We’ll answer all of these common questions and give you some actionable ecommerce tips:
Including contact information for your business is essential because it establishes credibility but it’s also functional because it provides a way for potential customers or current customers to reach out to your business. This basic information that should be on every ecommerce site:
• Business name
• Phone number
• Mailing address
• Email address
• Business hours
• A return/refund policy
• Shipping information
Additional information that can be added includes:
• Fax number
• Social media links
These items can be put in a footer, added to a side navigation or displayed on a separate dedicated business info page.
Web design will always be important for online stores of all sizes, but if you’re on a limited budget or short time-frame, the most important thing to focus on is your products. Shoppers will buy products that they can be confident about from an ugly website, but a great looking website won’t sell vague or confusing products.
Focusing on your products means giving shoppers all of the information that they need to do two critical things:
1. Select the right product from your site to fit their needs
2. Be content with their purchase once they receive it
Doubt can be a purchase killer because unlike a physical retail store where shoppers can pick up and touch merchandise, an online store’s products are only as good as their product descriptions and photos. Once a purchase is actually made, a shopper will not come back if he/she is dissatisfied with the product received, which eliminates the possibility of return business and hurts public brand image. Do not waste the traffic that you worked hard to get to your site through your digital marketing efforts!
Overcoming purchase doubt and purchase regret requires the following:
• Thorough and unique product descriptions
• Multiple product photos (from different angles and with the ability to zoom in for a closer look)
• Clear pricing (including any applicable discounts)
• Shipping/delivery information (especially for added cost situations)
• Real customer reviews/ratings
• Technical specifications (if applicable)
• Size charts and information (if applicable)
• SKU or model numbers (if applicable)
• Compatibility information (if applicable)
• Requirements for use (if applicable)
• A list of pieces/contents (if applicable)
Including all of this information in a way that is effective and logical for shoppers can be tricky depending on the type of products involved; however, it’s absolutely necessary for ecommerce success!
The Ability to Process Payments
Obviously, being able to accept payment is crucial for any online store but what many new ecommerce store owners fail to realize is that payment methods are not all created equal. Some stores choose to only accept PayPal because it’s easy for them to set up and manage. However, online shoppers that do not have PayPal accounts or do not prefer to pay with PayPal will likely shop elsewhere if they are not given any other payment option. This is why it’s important to offer multiple payment types – especially credit cards.
Among online stores that do accept credit cards, many only accept Visa and MasterCard because American Express and Discover charge higher fees. While this is certainly better than not offering credit cards at all, depending on your market, accepting American Express and Discover may be important. For instance, businesses tend to use these payment forms more heavily than individual consumers. So for that reason, it’s always important to analyze your payment options and be open to accepting new forms. Have the conversation with your payment processor to find out what additional forms of payment will cost and what types of factors you should consider when making this important decision.
An SSL Certificate
If you are accepting payments, you will need an SSL (which stands for Secure Socket Layer). Basically, an SSL encrypts the customer data that you transmit to keep it secure, which is why payment processors require it. As an added benefit, Google actually announced that the presence of an SSL is now a factor in their algorithm, which means that having one can provide an SEO benefit.
Your Value Proposition
Having all of the right components to your website doesn’t mean much if you don’t tell people why they should buy from you instead of someone else. Tell visitors what sets you apart – provide a differentiation factor that will persuade them to choose your site!
Kate Pierce is the owner of LionShark Digital Marketing LLC, a West Michigan internet marketing company. Her areas of expertise include Paid Search, Search Engine Optimization, Social Media, Web Consulting for small businesses, Copywriting and Local Online Marketing. She lives in the Grand Rapids area with her husband and enjoys cooking, watching sports and spending time outdoors. Like a true digital marketing expert (i.e. geek), she loves talking about marketing theory and SEM trends… so don’t say you weren’t warned!