Online shopping grows in popularity every year, and estimates now indicate that over 2 billion people in the world make online purchases. The abundance of digital consumers is good news for businesses, but it also makes competition fiercer as more online products, services, and payment options crop up daily. To stay competitive, most small businesses opt for a website to represent their brands, even those businesses that don’t focus heavily on actual online sales.
Starting a business requires attention to a lot of details beyond just the product or service offered. Those businesses that are ready to design a website should take some time to research the things shoppers look for and value in a website as well as checking out the competition to get a sense of what else is in the market. You don’t want your design to look too much like a competitor, but at the same time, you want to have as many offerings and design features (or more) so as not to receive an unfavorable comparison.
To promote your business successfully, your website should be easy to find. Using a name that is easy to spell and remember increases the likelihood that consumers will search for your brand. Once an online shopper has landed on your site, consider some of the things that consumers prioritize so that your site can offer a positive, enticing experience:
Online shoppers are busy people, often multi-taskers, and will not waste too much time on a site that takes forever to load or is difficult to navigate. Having an easy-to-spot navigation menu and clickable links that are properly labeled increases conversion and helps create a frustration-free shopping experience.
The quality of the photos, images, and font that your website presents intuitively communicates the quality of your brand to the consumer. Websites that are visually unappealing or aesthetically lacking or contain design inconsistencies will suffer lower conversion rates and can undermine the legitimacy and profitability of the business in the eyes of the customer.
Hundreds of millions of Americans own smartphones and the majority have used them to make at least one purchase over the last year. Having a website optimized for mobile usage is not a luxury anymore, but a necessity to stay competitive. While a lot of online sales are still transacted from laptops and desktops, digital shoppers use their mobile phones not only to buy items, but also to browse offerings, conduct product research, compare products and prices, and search by location. Making a mobile-friendly version of your website ensures that you can maximize conversions for the entire audience of digital shoppers, regardless of their chosen medium.
A website that is blatantly outdated regarding products, prices, company news, or other important data gives a very poor impression of a business. Rather than communicating energy and creativity, outdated info on a website communicates neglect and indifference and may even cause people to wonder if the business is defunct. Updating content regularly shows that enthusiastic attention is being paid to the products and to the customers.
Shoppers who are unfamiliar with your brand or products can benefit from customer reviews and testimonials that give credibility to your company and strengthen trust. The website is a good place to highlight any awards or honors your company has received. Including a way for customers to contact you also lends credibility to the site and shows that you are engaged with consumer concerns.
Nothing frustrates users more than filling a cart only to have to abandon it because the checkout process is long, confusing, or too limited in payment options. Being upfront with shipping costs and other affiliated fees prevents the last-minute sticker shock that drives up cart abandonment rates. Having multiple payment options—and assuring customers of their security and encryption—streamlines the checkout process so that purchases can be completed quickly. While you want to capture customer data, a cumbersome sign-up process with excessive upselling will alienate people who want a speedy transaction. A straightforward journey from product to checkout is a highly valued website element for many online consumers.