Although there is no patent remedy that guarantees success in e-commerce, an online shop is more likely to appeal to customers if it meets certain criteria. The top priorities here are ease of use and transparency. In order for these to be given, five criteria should absolutely be fulfilled.
A familiar operating concept makes it easier for customers to find their way around the site. For example, it has proven successful for online shops to present interesting offers to the customer on the start page. Likewise, important operating elements should be recognizable at first glance. For example, it makes sense to highlight the navigation and the buy button on the product page in a special color.
In addition, customers should be able to search for specific articles. The absolute minimum for this is a search via text input, which delivers articles matching the keywords entered. Especially for larger online shops, it should also be possible to filter results by category, price and availability
2. attractive design
Customers recognize familiar things online and buy from companies they identify with. The question "How does the company present itself to the outside world?", in other words the corporate identity, should therefore be the linchpin when considering the design of the e-commerce offering. For example, if a company is rather bold and colourful, the online shop should also reflect this in its colour scheme and the presentation of the offers.
At the same time, it should not be overdone: Animations and too bright colors can rather scare away page visitors and distract from the essentials.
In online retail, it is not possible to take a product in hand and inspect it more closely. Therefore, customers rely on the opinion of others who already own the same product when making a purchase decision. An online shop should pick up on this need and offer a possibility for exchange. For this purpose, it must be possible for customers to express their opinions about a product in the form of reviews. It also makes sense to offer a platform for questions about specific articles. In this way, customers can get targeted solutions to problems from others who have experience with the same product. This not only relieves the support and reduces the number of returns, but also binds customers by letting them become part of a community
Customers often shop spontaneously. A good online shop therefore picks them up directly on the homepage and invites them to browse with current offers. In particular, special offers are suggested to new customers or items that are currently often purchased. Meanwhile, regular customers receive additional recommendations that refer to their previous purchases
Product pages should pursue this idea further: Especially with electronics, other components are occasionally needed to make a product work correctly. Customers should therefore find out on the product page which items are often purchased together with the selected one or offer similar.
Last but not least, customers need an interface to the company behind the online shop in case general concerns, such as returns or payment processing, need to be clarified. Instead of lengthy communication via e-mails, it is easier to implement a ticket system that records concerns in detail via a contact form and facilitates processing for the responsible employee. In addition, a good online shop enables the clarification of customer concerns in real time via an integrated support chat
In addition, to avoid overloading customer service, common questions should be explained in a separate FAQ section or the company blog.
Anyone who shops online themselves from time to time will find these aspects reflected in many online shops. In fact, even giants like Amazon follow a similar recipe for design and conception of their e-commerce offers and constantly develop it further. So it's worth taking a look at various shops and letting them inspire you.
All articles in the blog series "Getting a foothold in e-commerce: The big opportunity for your business"