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As with any business website an e-commerce website has to act as your online shop window.

However, with an e-commerce website it’s not only a shop window, it’s your actual shop! You therefore need to ensure that it gives your products the best possible chance to shine.

As well as highlighting the advantages of what you sell, it needs to make it easy for interested browsers to become customers.  In addition to looking good it needs to be highly functional, making it simple for a website visitor to move from looking at an individual product to making a purchase.

What is an e-commerce website?

An e-commerce website essentially acts like a digital shop through which people can purchase products as they would in a bricks and mortar store. They allow retail businesses to provide a virtual shopping experience that can be accessed by customers whenever they want wherever they are in the world.

What does an e-commerce website consist of?

They usually consist of three key components. These are the storefront, the products themselves and the checkout. Customers will select products which will then be moved into a virtual shopping basket before a purchase is made.

The storefront works in the same way as a bricks and mortar shop window. Here is where you’ll provide an attractive snapshot of what your brand and products are all about.  You might want to highlight key information about your brand such as special offers, new product lines or upcoming events.

As the name suggests, the product page is where you display your products. In practice, it will usually consist of links to different product categories and individual product pages that include more detailed information about each item. They will include prices, images and any information pertinent to the particular product, as well as any variations such as colour or size, that are available to purchase.

The checkout should ensure that making a final purchase is simple and straightforward. It should be secure, easy to use and will usually include an estimated delivery date as well as a detailed breakdown of costs. The purchase process will usually be simpler for returning customers whose details will be stored on an account.

So, what factors make an e-commerce website effective?

How does it look?

Presentation is key when it comes to an effective e-commerce website. How are your products presented to visitors and does the storefront tempt them in? Is your website visually appealing and of a comparable quality to those of your competitors? Does it look professional and well put together, or does it appear amateur and clunky?

Your website should reflect your well-considered brand identity and should speak to your target audience. The layout should be simple and easy for your visitors to navigate. It should be straightforward to move from looking at a product description to making a purchase. Make sure you provide all of the relevant information that people might need before they decide to make a purchase.

Is it easy to use?

A good e-commerce website is easy to navigate and makes completing a purchase simple. The fewer obstacles and stages you have between looking at the item and completing an order the less likely it will be that they’ll cancel the purchase half-way through.

The more user-friendly your website is the more likely it will be that visitors want to return to browse your products. Increasingly people are primarily accessing the internet via mobile devices so it pays to ensure that your website functions well on smartphones and tablets.

Make sure it’s secure

Security is everything when it comes to e-commerce. People are handing over financial details and if security is compromised it can prove very costly for them. They need to be confident that your site is secure when it comes to online transactions. Make sure you have a number of security protocols in place and keep alert to any new threats to data security.

Your site will also need to include visual signals that reinforce that security message to your customers. Make sure the payment facility is watertight and resilient to hackers as well as malware. If your website is compromised it can be costly not only for the customers but also for your business. You will not only have to fix any security breach; you will also have to deal with the damage it might do to your business reputation.

Don’t cut corners

More than any other type of website, an e-commerce website really is the shop window for your business. Therefore it needs to be well-constructed, easy to navigate, look attractive and be secure. You really can’t afford to cut corners and the better your website the more products you’re likely to sell and more successful your business will be.

So, how do you go about ensuring your e-commerce website is effective?

The experienced team at Dawn Creative can create a bespoke e-commerce website that combines great design with high useability and watertight security. We can create an e-commerce platform that really allows your products to shine.

Contact us today to find out more about what we offer and how we work.

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