best practices-usability visibility conversion chart

10 Best Practices to Improve Your E-Commerce Website

It’s projected that U.S. shoppers will spend $252 billion dollars online by the end of 2013. Has your company taken the leap into becoming an online retailer?

Everyday a consumer’s experience with the marketplace becomes more mobile, social and visual, which helps to improve the process for customers and complicate the process for business owners trying to keep up with latest developments in e-commerce as they grow their business.

There are many features that should be incorporate in your e-commerce website, but it is important to focus your efforts in the beginning to ensure you can scale your business online to add more features in the future.

Here are ten best practices for improving your e-commerce website and taking your business to a new level:

Increased Usability

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1. Use Beautiful Photography for Your Products and Services

It may seem like a no-brainer, but you would be surprised by the amount of companies that don’t have appealing images of their products and services. Having the right images of your offerings could be the difference between someone becoming a customer and deciding to move on to another website.

Having beautiful photography doesn’t mean you need to hire a really expensive photographer, but it does mean a time investment in capturing the right photos of your various products or services to help incite people to look through your offerings and buy.

Product photos should give a high level view of a product, as well as a close up detail shot, as well as multiple different angles of the item to ensure a person can see as much of it as possible since they are shopping online. Try to create a consistent look and feel across all the photography used on your e-commerce website to help make the experience of browsing and shopping more enjoyable.

2. Merchandize Your Products and Services

Merchandising matters because it affects ⅔ of all sales. Along the same lines of keeping things consistent, merchandizing the different categories of products and services on your website can be quite helpful for the overall experience with your company online. Group your products and services in categories based on how your products are used and what other products are most often used with them. For instance, if you are a clothing retailer then it would be prudent to group sandals and shoes together, but keep pants and stockings in a category of their own.

In the end, merchandising is all about designing an enjoyable experience for you customers to ensure that your website is usable for their shopping needs. Make sure all the relevant information about your products and services is eye-level in every category and that you’re never making your customers search for the information they need to make an informed decision about your product.

3. Make Your Website Easy to Navigate

Ensure that the structure of your website is organized in such a way that it is both easy for visitors to browse and easy for search engines to understand. The point of having a website that is organized neatly is to make sure it is always clear where your visitors are on the website, it is easy for visitors to find what they are looking for and that it is easy to see what their other options are for related products or services. Make sure visitors have the option of taking many different actions with the persuasion of strong calls to action.

Submitting a sitemap of your existing structure can help the search engines better map out how your website is organized. This is important in terms of visibility, since usability is one of the many factors the major search engines take into consideration when ranking the quality of a website. Organize your website into different high level categories and then from there, into smaller sub categories that fit within each larger category of your website.

4. Deliver One of a Kind Customer Service

Having world class customer service can help blow your competition out of the water with your customer base and improve each visitor’s experience with your website. It is hard to stand out from the competition online today since there are many options for consumers to choose from, but making the experience with your company enjoyable can help your business stand out online.

When it comes to customer service, think outside the box and look into how you can improve the usability of your website by helping your customers throughout every part of the sales funnel. Whether it is 24/7 e-mail and phone support or using a chat service like LivePerson or BoldChat to directly chat with your customers if they need any advice or have any questions as they shop, your business must provide support before, during, and after it is needed to make customers happy. The more helpful your team is to your customers and the more information your customer base is empowered with, the more likely your customers will be happy with your company and purchase your offerings over others.

Increased Visibility

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5. Optimize Your Website for Search Engines

The process of driving more traffic to your website from the search engines is known as search engine optimization. The search engines work to help people find the information they are looking for on the web by matching their searches with the most quality results. The best way to approach SEO for your e-commerce store is to ensure that your website structure is usable, you’re constantly creating content for your blog, and that you’re correctly naming the pages of your website with accurate keyword rich titles and descriptions that work for both the user and the search engines.

For example, if you sell running shoes you would want your products to rank highly for keywords related to running shoes in Google results. The best thing a business can do when it comes to optimizing their website for search engines is to continually create original and exciting content for your audience. For this example, writing articles about your latest running shoes or the industry of running shoes could help increase your visibility in the search engines as well as educate your customers about this topic and related keywords.

6. Use Pay Per Click Advertising as a Balance to Search Engine Optimization

Pay per click advertising is similar to search engine optimization except it is paid ads in the search engines as opposed to organic listings. Pay per click advertising is present at the top of the search results for different groups of keywords that advertisers specify at the beginning of a campaign.

For many companies, pay per click advertising is a complement to their SEO efforts that reap results in the long-term, while PPC can return results in the short-term since they are paid for. SEO can be best described as an oven, since it heats up overtime and takes awhile to cool down. PPC is more like a microwave that heats up quickly and cools down quickly. When spending on PPC your ads turn on immediately, but they turn off just as quickly when the campaign is complete, losing all your company’s rankings for particular keywords that were paid for through PPC. Decide how to properly balance your SEO and PPC activities to get the most visibility and best value for your efforts.

