The Do’s & Don’t’s of Ecommerce

Written by Jon on 2nd February 2016

The great thing about the internet is if you are looking for advice and guidance before implementing anything new into your ecommerce store i.e. new website or new feature, then the likelihood is that someone has already tried it before and either failed or succeeded or a little of both and are only too happy to share their experiences.

With that in mind, and with over 7 years of experience in building ecommerce websites (prior to building neatly), we thought we’d put together a list of some of the biggest do’s (and don’ts) that we have seen over the years.

Do’s of Ecommerce

  1. Spent time on how your website will work, flow and present itself to your customers.  Professional images, well written product descriptions, and carefully thought about categorisation are key to a successful website.
  1. Ensure your website is secure and that you inform customers of this. Not having a secure website is inexcusable in today’s climate and could not only cost you customers but potentially your business.
Yeah, I know, another Amazon screenshot – but these guys are just good!
  1. Invest in site search. Having a search bar is great, but displaying irrelevant items when searching for something, not so good.  Optimized search results provide the user with what they are looking for with minimal amount of effort and without trawling pages of products.  Site search is becoming more and more popular and should not be ignored.
  1. Be a pioneer in customer service. In this crowded online world it can be difficult to separate yourself from the crowd and strong customer service values that are clearly communicated on site and also implemented within your service can be a great way to differentiate yourself from your competitors. While price will always play a part in the customer purchase decision it is not always the deciding factor and more importantly customer want to know they will be looked after once purchased.
  1. Have a good 404 page. Broken links will happen, as will incorrectly copied links from third parties; the important thing is not to lose them on a poorly thought out 404 page but to keep them on your website.  Your 404 page could include suggested pages, a search bar perhaps even quick links to your most popular categories.
Modcloth‘s useful yet entertaining 404 page

Don’ts of Ecommerce

  1. Don’t hide anything from your customers! This could be additional costs, excessive shipping costs; anything that could put the customer off purchasing.  You should be as transparent as possible with your customers.
  1. Don’t use your smartphone to take your product images. I have no doubt it has lots of megapixels and effects to update your Instagram or Facebook page but they are unlikely to look very good on your website and if a customer cannot clearly see your product or service offering, it’s unlikely they will purchase from you.  It is well worth spending time on your images; as they say a picture tells a thousand words……
  1. Don’t skimp on cheap hosting. This doesn’t mean you have to choose the most expensive option but to carefully research what you get for your money. You should also ensure the service you have paid for will meet your business needs and scale for future requirements.  Just remember, no one likes a slow website!
Well-written & unique product descriptions from Natural History Museum. Who doesn’t want to cuddle this ‘big old softie’?!
  1. Don’t copy text or content from your suppliers or even competitors. Duplicate or thin content will do you no favours; in fact it won’t do anything for you at all, except perhaps get you demoted in the search rankings.  Product descriptions don’t have to be War & Peace but they should be original to yourself.
  1. Don’t ignore the data. You will (should) have Google Analytics setup on your website, and this provides you with a whole host of information about your website, the people who are visiting you and what they are doing when on the site.  This data is invaluable an should be utilised as much as possible.  If you’re confused about with website metrics you should be tracking, check out one of our earlier posts.