Even though e-commerce is an ever changing industry and for an example the rise of mobile commerce is changing the landscape of e-commerce, there are things that practically every online shop should be doing and will have to continue to do in the future. Let’s call them the “basics”.
Things that every good e-commerce site has in common:
1: Pleasant looking and easy to use webiste
When in doubt it is often a good idea to take inspiration from Amazon.
This is where it all starts. You simply have to have an website that looks pleasant. However, pleasant doesn’t have to mean fancy, in fact some of the most popular e-commerce sites are quite simple looking. The important thing is that the customer has to be able to “understand” the site the moment he or she arrives on the site or they likely just leave.
However, having a nice looking site is only the beginning, when it comes to actually getting customers to buy something. It is more important that the site is easy to use. That includes for an example things such as making it easy for the customers to find what they are looking for, making the checkout process as short as possible and having the prices of products clearly and consistently displayed on the site.
2: Information about shipping options
It is not mandatory to be offering free shipping (though it usually the best idea) and the potential customers understand that with some products it is simply not possible to offer it, e.g can you imagine offering free shipping on small orders of weights(!). But the information about shipping has to be clearly and openly displayed on the site or you increase significantly the risk of customers abandoning the cart just before checking-out. By shipping information we refer to both the costs and expected speed of the delivery and any special things relating to the shipping.
3: Good customer service
Offering quality customer service is one of the best (and surprisingly also often cheapest) ways to build long-lasting customer relationships. So, if you are in the business for the long term and are in a business where there are lot of repeat orders, you should invest in offering quality customer service. As an e-commerce business you should at the very least be offering email support, but being able to offer also live-chat and telephone support are obviously pluses. And because most of your customers are these days on Facebook or other social networks, it is a good idea to have a present on those.
4: Having a FAQ
This goes hand-in-hand with the previous point. You should have a FAQ on your website and from it customer should be able to find information for an example about possible returns and refunds.
5: Good selection of payment options
This should be very obvious, but if the customers are not able to pay in their preferred way on your website the chances of their purchase decrease. At the very least you should be able accept the popular credit cards and PayPal payments
6: Responsive website design
The days when people browsed internet only on desktop computers and laptops are long gone. In fact these days mobile traffic often accounts for more than 50% of the total e-commerce traffic. And obviously you want to be able to serve customers regardless of the way they access your website, so your website should have a responsive design – which simply means that it is for the customer easy to use your website on any device.