7. Use Social Media Marketing to Talk with People and Share Your Best Content

Social media is obviously an effective way to get the attention of an audience by sharing quality content and having interactive conversations. At times social media can be extremely overwhelming for many business owners due to the number of channels to pay attention to and the constant updates on how to use each channel properly.

If you are struggling with social media, focus on three key areas: promotion, customer service, and measurement. Use major social networks like LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook to promote your best content, products, and services a few times a week on each channel. Don’t feel pressured to post to each channel more than a few times per week due to any limitations in time, spend, or man power. Use social media to offer support to your customers and listen to what they have to say. It is not enough to share your content, but also interact with the content your audience is sharing about you. Lastly, look to measure your social media efforts to see what is working for your business and what isn’t on each social platform.

8. Build a List Loyal of Customers Using E-mail Marketing

Give value to visitors and existing customers that are exclusive to your company’s e-mail list to help incite sign ups. Begin by offering exclusive specials, sales, discounts, and content to e-mail subscribers that can’t be found on your other marketing channels. It is important to incorporate a wide-range of messaging with your e-mails to give a healthy variety of promotions, product updates, news, industry content, and more.

Having a strong e-mail list is important for the continued growth of your business because your e-mail list is the most likely channel to convert subscribers into customers. Also the direct line of communication, a person’s inbox, is a powerful way of building a strong connection with your customer base that can help lead to long-term customer retention.

Increased Conversions

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9. Master A/B Testing to Find Out What Works Best on Your Website

A/B testing is the process of testing two different versions of the same web page to see which features are the most appealing to your web visitors. Frequently test your website’s landing pages, home pages, and different features to see what your visitors are clicking on, what is leading to more conversions, and what is causing visitors to not make it through the sales funnel.

Start by testing one variable at a time, while keeping everything else completely consistent to determine if there is an actionable difference with one variable over another. Once you’ve decided on what feature to test, define what goals are a sign of success with this round of testing. It is most common to test conversions or click-through rates during A/B testing, be sure to stick with one metric for determining success. Often businesses design and craft their websites based off of what they think their customers want to see, when in actuality it’s best to see what resonates with their visitors through their behavior you’ve analyzed through A/B testing.

10. Focus on the Right Copy

The copy used throughout your website must reflect your company’s voice, as well as encourage visitors to take action to help drive sales. Highly converting copy reflects the voice and tone of your brand, highlights the benefits and unique features of your content, products and services, while encouraging the reader to take an action. To ensure your business has a cohesive approach to copy, incorporate the same voice and tone on your landing pages, product pages, social media posts, e-mail marketing, and anywhere else you’re consistently engaging with your audience.

Use A/B testing extensively to understand what copy is working best with visitors across your website. Social media is also an effective way to test what copy about your business is sitting well with others by seeing what posts drive engagement and what posts do not with or without the use of certain copy. Last but not least, always ask yourself if your copy is offering a clear and valuable message to your audience.

What tips and tricks have you utilized to make sure your website is usable, visible and converting traffic into paying customers? Please share your favorite e-commerce tips in the comments below.


  • Prashant Chambakara

    Good article Brian. Thanks for sharing it. Totally agreed to all your points. Good content, easy navigation, A/B testing, etc. are quiet common these days. What really matters in the website visibility. People love to see the thinks instead of reading things. I’ve written my experience on similar topic and hope it can be a further read for this. Please check the post here – http://www.cygnet-infotech.com/is-your-ecommerce-website-testing-ticking-all-the-right-boxes

    • http://www.brianhonigman.com/ Brian Honigman

      Awesome, glad we are on the same page. I will definitely check out your post as well. Thanks for reading and sharing.

  • BroussardK

    Great article!! I very much agree with the fact that beautiful photography is a HUGE must! The products that I sell on my website – are products that get drop shipped from retailers that I have partnered with…. Since I never physically have the products that I sell to my customers on hand, I kind of have to rely solely on the pics that I am supplied with from the retailer… Which are typically just 1 (sometimes 2) stock photos that I upload to my site…. Do you have any ideas about how I can make this better?? Thanks for your time – and for the great article!! 🙂

    • http://www.brianhonigman.com/ Brian Honigman

      Hello, sorry for the late response. Well, are your products sold anywhere else or just sold to you? If they exist elsewhere online then there’s an opportunity to use their pictures of the products instead — with permission of course. You could also work with your retailer partners to create better visuals of your products as well. I hope that helps lead you in the right direction.

  • http://www.krishtechnolabs.com/ Krish TechnoLabs

    Best customers find you, say, from organic search That persons are most valuable to your business.

