How to Create an E-Commerce Website That Sells

Contributed content / By Tanner Rankin / 14 January 2019

If you want a website that looks good, gets seen by customers, and sells, don’t install template themes or hire a standard website designer. Use these steps, instead, to create an effective e-commerce site.

Creating a beautiful website that your customers can easily find and navigate through is challenging.

Luckily, making a great site doesn’t have to be so difficult because I’m going to talk about how you can have an impressive UX design, increased visibility, and a higher lead-to-sales conversion on your website.   

As a business owner and an e-commerce consultant of 10 years, I’ve experienced and witnessed the difficulties of creating an effective website.

 
Most e-commerce websites fail because the design looks great, but no one ever sees the site. Further, if the site is seen, it can be difficult to convert customers to sales.  

As an e-commerce website designer, I’m going to tell you a secret. It’s not hard to make a beautiful site. 

It is, however, hard to make a site that has high visibility and converts customers.  

You’re going to be able to easily make crucial decisions for your e-commerce business by learning:

  1. Why the most beautiful sites aren’t always the best at gaining customers
  2. Why you shouldn’t copy big brand sites
  3. What to look for in a website designer

Why the Most Beautiful Sites Aren’t Always the Best at Gaining Customers

Looking through a web designer’s portfolio can be overwhelming and distract from the goal of your site, which is to sell a product.

Web Designer's Portfolio
Source

Sleek images and interesting designs may attract attention, but they don’t always succeed at sales. 

Unless you’re treating your website as an online billboard, the goals of an e-commerce website are as follows:

  1. Convert visitors into paying customers.
  2. Attract new customers by ranking for buyer-intent keywords.
  3. Provide a great user experience by being fast and easy-to-use.

These goals will help your site become profitable.

Picture this: You’ve paid the invoice to your website designer, and you’re running Google Shopping Ads and Facebook Ads and building affiliate relationships, but no one is buying. Why? What do you do about it?

The diagnosis of this problem requires a conversion rate optimization expert. 

A conversion rate optimization specialist studies your site metrics, analyzes why your site is working as such, and implements changes based on what they see to fix the problem.  

Ideally, your business should consider conversion rate optimization from the beginning of building the site. Still, you need to make changes to the site throughout time to improve and better satisfy your customers. 

A static site will not be successful because your marketing campaigns, sales messages, and customers will change. 

In addition, do not complicate your site with extra features and unnecessary images. The design should not hamper website speed. If your website is slow, people will leave.

If people leave, Google will decrease your rank on searches, and your traffic will fall. Sales then drop as well. 

Conversion rate optimization and search engine optimization can have significant effects on your business. 

Why You Shouldn’t Copy Big Brand Sites

You study successful sites by large companies and decide you want a site just like theirs. You hire a web designer to create a website that imitates a big box brand’s platform, and then you wait to see your sales roll in. People, however, still aren’t buying.

What happened?

The answer is trust. 

Buyer risk looms large when purchasing online. Many customers have purchased from brands they don’t know and never received the right product.

When customers see your ad or search result on Google and check out your site, they’re thinking about the potential risks.   

Meanwhile, the big box brands that you’re imitating are seen on Super Bowl commercials and the sides of buses and talked about by major celebrities. Customers trust them.

You have to try significantly harder than a big box brand to win a customer. Use these tools to gain trust and convert customers:

  • Trust badges: Trust badges specifically call out key trust factors, handle objections, and note competitive advantages.
  • Sales copy techniques: These techniques focus on benefit-driven sales copy over features. Using sales copy prioritizes what your product does for your customer instead of what it’s made out of or the latest tech.
  • Color psychology techniques: These techniques ask if your website and brand send the right messages to your customers through the appropriate use of color. Do you send warning signs or convey trust?

Below is an example of how one organization instills trust in its customers:

Lupus Health Shop Menu
Source

Lupus Health Shop eliminates perceived buyer risk by effectively leveraging trust badges on its pages. For example, the site uses badges, which say:

  • "Proudly based in the USA": lets customers know that because they are located in the USA, their products will arrive quickly
  • "Strive to ship in 1 business day": lets customers know their products will be shipped right away
  • "Best price possible commitment": lets the customer know that the business offers the best price possible
  • "We prioritize customer service": assures customers that service is the top priority
  • "100% handpicked trusted brands": reminds customers that the products they find will be top quality because they were selected carefully by the retailer 
  • "Committed to fresh inventory": reassures customers that they will receive fresh inventory that is not expired

Make sure the website you build has these kinds of assurances regarding quality and service. Creating a beautiful site does not ensure sales.

You have to fight for each sale with the design, content, and efficiency of your site. 

What to Look for in a Website Designer

Certain web designers specialize in creating beautiful sites, while others concentrate on improving SEO. As well, certain web experts prioritize data-driven design where they look at your analytics and explain what color your call-to-action buttons should be or what steps are wasted in your customer flow. 

You actually want a combination of all of these skills. You want someone who can execute these requests and answer questions each month, such as:

  • “Why aren’t people checking out?”
  • “Why is no one coming to our site?”
  • “What page are people leaving on?”

After listening to your questions, a good web development partner should offer solutions and execute them. 

Even better? Your web design partner can monitor your site and make changes to it without you asking.

You’re passionate about what you do and you know more about it than anyone else and that’s what you like doing. You don’t want to worry, “Is my website doing what it should be?”

You want to hire someone who can take care of your site for you and add significant value that won’t cost you later.

Don’t Set Up Your Site and Then Forget About It

Your website isn’t “just a website” or an “online brochure.” It’s the most important sales tool you have and the bottom of your sales funnel, where you collect money. 

You’re spending important marketing and advertising dollars to increase traffic to your site, and the amount will change over time just as your consumers will.  

Make sure you have a mechanism in place to convert customers on your site. 

1
owner