When setting up a basic ecommerce website some essential pages are required: home page, product page, shopping cart and checkout. However an ecommerce website typically requires a few additional pages, features and steps that we have found to be very important for creating a great user experience and high performing ecommerce website.
Here is a quick overview:
- High quality product photography
- Image size and website speed
- Product categorisation and filtering
- Product recommendations
- Category/product range landing pages
High quality product photography means using high quality images that remain clear on zoom. It creates more trust with the customer when purchasing online if they can see all of the details clearly. Being able to see several angles of the product with a clear background helps the customer understand exactly what the product is. In some cases when there are additional parts or pieces it is also important to show everything that is included in the purchase. If it is possible to get photos of the product in action this can be very worthwhile for better explaining everything the product does (e.g. a multi-purpose power drill). Investing in good quality product photography also gives you a library of content for social media marketing.
When it comes to website speed we often find that the biggest bang for your buck is reducing image size. There are many tools for compressing images that have a negligible effect on image quality like https://squoosh.app/. Reducing image size across the entire site can be a tedious task but once done you will get significant improvement to site speed. Additional steps that can be taken to reduce speed are using a suitable caching plugin (if WordPress) or implementing a CDN.
Product organisation and categorisation is important for every ecommerce website but is especially important for sites that have a catalog of at least 100 products. Sites that have 1000 or more products will need to be particularly strategic to ensure that the taxonomy of different product types is intuitive and makes it easier to find what they are looking for and not more difficult. It is easy for product categorisation to either be too specific (e.g. having a category for 3 products) or too general. If categories are too general then users will have to spend time browsing irrelevant products. It is not just about categorisation strategy but also the experience of browsing and filtering through categories. We have found that live category filtering works well to help the customer quickly narrow down what they are looking for.
Product recommendations are sometimes not given much thought but there are lots of opportunities to increase conversion rates and average order value. Thoughtfully selecting what products to recommend to the customer while they are browsing other products or viewing the cart. Some of the product recommendations we have found to be effective:
- Frequently bought together / Also purchased with
Sometimes products will work best when an additional product is sold with them (e.g. a battery charger when purchasing rechargeable batteries). Adding these to recommendations is key for increasing average order value (and ensuring that the customer has everything they need).
- Top Sellers / Best Sellers
This may seem obvious but we have often gone through an ecommerce website redesign and found benefit in simply including a Top Sellers or best sellers product carousel either on the home page or cart page.
Having well designed category landing pages are an effective way to draw people in with a visual page presenting key products, information and lower level categories. It is common to link to these pages from PPC advertising such as google ads. These pages can be more effective than simply linking to a category page with all of the products listed. Sometimes these landing pages might focus on a particular brand or range of products that you sell, you can utilise their existing brand awareness to draw users into your site.
These essential website features and best practices are important to set an ecommerce site up for success. Additional success we’ve seen when working with ecommerce businesses comes from ongoing, continual improvements to their online experience and helping them create meaningful connections with customers by bringing the brand personality into the online experience.
Growing an online business channel is a challenging and rewarding journey. Our team at Ingot enjoys a good challenge and we are keen to partner with you on your ecommerce journey.