Unpacking the Five Key Ingredients in a Winning Ecommerce Website

An ecommerce website is a lot like a restaurant. Some are spectacular, some are spectacularly bad, and the vast majority are so-so—alright, but ultimately forgettable. Unfortunately for those lingering in the “fine” category, ecommerce has become vastly more competitive in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic, and these days, being unremarkable can cost you some serious business. To stand out in a rapidly rising sea of online retailers, it’s imperative to invest in a website that’s truly above average. Here are some ways to pull it off.

1 - Focus on the visuals

Most people will judge your website in a cursory three-second glance—which means that visuals matter quite a bit. Site visitors are looking for confirmation that you’re a legitimate, professional company with legitimate, quality wares—so be sure to work with a web designer, not just a developer, when building your site. This person will be able to ensure that your color palette is pleasing and reader-friendly; that your fonts are consistent from page to page; that all your spacing and positioning is correct; and a host of other designery things. Your ecommerce website should be simple and clutter-free, yet also unique and exciting—and a good web designer can pull it off.

2 - Use PROFESSIONAL IMAGES of your products and real lifestyle images of the products  

Sorry, we don’t mean to yell at you, with the all caps and all. But this is a critical element that way too many ecommerce businesses neglect. You should always present your offerings in their best possible light, i.e., professional photography from a professional photographer. Even though this will cost you a little bit more in the outset, it will ultimately earn you much more consumer trust (and therefore, sales). People want to see what they’re buying, and they also want the reassurance that you’re a real, legitimate business that will actually ship them their stuff, and not a credit card scammer that will disappear with the dawn, or whatever. Professional photography helps make that happen plus it helps the user understand the value of the product and how to use it.

3 - Design and make the site focused on mobile users

A mobile responsive website is one that looks great and functions well across all screen resolutions and sizes, particularly mobile phones. According to Statcounter, the majority of online information is accessed via mobile, which makes sense when you consider how many hours you spend with a phone versus sitting in front of your computer. Anyway, the bottom line is that most of your visitors will access your site through their phones, so make sure that their user experience is just as easy, breezy, and beautiful as it would be on a desktop browser. Having a responsive website will also help boost your search engine rankings, as search algorithms tend to prioritize responsive sites in their results. 

4 - Make it work and work with a site developer

We mentioned earlier how it’s important to hire a web designer when building your ecommerce website—but a web developer is a critical part of the whole shebang, too. In fact, you could argue that the dev is the most important contributor—after all, it doesn’t matter how pretty or funny your website is if no one can see it. A good ecommerce site developer can help ensure that all your buttons and links work; that there are no 404 errors; that the pages load and load quickly (an important factor, as 53% of shoppers will abandon a site that doesn’t load in three seconds), and a variety of other critical details. A developer can also help make sure your site security is up to scratch, so you don’t fall victim to a hacking attack.

5 - Have killer copy ( writing )

Last but not least, there’s copywriting—or, the professional writing used to describe your business and your products. Even though most of your visitors are simply running their eyeballs over the page, a few—the most well-positioned to buy—will take the time to read what you have to say about yourself. Here, all the traditional elements of marketing come into play. Is your brand quirky, funny, playful? Is it bold, in-your-face, slightly snarky? Warm and welcoming, straight-laced and professional? You get it. However you want to come off, professional website writing will accomplish it—and ideally, forge a personal connection with your audience that makes them much more compelled to buy.

Need help with building an ecommerce website?

If you live in the Raleigh area (or anywhere, really) and are interested in launching your ecommerce site, we’re here to help! We’ve helped countless businesses build successful Shopify websites, as well as optimize their sites for search engines, drive traffic with Pay-Per-Click ads, and create awesome content that boosts conversions (like the blog you just read!) To learn more about us or set up a time to chat, contact us here.


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