A Thorough Checklist for E-Commerce Websites: No.1: Site-Wide Checks

04 Sep

When you are creating a website, there are a few things you need to make sure are there. These things take the perspective of the consumer into consideration, pay heed to what bigger e-commerce businesses have done after resourceful research, and finally look at what really is going on by using analytics and feedback from the site.

In this blog series, we take you from the general site-wide checks to individual page-wise checks that you need to do to set-up a good foundation for the website and for further digital marketing efforts, without falling into the traps of common mistakes and oversights.

Here is an elementary checklist for the entire website.

The Website Overall

  • The website should be responsive and easy to navigate on all devices – desktops, smartphones, tablets. Layouts should change depending on the device. The page loading time and manoeuvring through the site should be effective and quick or visitors are definitely going to drop off.
  • Visitors may be reaching your site through a search engine and won’t necessarily land on your home page. Make the navigation easy and the breadcrumbs consistent by using common headings or icons that are instantly familiar.
  • Put the search box in an obvious location. Add predictive or suggestive search.
  • Making your contact information visible on all pages (instead of only on the contact us page) reduces buyer anxiety.
  • Let the cart/trolley be visible on all pages, with a hover set-up that includes product thumbnails. At a glance this lets buyers know what they picked-up.
  • Customers feel more confident when you employ a forthright attitude. Clearly display shipping information throughout the website so they aren’t in for a surprise when they are about to pay. If you offer free shipping for products only above a certain bill amount, let them know. It may encourage them to fill up their trolleys.
  • Likewise, display the return/exchange policies clearly and concisely. Traditionally this is shown in the website’s footer, so you could stick with that – (it would be the place where customers look for it). However, link it to other relevant pages (for instance, product pages). Keep the policy brief, succinct, unambiguous and quibble-free.
  • The check-out button must be big and in a conspicuous location. You want them to check-out as fast as they can, not waste time looking for the billing and abandoning the cart out of frustration at the last moment.
  • Instead of trying to figure out all the problems on your own, having a feedback tab either at the bottom or the right side of the page lets visitors notify you immediately about a problem they are facing – either technical or with a product, and it lets you catch usability issues straightaway. Better still, if you can, offer a live chat function.
  • When you add social media widgets on all pages, sharing becomes easier. But it’s more sensible to add only one or two social channels (preferably the ones that you as well as the majority of your customers are active on).
  • Building trust builds confidence in customers to buy from you. You can encourage them by adding supplier logos, especially if they are prominent names in the industry. This can be added in the website’s footer, along with direct navigational pointers to pages like why shop with us, customer testimonials, privacy policy, delivery information and contact.
  • Think about what you want from them for all your effort. Make it easy for them to sign-up to your newsletter. By letting them know they can opt out of it any time they want, if gives them the confidence to sign on! This CTA would be best placed on the check-out page or as a pop-up before they exit your page. But don’t forget to offer them something in return for subscribing to you and giving away their e-mail ids. You could offer a small discount on their next purchase, or give them a freebie along with their current one.

This checklist pertains to details across the website. To read on for individual-page checklists you can follow this series on our website.

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