Our fifth article on eCommerce website design. Now, things are moving, designers are busy, developers are busy and you’re making some important decisions. This is where your web developers should be giving you lots of advice and help to ensure your website is successful. You need to keep the momentum going, keep researching and don’t rush any decisions. Insist on a go live plan showing key milestones so time doesn’t slip away.
The most important things for you at this stage are to decide on your payment provider, source high quality images of your products, and write good quality descriptions.
You shouldn’t ever be thinking the work is all with the website developers, there are endless tasks such as setting up social media accounts, speaking to your bank to get your merchant ID number and so on.
We’ve put together some top tips for this stage of the development. As follows;
Believe it or having poor quality images is one of the main reasons online shops fail. Always put yourself in the position of the user and be honest, are your images good enough quality? Remember, it’s all about value and usability, if people can’t see detailed images on your website they won’t buy from you.
If you’re using a professional photographer it shouldn’t be a problem. However, it can be expensive so many people take product shots themselves. Here are a few points to help you get the best quality shots;
Know what you want to achieve
Go online and find good examples of photography that match your product. Print them and them close as reference. You may need more than one image per product so plan your shots and be consistent. For example, if you’re selling watches then you will need a close up of the face of the watch, strap, and an image showing the watch on someone’s wrist so people get an idea of the size. Remember you’ll also need a thumbnail image that works small to show in the results pages.
Buying a camera and equipment
Research, research and more research. Check out all the online reviews and go for a camera that excels at product shots. Don’t just read one review either, get a general view by reading a whole bunch of them. When you’ve narrowed it down, Google a particular make and model for independent reviews. You don’t necessarily need to spend a fortune and many will agree that the camera body isn’t always as important as the lens, lighting and setup.
Prepare your product
So many fail at this stage, save yourself hours of work in Photoshop by preparing your products. Depending on what you are shooting depends on how much time is needed. For example, a toy car will be much easier to shoot than a handbag. Clothing and textiles can change shape, crease and so on. They need arranging, padding, propping and so on. Always check through the camera, look for speckles of dirt or marks on your product and backing paper. Good preparation will get you closer to professional photography.
Lighting, lighting, lighting
You’ve got to get this right! You may not need much equipment but patience is key. You need well-lit products with soft shadows and a balanced exposure. For smaller object use a light tent, with say 30-watt bulbs, for larger items you’ll need two 60-watt soft boxes. In some cases you may need to use a light reflector. Always take a few test shots and get them on screen to see how they look.
Yep, even the best images need retouching and tweaking. Photoshop is superb for this, giving you control over colour levels, filters, sharpness and so on.
Be prepared to get expert help
Just to reiterate, good photography can make the difference between selling and not. Some products are extremely difficult to shoot and are best done by experts, if you can’t achieve the quality you need for your website then be prepared to get a professional photographer.
Choosing the right payment provider for your website is an important decision, with it comes a whole load of issues such as internet security, support integration and customer trust. Here’s our guide to choosing the right payment gateway provider for your Ecommerce website.
The first consideration is cost and finding the best price for a payment gateway. Here you need a bit of traditional accounting as what looks good initially could cost more. Ask your web developer about integration costs, some systems are more time consuming to integrate. There are a number of ways in which provider will charge. These range from variable rates per transaction, to a flat fee per transaction, or a monthly plan with annual transactions. The cost to process orders can also vary depending on volume, so make sure you fully understand these costs before committing. The trick is in trying to anticipate the value and amount of sales you will make in the first year so you can work out the cheapest solution.
Debit Card and PayPal Processing
Paypal is becoming increasingly popular, internet shoppers have heard of it and they’re comfortable using it. Many purchasing websites now provide two options for payment of which Paypal in one. Personally, I prefer to pay by Paypal as it’s much quicker given you don’t need to enter your full details, also it is secure.
We’ve all heard the horror stories concerning credit card theft. Online security is more important than ever. Put simply, people will not part with their details if they think there is a security risk on your website. Increasingly we’re become more internet savvy and know exactly what to look for. Therefore, it is essential to discuss security with your website developers and programmers. For those using third party providers most of the protection will come from their service. However, additional security such a SSL certificates and CVV2 verification can give buyers confidence and provide deeper security.
Key to selling, and key to securing top positions in the search engines. Again, another important part of the recipe to make sure your eCommerce business is a success.
Simply using the manufacturers product description doesn’t cut it for Search Engine Optmisation. To start with, it’s not unique with thousands of other website doing exactly the same. Then consider the purpose of the manufacturer writing a description, it’s not for marketing or sales, but simply to identify that product. Unique, quality copywriting will always win out. It may seem a daunting task to write content for each and every product but ensuring no two descriptions are the same will pay dividends.
Tone & consistency
Writing a product description for a surf board should be much different to a printer or chessboard. This comes down to tone, make sure you establish a tone for your product early on, and be consistent across all products. This will also help create unique content, again this helps SEO.
Sell, sell, sell
Above all make sure your copy really sells! Think features and benefits. Always differentiate your product and be clear why people should buy from you.
1. Identify your usp’s and why your product is better
2. Be informative and answer all the questions people need to know about your product
3. Get your tone right, consider age, gender, interest and so on
4. Make sure you put people at ease, clearly state any guarantee’s, returns and so on
5. Structure your copy so it’s clear and easy to read
6. Use a call to action or persuasion technique such as ‘order now and get it tomorrow’