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6 Essential Ecommerce Guidelines

by Chris Sutton | August 11, 2010

I’ve noted in other blogs that e-commerce is fast becoming the norm for small to medium businesses. Given the upsurge in interest regarding e-commerce, the following are 6 Essential Ecommerce Guidelines to guide you when planning and running an effective online store.

We’ve certainly seen a big increase in interest in the small to medium business sector, and across all sorts on industries. As a consequence we’ve been busily developing new functionality in our ecommerce tools and our next major product release will feature many new features and vastly improved standard store layouts.

1)    Keep your product and category structure simple: If you make your customers click through too many steps they will simply abandon any attempt to buy and move onto the next website. It is especially important to plan your category structure, using sub-categories where necessary to make products easy to find. Don’t do what some store owners do and have as many categories as they do products. Categories are a tool to aid navigation of your ecommerce product range and spending time planning before your store is built can make a huge difference to your sales success rate.

2)    Remember what you’re selling, it’s your products, not your website: A good ecommerce store design will focus attention on the products, not the store design. Keep things simple.

3)    Pictures sell! Your online store customers can’t pick up a product and take a close look, you are relying on the pictures of you products to do much of the sales work and it’s worth investing in good quality photography if you can’t source quality pictures from manufacturers etc.

4)    Don’t force customers to register before shopping. The fewer barriers you place in the way of customers completing their purchases the more successful your store will be.

5)    Make your security and privacy policy easily available. When customers shop online they don’t have the immediate security of being in a physical store and being able to discuss the sale face to face, so you need to reassure your customers in other ways about the security of your online store and the importance you place on keeping personal information secure.

6)    Be easily contactable. I am always astounded by the number of online stores that don’t have clearly visible contact details, including street address, phone numbers etc. Many online shoppers never buy online if there are no physical contact details displayed.

Of course there are many more considerations than what we've noted in these 6 Essential Ecommerce Guidelines but we'll revisit this topic from time to time, and if you have any questions feel free to add a comment or give us a call.

SiteSuite Website Design - Online Marketing Blog Author Chris Sutton

Co-founder and Managing Director of SiteSuite Australasia, Australian pioneers in web design and ecommerce since 1997. For more from Chris you can follow him on Google+ or Twitter, and for further professional musings and thoughts on his other passions in life,

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