The joy of having your favourite pair of denim shipped home by just selecting and making the payment online from the comfort of your bedroom is priceless. With offline stores too turning online, the time is just ripe to get cracking on the eCommerce venture you’ve been dreaming for months now. Designing a site is where your eCommerce business begins and ends. It goes several steps further from a regular website. It is the only platform for you to interact with customers regarding your products and services, and augment sales.

Customers don’t wish to stay for more than a few seconds if it isn’t user-friendly and clutter-free. So, the site has to be intuitive and easy to use to generate sales. eCommerce sites entail manoeuvring promotional strategies to attract traffic to the online store, convert that traffic into paying customers and retain those customers. A well-designed website can create brand awareness and increase online sales.

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There are a few must-haves for eCommerce websites to stand out amid competition:

1. Consistency

A consistent design layout and description increase recall value so you must ensure consistency in the template for your products. The design should reflect the product or services being provided, be it catering to children, adults, sports-buffs etc. While designing, ensure that all aspects — images, colour schemes, text — perfectly define the website. Don’t forget to pay attention to the cart design. An ideal cart can allow customers to add n-number of items, revise the order, or even remove products easily. Make sure to include functional product images, reviews and a convenient search bar.

2. Product visuals and demo videos

Since customers aren’t at brick and mortar stores, they can’t touch and feel the products so it is only justified to provide all the necessary information for them to be able to visualise the products. Have high-quality images, the more the merrier because it helps customers make a choice. Well-drafted content is a must for each product or service advertised on the site. The description should be spot on because misinformation or inadequate information means you lose customers.

Short and interactive demo videos are a great attraction as it helps put across the product with higher retention. It educates the buyers about your products by succinctly showing all aspects of it. The storyline should be appealing, relatable and short as no one wishes to see long videos. It also helps from the purpose of sharing on social media. Your customers can be you biggest agents so keep yourself and the site in their good books. After every purchase, request them to post testimonial videos or reviews with images of the products. It helps establish authenticity.

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3. CRM

Customer Relationship Management (CRM) is a strategy to manage a business’ relationship with customers and potential customers. There are plenty of tools available for efficient CRM. Find the tool most appropriate for your business model, and integrate that software to the site to stay connected to customers, streamline the business process and improve sales. Create the database to keep customer information handy and share the latest offers and schemes with them. To keep these customers motivated, provide them with incentives.

4. Checkout process

Reaching the checkout is just work half done. This is where it all boils down. If this page isn’t quick enough, you lose your customers. A tedious process can be a put-off, so keep this page absolutely simple. Though asking customers to login can help store their information for future use but people lack patience and want to make the payment, and get off quickly and anonymously. Guest checkout process will be a great way to keep customers happy. The easier this process, the higher the chances of customers making a repeat purchase. Try to have a single-page process.

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5. Payment

While designing a site, try to have as many payment options as possible for the convenience of all your customers. By considering your consumer’s payment preference, you can motivate them to come back and shop, boosting your sales. When it comes to payment, most customers discover on the checkout page about the shipping rates. Customers always prefer sites offering free shipping or those charging a nominal amount. They are quick to compare whether it makes sense to pick up a similar product from a store rather than paying shipping charges, so be careful while deciding the charges.

6. Contact information and live chat option

Customers have several queries while placing the order, be it about the product or delivery time, so an ideal site will give an impression that they are just a call, WhatsApp and live chat away. Be prompt to respond to every query. Train the customer executives to be polite and courteous during live chats. Provide a working number and active email address on the site. Appear as transparent as possible.

7. Safety tag

A trust seal is a badge or logo displayed on e-commerce sites that confirm its authenticity. With users becoming more tech-savvy and with credit card frauds on the rise, a ‘secure’ tag helps build trust with the customers. A survey conducted by Matthew Niederberger on Actual Insights found that these trust logos actually increased the trustworthiness factor in over 75% of respondents.

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8. Social Media promotion

With social networking sites having established a stronghold, it is only wise to tap it and integrate it into the website. It can be used as a great platform to further your site and receive reviews. They are an excellent platform for self-promotion and keeping customers abreast of the latest offers and deals.

Online shopping is no longer a niche market, it has caught the fancy of men and women, alike, so catering to each according to their respective tastes is equally essential. The right elements need to be incorporated to garner attention, attract customers and retain them. Your aim should be to design a strategy to offer ‘what they want’, more than ‘what you have’. It might seem an uphill task in the beginning, but with the investment of time, effort and finance, you’ll ace it with ease.

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    Published by Reeja Jacob

    Reeja Jacob is a media consultant & communication expert. She was a former sub-editor of The Indian Express (Delhi) and has worked with some of the leading media houses and government organisations like the Hindustan Times, Ministry of Women and Child Development and National Commission for Women.


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