While e-commerce can still be classed as a burgeoning market, it is quickly closing the gap on the traditional retail sector. Last year saw the rate of online sale rise by 12.6% across Europe and the U.S, for example, while the corresponding rate in the UK was an impressive 14.6%.
While this is great news for e-commerce brands, it is creating more intense levels of competition and a growing sense of complacency among firms. In fact, it is more important than ever that you invest in a functional e-commerce website, and one that delivers high performance and ease of use in equal measure.
How to Build the ultimate e-commerce website
With this in mind, here are three crucial steps that you must follow if you are to build a truly successful e-commerce website in the modern age:
- Make sure that you optimise page loading times
With so many customers now researching and buying goods online, it is crucial that you optimise the loading time of individual landing pages (particularly those associated with products). Websites with slow loading times tend to have far higher bounce rates, for example, with surveys suggesting that most web users currently expected pages to open fully within two seconds.
Additionally, consumers tend to abandon a page that does not open after three seconds, with 79% claiming that they would not return again.
There are two main steps to increase page loading time. The first is to make concessions from a design perspective, removing complex graphical elements, scripts or animations that may be causing a particular page to crash. You must also be sure to test your pages on a regular basis as you develop and refine the site, with tools such as Google Page Insights and Pingdom Website Speed among the most popular.
Google Speed Insights will even pinpoint the elements of your page that require attention, and this can be crucial as you look to add new content and products.
- Use Content and Layout to Optimise your site for conversion
The ultimate goal of any e-commerce site is to sell products and convert visitors into customers, so it is imperative that your platform is optimised to achieve this aim.
The layout of your website and its content are crucial tools in this endeavour, as these elements will shape the consumer experience and help to solicit a particular action. Start by utilising https:// for your website, which along with visible trust signals help to reassure customers and encourage them to spend their money. These are two of the subtle but impactful signs that experienced customers look for when shopping online, along with any industry certification or accreditation.
From a content point-of-view, it is crucial that you include an organic and concise call-to-action which instantly engages customers. This should also be visible without scrolling once a page has loaded, or at least above the fold and placed prominently in the top-third segment of the content. When combined with actionable icons that link to fast-loading checkout pages, this can create a seamless customer journey that optimises conversion rates.
- Invest in stylish and relevant website design
If you still use white fonts on a black background, the time has come to invest in the redesign of your website. Remember, certain e-commerce sectors are more competitive than ever before, and a poorly designed or visually unappealing website can lose customers almost as soon as they have landed.
Modern customers are also demanding, so there is a need to create a stylish and relevant website design that is also accessible, easy to use and secure. Colours play an integral role in this, with shades including orange and brown known to be unpopular among both men and women. In contrast, blue and green and balanced are harmonious colours that appeal to both gender demographics, so try to create a palette that appeals to your target market.
In terms of capturing the visual appeal of your products, be sure to use high resolution photography and even invest in stylish renders where appropriate. The key is to present your brand and products are effectively as possible, using strategic colour combinations as an inviting backdrop that engages customers!
These steps should help you to build an appealing and ultimately successful e-commerce website. If you have any thoughts or advice of your own, feel free to contact us through the comments box below!