The eCommerce revolution: Is your online store up to speed?

Retail is growing up, and you need to as well.

It’s been a few years now since SMEs were first told to take part in the eCommerce revolution. Most businesses offering physical products will have an online presence.

Now, it’s time to step up.

Just as the internet and design entered its “web 2.0” stage, Australian businesses need to face facts. Bigger companies are actually starting to do good things. Myer and David Jones are just two examples. With the advent of companies like Shoes of Prey, and The Iconic, web design in Australia is taking a massive leap.

Whether it’s in high-class photography or just snappy, minimalist web design, smaller businesses really need to step up their game. It’s not enough to just have an online store. You need to make sure that online store is just as good, if not better, than what the bigger companies can offer.

We’ve put together 10 key points for your online retail site. Examine each one carefully, and make sure you’re doing your best.

You don’t want to get left behind:

High quality photography

You can’t get away with just throwing a dodgy photo up on your website anymore. Your photography needs to be high quality, and it needs to accurately show the product you’re selling.

Myer and David Jones have spent a significant amount of money taking pictures of products from every angle. Obviously, smaller businesses don’t have that type of budget, but Mark Scarrott, founder and creative director of Design Identity, says the image is “everything”.

“Have you considered changing or having your products shot professionally?” he says. Scarrott’s business offers photography services, but he says the trend is clear.

“You really need to look at how many angles you can take of a particular product.”

Take a look at some larger online stores with multiple shots of individual products. You get a sense of what you’re buying before you even hand over your cash. Your goal is to make the customer as certain as they can be in order to make a sale. Leave no room for doubt.

Keep those clicks low

Having to click multiple times in order to get to your destination is frustrating. Scarrott says you need to ensure your checkout process is easy to navigate, and, if possible, in as few clicks as possible.

“How many pages does it take your customer to add in their credit card or shipping details? Can you get that done within two pages?”

Another key point, Scarrott says, is that the customer should always know where they are in the payment process. “You need to label your pages,” he warns.

“The first page and then the second page, so the customer always knows where they are and how long it will take to be finished.”

Keep the shopping cart on every page

It seems common sense, but there are still businesses which don’t keep the shopping cart option alive on every page.

If you’re a retail business operating online in 2013, then you need to keep that shopping cart right where the user can see. Ideally, in the top-right hand corner of the page, where most businesses tend to place it. Don’t buck the trend, or mess with consumers’ expectations.

Get your mobile conversion right

You should have a mobile version of your site ready and waiting, there’s no doubt about that. But Reseo chief executive Chris Thomas says you need to go one step further and make sure these sites are actually converting into sales.

And that’s more likely to be on a tablet, than a smartphone, he says.

“If you’ve got a growing group of visitors using mobile devices, you should be able to see that in Google Analytics. On tablets, they should be converting well.”

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