    • http://www.brianhonigman.com/ Brian Honigman

      Yes, since they are genuinely interested in your unique offerings as opposed to having to sell them. Thanks for the comment and reading!

  • ave infosys

    Thanks for sharing your info this is very useful information,this is very helpful………

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  • Danish

    Thanks for sharing.. Quite valuable:)

    • http://www.brianhonigman.com/ Brian Honigman

      No problem, thanks for reading!

  • http://www.ndslindia.com/ Ecommerce Services India

    Great article!

    • http://www.brianhonigman.com/ Brian Honigman

      Thanks!

  • Sush Jadoun

    i agree its a beautiful article with image, these practices are very beneficial for all small and big business.

    • http://www.brianhonigman.com/ Brian Honigman

      Thanks for reading, much appreciated!

  • Sush Jadoun

    i have so many article like this , could i share with you about e-commerce best practices.

  • http://www.bluehorse.in/ Bluehorse Software

    Nice article you are sharing, and i totally agreed with your points, these will really helps for the success of any online portal….everyone should follow these for best results of their online portal….
    Thanks
    eCommerce development company
    http://www.bluehorse.in

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  • Lebron Amomo

    My nigga, my nigga! Waddup my nigga?

  • Bond Vivek

    Great article!! Thank you soo much for this article, Really useful to me, Once again thank you so much Mr.Brian

    • http://www.brianhonigman.com/ Brian Honigman

      You are very welcome!

  • ckcjam

    I would like to see some discussion on the conversion percentage of a pop-up credit card check out as compared to in-line processing. any links or thoughts?

  • Joana Magee

    I must say the blog post is just useful for everyone else
    reading it because the information and knowledge it contains is very important.
    I like the post! Excellent job! Keep sharing such valuable information through
    your blogs.

    magento webshop

  • http://www.thefas-solutions.com/ Isabella

    Constantly Improving and updating e-commerce website is necessary to be in the e-commerce business.Nice article. impressive way of description.

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    StoreHippo is a great platform to create your ecommerce store.The process is very simple and the retailers get a smooth ride in to the online world.With beautiful designs,mobile apps,mobile themes,integration with leading payment and logistics providers,low cost subscription plans,StoreHippo is the way to go!

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  • Chitti Rajesh Sadi

    Nice article, Thanks for Sharing these are will improve the E Comm site performance w.r.t all vertices

    Chitti
    SEO & SMM
    http://www.mobodexter.com

  • anjali

    Thanks for this article,i like this photographic presentation.

  • http://www.me-retailsolutions.com/ Gordan Mark

    Thanks for this article, Impressive way of description. Your tips are exceptionally valuable and it drives you in the right direction.

  • http://outreachplatform.com Outreach Platform

    Great insight Brian! Would you agree that these businesses also need to work towards making their employees and certain repeat users their social media advocates? One of the biggest trend we are entering into 2016 with is that more and more companies will leverage networks of these individuals. I think any company big or small, should employ a program where they can ask their admirers to help spread good word.

  • http://www.jaintechnosoft.com/ Jaintechnosoft

    how can i get the new templates and codings for ecommerce websites & how can install SEO plugins for Ecommerce site.

  • IMT

    Nice article,

    In 2016, We will see responsive ecommerce store plus companion mobile app to boost profits and connect to potential buyers. We will also see Augmented Reality coming to picture to change the entire buying experience to purchase through smartphone. Please browse this ecommerce solution which can help any retailers to increase sales and profits – http://innomindtech.com/ecommerce-services/

  • Romain Caisse

    Great article, thanks! I appreciate it when people share specific hints readers can implement in real life.I found an interesting article regarding ecommerce here you can find it https://goo.gl/WJGyOo

  • Sangeetha Visa

    really very useful points sir ,but i have a doubt how to maitain the 10 ways sir.

  • JumpStart Dev Team

    great read. i think im doing everything i can for this client http://jumpstartcourses.com/ time to wait and see!

  • Stutti Fashion

    Hi BRIAN HONIGMAN
    i have linked my E-commerce website please visit this and share some suggestions to me, because i have done all things which is in your article but not getting more traffic.
    http://www.stuttifashion.com

  • http://dealfuel.com Swati Gole

    Nice post. It really helped me understand the importance of website design

  • Sibusiso maphanga

    afternoon everyone. Please help, how can search engine optimisation help to ensure that the e-commerce site is listed as high as possible in search results?

  • http://www.clippingpathspecialist.com/image-masking/ Jordan

    The first and most important thing is to make the website user friendly, if the visitors or customers dont find it easy to navigate according their needs then you are doing it wrong. I always prefer to have the simpler design, it is not needed to add extra graphic thing in design rather make it so much upfront where people will directly find what they are searching for.

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