Successful online stores would be a dream of every business. But is it hard to create a website with massive traffic, high conversion rate, and top ranking on Alexa?
This blog post is written 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’s make 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 own 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 super easy to set up but it has weak SEO and not customizable checkout. Meanwhile, Magento has rich and robust features with strong SEO but requiring development skills.
Among many e-commerce platforms, Magento seems to be the dominant of the famous brand websites (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 very important component is the site navigation bar. Without it, the user cannot find themselves your blog, signup page, product listing, or contact information.
All of the navigation structures from successful e-stores allows the user 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 clear 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 definitely the place for them.
The banners are non-zoomable and will lead the customers to the targeted page. Thus, this allows viewers to directly navigate to the product they need. 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 most essential things that online store owners need to spend pay attention to on the category page is product sorting and filtering.
While the sorting function allows the customers to change the order of products 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 specific color/ 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 easier for the customer to have a great shopping experience.
If you apply various photography styles for the products in the catalog page, it’s likely that your customers will 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 in order 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 the contributor to the success of online stores. If the customers visit the product page which means they intended to buy. Then, our mission is to bring the customer to the checkout page.
The three main components that must be 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 colors 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 in detail. 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 almost never 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 eliminate 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 simple and quick 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 territory that the brand is in, they can provide the shipping and payment methods that fit with the customers.
Guest checkout gives the visitors complete the transaction without logging into an account or save 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 bad 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 details of the item.
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 images on your store are large, you should optimize 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, can 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, slow websites will lose orders to fast websites.
According to Google, 47% of the 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 of the 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 already figure out what’s make a website to be one of the most successful online stores.
We are confident to provide the best e-commerce website development services. What are you waiting for? Let’s contact us (firstname.lastname@example.org) to build an inspiring eCommerce store, now!