Making your eCommerce site user friendly is not as simple as choosing a compatible plug-in. There are other factors that you need to consider, such as your platform, design and speed.
Let’s take a closer look at some of the elements that make an eCommerce site successful and profitable.
1. Using a reputable eCommerce platform
The single most important thing you can do to make your eCommerce site user friendly is use a reputable eCommerce platform built for WordPress, such as WooCommerce.
WooCommerce is a free shopping cart plugin that enables you to turn your WordPress site into an effective eCommerce store complete with product pages, a shopping cart and a checkout system.
WooCommerce is the most popular eCommerce platform available for WordPress due to its being open-source. It has a simple frontend design and an easy-to-navigate backend interface, making it a great option for individual enterprises and developers who need to set up a shop for a client.
Open-source platforms are an attractive feature for developers. It allows them to modify, integrate and build from a well-developed base, saving them time and money. It streamlines the development process by giving developers a head start, allowing them to focus on tweaking the platform to suit their clients’ individual needs rather than building an eCommerce platform from scratch, which can lead to glitches and the need for regular updates.
While a plugin facilitates the business operations, you still need to design your store. A poorly-designed eCommerce site can lead result in a site that loads slowly, appears broken or is difficult to navigate. Taking time to design your site for usability is vital to the success of your business.
One of the most effective ways to avoid these issues is to use a WordPress theme designed for WooCommerce. These are themes developed with eCommerce in mind, but their developers have gone a few steps ahead and developed them with WooCommerce in mind, offering seamless integrations with the plugin.
Your site design will depend on what and who you are selling to, be it B2B, B2C or B2B2C there are accepted norms that make navigation intuitive. While you are not obliged to follow norms, accepting elements and integrating them with your design makes it easier to connect with your target audience.
3. Optimize site speed
Site speed is an issue every site owner should be concerned about, but store owners should especially take notice of how well their sites are performing. ECommerce sites tend to take longer to load than typical sites due to the amount of information on each page.
A slow site is a liability. Most people will navigate away from a site that is slow, does not load correctly or is often hampered with access issues.
To overcome this, choosing the right host is important. Shared hosting plans are attractive to new site owners due to their economical costs, but cost shouldn’t be your priority, especially when it comes to hosting eCommerce sites. The quality of the hosting plan you choose should also be considered.
You should consider upgrading your hosting plan or moving your site to a host whose servers are capable of handling your business once your sales are steady and your traffic is constant.
Start with a reputable shared hosting service provider. Once your site starts seeing regular traffic on a daily basis, move onto your shared hosting provider’s VPS/managed WordPress hosting plan or upgrade to a host that offers these services.
Use a CDN
A CDN, or content delivery network, gives you access to proxy servers all around the world. All of your site’s visitors use a single server to access your site if it is not CDN enabled.
When you use a CDN, your visitors are distributed among several global proxy servers rather than a single server. This improves your site’s speed and makes it harder for DDoS attacks to occur.
If your shared hosting server is affecting your site’s performance and you’re not using a CDN, it can be worth trying one before upgrading.
Images play a critical role in the success of an eCommerce site, but using too many uncompressed, high-quality images can reduce your site’s load time.
Using a reliable host, a suitable server type and a CDN helps, but preparing images before uploading them to your site can improve your load time, keeping traffic interested.
Staying below a file size of 100 KB per image is best practice. There are plugins that can help while you are building your site, and there is a great deal of advice online about how to manage your images.
4. Make your site mobile-friendly
Your site must be mobile-friendly to compete. If your site is not able to be used across devices in an intuitive and easy way, your business will fail. People move between smartphones, tablets, laptops and PCs when researching and purchasing, so you need to provide a flawless omnichannel experience.
5. Offer multiple payment gateways
Payment gateways allow eCommerce stores to accept payments from customers without having to store and encrypt their customers’ payment details. PayPal and other popular payment gateways come with WooCommerce, however, there are a variety of options available.
6. Showcase your best-selling products on the homepage
Browsing through a shop’s best-selling or top-rated products is a simple way for customers to shop for products they know other customers are interested in, which takes the guesswork out of shopping.
WooCommerce comes with plenty of shortcodes you can use to display your best-selling or top-rated products on posts and pages.
7. Use WooCommerce extensions
WooCommerce extensions extend the functionality of the WooCommerce plugin. For example, if you want to give your customers shipping quotes there are extensions you can add making shopping choices easier for customers.
You can also allow your customers to customize your products with the Product Add-Ons extension. Check out the WooCommerce Extensions section of WooThemes’ website to view all available extensions.
8. Make it easy for customers to share your products
Placing social media share buttons on your product pages makes it easy for customers to share your products, which also makes it easy for you to attract new customers.
Use the WooCommerce Social Media Share Buttons plugin by Toastie Studio to accomplish this easily. It is an effective way to raise brand awareness and increase organic traffic.
9. Allow customers to create wishlists
There will be times when customers find products in your store they either can’t afford or don’t need at the moment. Allowing them to add these products to a personal wishlist is a simple way to ensure customers return, and you can personalize marketing campaigns using this information.
There are a number of different ways you can do this in WooCommerce, but some of the easiest ways include using these plugins:
- YITH WooCommerce Wishlist (free)
- WooCommerce Wishlists (premium)
10. Give customers opportunities to ask questions on product pages
Adding a section on each product page where customers can ask questions about the product at hand gives you the opportunity to interact with customers as they would in a brick-and-mortar environment. There are a number of different ways you can do this, but here are a couple of suggestions:
- Product Enquiry for WooCommerce (free)
- Product Enquiry Form (premium)
Chatting with potential customers is a great way to secure sales and build customer loyalty. This does depend on your resources, but using chatbots to reply to common questions and making instant messaging features available on your website are a good way to start.
There are a number of different components that go into building an eCommerce that’s optimized for user experience. Your eCommerce success begins with using a reputable shopping cart plugin and optimized experience.
Using plugins that have a good reputation with developers and that are open-source make keeping your site up to date and appealing to potential customers easy. Your key concerns after developing a user-friendly site that attracts customers should be security, and it is important that you understand how each plugin you use enhances or weakens the security of your eCommerce website.
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