An e-commerce Web site has gone from nice to have to a must-have for businesses looking to stay competitive. Whether you choose a premade template or have a designer create a custom site, e-commerce can make the difference between companies that grow and those that close.
An e-commerce Web site is an Internet Web page that performs a variety of specialized functions for selling goods or services. The following are some types of e-commerce Web sites:
- Landing pages: Visitors are driven from a variety of marketing methods to one page that is basically a pitch for a product or service. Landing pages appeal to emotional buying impulses through a combination of short and long copy messages.
- E-mail collection portals: This design typically offers a premium in exchange for some basic information from the visitor, such as name and e-mail address. Premiums offered could be free reports, a discount on membership or products, or a number of items with perceived value.
- Newsletters: A break from the traditional Web site design, newsletters can disguise purchasing links within meaningful content.
- Membership-based sites: Visitors pay a monthly membership fee to be eligible for online information such as grant opportunities, auction privileges, and other premium content.
Successful e-commerce sites are based on sound construction and intuitive processes that make the buying process simple for visitors. Companies spend years of research and beta launches perfecting the e-commerce design arrangement that works best for their market. And while there’s no one right or wrong way to establish a site, several organizations have found best practices that increase sales and stickiness across the board:
- Provide information: Web design e-commerce principles encourage businesses to provide useful, meaningful information to build trust with their target audience. A trusting visitor is much more likely to buy.
- Keep it simple: Top performing e-commerce sites offer simple arrangements of images and information. Jumbled organization encourages visitors to abandon the site midpurchase.
- Be explicit: A call to action is mandatory. E-commerce Web sites that aren’ t explicit with their expectations often leave visitors confused, and that will send them elsewhere.
- Simplify the purchase: The buying process should be pared down to a handful of simple, intuitive steps that make buying less stressful. Testing the sequence reveals whether that goal has been met.
- Diversify your offers: Any smart e-commerce design pro will tell you that upselling and cross-selling are the keys to maximum profits. Sites that suggest similar products and provide add-ons to purchases are golden eggs.
When you’re ready to buy your Web site design you can get a ready-made template, complete with images and a shopping cart function for purchases, or commission a site design through a graphic design professional. The template is more cost-effective but has less customization. An original, though more costly, has endless options.