When online shoppers visit your e-commerce site, they expect a certain level of quality from the features and services that your offer.
In the first post of this series, I mentioned things like easy navigation, appealing product images, and your company’s credibility.
Once they are ready to make a purchase, however, your website needs to make it easy for them to do so by providing a sense of security and trust.
Pricing & Shipping Information
You should never, ever have any hidden charges or shock buyers by adding a hefty increase—whether related to taxes, shipping or anything else—to the bill at the final stage of purchase.
If you can, be very clear about the total price early on in the buying process, for example on the main product page. This will help to decrease your cart abandonment rate. It’s a nice touch to include tools such as a total cost calculator, which clearly shows the price before and after shipping and tax charges.
On a similar note, if you’re having a flash sale or special deals, make this obvious to entice your customer. (Ensure that there’s a field to enter in a coupon/discount code in these cases.) Perks like free delivery are also very attractive to visitors, so don’t be shy about advertising them.
Any shipping policy and other terms & conditions must be clearly outlined.
Multiple Payment Options
This is undoubtedly one of the most important aspects of an e-commerce site. You need to allow users to process payments quickly through a method of their preference (credit and debit cards are widely used), and make this process as secure as possible.
Use the services of various online payment gateways and, as mentioned in the previous post, display their icons/badges on your site so that shoppers know that they’re available.
Customer Support & Help Resources
Fast, friendly, reliable and helpful customer service is crucial.
If you’re just starting out, you might not have the resources to provide a 24/7 helpline, but remember that it will become a must-have if you ever want to really expand and especially if you want to ship globally.
Apart from offering (responsive and professional) telephone and email support, other communication options like live chat and Skype sessions show buyers that you’re committed to giving them a great shopping experience.
And don’t forget about providing a comprehensive FAQs page—for those who want to help themselves!
Final note: Experience the browsing and buying process from your customer’s perspective: go through the steps yourself—several times and not necessarily in logical order (remember that visitors don’t necessarily use the site in the way that you expect). Ask friends, family, employees, etc. to do the same and give you feedback on it.