Guest Post: 10 Best Practices For Retailers Looking To Create An E-Commerce Store
Exacerbated by the pandemic, e-commerce websites are actively replacing brick-and-mortar stores. By 2025, studies project that online retail sales will make up 24.5% of total retail sales. And that number is projected to keep on rising.
If you want your business to stay competitive and relevant, you’ll have to get your products online if you haven’t already. But the trouble with going online is that there’s no “one-size-fits-all” answer for how to do it right—and if you don’t do it right, then getting online won’t be enough to save your business’s bottom line.
The good news is that some best practices can help you navigate the tricky waters of moving your business from brick-and-mortar to e-commerce.
We’ve gathered some expert advice here, so read on for the top ten tips for retailers who want to create an e-commerce website in this digital age.
1. Establish Your Branding
Your brand must be memorable, but it’s even more critical that your brand is easy to understand and communicate. Your branding should be a competitive advantage that you have over your competition.
Some key things to remember when creating your branding are:
It looks the same across all mediums (i.e., website, social media, offline marketing materials). It will help strengthen your brand recognition.
It is unique and distinct for you only. The last thing you want is for someone else to be using the same branding as yours, especially if the company is in a similar industry or niche. Ensure that there isn’t anything identical before finalizing a logo or design for your branding. You can even use a logo maker to create a high-quality, professional-looking logo without learning graphic design or hiring a designer.
It should be simple and recognizable at a glance without looking at the logo or name of the business directly underneath it.
When creating an e-commerce store for fashion, you should tastefully display your fashion brand logo on your packaging and custom note cards. Creating a luxury unboxing experience delights customers and makes it more likely that they will share this experience with their social media followers. With your logo front and center on the packaging, this is a great way to achieve user-generated content for marketing purposes.
2. Pick the Right E-Commerce Platform.
There are many e-commerce platforms available for you to get your store up and running promptly. You must choose the platform that offers all of the features you require to operate your online store efficiently.
Some platforms are for people who know how to code, while others cater to small business owners who have little technical knowledge.
According to Zapier, these are a few of the most popular e-commerce platforms available on the market today:
Shopify: Get up and running quickly
Square: Sell in person and online
Ecwid: Start for free
BigCommerce: Ideal for large-volume sellers
WooCommerce: Add a shopping cart to an existing WordPress site
Wix: Build an entire site
Another essential thing to note, the platform you go with should provide security from hackers and malicious software attacks. Certify that your e-commerce software is frequently updated with new security features so your store can stay safe.
3. Ensure Your Mobile Site Is Responsive.
Mobile devices, excluding tablets, generated 54.4% of global website traffic in the fourth quarter of 2021. It is critical to ensure your site is mobile responsive, meaning it will be able to adapt according to the size of the screen.
If you don’t take the time to design your e-commerce store to be mobile-friendly, you may lose out on business. Users will not take the time to fiddle with your site when they can go somewhere else and find a more user-friendly way to shop.
Other benefits come with having a responsive website as well. Your store will look aesthetically pleasing on pretty much any device – so you don’t have to worry about elements being out of place or getting cut off while browsing through your e-commerce store. And since Google now ranks responsive sites higher than those without this feature, using such designs could help boost organic traffic too.
4. Use High-Quality Product Images.
A picture is worth a thousand words. A good photo shows what an item looks like, how it works, and how it will perform in daily use.
Online retailers are under increased pressure to sell products that look as good as they do in advertisements or catalogs, so the quality of photos can directly affect the number of sales you make. When you’re deciding on your product shots, keep these best practices in mind:
Pick out at least two high-quality photos of different angles—both front and back views should be included and highlight any noteworthy features.
Match the color and texture of your brand for a consistent look.
Add photo effects and filters to your product pictures to help catch the eye of your online customers. Use photos that provide extra details instead of just showing them all on a single pane without context, so customers know what they are getting when purchasing items online.
5. Carefully Craft Product Descriptions and Pages.
There’s a lot to think about when crafting product descriptions. They should be short and sweet, but you still want to give customers all the information they need. Take this dash cams page as an example. All the features are displayed in short paragraphs along with real recordings so that customers can have a first impression of the video quality.
Make sure the description matches the product—don’t try to sell an item by describing something else or carrying on with too much fluff or jargon.
When creating an e-commerce store, you have an opportunity to reach a broader range of customers than with brick-and-mortar retail. Consider making your web page multilingual so Spanish speaking customers can also easily shop your products.
Don’t forget to use keywords that people might search for to help customers find your products through search engines. After all, you are trying to score as many sales as possible.
6. Leverage Product Filters to Make Your Products Easy to Find.
Filters can help you guide product discovery by funneling your customers to the products they are looking for.
For example, you can add size and color filters to narrow down the list of products displayed if you sell clothing. Filters can also be great for showing more options based on a customer’s browsing history, recently viewed items, or highly rated products.
By using suitable filters, shoppers can effectively narrow down their choices, find what they’re looking for, and commit to purchasing. That means more money in your pocket.
7. Incorporate a Chat Function Into Your Website.
When starting an e-commerce business, you will find that as your business grows, your need for hiring employees to manage different aspects of the company will grow as well. Similar to brick-and-mortar stores, you will need customer service reps.
A chat function is perfect for seamlessly integrating customer service reps into your e-commerce store.
You never know when something might go wrong in the fulfillment process, but when it does, having an instant way for customers to get in touch with you can be invaluable. With live chat, people will be able to let you know when there’s an issue with their orders and allow you to address these issues as quickly as possible before negative reviews start piling up.
Chat functions also help drive sales. Some people who visit your site might have questions that need answering before they’re ready to purchase. Having a chat function gives them an easy way to ask their questions and get answers. Communication can go a long way toward making customers feel confident about choosing to buy from you.
8. Share Important Policies and Return Information on Your Website.
The critical information to include on your website includes:
When creating your online policies for these items, be sure that you clearly state what the customer can expect when a return or cancellation occurs. You don’t want them to be confused, so your policies must be in order and align with what will happen when these things occur.
9. Create a Subscription Program.
Give customers the option of setting up a regular delivery schedule with you. Subscription programs will open up a new segment of customers looking to take advantage of the pricing perks that come with purchasing in bulk, and it’s also a great way to keep a steady stream of revenue coming in.
You can even charge extra for a premium subscription, which provides additional perks like same-day deliveries from reliable courier services and exclusive access to new products launches.
Subscription programs open up opportunities for regular sales without much additional effort. Sit back, relax and watch the sale come rolling in.
10. Provide an Easy-To-Use Checkout Process.
In addition to making your customer’s shopping experience seamless, you also want to make their checkout process intuitive and efficient.
24% of people abandon their online shopping cart because the site wanted them to create an account. You can create a quick and easy user experience by providing multiple checkout options.
A guest and member option should be available for customers who prefer one over the other. The guest option allows customers to check out with fewer required fields, while the member option collects more information from customers to simplify repeat purchases.
18% of people abandon their shopping cart because of a long and complicated checkout process. Offering a smart checkout solution can also help you generate lower cart abandonments. Your customers will be able to use one-click checkout and access credit card rewards upon payment.
Consumers are increasingly interested in the ease of online shopping and door-to-door delivery. It is time to adapt to these new consumer trends and keep your business thriving in the ever-changing digital era.
Creating an e-commerce store is not as scary as it sounds. With these ten best practices, you are on your way to scoring more sales, gaining loyal customers, and building your brand to new heights.
About the author
Kelly Moser is the co-founder and editor at Home & Jet, a digital magazine for the modern era. She’s also an expert in freelance writing and content marketing for SaaS, Fintech, and e-commerce startups.
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