There has been a huge rise in the number of ecommerce stores on the web in recent years. Anyone with products to sell is setting themselves up online hoping to promote their products far and wide.
This influx of online stores is making the online competition more intense and allowing customers to be far choosier over where they shop. This results in other factors, such as the user experience on your ecommerce store, becoming as much of a deciding factor to their purchase as the price of your product.
Just what are customers looking for in an ecommerce store?
What do they want to see when they enter your online shop that will make them want to stay and convert into sales?
And what is it that makes them return in the future and buy more?
We have generated the following factors based on our years of experience in designing, developing and marketing successful ecommerce stores to help you answer the questions above.
Factor #1 – Fast Load Times
What customers want the most from ecommerce websites is to actually see the ecommerce shop that they have gone to.
There is absolutely no point in designing a fantastic ecommerce store and having all these great products at fantastic prices if your website is so slow to load that people cannot see the home page within a few seconds.
Despite this being a rather obvious factor of what a customer wants in an ecommerce store, it is still something that many ecommerce stores fail to provide. Even with a high percentage of online sales happening through mobiles now, often on a less than perfect internet connection.
Don’t skimp on hosting either. All successful ecommerce stores are located on powerful servers which can cope with the high number of interactions expected and the volume of data flying back and forth between yourself and your customers.
Factor #2- Accurate and Useful Product Images and Descriptions
When a customer purchases from your online store all they have to go by is what you provide them with.
To ensure your customers are happy when they receive the item, and that customers are not wrongly led to believe the product is what they are looking for, make sure that you have accurate and useful product images and descriptions.
You must provide your customer with high-quality imagery of your products, ideally in many formats.
It is best practice to have many useful images for each product. When creating images for your products think about what a customer would want to look at if they were to pick that product up in a high street store.
Good descriptions of the product further help you to assist customers in understanding what the product looks like, as well as explaining some of the key features of the item.
Factor #3 – Accurate Stock Levels
A popular reason for shopping online is for convenience. Rather than needing to take a morning to go to the shops we can dip in and out whilst relaxing in the evening or commuting to work via train.
Imagine how annoyed your customer would be, how annoyed you would be, if you purchased something to then find that it was out of stock and you only received part of your order.
For this reason it is important that your stock levels are an accurate reflection of your real stock levels. Real-time inventory software, often a standard feature in good ecommerce platforms, will help you to ensure accurate stock levels.
Factor #4 – The Option to Buy as a Guest
Following on from our last factor in what customers want from an ecommerce store, convenience, and the convenience buying online provides many, is a key reason why people want the option to buy as a guest, rather than having to create an account.
If a customer has never bought from the website before, or they are not familiar with the brand, they will be more hesitant to create an account with your website. To allow your website to build up some trust you should allow your customers to purchase as a guest. Forcing them to set up an account may just lose you that sale.
Another reason to allow the option of buying as a guest is if someone is purchasing using a mobile phone it can sometimes be harder for them to complete the account creation process with a slower internet connection or whilst walking down the street.
If you are concerned about losing valuable marketing information there are other ways to get this information. You can have quick sign-up fields to newsletters or popups that give them a discount code if they enter their email address.
Factor #5 – The Cost of their Shopping
Transparency is a vital part of building trust with your customer online. In the ecommerce store world this means being transparent with your costs and any delivery information.
One of the biggest pet peeves for an online shopper is when they are surprised by additional costs they were not expecting when they get to the checkout.
Your customers want to be able to clearly see the price of the item, whether VAT is included in that price, (if not then show what the VAT is), and also if there are any associated delivery costs for their product.
Factor #6 – Website & Payment Security
A big element of a customer’s wish list for the perfect ecommerce store is for it to be safe and secure for them to enter their payment details.
They do not want to have to risk their personal information just to purchase something online. Indeed it has been reported that customers will abandon baskets if they feel that the site is not secure.
Ensuring the use of secure payment gateways, SSL certificates and good security protocols in your ecommerce shop will help make your ecommerce shop secure.
Factor #7 – Social Proof
The final factor in this blog post that customers have proven to want in an ecommerce store is social proof.
Social media is a key element in many people’s decision-making process, it can even start the decision-making process.
Many customers will look at online reviews by other customers and search social media channels to see what customers have stated about a particular product, brand and/or company. It is therefore important that you are active on social media and keep your online presence positive through hard work and good customer experiences with your products, brands and company.
Ensuring that your ecommerce store provides these elements for your customers is a step in the right direction.
– Mukund Pilankar