eCommerce Basics for New Online Stores

eCommerce is growing as the top way to sell products and services. By the end of 2020, researchers suggest there will be 2 billion digital buyers in the world, and around 95% of all purchases are expected to be via eCommerce by 2040.

It doesn’t matter if you’re a large brand, an SMB, or just starting your online eCommerce side gig. If you want to effectively reach more of your target audience and increase your sales, you must make it easy for your customers to purchase online.

The best way to capture more online sales is to optimize your website. This post will offer five tips and tricks that you can apply to your website right now that will help you drive internet consumers to your website and convert them into loyal customers.

1. Secure your website

Seventy-one percent of consumers worry about brands’ handling of personal data, and it’s with good reason. Forty-six percent of Americans have been the victims of credit card fraud in the last five years alone.

Even if you have a product that people want to buy, if you don’t go above and beyond to secure customer data, you will miss out on sales.

When you purchase a web hosting plan with HostGator, your website comes with a free SSL website security certificate.

hostgator ecommerce hosting includes free ssl security certificate

SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) is encryption and cyber-safety technology that helps secure your internet connection and protect data that is exchanged between a browser and a web server. SSL prevents hacking and data theft of passwords, credit card information, banking details, personal data, and any other user information.

Google requires most websites to have an SSL certificate, and often blocks websites that aren’t secure. You can tell a website is secure if it has a padlock in front of the URL.

example of ssl certificate in nike.com ecommerce website

While an SSL certificate is sufficient to protect data, it’s also important to use eCommerce payment platforms that are recognizable and secure such as, Apple Pay, PayPal, Venmo, Amazon Pay, etc.

ecommerce payment options

If you only accept credit cards on your website, let your customers know which payment software you are using and how you are securing their data.

2. Include gorgeous photos on your product pages

Hiring a fantastic product photographer can be expensive, but 75% of online shoppers rely on product photos when deciding on a potential purchase. This means before you set up your online store, you need to have images that represent the product well, jive with the look of your website, and show your customers exactly what the product will look like when they receive it in the mail.

Here is a nice example from the fashion brand, Everlane.

everlane product photos on ecommerce website

The pictures complement the website design. Visitors can see what the pants look like, and shoppers can even look at all the various color options. How much more powerful is this than if Everlane were only to include the description?

Hitting the product photography nail on the head is also essential, considering 22 percent of returns happen because the product doesn’t look like the picture on the website. 

Not to mention, people are 40% more likely to share visual content on social channels, which provides yet another opportunity for brand exposure.

3. Include prominent call-to-action (CTA) buttons on your website

Pop quiz time! What are the two most noticeable bits of copy on any website? That’s right! It’s the headline of any webpage and the call-to-action. At least they should be the two most prominent pieces of copy on your website.

When one company made drastic CTA design changes for one of their clients, the results were astounding:

  • Adding CTA buttons to article templates boosted revenue by 83% in one month.
  • Ecommerce conversions increased 22% over each quarter.

As with all website optimization, there is an art and a science to getting it right. Here are some top CTA button optimization tips.

Use the inverted pyramid model for your headline, copy, and CTA

Studies show that the inverted pyramid design model gets solid results. An inverted pyramid means the copy at the top (headline) grabs the attention of your audience. The copy in the middle (description) builds anticipation, and the last piece of copy is a short call to action (CTA). 

inverted pyramid for headline copy cta

The inverted pyramid is a guideline for design as well.

The headline grabs the attention, the additional detail builds anticipation, and the call to action tells website visitors exactly what to do, and it’s in the shape of an upside down triangle (outlined in pink).

Opt for orange or test your color choices

You always want to follow your brand color guidelines. However, it’s also worthy to note that orange CTA buttons often produce the highest conversion. SAP found that orange CTAs boosted their conversion rate by more than 32.5%, according to QuickSprout.

If orange doesn’t fit with your brand, or you don’t like it, you can always A/B test your favorite two button colors. We love using orange at HostGator:

example of orange CTA button on hostgator

A/B testing means you take the same web page, change one single thing (the CTA color button), and show it to two different audiences that represent your target demographic. Their feedback will help you guide your decision.

4. Optimize your website for stellar mobile shopping experiences

Recent stats show that four out of five Americans shop online, and more than half of online shoppers have made purchases on their mobile devices. Interestingly enough, not all of these purchases are intentional purchases. 

Sixty-seven percent of consumers say they engage in “digital window shopping,” and 77% of those make impulse purchases (good news for eCommerce brands, right?).

To capture more sales on your eCommerce website, it’s essential to optimize your website for mobile search and mobile commerce. Here’s how.

Use a mobile responsive template

Both HostGator’s Gator Website Builderand WordPress provide templates that are already optimized for mobile devices. 

When you get a HostGator or WordPress template, you don’t have to do any coding. You just have to customize it to your liking, and it will work perfectly on a desktop and a mobile device.

Make sure your website loads quickly

The majority of consumers expect websites to load in less than two seconds. If websites take longer than a few seconds to load, consumers will bounce (click out of your website rapidly) and search elsewhere.

You can avoid this by testing your website load speed often and optimizing it to make sure it loads quickly on desktops and mobile devices.

Make it easy for consumers to pay

When was the last time you went to order a product, and then abandoned ship because it was difficult to enter your payment information?

The best approach is to include multiple popular payment options, including Venmo, ApplePay, and Amazon Pay, for example. 

When thinking about optimizing your website for mobile, remember that 51% percent of smartphone users have purchased from a company other than the one they originally intended due to a more pleasant mobile shopping experience. 

5. Offer discounts

You know what’s better than online shopping? Online shopping with discounts!

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve purchased a product from one company over another just because they offered a better discount. Here are some ideas for boosting engagement with discounts:

  • Free shipping for higher dollar orders. If someone purchases over a certain amount of product, consider offering free shipping. This encourages consumers to buy more.
  • Discount in exchange for email address. Smart brands offer a discount on customers’ first orders in exchange for their email address. This allows you to build your email list and turn one-time visitors into repeat customers.
  • Discount wheel. Discount wheels are another way of providing a discount in exchange for an email address.

Get More Sales for Your eCommerce Website Today

If you’re ready to start your eCommerce website, check out the hosting deals at HostGator. HostGator has an eCommerce website builder plan that makes it easy to optimize your website for increased eCommerce sales.

Ashley R. Cummings is a professional freelance writer specializing in SaaS, tech, and advertising/marketing. In a previous life, she was a Russian teacher at Brigham Young University, a corporate trainer, and a grad student—all at the same time. When she’s not writing, you can find her traveling the world with her 2 kids and husband, reading poetry or taking a deep dive into the fabulous world of comedy. Connect with her on Twitter at @ashleyrcummings.