Issues to Consider when Creating an eCommerce Website
Although there are different types of eCommerce websites (i.e., Business-to-Business (B2B), music portals, auction websites, financial management websites), this discussion will be limited to eCommerce retail selling for the sake of simplicity. Here are the primary issues and design elements to consider as you create your eCommerce website:
1. Visual Appearance
According to research by 3M, memory improves by 400% with visual aids, and all humans process visual information 60,000 times faster than text alone. The conversion optimization platform Justuno notes that the most crucial factor in the purchasing decisions of 93% of online consumers is (drum roll, please) visual appearance! For eCommerce websites, visuals relate to every graphic design element featured on your websites, including a color scheme that compliments your products and high-quality product photos.
All eCommerce platforms come with a price. Whether a monthly fee flat rate, you must consider all costs in your business model. At the very least, think about the transaction fees, the maximum number of products you can sell, loyalty programs, gift cards, and the ability to create free shipping.
3. Ease of Use
Strongly consider how you’re going to manage your eCommerce business. If your eCommerce platform's goal is to sell products to consumers, the website interface needs to work smoothly. A practical, meaningful, and valuable user experience is one of the most critical conversion factors from the home page to the checkout page. Focus your efforts on creating an enjoyable online shopping experience.
4. Payment Gateway
A good payment gateway with standard features like guest or customer login, a straightforward checkout process, and dynamic payment options such as using PayPal, a credit card, or a bank account is critical to a successful eCommerce website.
Security is an essential part of eCommerce. If your website accepts credit cards, you should have an SSL certificate (HTTPS://) on your checkout page. To help build trust with your customers, install the SSL throughout your site and BEFORE you start developing the website to prevent mixed content issues.
Hosting must be fast and reliable. Note that except for Magento, most open-source platforms usually require self-hosting. The alternative eCommerce platforms that come at a monthly cost are usually SaaS-based (Software-as-Service) and provide their hosting.
Last but not least, do your homework: thoroughly research every eCommerce platform that interests you. Contact their support teams, reach out to eCommerce platform user communities, and ask questions BEFORE starting your website design project. What are all of the search engine optimization features? How many products can you feature and upload? What payment gateway's do they offer? Be sure to precisely understand the website platform you’re signing up for and that your platform of choice provides the eCommerce design and functionality that your business requires.