What makes an ecommerce website profitable? First and foremost, as with any other business, it’s your pricing and your profit margins. Once you have figured out your overhead and other costs and calculated your pricing, however, there are 10 other factors that can make or break a profitable ecommerce website.
- Security: Your website needs to make customers feel comfortable that their private financial information will remain secure. Obtain and promote your SSL (secure socket layer) certification using badges on your website home and checkout pages.
- Call to action: It may sound obvious, but many ecommerce websites fail to include a call to action (“Buy Now,” “Add to Cart,” “Calculate Shipping Costs,” etc.). Your ecommerce website should include some type of call to action on every page.
- Cost transparency: Customers today are very savvy and generally expect free shipping. Ideally, they’d like free returns, too. What they won’t stand for is not finding out shipping costs, taxes and other charges until the last page of the checkout process. Provide some way that customers can clearly see their costs (or at least a very good estimate) before they even put things in their cart. This may be a flat rate shipping chart or a tax or shipping charge estimate based on inputting their ZIP code.
- Simple user experience: Your ecommerce website should be easy to navigate and use. Don’t try to reinvent the wheel—follow the conventions established by successful ecommerce sites. You’ll notice most sites are designed similarly for a reason—it’s what users expect.
- Rapid assistance: Confused shoppers won’t wait around days to get an answer to an email—they want answers to their questions now. Use toll-free phone numbers, live chat and/or email that’s answered within hours, not days, to provide a wide range of assistance options for all types of customers. For those times when you can’t provide an instant answer (like the middle of the night), make sure you have a detailed FAQ section on your site.
- Rapid site loading: Customers are impatient so your site must load in seconds—not just the home page, but every page. No one wants to sit tapping their feet while a site slowly loads.
- Search engine optimization and marketing: You can have the best designed ecommerce site in history, selling an amazing product at an unbelievable price, and you still won’t be profitable if no one knows about your site. Plan from the beginning how you will use keywords and other SEO tools to optimize your site’s rank in search results. Make ecommerce marketing part of your overall marketing plan. If needed, employ the services of professionals to help.
- Mobile friendliness. More and more, consumers are moving to mobile devices for the purchasing experience. If your site isn’t mobile friendly, it will soon be left behind as customers move to competitors who are. Use responsive design for best results and greatest ease.
- Remarketing: Sending automated emails to customers based on past behavior is a growing trend in ecommerce. Specifically, sending targeted emails when customers don’t check out can substantially boost your sales by encouraging customers to re-visit abandoned shopping carts and make the purchase. Increasingly, remarketing is differentiating the thriving ecommerce websites from the merely surviving.
- Website Platform: Creating an ecommerce website without a good toolset can be difficult: it is best to find a website builder that is simple to use and provides all of the above features. Web.com is one company that offers an ecommerce platform that provides these features at an affordable rate. Also with Web.com, you can build it yourself, or get help from an experienced designer if you find that you need some assistance.
Web.com’s ecommerce website builder offers a highly secure (PCI-compliant) platform including free premium design templates, powerful marketing and customer management tools, and a well designed shopping cart with real-time payment and shipping options.Interested in learning more about how Web.com can help you with building your website? Click the button below!
Maria Valdez Haubrich
Maria Valdez Haubrich is Chief Liaison Officer of GrowBiz Media, a media company that helps entrepreneurs start and grow their businesses. Visit her company’s blog at SmallBizDaily.com.