The Internet makes it easy to sell goods and services. Businesses can have an online store that can serve customers 24 hours a day, seven days a week, making it very convenient for consumers to buy what they want from anywhere in the world.
It’s relatively straightforward for firms to set up an e-commerce store, with many platforms offering simple ways for people to design their stores and set up things like payment processing and delivery options.
If this is your first time setting up an online store, you’ll have likely come across many platforms and options to consider. But irrespective of whom you use, make sure your chosen solution incorporates the following ten e-commerce essentials:
1. Reliable Platform
While this might seem like an obvious point to make, the e-commerce platform or solution you use should be reliable. But what does reliability mean?
Examples of e-commerce reliability include:
- A web host with near-enough 100% uptime;
- Fast page loading speed for customers and site administrators;
- A simple, common-sense page flow for the customer journey;
- Payment gateways that are always ready to use.
2. Secure Payment Gateways
On the subject of payment gateways, you should ensure that your e-commerce site offers several options for consumers to use. Moreover, each payment gateway should be entirely secure, with no data vulnerability during each financial transaction.
For example, a BigCommerce payment processing gateway should always have the highest levels of TLS encryption, and consumers must be aware that the financial details they enter, such as card numbers, won’t get intercepted by third parties.
3. A Comprehensive Product Catalog
There’s no point in setting up an online store if you’ve only got two or three products and services to sell. Your target audience wants to browse a comprehensive collection of items to buy, and you want to make the most money per transaction.
Put some thought into your product catalog. Sell the products and services your customers are likely to buy, and make it easy for them to find and purchase.
4. Responsive Web Design
Did you know that in 2019, 53% of the world’s Internet users browsed the web from a mobile device, like a smartphone or tablet? Such devices are convenient for consumers, as they can go online in even the most unlikeliest of settings.
That’s why you must ensure your e-commerce store has a responsive design – a layout that automatically adapts to a user’s device type and screen size.
5. TLS Encryption
Most websites you visit have a padlock icon next to their URL in your web browser’s address bar. The padlock denotes you are viewing a website protected by encryption, meaning hackers are unlikely to see the information communicated on that site.
TLS encryption is straightforward to set up with most web hosts, and it’s often available free of charge thanks to certificate providers like Let’s Encrypt. Always protect your online store with an appropriate TLS certificate.
6. Reliable Inventory Management
The last thing you want to happen is for a sale to take place on your website only to discover that you don’t have the items purchased in stock!
That’s why it makes sense to have a reliable inventory management in place that works in harmony with your online and offline operations.
7. Customer Reviews And Ratings
As a responsible business, you must ensure that your customers get the support they deserve and address any issues from their feedback.
One way to make it easy for online customers to leave feedback about the service they received is by inviting them to leave a review or rating.
You can set up such systems on most e-commerce platforms, and you should act on the feedback received to improve your service continually.
8. Visitor Analytics
Google Analytics is a prime example of a solution that helps e-commerce site owners learn more about visitor behavior, such as where they’ve come from, which pages they viewed, and their checkout journey.
9. Premier Customer Support
What happens if a customer wishes to inquire about the things you sell or an order they placed with you? Email might seem like an obvious communication channel to offer, but other solutions exist that you should consider.
Examples include live chat, customer support via Facebook Messenger or WhatsApp, and a secure messaging system built into your site.
10. Simple Backend Administration
Finally, always use an e-commerce platform or solution you and your team will find straightforward to manage.
The sad truth is that some online cart systems aren’t designed with intuitive user interfaces, leaving administrators scratching their heads more often than not!