eCommerce Website Standards for Easier Online Commerce
By: Chad Bell
eCommerce Website Standards
Every day millions of people around the world a making purchases online. Since the early 2000’s people have been buying things on the internet. Since then the process has been greatly improved with data and analysis of billions of purchases thus forming a certain set of eCommerce standards. Platforms like Magento and WooCommerce (a WordPress plugin) follow today’s standards perfectly to drive conversions. There is a reason for everything backed up by years of data, not personal opinions.
When a Bright Idea Goes Wrong
Everyone has ideas, but not all ideas are created equal. I’ve heard many times that there are no Bad Ideas. I disagree. For example, you are driving to work one morning and you decide it is a good idea to take a shortcut down a nearby alley (that you have never been down) to save some time. Next thing you know, you are changing a flat tire in the rain because you didn’t know there was a giant pothole in the middle of the alley. Now you know that was in fact a bad idea because you have the knowledge to support it.
The same thing holds true for eCommerce websites. Bright new ideas are risky unless you have the knowledge (in the form of hard data) to back up assumptions about consumer behavior. Trying to re-invent processes that have been ingrained in human behavior can be a costly mistake or in some cases a death sentence to a business. Ask JC Penny how its “Brand New Strategy” worked out for them. Being different for the sake of being different is a gamble that rarely pays off (i.e. Betting the house).
The Path To Purchase
Amazon is arguably the most successful eCommerce website of all time. The key factor to its success is a clear path to purchase, and a well-structured layout. Magento and WooCommerce follow this same structure. Let’s take look at the basic process:
1. Customer lands on home page where they are shown a series of featured products and have a choice to either search for a particular product, or they select from a category of products.
2. Customer moves on to a category listing of products where they select a product to research or purchase.
3. Customer lands on an individual product page where they can learn more about the product or add the product to their cart.
4. Customer lands on their cart where they can review their quantities or go back and select more products.
5. Customer moves on to complete billing and shipping information.
6. Customer moves on their merry way, and comes back to see you when they need more of what you sell.
eCommerce Made Easier
The standard product information that consumers expect to find on an eCommerce website are category, price, currency, discounts, payment information and shipping information. The point for eCommerce website owners is to simplify the shopping experience and the path to purchase. Not complicate it with bells and whistles that make the experience more unique. This is especially true for shop owners selling online for the first time. Without any historical data to support assumptions about consumer behavior it is smarter to apply the less is more approach to the entire eCommerce experience.
There is an added bonus to the simplified standard approach to eCommerce, it reduces the work required to build the website and ultimately lowers costs. So, if you are an online retailer and want to increase conversions and lower your eCommerce website development costs follow a standard approach to online commerce.