Ecommerce & Online Stores

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Web development is complicated. In any project, there are a multitude of aspects to consider, from user experience to performance. Development of any enterprise website is a large-scale, complex process, but an eCommerce site presents its own particular challenges. Since users will be coming to the site to learn about and purchase products, developers will want to do everything they can to make this process easy and intuitive.
But alongside the considerations of usability, here are a few other aspects of an eCommerce site that developers will want to be sure to consider during the development process:
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Responsive Design

The use of mobile devices to access websites is continually growing, and eCommerce sales are a large portion of this traffic. In fact, statistics show that by 2017, over one fourth of eCommerce sales will be made via mobile. This means that it is incredibly important to make sure your eCommerce website is optimized for mobile, providing the best experience for users no matter what device they are using to access your site.

Implementing Responsive Design to make a website accessible and usable on every device is important for the success of an eCommerce site. The Episerver CMS is an especially powerful tool for eCommerce sites, and Episerver eCommerce is designed to automatically implement responsive design. Other CMS platforms can utilize responsive design, but they require extra configuration. But whatever platform you use, you’ll need to be sure you keep mobile users in mind for every aspect of the site, from basic navigation to checkout and payment, since this ever-growing group of users can’t be ignored.

Support Guest Checkouts

Companies with eCommerce sites will often want to require users to create an account in order to make a purchase, since this allows for follow-up communication that encourages future sales, as well as tracking customers’ demographic information to analyze sales. However, it’s important to remember that not everybody wants to go through the process of creating an account in order to buy a product. Repeat customers will want to register and get the benefits of having an account, such as saving their information for future purchases and receiving notifications about upcoming sales, but it’s still a good idea to provide an option for people who just want to make a one-time order.

PRO TIP

Since you’ll still want to try to encourage users to create an account, you might try to design the purchase process to allow users to complete a guest checkout, and upon completion, allow them to create an account using the information that they just entered.

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Site Search is Important

Statistics show that 30% of visitors to eCommerce sites use search to find the products they are looking for, so it’s important to make sure the search functionality is available and easy to use. In addition, it’s a good idea to utilize features like autocomplete to help users find popular products or items related to their searches.

Faceted search is another important way to help users find products. This functionality allows them to narrow their search in a variety of ways, including by department, size, price range, manufacturer, etc. Providing this functionality gives users more power to find what they need, letting them limit their searches to exactly what they are looking for.

PRO TIP

In order to make sure searches return the best results, make sure product information is fully defined and well organized, which will allow for faceted search and better search results in general.

Security is Essential

All eCommerce sites should support SSL to encrypt information that needs to remain secure. This is especially true for credit card and payment information, but also any customer information like address, phone number, email, etc. Customers have an expectation that their personal information will remain secure when they make a purchase online, so ensuring that SSL is implemented is not just a good idea, but something that is absolutely essential for ensuring that your customers trust that their information will remain secure. In addition, security is required to meet PCI compliancefor any business which accepts credit card payments.

PRO TIP

Don’t store credit card numbers in your site’s database. While it might seem like a good idea to keep card information on file to make purchases easier for customers, keeping this information stored on your servers is a huge security risk, and if your database is compromised, you will be liable for that loss.

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Optimize Site Performance

If your site is slow, you’re likely to lose customers. Statistics show that 40% of users will abandon a website that takes more than 3 seconds to load. This is especially true for mobile users, who are often multi-tasking as they access websites and are more likely to move on to something else if a site is too slow.

In order to keep from losing customers due to slow load times, you’ll want to make sure your site is optimized to run as quickly as possible. Here are a few ways to help your site run more smoothly:

  • Combining a site’s JavaScript or CSS resource files into single files will speed up their interaction with the site, because users will only have to download one JavaScript file or style sheet rather than five or ten.
  • Compress images, which will allow them to provide the best visuals at the smallest possible size, reducing download times.
  • Use caching to reduce the time spent sending data between the web server and the database server.

The Components of Successful Web Presence

Internet marketing is far from a “one-size fits all" application. Google search results algorithms rely on several different aspects to achieve success.

Professionally Developed Website (designed for mobile and speed) 50%
Directory PowerListings™ (ie. Yelp, Google, Bing, Facebook) 33%
Social Media Activity 30%
Ratings & Reviews 40%

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