(Editor's note: As many engaged couples rely on online purchases for wedding items, e-commerce sites are a viable way for entrepreneurs to enter the wedding industry, and for seasoned vendors to expand their services to better meet their clients' needs. With that in mind, we're excited to feature guest contributor and e-commerce professional Igal Sapir of 100Candles.com, as he shares his tips on operating an effective site.)
Whether you make your living selling online, or you’ve considered complementing your services with an online revenue stream, you need to invest time and effort in your e-commerce presence. There is more to it than just a pretty landing page, after all. Make sure you give all aspects of a successful e-commerce site due attention as you develop your own.
Form vs. Function
It is easy to over-focus on aesthetics. We’re in the business of creativity, and we often spend far too many hours on Pinterest focusing on what is pretty and popular. It is critical that an e-commerce site be equally user-friendly. Millennials especially have high expectations of their online experience. They want information yesterday, and demand clear descriptions, easy navigation, and superior function.
That is not to say that looks aren’t important. When designing your e-commerce site, photos should be professional and consistent with your brand. Include a contact page with an email address and phone number where you can be reached. If you have a contact form, include the question “how did you hear about us” so you can effectively track your promotional efforts. Do not, however, make your form too comprehensive; otherwise your leads won’t fill it out. Make it easy to contact you!
Make it Easy to Access
A site that loads quickly is far more successful than a site that requires superhuman patience. Not sure if your site loads quickly for others? You can test yours by visiting https://developers.google.com/speed/pagespeed/insights/. Equally as important is that your site be responsive, as more customers make purchases these days via their phone. Is your site mobile-friendly? Run a test on Google here: https://www.google.com/webmasters/tools/mobile-friendly/.
Providing e-Customer Service
Online, as with in-person exchanges, you must anticipate your buyers’ needs. Answer their questions before they even have a chance to ask them with a strong FAQ page, and complete descriptions and photos of your products.
When they make purchases, they’ll want to track where they are in the process periodically. This is called “breadcrumb navigation” and it is popular on big websites like Amazon. It should be a feature of your site so your customers never get “lost” mid-purchase.
Finally, don’t forget to run an analytical program such as Google Analytics on the back end of your site to track traffic, most visited pages, and origin of your readers. This information is critical to understanding consumer behavior as well as better understanding the return on investment for your promotional efforts.
Above all else, though, give excellent service. There is no substitute for it.
Igal Sapir is the CTO of 100Candles.com, an online market that pairs high quality candles with unmatched customer service. From weddings and birthdays to holiday parties and fundraisers 100Candles.com has enjoyed celebrating life’s biggest moments along with their customers since 2002.