SumUpBlog
A woman is building an e-commerce website to sell products online.
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How to build an e-commerce website

Setting up an e-commerce website is a great way to make your products available to a wider audience – and it doesn’t have to be a difficult task.

If you already have an online store but you’re not making many sales, the following advice will help you improve your site to make it more user-friendly, which should convert into more completed purchases.

There are plenty of things to take into account when building your online store. We’ll go over some of them to make your website the best it can be.

In this article, you’ll learn:

  • The essential components of an online store

  • How to make your website user-friendly

  • Which information to include on your website

First impressions are everything

Make a beautiful, simple landing page

Your landing page is usually the first thing visitors to your website will see. It’s important that it’s aesthetically pleasing and easy to use. It might be tempting to use a bunch of different graphics or HTML effects, but it’s better to keep it as uncluttered as possible. 

If a customer visits your website and it’s a total mess, making it difficult to find what they want, they’re going to log off and look elsewhere. So start by making sure the navigation and search bar are in an obvious position. 

Use an online store builder

No matter which platform you decide to build your online store with, there’s likely to be some free website templates to choose from. They’re usually easy to edit and rearrange, so you don’t have to be a pro-coder to get your website looking sleek and professional.

Make sure your logo is visible

It should be clear to visitors that the website belongs to you by using a recognisable logo and consistent branding. If you have a physical store, you should stick with the same logo on your website. That way, your existing customers will know they’re in the right place. 

Transparent information

Write an About Us page

Let your customers know who you are and what you’re about. If a customer has never shopped with you before, being upfront about your business ideals and what kind of products your store provides is a good way to build trust.

You should make sure to write it in a tone that is consistent with the rest of your branding. 

Make your shipping costs known

Nobody likes to be hit with unexpected costs. If your shipping fees can’t be found until a customer is checking out, they might think twice about completing the purchase – so make a page outlining your shipping costs and returns policy.

Create an FAQ page

FAQ pages list the answers to questions regularly asked by customers. Doing this saves everyone time, as you won’t have to worry about responding to as many messages, and your customers won’t have to wait for the information that is stopping them from completing their purchase. 

An easy-to-use shopping cart

Make it visible

Your customer has found something they’d like to purchase from you and added the items to their shopping cart. You want to make sure the shopping cart is easily accessible from any page on your website, so that the purchase process is as smooth as possible. 

State your payment methods

Chances are that you’ve been on plenty of e-commerce websites. There’s one thing most of them have in common when it comes to payment – plenty of options.

Customers don’t want to jump through hoops to pay on your website. If you don’t accept their usual method of payment, they are likely to abandon the purchase. 

That’s why you should choose a payment system that accepts a wide range of cards and other online payment methods, like PayPal.

Eye-catching product photos

You want to show your products in their best light – it could be the difference between making a sale and someone deciding not to purchase something.

If you have bad photos of your products, you’re not only less likely to make a sale, but also likely to have a higher return rate. Your customer might feel like they didn’t get what they paid for if your products look totally different in real life. 

Here are some tips for taking nice photos of your products.

Use a decent camera

If you can get your hands on a good quality digital camera, that’s great. But in the age of smartphones, there’s no excuse to have grainy photos on your website. Most recently released smartphones come equipped with cameras that are perfectly capable of snapping some amazing shots of your products.

Find good lighting

If you take photos of your products in a dimly lit place, they probably won’t come out so well. If sunlight or photography lights aren’t an option, try to use a brightly lit room. Using flash in a dark space could make a rose-coloured blouse look more like magenta.

Use a simple background

You want your product to be the centre of attention. Try to use a neutral background colour, without too much else going on, otherwise it will take the focus away from the thing you want to sell. 

Social media

If you don’t already have social media accounts for your business, you should consider creating some. They’re an invaluable marketing tool, letting you show off your business, build your brand, and connect with your customers. They also help customers verify the legitimacy of your business.

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Callum Conway