December 28, 2011 by Julie Warshaw
Spending huge sums of money to create the perfect ecommerce site is unnecessary. What counts most is usability. Even multi-million dollar, globally-recognized brands will lose customers if their site is difficult to maneuver. There are several components that successful ecommerce sites share; regardless of the size of the businesses behind them. These sites are well-laid out; they have relevant landing pages; most importantly, they function in the way users shop.
The design of an ecommerce site should be simple and free of flashing banners or other distractions. Because users are expected to submit their credit card information, the site should always include the physical address and phone number of the company. It’s amazing how many businesses do not include that vital piece of information on their contact page. Shoppers who are presented with nothing more than a blank email form in the way of contact information may be put-off and make their purchases elsewhere. From an SEO standpoint, major search engines view ecommerce sites that lack real contact information skeptically; they are less likely to move them to the top of the SERP.
There have been increasing levels of importance placed on relevant landing pages. Users are no longer as willing to click through to subpages of a site, looking for a particular product. When someone utilizes a search engine to shop for a product, they are expecting to be linked directly to the page featuring their desired purchase. These search engines are constantly updating their search algorithms and they strive to have the results listed reflect the advances they’ve made.
Lastly, but most notably, your ecommerce site should make shopping easy for your customers. You may be tempted to set something up a certain way because doing so makes the most sense from a processing standpoint. But does it make sense from a consumer standpoint? If the answer is no, you should rethink your setup. Macy’s is an unlikely example of an ecommerce site with poor usability. Their brand is recognized in nearly every corner of the globe; with stores in most major US cities and around the world, you would assume that their site would be among the best. It’s not.
Despite what must be a vast marketing budget, Macy’s mistakenly hired a web design firm who did not put customer usability first. For example, customers shopping for a couch on their site are not able to shop based on what is available in their area. They must first select a couch they are interested in and then submit their zip code to check local availability. This means that potential clients may pick several different couches before even finding one they can go see. Today’s online shopper does not have the patience or need to waste time looking through products that aren’t even available.
When creating an ecommerce website for your business, the needs of your customers are paramount. Keeping that in mind, even the most meager budget can bring significant business if allocated wisely. The right internet marketing agency will design and maintain a site that attracts traffic, not drives it away!
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