How to ensure your website actually sells
Stage 3: Sell
Paul Skeldon
5th June 2017
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Web design is nothing new. Even embedding e-commerce capabilities is becoming standard practice, but there’s a difference between building a site and designing one that actually provides user satisfaction.

Just because a site has e-commerce capabilities doesn’t mean its visitor will make it all the way through their journey to click pay at the checkout. To help out, Chorley-based e-commerce specialist, Exact Abacus, has compiled some top tips.

  1. Clear Navigation

Forget what you know about your products. The order in which to organise them doesn’t need to make sense to you, it needs to guide the user, put yourself in their shoes; is the product organisation clear, easy to understand and navigate? Using a sticky header is a must; it ensures the user can always get back to where they came from and progress to different pages.

  1. Imagery

Having good imagery makes all the difference.  Good photography doesn’t just require having an attractive product, it also means ensuring all the products are shot in the same way, from the same distance and angle on the same background. Shooting them all in a uniform manner means zoom functionality can be applied, allowing the user to see the detail of a product. Adding multiple images should always be considered, not only to preview the same products in different colours, but to allow the user to see different angles and give them a fuller experience of the product. Banner images can be well-used to add interest to the site whilst helping to drive users around different pages.

  1. Products

Make sure your product information is clearly displayed with descriptive title and price.  Showcasing a product alongside its uses, can help the user identify the need or desire for it. For example, on a site that sells foodstuffs, it’s great to demonstrate recipe ideas, or an online fashion site can provide examples of how items can be combined to make outfits.

Product Reviews should also be included as consumers are 63% more likely to make a purchase if a site has customer reviews. (iPerceptions, 2011), helping the buyer in the decision making process.  It’s a great idea to build a pre-approval stage for customer comments so that before the review goes live, it can be seen by the business and any problems or queries can be solved offline. It’s important to make sure some less than favourable reviews are published to show a good level of customer service and that enquiries are being dealt with.

  1. Basket / Clear Checkout Process

Make the checkout process easy. Locate the basket icon in the site’s header, so that users can easily identify how many products they have in their shopping basket. When a new item is added a pop-up is a good idea to re-inforce what has already been added to their cart basket.

When it comes to the checkout process, keep it as simple as possible. The longer and more difficult it is, the less likely the user is to make a purchase. Highlighting the number of steps in the checkout process helps users to estimate the time needed to complete the checkout.

  1. Make sure it’s responsive

People can shop everywhere now thanks to the internet, from a train journey home to lounging on the sofa, or whilst in a shopping centre to find a cheaper alternative online. Now that more people are using their phones to shop, it is more important than ever to make sure the new site you are building is mobile optimised. Before making the site responsive, do the research into your audience. If 90% view your site on their phone, build it for mobile and make it responsive to desktop and vice versa. To build the best site possible, make sure you know the customer, their needs and their habits.

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Author: Paul Skeldon
Editor specialising in all things mobile.
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