An online store or ordering page should create a satisfying experience for both you and your customers. When used correctly, you can obtain and use a wealth of information provided by your online customer. Here are some important considerations for creating and operating an eCommerce site.
Your Domain Name
You may already have a website and domain, but it may not reflect what you sell online. For instance, if you have a pet care product company called The ABC Company, you might have a website with the domain name “ABCinc.com” or “theabccompany.com.”
It doesn’t really let a buyer know that you sell pet beds. You can buy a new domain name called “petbeds.com” and redirect visitors to your real company website and a page that features beds for pets. Your eCommerce domain name should help you drive traffic to the site.
Optimize the Site
One of the most frustrating experiences for a shopper is not being able to see clear photos or having to pinch a photo open because it doesn’t display properly on a phone or tablet. eCommerce sites must be optimized for use on any device. Doing this will also keep you in the top search engine results. Failing to optimize your site can cause you to be penalized by Google and show up on page 2 or 3 instead of the first page search results.
Your eCommerce site should be easy for you and your staff to add products or services, remove them, place them on sale, or easily change the selling price.
Secure Shopping Carts
Securely collect all the purchasing information including credit card payment, shipping address, and other information pertinent to the transaction, such as shipping methods, promotional codes applied, etc.
Collecting Marketing Information
Most people will provide any information you ask of them if you ask during the course of creating a profile with your company. You can ask for information such as birth date, wedding anniversary, number of people in the household, age ranges, income level, occupation, etc. Remember to make this information optional, but also realize that most people will freely provide it in the initial set up. You can then use this information for future marketing efforts targeted to clients matching certain demographics.
Accounting Software Integration
Your eCommerce site should import data directly into your Quickbooks or other accounting software so that you don’t have to manually key your eCommerce sales into your accounting system. This creates more work for you and is inefficient.
Abandoned Cart Saver
Sometimes people are unable to complete a transaction they have started. Items placed in a shopping cart but not yet purchased should remain in the cart after a customer logs out so that when they return they can pick up right where they left off.
Your eCommerce site should communicate the status of an order with your customers, beginning with an order confirmation email. Notify your customer when the order is expected to ship, when it has actually shipped, and when it has been delivered. There are lots of “porch pirates” out there today and letting your customer know that you have completed delivery lets them know they should be looking for the package on their doorstep or in their mailbox.
Remember that eCommerce sites must comply with PCI security standards to protect cardholder data being used on your site.