Five Ways to Build a Consumer-Friendly E-commerce Site

If there’s one thing I like to do from time to time its shop. And, since I’ve jumped on the e-commerce (and mobile) bandwagon, I shop online whether it’s in the evening on my laptop or on my smartphone while I’m out. No more having to park in a dirty, hot parking garage or deal with lines and crowds cramming the malls. Seriously, if I hear one more sales person ask “Could I have your email address? Could I have your phone number? Would you like to open a card with us today?” I’ll scream!

Instead of all that, I just hop online to shop. Sure, e-commerce has its pitfalls too (like the whole shipping thing), but for now it’s my go-to way of purchasing my goods. Here are a few things I find pleasing and valuable in a consumer-friendly site:

Website content

Product descriptions, consumer reviews, and how-to information – all of this helps the consumer research the product before they buy and pay shipping fees. One issue I run into from time to time is there are many sites that have a lot of products featured, but provide little or no description, or just include product jargon that doesn’t speak to me as a consumer. I like to see how the particular product works, other consumer comments or reviews, and sometimes videos. With e-commerce sites growing and becoming a regular way to shop, the consumer misses out on the feel, actual size and stability of the product. Good e-commerce content can give a detailed summary of what the buyer can expect.

Onsite search engine

A search engine is essential on every page. Consumers shop for a variety of products/services and it is important that they have the option of searching for a product instead of browsing through pages of irrelevant items before they find what they are looking for. Save your visitors time and frustration by providing an easy-to-use search function.

Customer service

It is important to have strong customer service integrated into your web design. Some consumers fail to go through with the purchasing process as a result of doubts about the merchandise. Offer your costumers email, chat and phone support. The result will be increased sales and revenue.

Social media

Build a presence on social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest. Your customers will likely search for you on those platforms, which allow them to connect with your brand socially. These social media platforms can help you run promotions or coupon deals, as well as give you the opportunity to provide feedback or answer questions.

Security and privacy policies

Feeling secure, especially when providing your credit card information is essential.  All too often we hear about private info being stolen by those pesky hackers. A privacy policy should describe how data, such as the customer’s personal contact information and financial details, is collected and used. Consumers should be given the opportunity to opt out, if they don’t want to have their information sold or distributed or receive e-mail newsletters or other company communications. Buying from a site that gives me more control, makes shopping a little safer.

There are so many things that make an e-commerce site effective for consumers, what are some others you find valuable?

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