Starting a digital shop – or eCommerce store – is easy if you believe the marketing hype online. You simply sign up for a free account add your products and begin selling, and according to the strap line, you can do all this in ‘under 5 minutes’.
Unfortunately, starting and maintaining a successful eCommerce store is slightly harder than many DIY website builders lead you to believe. If you are looking to make a little bit of money on the side, then by all means work with pre-existing templates and site architectures. However, for the serious trader, you’ll need to consider a lot more elements, just as if you were opening a shop on a high-street.
This guide will give you an overview of eCommerce web design and how you can get the best results from it.
What Is An eCommerce Website?
In its simplest form, an eCommerce website is an online shop where you sell products or services. The website should be easily navigable, so that customers can find products, add them to their basket and check out, all in a streamlined, efficient process.
If you have something to sell, you need to have a reliable website from which to do so and there are other options too, such as online auction sites, like eBay, or online markets such as Etsy. People think that it is easy to set up an online shop and sell their goods but, unless you have the basics in place, it can be an uphill struggle.
In this case, it is true to say that you do get what you pay for and when it comes to creating a top eCommerce website in the UK you do need to use a paid platform.
Benefits Of An eCommerce Website
When committing to online retailing, you are entering a competitive online market place where there will be hundreds, if not thousands of competitors, all vying to outdo one another. But with so much competition, why bother in the first place? Well, opening an eCommerce store offers a wide range of benefits:
- Reach a wider audience – the online world opens up a whole new market of potential customers, based across the globe and ready to buy your product or service.
- Convenient – with eCommerce being one of the fastest growing sectors, time and time again, online shopping has proven itself fast and convenient, even more so now that people can shop directly from their mobile phones.
- Easier management – many companies now realise the full potential of a well-designed eCommerce website, backed with robust software and programming. A website of this kind can make managing your stock far easier, with real-time figures as to stock levels.
- Open 24/7 – even the biggest retailers struggle to stay open for 24-hours a day, but with an eCommerce website, your business is effectively never closed. People shopping at 2am can buy that must-have accessory or the latest trend, and your team can then pick up the order and ship it when they arrive at work in morning.
- Information-giving – online shoppers have high expectations regarding the whole online shopping experience. It is not just about buying the product; it is about finding out how to use it, what to use it with and so on. Research the best eCommerce websites and you will find their digital catalogues full of information, specifications, hints and tips, frequently asked questions and so on.
Finding The Right eCommerce Web Design Company
Your retailing website will be the window through which potential customers will peer. If they are to part with their money, not only will your products or services need to meet their specific needs but your website need to be secure, look trustworthy and be authoritative in its design – that means ads don’t clutter the homepage, your colours are consistent and that the site doesn’t look spammy in any way.
Having your eCommerce website designed by a leading UK web design company that understands the nature of online retailing will be worth every penny you spend. You might even find that prices are more cost-effective than you think. So why is it worth paying a little extra?
- Experience – Look for a web design company that has a proven track record in designing eCommerce websites. Although not necessarily more technical than an ‘ordinary’ website, the design needs to be attractive to the right customer e.g. fits within your target demographic.
- Reliable references – Asking for references or taking a look at an extensive portfolio of previous work should also be on your list for assessing the web design company’s capability of creating a top eCommerce website. Research the websites they have created in the past, do you like them?
- Happy to talk – Discuss their pricing structure and ask what post-launch support is in included in the offer. On one hand, you don’t need to spend thousands but, if it all sounds a bit too cheap, the likelihood is that the support may not be at the level that you need, want or expect.
Top eCommerce Website Trends for 2017
In a competitive marketplace, your website needs as much help as possible to stand out for customers and get ahead in search engine search page results.
To maximise your impact, some of the top trends for eCommerce websites in 2017 include:
- Responsiveness – Shoppers will be using their smartphone extensively to shop online so bear this in mind when designing your website.
- Personalise – Getting to know your customers is essential which is why eCommerce website designers suggest that personalising the shopping experience will be essential in the coming year.
- Reward – Customers want to feel valued and schemes like online loyalty programmes are one way of ensuring repeat custom. For any serious online retailer, this will be a must in 2017 and as such, many eCommerce website packages will support such a program.
Now that you have a good idea of how an eCommerce website can benefit your business, what your customers are looking for and how to choose the team for the job, it’s time you checked out some of the leading eCommerce web design agencies working in UK. You never know, your new digital partner could just be a click away.