The Hostway Blog

Making an Attractive, Optimized E-commerce Site

Today's shoppers know that no two e-commerce websites are the same. With a range of design and optimization techniques out there, certain approaches have emerged as having nearly universal appeal to consumers, and can help you guarantee a positive experience for every client.

Make it easily searchable
One essential that every e-commerce site should have is an easily identifiable dashboard and search bar. There should be no confusion about how to find the item the shopper is looking for. Business2Community noted that search tools were created by companies with years of experience, and others should follow suit when it comes to these tried-and-true capabilities. Any dashboard should include all pertinent information consumers will be seeking, including access to past and current orders, sales figures and any products that may be out of stock.

Properly showcase available products
Retailers must ensure that they are showcasing their products in a way that provides the best understanding possible. Ecommerce University noted that this should include the use of large, high quality photos, which can actually increase sales. In fact, a recent study found that a bigger picture of a product can boost sales by more than 9 percent.

In addition, product descriptions should be clear and concise while providing as much details as possible about the item. Any key information that cannot be discerned from high quality images should be in the description. As a rule of thumb, Inc. suggested including "under the hood" details here, and keeping descriptions within 75 to 200 words.

Customer reviews: Straight from the horse's mouth
Besides a product description, it is also helpful to include reviews from real customers who have bought a specific item. Ecommerce University noted that shoppers typically take any sales pitch with a grain of salt. However, actual reviews can provide added context and insight not featured in the straight description. In fact, a study found that 65 percent of consumers trust user reviews more than the advertising content itself.

What to do with Out of Stock items
Many companies fret over what should be done when an item is out of stock. Business2Community noted that taking the product off the site altogether is not beneficial for the firm, especially from a search engine optimization standpoint. Instead, Out of Stock items should be kept on the site to continue generating search ratings and raise the website's rank. However, the Out of Stock notification should come as early as possible in the process, and not simply appear once the customer gets to the shopping cart. In addition, the company can offer similar products as well as the ability to notify shoppers when the item is again available.

Provide all the necessary information
Just as no two e-commerce websites are the same, companies also have different processes in place when it comes to shipping, customer service, returns and other aspects of commerce. Customers will likely have questions when it comes to these factors, and making the information available – and the answers easy to find – is critical. Inc. advised including policies about deliveries, refunds and other pertinent items in an accessible location. In addition, companies may also want to consider adding a Frequently Asked Questions page so that customers have everything they need to make informed choices and quickly resolve any issues.