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With the plethora of site building tools available on the internet, anyone can put up an ecommerce store.
Take the dropshipping ecommerce business model, for example.
With the availability of online tools, apps, and ecommerce solutions, building a dropshipping website can be done in a matter of minutes.
You can have access to a sandbox full of tools that make it easy to deploy features — from pop-up forms to live chat.
Despite having said all this, however, it’s worth emphasizing that building an ecommerce website without in-depth knowledge of what it takes to be a successful dropshipper can prove to be catastrophic for aspiring online entrepreneurs.
You need to have a good grasp of how dropshipping works first, so you know which strategies and tools are worth it — such as plugins to streamline the product integration process, and the marketing strategies that you can employ.
Of course, the same principle applies to most types of online businesses, whether dropshipping, POD, affiliate marketing, etc.
Keep in mind that there’s a difference between building an ecommerce website and building an ecommerce website that sells.
The problem is, not everyone knows how to piece together a killer online store that can generate tons of sales.
That’s why I decided to sit down and give you — my dear readers — some of the best online store design tips I’ve amassed over the years.
Let’s get you that perfect virtual storefront that you deserve.
1. Visible Conversion Elements
Tell me something: what are the core design elements you want to highlight on your site?
Is it a price comparison chart for your product’s different versions? How about a short video that tells the story of your brand?
Whatever you choose, don’t forget the essential conversion elements that help users turn information into action.
I’m talking about the following:
A Solid Value Proposition
In simple terms, a value proposition is a concise, compelling statement that answers why newcomers should buy from you.
A lot of brands do it wrong by making their core value proposition purely about their product — when it should be about how it can actually benefit customers.
Other than that, your value proposition should be one of the first things visitors will see upon arriving at your website.
Here’s an example from Dollar Shave Club — a brand that’s proven to know their stuff when it comes to marketing.
Call To Action
If your value proposition’s job is to answer “why” customers should pick your brand, the CTA is in charge of showing them “how” to take the next step.
The good news is, a CTA is a lot easier to make than a value proposition.
Maximizing the visibility of your CTA through proper positioning and color contrasts is the key. Also, try not to overcomplicate things and go with something straightforward, like what Bushwick Kitchen did with their two-word CTA.
Of course, you shouldn’t forget about the “hero shot” of your flagship products.
This pertains to the centerpiece of your website’s design — usually in the form of a high-quality photo or video that puts your product front and center.
Take a look at BIXBI Pet’s homepage below for an idea of how hero shots are supposed to be presented:
(Image Source: Bixbipet.com)
There are so many reasons why e-commerce businesses need a mobile-friendly website, but at the end of the day, you only need to hear one thing:
There are now more users surfing the web with a mobile device than desktop or laptop computers.
According to statistics, mobile devices accounted for 52.2 percent of all web traffic in 2018.
It’s also important to note that due to Google’s mobile-first indexing, instead of the desktop version of your website, search engine crawlers will now primarily use your web page’s mobile version for indexing and ranking.
So if your website isn’t optimized for mobile, it could lower your chances of ranking in search results pages.
Of course, if your website isn’t ranking in the SERPs, you’ll lose hundreds (if not thousands) of traffic that you would have garnered from the search engines if you were ranking.
To make sure the experience of around half of your potential customers aren’t compromised by a smaller display and touch controls, use the Google Mobile-Friendly Test to identify mobile optimization opportunities. Simply enter your website’s URL, click “Run Test,” and wait for the tool to produce the results.
3. Fast Page Loading Speed
Aside from the Mobile-Friendly Test tool, Google also offers PageSpeed Insights — a performance optimization tool that detects issues that can affect your online store’s loading speed.
Why does this matter?
Because around 40 percent of online shoppers statistically abandon sites that take over three seconds to load.
Just like Mobile-Friendly Test, all you need to do is enter your URL and PageSpeed Insights will show you actionable recommendations that will boost your website’s loading speed.
Can’t understand any of this?
Don’t worry — just click on any of the optimization opportunities and look for the “Learn More” link. Google will immediately direct you to a comprehensive learning resource for your or your developer’s perusal.
Aside from speed testing your website, another factor you can look into is your web hosting service provider.
Most providers offer different features depending on your subscription plan.
You might want to review the features your hosting provider is offering, and consider upgrading to premium plans. That way, you can ensure that you are getting the best and fastest possible hosting service for your website.
If you can’t afford to pay more for your hosting fee — a recurring amount, at that — then you can hire a freelancer who can help you optimize your website’s load speed.
Freelancer marketplaces like Freelancemyway.com have several skilled web developers who can help optimize your website so your pages would load faster.
Of course, there are also other freelancers in the platform who can help you with writing content, social media management, etc.
These freelancers can help take your ecommerce website to the next level.
4. Solid Internal Linking Scheme
Apart from speeding up your site, another way to retain more of your traffic is to implement a solid internal linking scheme.
This refers to the practice of embedding links that lead to other pages within the same site — allowing your visitors to discover more of your content.
Keep in mind the three main purposes of internal linking: To define the classification levels and architecture of your website, to distribute the ranking power and page authority through your site, and to assist in site navigation.
For online stores, internal links don’t have to be limited to related products and product categories. You should also link to blog posts that educate your customers not just about your brand and products, but also about relevant topics in your niche.
For example, if you are selling laptops and accessories, you can link to your published blog post about basic laptop maintenance or tips about making the battery life of your laptop last longer.
By doing so, you are not only providing relevant information to your viewers, but you’re also adding value to your content — this can help establish your brand image in your niche.
Remember, even the best business ideas won’t lead to profits if customers don’t trust the brand selling the product. Promoting posts that offer your audience solutions to their problems — regardless if they make a purchase or not — will build buyer confidence and customer loyalty over time.
5. Trust Signals
Speaking of winning your target audience’s trust, there’s another strategy you can use on your online store to help boost your sales.
Positive customer reviews can build your brand’s credibility and encourage more customers to give you a chance.
Did you ever buy a product because someone swore to its excellent quality? If you answered “yes,” then you can personally attest to how influential customer reviews are.
A survey shows that 91 percent of customers between 18 and 34 trust online reviews as if they’re actual advice from people they personally know — making positive customer reviews one of the most effective brand-building tools for e-commerce businesses.
The key, however, is to have an automated system that will help you earn more of these reviews whenever you make a sale.
One strategy is to use an email marketing platform with built-in automation, like MailChimp. You simply need to link your e-commerce platform and use the pre-configured automation workflow for “follow-up” emails.
Another way to use MailChimp is to create landing pages and registration forms that can turn prospects into email subscribers. This allows you to stay in touch with them even if they choose not to make a purchase on their first visit.
6. Opt-In Offers
Finally, sometimes you have to give prospects a little nudge to take action.
After all, online shoppers nowadays are more privacy-aware than ever. Don’t expect them to hand over their email address — let alone hard-earned money — to a brand they barely know.
You can sweeten your email subscription offer for them with opt-in offers or “lead magnets” such as eBooks, cheat sheets, free trials, online course previews, and special discounts.
For your inspiration, here’s how the official NBA Store motivates their customers to subscribe to their email list:
That’s it — a breakdown of the most important elements in a successful online store.
These are strategies that, when done the right way, guarantee positive results for online businesses in every niche. You probably won’t see results overnight, but as long as you’re committed to prioritizing the needs of your customers and their experience, it’s only a matter of time before the cash starts rolling in.
This is a Guest Sponsored Post by Tom Gibbson.