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8 keys to ecommerce success

Jennifer Lonoff Schiff | Sept. 8, 2016
Ecommerce business owners and experts discuss how you can make your online store stand out from the crowd.

These days, anyone with something to sell, some money and some time can set up shop online. However, building an ecommerce site "is not like the Field of Dreams," says Danielle Savin, director of digital strategy and digital marketing at LYONSCG, an ecommerce/digital agency. "Just because you build it does not mean that anyone will [come] to your web store."

If you want online shoppers to buy from you, you need to have not just great products, you need people to be able to find you and to make your store a place where people will want to shop, repeatedly. How can you do that? Here are 8 suggestions from ecommerce pros.

1. Your ecommerce site should look good - and function properly - across platforms and devices, especially mobile devices.

 When designing your ecommerce site, make sure it can be viewed on whichever platform, browser and device your customers are using. Mobile optimization - how quickly your site will load on a mobile device and how text and images will look on a small screen - is particularly important as more consumers are using smartphones to research, browse and purchase items.

"Creating a seamless user experience across all platforms is vital for any ecommerce business," says Arthur Thompson, director of storefront e ngineering, Wayfair. "Mobile optimization, in particular, is essential. Whenever possible, go above and beyond simply tailoring the desktop interface to mobile by embracing unique mobile features that can enhance the experience, [such as] real-time sale notifications and seamless checkout solutions [such as] Apple Pay and Android Pay."

2. Your ecommerce site should feel credible and trustworthy.

 "Be sure to have an SSL certificate and serve up your pages via https," says Marc Nashaat, digital PR manager,Powered by Search. "As an ecommerce site this is absolutely critical. Google will be unlikely to rank transaction-oriented sites that do not secure the transmission of private or financial information. More importantly your customers will be less likely to trust you or the safety of their credit card information." 

"Clearly display what steps you take to protect your customers from theft and fraud," says Alex Drysdale, founder & CEO, Crik Nutrition, the makers of a cricket-based protein powder. "Have a valid SSL certificate so your site displays https. Have a recognizable third-party security company, such as McAfee, scan your site and display their mark.  An easy-to-understand guarantee and returns policy [also] go a long way [toward] reassuring potential buyers to take the leap."

3. Your ecommerce site should be easy to navigate, so visitors can find what they're looking for with minimal clicks. 

The fastest way to lose a potential customer? Make it difficult for her to find what she's looking for. Therefore it's critical that ecommerce businesses make products easy to find, by having clear top-level navigation (menus) with product categories clearly labeled and pop out subcategories.


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