If you’re just starting out online, or have been around a while and want more sales from your ecommerce site, now is a good time to examine the fundamentals of a good ecommerce website so that yours will bring in (and keep) the customers you deserve.
This series will explore some obvious-but-overlooked, and even a few not-so-obvious tips for building, improving and maintaining a good ecommerce site.
Tip #1: Build The Foundation
The first step in any web development project is to start with a good project specification.
Think about building an ecommerce web site like building a house: you’d never put the windows in before building the foundation, or flip a light switch before consulting an electrician. Likewise for your ecommerce site, be sure to lay the groundwork so that you have a strong base on which to build.
Take the time to develop the blueprints for your site – how your product pages will be categorized, how visitors will access them, what search functionality is necessary. Create a sitemap and detailed wireframes so that you know exactly how the site will work.
If time and budget allow, build an “undesigned” beta (sometimes referred to as a proof-of-concept, prototype or simply a demo site) to see if customers can find what they are looking for quickly and easily.
Pre-testing – before you invest a lot in design and construction – can save you time, money and headaches down the line. The more time and resources you can devote to planning, the less work you’ll have later, and the more likely your chance of success.
Even if you already have a site, it’s a good idea to plan the next iteration of it before you start rearranging categories, reclassifying products or renaming pages. Use your most valuable asset – existing customer feedback – to help you plan improvements. Take all the common complaints, wish-lists and even the praise and use it to inform your plan.
What one improvement could you make to your ecommerce site to increase the likelihood of making a sale?