E-commerce is a well-worn path. There is a long list of pioneers in this category that have made the trickle-down best practices very clear for the rest of the world — Think Zappos or Amazon. Their track records are powerful models from which to learn.
Here are a few best practices that can improve your e-commerce game:
Clicks: Keep these to a minimum. Make your navigation clear and prominent. Get your customers from the item to checkout in as few clicks as possible. Consider the 3-click rule.
URL: The key to online shopping is trust. So, when your customers visit your main website, make sure that your e-commerce portal exists within your site’s current environment. Keeping shoppers within your existing website eliminates the doubt that can happen when your customer gets shuffled off site to an unbranded URL or e-commerce store.
Abandoned carts: You need to recapture these sales. Send them a reminder email. Just look at the abandonment rates for shopping carts, this is a huge opportunity.
Photography: Since everyone now has a 10-megapixel camera in their pockets, the bar for high-end photography has dropped. However, sometimes an iPhone pic doesn’t cut it. Real lighting, staging, retouching, and product arrangements have big impact on legitimacy and increased sales. JCrew isn’t trusting an iPhone to put their brand’s best foot forward, maybe you shouldn’t either.
Shipping: Shipping costs should be reasonable in relation to the purchased product. Provide a wide range of options. Overnight international shipping might be overkill, but a handful of options, like overnight, 2-day, or USPS, goes a long way for the customer experience.
Customer Service: Provide fast, consistent issue remediation. Provide auto-responses and log tickets for issues. Let them know you’ve heard them and when you’ll be in touch.
Payment processing: Stop losing margin. Pay attention to fees and consider all the options. For example: PayPal is quick, easy, and flexible. They charge higher fees, but also assume risk with chargebacks. Shopify Payments, powered by Stripe, integrates seamlessly with Shopify stores. They have clearly defined fee structures and have a powerful mobile app. And Apple Pay, an option growing in popularity, allows iPhone users to pay quickly without entering credit card or shipping information.
User Experience: You didn’t cut corners on your beer; don’t shortchange the user experience of your store. Apply best practices to layout, information architecture, UX/ UI, and be consistent with your branding. Keep it clean and efficient.
Just like creating a great beer, the details of your e-commerce store make a difference to your sales and to the brand you’ve built. Use these best practices to deliver a powerful, efficient e-commerce experience.