Ecommerce isn’t the future. Ecommerce has been our present for years now.
Admittedly, ecommerce still isn’t for everyone. Our crumbling postal service means e-retailers need to rely on courier networks and many South Africans still conduct much of their business in cash.
But for niche and high-end goods, there is an overwhelming and growing demand for reliable online retail, available anywhere and any time.
The Covid pandemic’s enforced isolation has only accelerated the trend, with even conventional supermarkets stepping up their online shopping and delivery game.
The simple truth is that if you’re a retailer, especially if you sell bespoke goods, if you don’t have an ecommerce platform in 2020, you risk getting left behind forever.
But – and it’s a big but – you have to get it right. Building a compelling, functional ecommerce website isn’t rocket science, but you absolutely have to know what you’re doing. Get it wrong, and you risk alienating your customers and compromising your brand (and possibly breaking the law). So no pressure.
Fortunately, there are some clear steps you can follow to ensure you build an effective ecommerce website optimised to help you make sales.
Of course, building a good ecommerce site doesn’t guarantee you’ll make sales. The basic rules of the game haven’t changed. You still need merchandise people want to buy and effective, targeted marketing campaigns to drive sales.
But building a high quality ecommerce site is an essential first step to success.
Here are the fundamentals you need to keep in mind to ensure you don’t blow it.
Keep users’ data secure
By law, you are obliged to keep your users’ personal information safe and secure.
It’s also a question of reputation. If customers can’t rely on your ecommerce site to protect their personal information, they’ll have good reason to doubt the integrity of your brand.
You’ll also want to think carefully about sharing customers’ personal information with other agencies for promotional purposes, even if customers have opted in.
Customer service, customer service, customer service
Don’t say you have stock when you don’t. Don’t accept orders and then cancel them. Don’t take payment and fail to deliver.
Respond quickly to customer queries. Don’t blame the courier, even if it is their fault. And accept reasonable returns.
Every ecommerce business sets out to maintain high standards of customer service, but it takes a lot of time and effort. And sometimes it doesn’t seem worth it.
Trust me, it is. Ecommerce sites that maintain a consistent standard of customer service are much more likely to succeed.
UX optimised for ecommerce success
So far, we’ve covered the things that risk putting customers off: bad security and poor customer service.
But what about the fun stuff? How do you actually drive sales and build a globally successful brand?
A lot of growing an ecommerce business has to do with branding and smart, targeted digital ad campaigns.
But the way your ecommerce site is structured is also essential. The way customers engage with the site is built into the very architecture of the platform. Developing highly effective ecommerce sites is an art and a science, and skilled UX designers work to optimise every element of the site to improve your business.
The good news is you won’t have to reinvent the wheel. An experienced UX designer will be familiar with the best practices in ecommerce web design and be able to implement those practices for you.
But you do need someone with the skill and insight to understand the way your particular business works and who your target market is, and to optimise your ecommerce site appropriately. (Some businesses will want to prioritise data collection, in some cases you’ll want to make an immediate sale, sometimes it’s best to drive potential customers through a long sales funnel; an experienced UX specialist will know what’s best for your business – and will keep testing and refining for optimal results.)
So what now?
Well it’s simple. You need an ecommerce site and you need it done right.
That’s where Pixel Village comes in. We don’t come in with any preconceived ideas. We view every client as unique. We carefully analyse your business requirements and make data-driven recommendations based on who you are and what you want to achieve.
Our UX specialists know how to build ecommerce websites that look magnificent and drive sales. But much more importantly, we never settle for a one-size-fits-all solution. You don’t just need an ecommerce site that conforms to global best practice. You need one that works for you.