Designing a strong ecommerce website

It’s a fairly easy process these days to set up a basic ecommerce site. But making sure that your online shop is optimised in the best way to ensure conversions requires a lot more skill. With most online shops seeing a conversion rate of less than 1% you really need to work hard to ensure that you are maximising the content and presentation of your website.

Developing a clear information architecture
Your information architecture refers to how you label and organise the hierarchy of the information on your website. Both Google and your customers want to be able to see how each page relates to the others on your website. It should be obvious which pages are the most important, and which pages contain similar products.

Strong categories help the search engines and your users to clearly identify the products you are selling, such as on Custard and Crumble’s nursery furniture website where the site is split into categories such as ‘nursery furniture’ and then sub categories such as:
•    Nursery furniture sets
•    Bedside  tables
•    Cots and cot beds
•    Moses Baskets

Users arriving at the home page on the website can easily navigate and drill down to the products they are searching for, whether this is a cot, or a moses basket. It also allows Google to clearly associate a particular keyword with a certain page, so that people searching for general items such as children’s furniture will be taken to the correct page, while someone looking for something more specific, such as a cot will be taken directly to the cot page.

Shopping online is much more of a visual experience, compared to High Street shopping where customers expect to be able to touch and manipulate the products before purchasing. Therefore the images you use on your website will be vitally important in encouraging your clients to complete the buying process. Professional photography is a must, but the good news is that many manufacturers can supply quality product photography, so you won’t have to shell out for it.

Strong images sell: they show off your products’ best features and allow customers to remove any doubts they might have had before the clicking the ‘Buy’ button.

Make your customers trust you
Clear product photos don’t only allow your customers to see what exactly they are buying, they also reflect the values of your website, reassuring them that their credit card details and order are safe with your company. The same way that you wouldn’t shop in a supermarket with peeling paint and a dirty floor, you want to know that your ecommerce shop is well-maintained and managed.