eCommerce, or online stores, are already part of our daily lives now. All those small and local businesses that earlier considered online stores as something specific to large retail brands now are coming out of this mindset and embracing online marketplaces.
But since an increasing number of businesses are building their online stores, getting ahead of the competitive curve now depends not just on product offerings, but more on the shopping experience created by the stores.
How can you ensure a happy shopping experience for your online store customers? Well, before you hire an eCommerce development company, take a look at some of the most tested and tried tips known to be highly effective.
1. Prepare a Strategy that Works
Before you begin with the development of your eCommerce store you need to start with the basics. First of all, come up with a robust strategy and carry out good ground-work.
Prepare a business model, know about your inventory management needs, the shipping methods that you incorporate, the particular social media channels you need, and a strategy for SEO and digital marketing.
Besides these business and marketing attributes, you also need to prepare a strategy on the technical front in regard to the website development, selecting the right technology stack, a good hosting plan, a hosting service provider, and UI/UX design plan.
2. Know the Target Audience
To ensure success for your e-commerce store, the design elements, shopping experience attributes, and features must address the preferences and requirements of your target user audience. You need to know the following things:
- What age group, gender, cultural background do most of your users fall into?
- What are the typical buying habits of your users in other competitor stores?
- What web store features do they like and dislike most?
- What are the devices and device platforms your target users use the most?
- What is the buying capacity and constraints common to your target users?
To come with clear answers to all these questions, you need to study competitor eCommerce stores, their social pages, and their audience. You can also carry our market analysis and social media survey to get clear answers to such questions. Remember, knowing your target audience is a strenuous and consuming process that in the long run can grow your eCommerce project in the right direction.
3. Choose a Perfect CMS Solution
You have plenty of CMS solutions available for building an eCommerce store, but not all of them can be an equal choice for every type and budget of eCommerce projects.
You can either go for a managed platform like Shopify that takes care of pretty much everything, including hosting and development, or you can hire dedicated developers and opt for a fully customized development with CMS platforms like Magento.
If you already have an established business website on WordPress, you can just opt for the Woocommerce plugin to turn it into a fully-fledged web store.
4. Mobile-first Development Approach
Now coming to the actual eCommerce development, you must remember that a mobile-first development approach is a must since most customers search and buy through their mobile devices now. For the future of eCommerce, mobile-first design is going to be a permanent fixture.
When it comes to mobile-first design and development, the most important things to consider include faster loading time, clutter-free design layout with least cognitive load, ease of product search with detailed filter options, easy to tap buttons, smooth and intuitive navigation, simple checkout process, and easy registration process.
Take one step at a time. First, make the design perfect and for this design a prototype with all the layout and design elements that describe the flow of the customer actions and the flow across the pages and menu options clearly.
Opt for a theme that closely resembles your preferred design prototype and customize the theme further with your own preferences. Remember, creating a great web store design may involve considerable cost and effort but ultimately it is worth the investment as it can be the foundation for your eCommerce success.
5. Thumb Rule of Design
For a mobile-optimized eCommerce store design, we must refer to one of the most important principles called the thumb rule of design.
Since most smartphone users hold their devices single-handedly and scroll the screens using their thumbs, all the buttons and key interactive elements should be placed within the accessible range of the thumb to help easier interactions.
With the thumb rule of design maintained and most of the important store information provided above the fold with finger-tap friendly buttons, the customer experience gets better.
6. Progressive Web Apps (PWA)
Some eCommerce stores also choose Progressive Web Apps (PWA) that comes with an app-like look and feel while users don’t need to download it. This can deliver a huge boost to the shopping experience and traction to the eCommerce stores.
There are several leading CMS platforms that allow you to build PWA web stores through plugins. By building a PWA web store you can gain more traction as customers can access your storefront through an app-like icon on the home screen.
Customers can also get a native app-like shopping and product browsing experience with PWA based web stores. PWAs also help with quick access to certain web store contents and functions even when the device is offline and the store updates the changes as soon as the connection is restored.
7. AI Chatbots for Customer Support and Service
Intelligent chatbots powered by artificial intelligence (AI) are increasingly getting popular across e-commerce stores for providing seamless customer support and service.
The AI chatbots are capable of carrying out conversations with the customers as per their preferences and choices and previous interaction data. Chatbots also help e-commerce stores to gain customer insights through the customer dialogue and queries registered by them.
Chatbots in many ways solve the problem of guiding in-store customers, addressing their queries, and for promoting certain products and services as per the customer context.
8. Well Articulated Product Pages
One of the uncompromising areas for any eCommerce store is the design of product pages. The product pages should be designed with the least visual clutter to help customers focus on the product details and the images.
Use high-quality product images with zoom-in options to give them a better view of the products they intend to purchase. Help them further with a short video describing the product details and real-life user benefits without using any technical jargon.
Make sure the product descriptions are thoroughly relevant and cover every aspect of the product that the customers intend to know. The product descriptions should be well articulated with details of the size, dimension, type of substance, manufacturing standards, style attributes, and key aspects related to the niche.
9. A Simple Checkout
Finally, a simple and easy checkout process is a must for smooth business conversion and sales in e-commerce stores. The checkout page should be designed to ensure faster completion of the sales.
Keep the checkout process steps within just two or three to do away with the efforts. Always provide the sales-boosting loyalty points and benefits right beside the buy button to make things lucrative.
As for new user registration, allow guest checkout and allow customers to use social login to complete the login process faster. As for filling up address details, allow them to use a GPS map to pinpoint location in case they find it easier.
Always provide the exact and precise information about the shipping charges without beating around the bush. Provide customers a maximum number of payment options and gateways to complete the purchase.
If you want to deliver your online customers a happy shopping experience, these techniques and tips stand as pretty much indomitable. But with these tips, your quest for creating a better e-commerce store doesn’t necessarily end. You can always fine-tune your shopping experience with little tweaks here and there and such efforts for value additions should never stop.