As the country has locked itself in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic – and physical retail stores have felt the repercussions – 85,000 businesses have taken advantage of online opportunities by building new websites. However, building a new e-commerce website doesn’t instantly attract customers like brick-and-mortar stores get traffic from Main Street.
About the Author
Rich Kenwrick, Website Specialist at LCN.
Successful websites face similar sales and marketing challenges as their traditional competitors, as well as user experience, security, and functionality.
So what are the main considerations for those looking to reap the rewards of a new ecommerce website?
Choose a platform
Ecommerce websites are naturally more complex than blogs or news platforms. Users should be able to access product descriptions, inventory details and images, interact with products, and make payments. And it all has to be done in a secure and intuitive way.
It is therefore essential that companies invest in a platform that incorporates this functionality. For some it means creating a new content management system (CMS) with a team of web developers, while for others it means integrating an e-commerce platform -box.
Either way, businesses must first understand how customers interact with their brand and website at every stage of their buying journey and how they can respond to it.
Another consideration is what other commerce channels the company operates on – like Amazon or social media pages – and what ecommerce platforms integrate them effortlessly with the website? Is there any way to personalize the payment experience, and if so, how easy does the platform make it? How easy is it to customize and modify prices, sales and discounts?
Not answering these questions at the research stage puts thousands of people at risk and leaves businesses open to investing in the wrong platform and having to correct costly mistakes.
Once this feature checklist is complete, businesses can start comparing popular platforms like Shopify, Magento, and LCN’s online store.
For small businesses, these platforms provide the responsiveness and technical support to successfully handle startup issues. However, for established online retailers looking to migrate to a new website, the added costs of building a CMS are usually outweighed by the benefits of upgrading their website with custom apps and add-ons.
An effortless experience
Unfortunately for online businesses, this is not enough to attract customers. To convert and retain these leads, the website experience needs to be simple, intuitive, and secure.
Indeed, it takes less than a second for users to form an opinion on a website. If they have design issues, can’t find the information they’re looking for, or have concerns about the security of their data, they won’t hesitate to go to a competitor.
Modern consumers don’t want to work for their content and demand that their online shopping experience be effortless.
First, businesses need to consider website design and content. Websites should be natural for the user to navigate, with full service and product pages, natural and helpful calls to action, and intuitive checkout processes.
Using a website builder tool takes the guesswork out of meeting these user needs, providing proven page designs – from blogs to product pages – that are fast, responsive, and flexible across devices.
Users should then be able to pay in a way that is convenient for them. This means offering multiple payment gateway integrations – including third-party apps like Amazon Pay and Klarna – for added flexibility and convenience.
Those looking for ecommerce platforms, like Shopify, should check integration with major payment platforms and third-party apps before committing to them.
Securing user data
Online consumers are increasingly worried about their data when making payments, especially on newer websites. A recent report even suggests that three-quarters of businesses have noticed a change in consumer behavior when paying online, with many actively seeking the most secure method.
However, the risks extend beyond the consumer, to businesses as well. Studies suggest that 44% of consumers would stop spending with a brand after a security breach, so it pays to be proactive when it comes to website security.
In addition to phishing scams and common malware, there are a growing number of cyber attacks that directly target online checkouts.
For example, e-skimming attacks target payment pages with a code string to steal payment data. SQL injections allow attackers to interfere with requests from applications to retrieve confidential data such as card details. Cross-Site Scripting (XSS) similarly attacks vulnerable websites with malicious code to compromise the interactions of other users.
Fortunately, integrating security into a new website is generally safer and more cost-effective than taking a reactive approach, especially with the looming threats of reputational damage and heavy fines for non-compliance. data protection regulations.
Cyber security should be a key consideration at every stage of website design. This should include adding an SSL certificate to new website domains to encrypt data sent between user and host. Additionally, the application for a Web Application Firewall (WAF) protects websites against XXS and SQL injections by monitoring, filtering and blocking any suspicious interactions with the website.