The DO’s and DON’Ts of an E-Commerce Website

According to Invesp Consulting, shoppers abandon approximately six out of ten online shopping carts. Consumers have a very clear idea on how they want a sales transaction to go. Websites that fail to meet those expectations risk losing sales.

It’s important for a business owner to pay close attention to the do’s and don’ts of e-commerce websites. Knowing what drives customers away is the first step in creating a checkout experience that makes customers happy. A satisfied customer tells their friends and family, and that leads to more sales and more word-of-mouth recommendations.

As a consumer who spends hundreds of dollars online every year, I have a very clear idea on what the perfect site includes. I have a list of circumstances that sends me to the competition when I’m shopping online. Here is the list of things I like and dislike in e-commerce sites.

The Do's and Donts of an Ecommerce website

E-Commerce DO’s:

Use Detailed Descriptions

When I shop online, I do not have the luxury of touching or closely inspecting an item before I make a purchase. I look for product descriptions that include high-quality images. Having images taken from different angles and both inside and outside the package is critical to securing a sale.

Organized Search

I love a website that is laid out in an organized fashion. Stores that sort items into logical categories are my favorites. I want a search function that works effectively. Yesterday, I was looking to price a post hole digger that I could buy online and pick up locally. After typing in “post hole digger” on one site, the first ten items included fence posts, t-post clips, and t-post caps. I simply didn’t care to try to decipher their system and left the site.

Suggest Other Items

I look for sites that offer upsells at the time of checkout. I purchased a gate a few weeks ago and chose an item that said “hardware included.” It arrived and the instructions say “some hardware included.” Now, I have to wait for the hardware that wasn’t included. Had the e-commerce store told me that I needed these additional items when I checked out, I’d be much happier.

Make Security a Priority

I’ve had two credit/debit cards fall prey to stores that didn’t protect their customers. I’m still disturbed by how lax some e-commerce sites are when it comes to security. I will not shop at sites that do not use SSL security, that store my credit card without asking me first, or that don’t use the three or four digit security code on the back of a credit card. I love having the option of paying with a third-party payment processor like PayPal. If a store doesn’t care about making the shopping experience safe for me, I don’t care to give them my business.

Test Links

There is an online retailer that’s been around for decades. That store is on the verge of bankruptcy, and I know one of their biggest issues. When I try to shop at that store, I’ll click on a link to look at an item and get a “page cannot be displayed” message. It’s frustrating to have to find where they moved the page. The web design team fails to test links, and it’s a key reason I don’t bother going to that retailer’s website.

E-Commerce Don’ts:

Bury Shipping Charges

The key reason I abandon a purchase is shipping fees. If a store isn’t willing to give me an idea on how much shipping is going to cost before I start filling in my address and payment information, it’s not worth my time.

Make False Promises

I once purchased from a site that promised easy returns. The item arrived without the charger cable, so I had to return it. They informed me that I must pay the return shipping costs, that I could only return it using UPS, and that I could not use UPS home pick-up service. Having to drive miles to the nearest UPS office did not meet my expectations of an easy return.

Skimp on Customer Service

I cannot stand for e-commerce sites that only offer customer service through the telephone. I don’t have time to wait on the phone. Instant chat or quick email support is ideal for my busy schedule. I also dislike getting routed to another country where the customer service reps have a thick accent that makes it impossible for me to understand what they’re saying.

My bottom line is that all e-commerce website owners need to think about their ideal shopping experience. Stores that take the time to plan the ideal experience will gain a loyal client base.