Look, Feel and Function: Update Your E-commerce Website

26 February

On the internet, no idea is original. It’s getting cheaper and easier to conduct business online, so virtual competition has never been higher. For online businesses, an attractive, functional, secure e-commerce platform can mean the difference between profitability and obscurity. With so many options online, consumers are less patient and less likely to hang around outdated sites.

Looking for the next way to grow your business? Improve your e-commerce platform. According to research firm eMarketer, e-commerce sales topped $1 trillion for the first time in 2012. Whether you’re launching an online business or trying to spark new revenue, you need to be better than the competition. A visual design, secure shopping cart and clear navigation will set your e-commerce website apart from the crowd.

Visual Design

To get them to buy, first you have to get them to stay. The first step down the path toward a sale is catching the eye of a consumer. Once upon a time, e-commerce businesses could rely on cluttered, unappealing pages, but web design is evolving rapidly. According to the 2011 Edelman Trust Barometer study, consumers trust websites now more than they did half a decade ago, largely because websites are more visually appealing.

People are “aesthetically orientated,” humans, says study author and University of Melbourne professor Dr. Brent Coker. Not only are we “psychologically hardwired to trust beautiful people,” we also trust aesthetically pleasing websites.

To create a visually appealing website, rely on classic design principles: Simplicity, clarity and creativity. Structure your site around photos rather than text. Or, consider introducing videos to add value to your website. No design formula will guarantee e-commerce success, but a commitment to visual appeal will guide you down the right path.

Secure Shopping Cart

It won’t matter cheap your prices are or beautiful your web design is if you have a reputation for poor security. Online, it only takes one shopper to tell the world that your site can’t be trusted. Social media gives consumers a megaphone to announce potentially dangerous sites, so web security has become a a paramount issue. Your best bet? Don’t tackle security on your own. If you’re worried about shopping cart vulnerability, partner with an experienced provider. Capital Processing Network in Phoenix can assist e-commerce providers anywhere. Security solutions include encrypted information, 24/7 support and traffic monitoring to search for unusual trends.

One of simplest strategies to stay secure: keep up to date. Download the latest shopping cart updates and post content regularly. Hackers are less likely to attack a site they know is under surveillance.

Clear Navigation

Web users have short attention spans. Once a user lands on a page the clock starts. The window of opportunity to make a sale closes quickly, so clear navigation is paramount. Keep the layout consistent and clear. On a potential sales page, use a large “Add to Shopping Cart” button to initiate purchases. Limit the amount of steps shoppers take to punch in a credit card. With each page of fine print and useless updates, shoppers become less likely to complete the transaction. Test and retest your navigation with fresh users. If they can’t make their way around your e-commerce site easily, chances are shoppers won’t be able to either.