It is no more news about how COVID 19 has affected individuals and businesses, all over the world, to the point whereby people have lost jobs and some businesses have closed down. On the other hand, individuals and businesses that were able to overcome the impact of the pandemic have come to appreciate the use of online services. This ranges from communication, purchases, sales etc.
Those who had physical stores/offices but hardly had online presence for selling goods and services have opted to use online stores/websites in order to serve their customers remotely. Hence the rise of E-commerce Websites.
For someone or a business that wants to take this transition or already has an E-commerce Website but wants to know what needs to be done to make it better, can go through this list of things I have put together for a successful E-commerce Website.
With majority of our customer base in Nigeria, there are things we implement, while developing their websites, that help to increase their visibility on the net, thereby increasing sales and revenue.
I would like to share these tips with you to guide you on building a successful E-commerce Website. Hopefully it will not bore you.
For any website content is key, as it describes to visitors what the website is about. The way the content is structured is also important. This is the reason websites have pages dedicated for different types of information.
- About Us
- Contact Us, etc.
Also, each page is structured to have different sections, such as, header, body and footer.
Another thing about content is that it is needed for Search Engine Optimization (SEO). With adequate and well-structured content, a website can be easily seen in search engine results. I will talk more about this under Search Engine Optimization (SEO).
Pictures go hand in hand with content, as it helps to illustrate the content, and give it a visual meaning. In the case of an E-commerce Website, the pictures display the products or services which are promoted by the company.
There is a quote which says, “A good first impression matters”. Likewise, a website is a representation of a company or business. If the what people perceive is not good, it may lead to losing them as customers. So good and quality pictures are needed to portray what the company has to offer.
Another important thing about an E-commerce Website is the categorization or attribution of products. To explain better I would illustrate using a Man and a Woman. A man is categorised as male, while a woman is female. Also, a man has particular features, in other words, attributes that make him different from a woman. E.g. Masculinity and Femininity.
A Product or service has to be properly categorised, with appropriate attributes so that visitors can easily different and compare them. Also, it helps in product searches, whereby a visitor wants to search for products or services within a particular category or attribute range.
Social Media Integration
As we all know social media has revolutionised the world and if a business does not have a social media presence, it will be costly for the business to reach its customers. Also, people use the social media presence of a business to verify the authenticity of the business.
Therefore, the website should be linked to the social media accounts of the company so that people can access the social media accounts of the company from the website and vice versa.
Another thing is that people can communicate with the company through the social media accounts and the company can promote itself through the social media accounts.
It is unfortunate that a considerable number of businesses and individuals do not take this seriously and end up paying dearly.
Security of a website ranges but the most important are:
- Getting the right hosting company
- Ensuring the access to the website and hosting account is secured with strong passwords and possibly using 2 factor authentications. Also, to be careful about those that have access to the accounts
- The use of SSL (Secure Sockets Layer). It is a standard security technology for establishing an encrypted link between a server and a client. It is used is to keep sensitive information, such as client login credentials, debit/credit card details, etc., sent across the Internet encrypted so that only the intended recipient can access it. This is important because the information you send on the Internet is passed from computer to computer to get to the destination server
There is a popular company called Mailchimp that offers customised newsletter services. This is important so that you can send updates, promos etc. to your customers in order to keep your company on their minds.
Another great feature it has is called Abandon Cart. What this does is that if a customer attempts to purchase a product or service, by filling in his/her email, but for one reason or another does not complete the purchase, the email of the customer is stored and an automated email is sent to the customer to continue from where he/she stopped.
In addition, there is a feature that helps in remarketing, such that when a customer purchases a product or service, follow up emails are sent, periodically, to the customer on other similar products he/she may like to purchase.
Live Chat Bot
This feature works better when an E-commerce Website has many products. Business owners or staff of a business, especially start-ups, are usually not on their websites 24/7, so a customer may need to ask questions or need help. What this feature does is that is helps the customer find the product he/she wants, using key-words/key-phrases. Also, the advanced ones can be preloaded with likely questions the customer may ask and answers to those questions.
Webmaster Tools Integration
Search engines crawl the web to detect new content and websites, so that when someone using the search engine it can display the most accurate results the person needs. In order to get your content available faster, the submission of website files is critical. Then integrating the website with these search engines, such that when you add a new content or product, it can submit it to the search engine to display in search engine results.
Google Business adds businesses on Google Map. This helps businesses to be visible when people are searching for similar businesses within a location.
Since we are in the cashless era, in Nigeria, people are inclined to want to pay with debit/credit cards on a website. In order to pay, they need to trust your business, hence the need to captivate them with content and design, as well as, the use of security features such SSL. The payment through a payment gateway makes it convenient to a customer and faster for a business to receive payments for its products.
Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
Finally, I am back to SEO. One of the major successes of a Website/E-commerce Website is being visible on the net and this is done through SEO.
A mistake most E-commerce Website owners make when developing their website is to only apply SEO to their homepage, if they even apply it at all. An E-commerce Website is unique because it has specific pages for each product. Therefore, SEO should also be applied to each product page.
SEO helps to target customers based on a product name and location. Usually someone searching on the net does not know your company but wants a product, so that person searches the net for a product and the result is also filtered according to the person’s location.
In order for a business to get more customers it should apply SEO on each product so that the product/website is more likely to be seen in search results when someone is searching for something similar.
I would like stop here and hope what I have shared would help you build a successful E-commerce Website and in turn a successful business.
If there are things I didn’t mention or you have something to add or you have questions on any of the features, please, do not hesitate to contribute or ask your question via the comment box below.