Successful online stores would be a dream of every business. But is it hard to create a website with massive traffic, a high conversion rate, and a high rank on Alexa?
This blog post is based on the survey result from 100 popular eCommerce websites in the US, the UK, Ireland, Canada, and Australia. The aim is to point out the common characteristics of eminent e-businesses.
If you intend to build an eCommerce website or upgrade your existing website, you can find out what makes an online store flourishing and how to apply it to your own business.
Let’s get the ball rolling!
1. Website Platform
There are a lot of eCommerce platforms available in the market. Each platform has its strengths and weaknesses.
Here are the four most popular platforms that we found as the foundations for the top eCommerce websites: Magento, Shopify, WooCommerce, and BigCommerce.
Based on your purpose, you can choose the platform that fits with you. For example, Shopify is easy to set up, but it has weak SEO and not customizable checkout. Meanwhile, Magento has rich and robust features with strong SEO but requires development skills.
Among many e-commerce platforms, Magento seems to be the dominant famous brand website (e.g., Christian Louboutin, Moschino, Chopard, Harvey Nichols, etc.). It’s because Magento is the most scalable, powerful, and flexible one.
2. Web Homepage
The homepage is considered to be the face of a website. Moreover, it also decides whether customers stay on the website or not. Here are some factors that we should concentrate on.
Site navigation/ search
The first and critical component is the site navigation bar. Without it, users cannot find your blog, signup page, product listing, or contact information.
All navigation structures from successful e-stores allow users to find what they are looking for within 3 clicks.
No less important is the site search box. This is the fastest way for people to find exactly what they want. A straightforward search box will make the customers feel comfortable.
Besides, best-selling items/blocks are commonly put on the homepage. The purpose of doing this is to create customer purchase momentum. This means that instead of buying the product in their mind, people will buy some more “bestseller”.
As we know that the homepage of a website is a place for the brands to shout out to customers what is their value proposition, what they will bring to the customer, or what value people will earn when using their products. Hence, banners are the place for them.
The banners are non-zoomable and will lead the customers to the targeted page. Thus, this allows viewers to navigate to the product they need directly. For example, people can be navigated by clicking on the “Shop It Now”, “Discover”, or “Explore” buttons.
Furthermore, banners can be the place to promote a new product/ collection or probably a promotion.
3. Catalog Page
The catalog page is a page that lists out a collection of products. The products can be formatted as a list or grid and can be sorted and filtered.
Product sorting & filtering
One of the essential things that online store owners need to pay attention to on the category page is product sorting and filtering.
While the sorting function allows the customers to change the order of product listing according to product name/ price/ popularity, the filtering options give users the ability to reduce the number of items in the list by selecting a specific colour/ material/ price range…
Looking at the best eCommerce websites, mostly we will see that they both offer category-specific filterings and allow the buyers to filter by the product attributes displayed in the list item.
The more precise your sorting and filter is, the more accessible for the customer to have a great shopping experience.
If you apply various photography styles for the products on the catalogue page, your customers will likely think less of your brand.
From our observation, the images in the same category should use the same background and be taken from the same angle to create a professional look.
Take a look at this example from the Urbanista store. As you see, the consistency in the image display brings about a cohesive look for their collection.
4. Product Page
Besides the homepage and the category page, the product page is also a contributor to the success of online stores. If the customers visit the product page which means they intend to buy. Then, our mission is to bring the customer to the checkout page.
The three main components included in the product page are product title & description, up-sell & cross-sell blocks, and product reviews.
Product title, description
Product titles and descriptions provide purchasers with precise information about the product. The title should let the customer know exactly what it is. For example, you can take reference in the photo below:
Right under the product title, it should be the available colours for that product. Also, the size options and size guide should be here. And the foremost is the “add to cart” button to call the visitor to take action.
But what if the visitor looks for more details? We will have a dropdown product. And it will include all the specific information like material, product measurement, etc.
Up-sell, cross-sell blocks
On the one hand, up-sell is an action in encouraging customers to buy a higher-end product than the chosen one. On the other hand, cross-selling invites customers to buy a complementary/related product.
Today savvy consumers rarely buy a product without knowing how it’s going to work for them. The more reviews the store shows, the more confident a buyer will be when making their purchases.
Therefore, none of the famed eCommerce stores eliminates the Product review sections on their website.
5. Checkout Page
One-step checkout/ one-page checkout is an approach in which the entire checkout process is completed using a single form on one page. Most of the online stores are now using one-step checkout because of its convenience. It allows the customers to complete the checkout process as quick and straightforward as possible.
Multiple shipping & payment methods
Besides the one-step checkout, shipping & payment methods are the most concerning of successful online stores. Based on the brand’s territory, they can provide the shipping and payment methods that fit with the customers.
Guest checkout lets visitors complete the transaction without logging into an account or saving any information in the database. Moreover, after finishing the guest checkout, online stores would invite visitors to sign up.
6. Images and Images
Poor quality imagery will make wrong impressions on the buyers and finally damage the brand reputation. Therefore, all of the best online shopping sites pay heed to the images.
It’s common for online stores to show small thumbnail images on their homepage or category pages. However, the images shown on the product detail page are often much larger to reveal all the item’s details.
In other words, depending on the page positions that you can select proper image sizes.
Image file size
It’s worth noting that there is a difference between the image size (the dimensions of the image, e.g., 300×300) and the image file size (the amount of space to store the image on the web server, e.g., 2MB).
Besides the image size, the leading eCommerce websites always focus on the associated file size to minimize the load time. More specifically, the smaller the file size, the less time it takes to load the image.
From our survey, most of the on-site images should be less than 1 MB in size. If the current photos on your store are large, you should optimize them before uploading them on the site.
Since the user devices can vary in size, it would be great if your images, especially on the product detail pages, could be enlarged/ zoomable.
7. Loading Speed
The last but the most critical factor that contributes to the success of online stores is loading speed. Put it simply, and slow websites will lose orders to fast websites.
According to Google, 47% of visitors expect a website to load in less than 3 seconds. And 40% of them will leave a website if it takes more to load. Hence, most successful eCommerce businesses try to optimize their website speed to only 1-3 seconds.
Furthermore, we found that many online shopping sites now are applying Progressive Web App (PWA) technology to make a breakthrough in performance and speed.
So, How To Create Flourishing Online Stores?
After reading this post, you might have already figured out what makes a website one of the most successful online stores.