored by the company. If you’re trying to set up your own website to augment your business, it should be effective, attractive and accessible enough to attract long-term customers.

So what makes an effective e-commerce website? This article will enumerate some of the traits many successful e-commerce sites have in common. This is just a basic enumeration; e-business experience and industry background are also as important to make your e-commerce site a success.

Your homepage should be attractive, but practical for customers.

Your website’s homepage is the face of your business in the electronic world, and what you put on it will greatly affect your e-commerce objectives. There’s no use in creating a flashy homepage if it doesn’t provide a direct link to your services. The best e-commerce home pages are attractive, attention-grabbing, while at the same time utilitarian enough so that customers can have quick access to your services.

Your homepage is the central hub for the numerous web pages in your site. Be sure that your homes page contains links to all the important pages on your site. However, you do not need to provide a link to every single page in your site. If you do so, your homepage will look cluttered and unorganized, and will eventually become an eyesore for your customers.

Here is where good web design comes along. A professional web designer can help you design your homepage in a way that:

  • it looks pleasing to the eye;
  • it makes for easy navigation;
  • it connects to the most important pages on your site; and 
  • reflects the overall image of your company.

It may cost you a bit up front, but a professional-looking homepage will do you wonders in the long run.

Each page should have a specific purpose.

Many websites have a thousand or so pages, but these should be organized in only a few subpages. Each subpage should have a well-defined purpose; one must not overlap the functions of another subpage, or else you’ll confuse your customers. The number of subpages depends on your product or service, and on the objective of the customer. For example, product pages should all be contained on the Products page, reviews, and feedback on the Reviews page, purchases in the Purchase page, etc.

Some service may need to be completed in multiple pages. For example, a page for a certain product may contain a link to the purchase page for an easy transaction. It may also contain links to customer feedback, reviews etc. It’s your task to make sure the navigation of your site is easy enough so that your customers can finish their transactions faster and more efficiently.

Your website should be user-friendly, reliable and trustworthy.

This is easy for established companies that have gained the trust of customers over the years, but if you’re just a new company, or a small one just starting out on e-commerce, achieving customer loyalty may take some time. Aside from providing commendable and high-quality products and services, the design, layout, and overall interactivity of your website will be a contributing factor in making sure your customers come back again.

One way to achieve customer trust is to gain website certification from an independent source. It may come from a commendation from an accreditation firm, or by getting a design olayoutut award from a website award-giving body. Check out online if your website or service corresponds to a specific award’s criteria, then you can enter your site for consideration.

Another way is to make sure your website is secure from credit card fraud or virus attacks. This would mean you have to beef up your site’s security with anti-virus coverage and constant security maintenance. It’s a costly task, but it will ensure your customers that the site they’re dealing with is safe and virus-free.