What Makes a Good eCommerce Site
There is a multitude of factors that can determine an ecommerce site’s quality and an abundance of advice and articles about ecommerce best practices. One important factor, possibly the most important, should be site performance. The goal of an ecommerce site, after all, is getting conversions to gain revenue. Viewing site quality in terms of performance can be the most insightful way to determine and how to address any issues.
What is meant by performance?
Performance can be viewed from two different points of view:
1) How do you, the seller, regard the performance of your site.
2) How does your potential buyer view the site’s performance.
Each view can be radically different, but they are co-dependent, and the success of your site depends on both.
How do you view your site’s performance?
You must be satisfied that the site represents your products, merchandising, brand message, audience demographics, sense of community and philosophy, etc., in a way that is meaningful to your vision for the business. Take a objective view of your website and take stock and audit your website. However, does the site perform to your satisfaction?
Does the site offer the features or apps that reflect not just convenience for your customers, but do they reflect how your business model works? For example, you may have rules around shipping or delivery that reflect the characteristics of your products. Are those reflected through the site’s offering to the shopper by way of shipping options or features and applications that facilitate understanding and execution of your business rules? The same may be true for payment methods, or seasonal merchandise.
Are you able to fulfill orders in a timely way? Is your warehousing and fulfillment process hampered by your site’s inability to automatically communicate order data to your back-office systems? Conversely, are you unable to display accurate product availability to shoppers because of a delay in posting accurate inventory data on the site?
Bear in mind that slow or broken processes along with inadequate apps or features (or an absence of them altogether) that reflect your business model and rules not only present an operational challenge to you but will usually show up as performance hurdles to your potential customers by way of delayed delivery, or merchandise availability surprises, and so on, leading to a disappointing experience for the shopper.
Ask yourself “Does it really matter what I think about my site?”
Again, of course, you should be satisfied the site represents your brand vision. Ultimately, the shopper is going to perceive the site with respect to how its performance meets their expectations.
What are those expectations? Not much different from expectations for any other site. Practices have become standardized and commoditized. For better or worse, the big marketplaces (Amazon, Wal-Mart, etc.) have created expectations among shoppers.
The most likely things shoppers will judge include:
- Is the site fast? Studies have shown that each perceived delay in site or page load time increases site abandonment per tenth of a second.
- Can the shopper find items quickly enough? Is your navigation/categorization convenient and organized in a way that makes sense? Do you have appealing imagery, and is content like product descriptions appealing and informative? How does the search feature return results?
- How does it look on mobile? Again, can the shopper find the merchandise they want easily and quickly on various devices?
- Is it easy to check out? Pay attention to mobile, express payment options make mobile purchasing convenient.
- Is the site accessible? Colorblind or dyslexic users need to feel welcome and able to navigate the site.
- Are you giving the shopper reasons to have confidence in making a purchase? Reviews and ratings offer social proof. Other examples include “like” buttons, back-in-stock notifications, loyalty offers, cross/upsells to complete a purchase, customer service, and more.
In short, site quality will likely be judged by site performance. Recognizing the performance expectations of your shoppers will usually support your efforts in meeting the expectations you have for your site and business overall and lead to those conversions and revenue.
We are here to help brands and retailers understand the gaps in your ecommerce sites and how to best solve them. Whether their site needs a rebuild, platform migration, design changes, custom development, or optimizations, we have a wealth of expertise in all aspects. Reach out to see how we can help your reach your e-commerce goals!