SCORE

STATEN ISLAND, N.Y. – If you are a small-business owner in New Dorp, Stapleton, Graniteville, West Brighton, Tottenville, or elsewhere in the borough, and seeking success with an online enterprise, you need to know this: The anatomy of an effective eCommerce website includes characteristics that go above and beyond the needs of a traditional site.

To assist you in creating a seamless customer experience that generates business revenue from the goods or services you sell online, experts at SCORE-Staten Island advise you to build the following five features into your site:

1) MOBILE-FRIENDLY

If your eCommerce site isn’t built to work properly on a mobile phone, you’re making it difficult for your customers to make a purchase. And, since Google now places priority search ranking on mobile-friendly sites, your customers are going to find it difficult to find your eCommerce website in the first place. Make sure your site is built in a mobile-friendly, responsive design template or coded to respond to mobile size requirements and functionality.

2) EASY, INTUITIVE NAVIGATION

The easier you can make it for your customers to find and buy the products they’re looking for on your website, the more likely you are to generate a sale.
For example, the fewer number of clicks between where a customer enters your site and the purchase point the better. Create intuitive navigation by developing a site map before you start building. Sketch out the structure of your site to understand how your customers will find their way from the home page to a product page, or from a blog post to a “buy now” button. This avoids customer frustration and makes it easy for them to find what they’re looking to buy.

3) TRANSPARENT SHIPPING INFORMATION

You may successfully get your customer to a purchase point on your site, but if shipping terms aren’t clear or you surprise your customer with a big shipping charge just before they hit the purchase button, there’s a good chance you’ll lose the sale.
High shipping costs are one of the biggest causes of shopping cart abandonment with some companies reporting more than 44 percent of their site’s abandoned shopping carts being the result of an unexpected shipping charge. Be transparent about shipping information from the start to reduce abandoned carts on your site and increase sales conversions.

4) READER-FRIENDLY, OPTIMIZED PRODUCT DESCRIPTIONS

Your product descriptions need to serve two purposes:
Every description should be reader-friendly. Aim for a thorough description that’s easy to read and that gives enough information from which to make an informed purchasing decision. Avoid overwhelming customers with too much information or using highly technical language or jargon that’s going to confuse or frustrate your audience.
A product description is also an important part of your site’s SEO strategy. Search engine optimization, or SEO, is a means of intentionally crafting language using keywords to encourage Google and other search engines to place your site in front of potential buyers. Without a strong SEO strategy, customers likely won’t find your website in their search and you’ll lose out on that sale. Especially if you’re relying on eCommerce sales as your primary sales vehicle, optimized product descriptions are an important characteristic of your website.

5) HIGH-QUALITY PHOTOGRAPHY

Web users expect quality imagery when they enter any website. Thanks to social media and the focus it’s placed on image-driven content, customers now equate stunning photography with high-quality products. Especially when you’re selling online, the photography you use to show off your product must be as good if not better than the competition. People want to see every aspect of the product before they buy, so high-quality videography is also an important visual communication tool. High-quality photography is a must for any eCommerce site and is well worth the investment.

FREE GUIDANCE IS AVAILABLE

The elements that make an eCommerce website effective as a sales tool are complex. Having support as you build your site, like the support of a SCORE-Staten Island mentor, will go a long way in ensuring that it best supports your direct sales efforts so your business can grow. A SCORE-Staten Island mentor can help you develop your overall eCommerce strategy and connect you to a reputable eCommerce website development firm that will bring your site to life.

About SCORE-Staten Island

SCORE-Staten Island is dedicated to fostering a vibrant small-business community primarily in Richmond County by providing cost-free education and confidential mentoring to both aspiring and established entrepreneurs. Headquartered at 1855 Victory Boulevard, in the Salmon Real Estate Building, Castleton Corners, the Island organization is Chapter 476 of the nationwide SCORE, a nonprofit association. A resource partner with the U.S. Small Business Administration, SCORE is funded in part through a cooperative agreement with the SBA. All opinions, conclusions, and/or recommendations expressed herein are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the SBA. For additional information, or to schedule an appointment, SCORE-Staten Island may be visited at https://statenisland.score.org; telephoned at 718-727-1221; emailed at info@SCORESI.org, and visited on Facebook and LinkedIn.

Online shopping cart concept. mobile checkout on smart phone