If your business has an online presence, a professional web design can raise your company's credibility and help reinforce your brand identity. However, what functionalities you include or leave out on your website could also be the difference between a sale and a bounce.
During the development phase of your website, several features should be considered to improve results. There are many applications out there and website owners should be careful not to install gimmicky tools that solve no real problem and only slow down your site. The important features are the ones customers expect will give them a seamless online shopping experience.
If you want to avoid shopping cart abandonment or a high bounce rate, the following website features should be there when customers enter your site, while they browse and when they are ready to check out.
First impressions count when it comes to your website's home page. It only takes a moment for new visitors to your site to decide whether they want to buy from your store, based on what information they receive first. Showing your brand's logo on top of your main product page is a sign of a trustworthy website. If your visitors are greeted with a professionally designed logo, they will more likely proceed to the rest of your website. As a startup company, it's important that your logo take center stage as you want to convey your brand image right away. When your brand recognition improves, you can get away with a smaller logo in favour of larger product displays on the front page like KFC, Coke and Nike have done.
Promotions, deals and competitions
It's all good and well to show off your latest arrivals on the homepage, but they will likely generate fewer returns than products that are on sale. This is because most online shoppers tend to research and compare products online before making a decision. If you can price in-demand products a little bit lower than your competitors, then you're hitting a home run. But remember that most consumers actively seek out promotional offers and giveaways and when they have scored a hot deal or two, they feel more motivated to spend on your site. Eye-catching banners on your homepage announcing exclusive offers on your site, encourage consumers to stick around a little bit longer.
Consistent and clear navigation
There's nothing more frustrating to a customer than landing on a home page whose structure is a dead end. If, after ten seconds, the visitor is still moving the mouse cursor across the screen indecisively, then your website has broken the first commandment of great web design – user friendliness.
The simplest structure, and one which users find the most convenient, consists of horizontal navigation at the top of the page and/or vertical tabs on the left side. For the main navigation bar, aim for 4-7 tabs, which should contain and clearly label your most important pages. Vertical navigation tabs with popup links are standard practice for businesses that stock large amounts of merchandise but these should be neatly organised. If your business does not have a large inventory, refrain from stuffing your navigation tabs with unnecessary links. Placing your navigation at the right position ensures easier site steering, more clicks and ultimately more sales.
Login Box, search bar and shopping cart
The login box, search bar and shopping cart are usually grouped together on the right hand side of your eCommerce website, and are features that every online startup should include right off the bat. The login box enables registered customers to check out faster and easily manage their personal information. Then, as they browse products, the search helps them to filter their search and find items effortlessly. Shopping cart software simplifies the shopping process by allowing customers to keep track of their orders. A shopping basket is especially important for returning customers who want to save items for a later purchase.
Secure payment gateway
A payment gateway that offers multiple payment methods, gives you the ability to cater to every customer's financial needs, therefore not disenfranchising an entire financial demographic from your website. Shoppers have preferences when it comes to online payments. Some might prefer credit cards, while others can only pay by EFT. Expanding your payment methods will streamline the checkout process and boost your conversion rate.
Your payment gateway must process transactions safely and securely and must comply with the Payment Card Industry Security Standards (PCI) if you want to make customers feel confident enough to complete the purchase.
With the number of advances in eCommerce technology, there are, of course, a variety of other tools and softwares that you can install to make online shopping as convenient as possible for your customers. Thanks to this article, which was written in collaboration with PayU, you should now have an idea of the basics required to ensure the growth of your online business.