With more than 800 best practices attributed to ecommerce success, it’s nearly impossible to employ each of the tips and tricks guaranteed to result in successful online sales. However, that doesn’t mean we can’t try to present ecommerce best practices.
The team at Savoirfaire has a strong collective knowledge of best practices for developing a new ecommerce website from scratch, or when re-designing an existing site. One great example of our expertise in use is an ecommerce website we developed for a company called Bike-On.
Ecommerce Best Practices: The Challenge
While it can be said that every organization is unique, the design and development of this particular ecommerce website came with a set of challenges that many businesses which sell products online do not encounter. Their unique product line and customer base, coupled with a high price tag for much of their inventory made it necessary to position the company as a highly trustworthy organization.
The client sells handcycles, trikes, wheelchairs, bikes, and other personal transport equipment, along with accessories and other related components. Because they sell such specialized products, it isn’t easy for consumers new to the market to know what they need, or how to shop for it.
Therefore; the client would need a platform that made it easy for customers to understand the different types of products being offered, what they can be used for and how they work. To meet this demand, a great deal of content would need to be developed in order to provide resources for customers in any stage of the buyer’s journey.
Perhaps most importantly; they needed all of this to happen relatively quickly, since their existing website did none of this. The client’s existing ecommerce site was outdated, and employed none of the latest best practices required to achieve successful online sales. Their existing online platform did not provide visitors with feelings of trust or security, nor was it easy to navigate or use.
Our team was certainly up for the challenge, and went to work right away brainstorming all of the ways in which we could possibly marry the content and commerce together in the most effective way. We discussed countless ways that we could create the most efficient channel for growing online sales in this unique market.
Our research determined that only 13% of the catalog had ever been purchased online. Much of the products were overpriced, and exceeded customer price comfort levels. In addition, it became clear that relationship building was very important for them to succeed at online sales, even more important than the commerce aspects of the website.
In order to help the client successfully sell their products, we quickly realized that we would need to help them develop and maintain strong relationships with potential buyers. What they needed was clear – a brand new website that would allow them to promote the types of products they wanted to, and that would inevitably allow them to sell their products online easier than they ever had before.
The platform upon which they would need to sell these products must be extremely easy to use, fast, secure, and well-organized, and one that would make people feel comfortable sharing personal and financial information.
Using one of the largest ecommerce platforms available, Magento, we began by re-categorizing their products into a much simpler organization. We took a product library of hundreds of categories and broke them into just seven top level categories, vs. the thirty they started with. This made the site development slightly less complex, although we still had a ton of product information we needed to find places for, and we did.
We began by designing the site to cater to two main buyer stages, essentially offering two options for visitors when they reach the site.
For those who already know what they’re looking for, the site offers an easy navigation for consumers to find the specific products they need. The products were organized into seven main categories, and then sub-categorized further based on additional factors such as what they can be used for, the environment they are used in, etc.
For potential buyers looking for additional information, the site offers clear path for learning more about what products are available, what the benefits of the products are, and why they need them or should buy them from the client.
We also implemented HTTPS throughout the entire site, not just on the checkout site. This functionality offers further website validation for users, and also helps the site to rank higher in Google. The new site was a significant improvement in professionalism and trustworthiness from their old site, so much so that the differences are almost incomparable.
The website we delivered undoubtedly set the client up to make a quantum leap forward in the marketing and sales of their products. We envisioned a complete reinvention of the company, using content and commerce, allowing the client to build relationships using the online portal, and to develop a sense of trust with existing and potential customers.
While we were able to redesign the website in a way that drastically improved their credibility with consumers, we weren’t able to continue past the initial stages of the project, so the additional content was never able to be developed as originally envisioned. The project ended, and the client has since taken over managing and maintaining the website.