Effective ecommerce websites are ones that establish trust with users and move them seamlessly from browsing to checkout. However, finding the right formula for generating a steady flow of sales is a major hurdle for most merchants.

The online shopping experience should closely mirror that of being in-store. Users should have easy access to things like customer service, detailed product information and return policies. The more comfortable you can make visitors, the faster they will transition from window shoppers to loyal customers.

A look at the most successful ecommerce websites reveals 10 vital elements that are bound to boost sales.

 1. A prominent phone number in the Header
Including a phone number lets people know they can get in touch if they need assistance, and gives them peace of mind that a human is just a call away. It’s always surprising to see just how many websites ignore this simple rule.

 2. Information about returns
Give visitors quick access to your return policy.Transparency upfront will be a valuable trust builder that wins over shoppers who are on the fence about buying from you. Few will make a purchase if they are unsure about being able to send back items they aren’t satisfied with.

 3. Information about Shipping
Most brands promote shipping discounts on their Homepages, in order to entice users to act fast. Offering time-sensitive free or discounted shipping for orders over a certain threshold is often a no brainer that gets people excited to shop.

 4. Customer service number or live chat
A dedicated customer service number and/or live chat feature lets customers know they can quickly access a sales associate should they have questions. Going the extra mile to provide this level of personal interaction will definitely set you apart from the competition.

 5. High res product images
Great product photography is absolutely critical to the online shopping experience. Not only will beautiful images entice users to purchase, but they can alleviate returns due to items looking differently than expected in person. Also, including product zoom and multiple images is highly encouraged for product detail pages.

 6. Easy access to product details
Best Buy is a prime example of giving shoppers every essential detail needed to help in the decision making process. By offering extensive product Overviews and Specifications, Best Buy ensures that customers are well informed and know exactly what they are getting. Once again, this can prevent returns by setting expectations and offering transparency.

 7. Customer reviews
Online reviews are incredibly vital to the ecosystem of doing business online. A recent study showed that over 75% of consumers trust online reviews. While many website owners are concerned about the impact of negative feedback, they should look at reviews (both good and bad) as opportunities to learn more about their customers. For example, if 10 out of 20 customers voice a similar complaint, it’s probably a real issue that should be addressed immediately.

 8. A logical sorting and filtering system
Users shop in a variety of ways. Some are looking for the lowest price, while others are searching for a particular color, size or brand. By implementing a powerful sorting and filtering system, you allow shoppers to get what they want quickly and easily. The faster you get a customer into the checkout process, the more likely they will buy.

 9. SSL and Payment Gateway trust badges
Badges for SSL Certificates (e.g. Norton) and Payment Gateways (e.g. Authorize.Net) should always be displayed in the footer. Letting users know your site follows best practices for website security gives them confidence that their personal information (e.g. name, address and credit card numbers) is safe.

 10. A seamless checkout process
Once a user has products in their cart, they are 90% of the way to converting. Don’t allow the remaining 10% to be spoiled by a confusing checkout process. Common issues with ecommerce checkouts include lack of a guest checkout, limited payment options, limited tax and shipping options and slow server speed. If you lose a visitor during checkout, you’ve probably lost them forever.


by Fuze August 2, 2013