Building an effective e-commerce website has become much easier over the last decade. However many businesses are still not taking full advantage of having an online presence.

A recent report from the Business Development Bank of Canada found that while 78% of Canadian businesses have an online site, less than half of them take online orders. Failing to take advantage of the e-commerce boom is not only detrimental to their profits but also to the economy as well. PayPal Cross Border Consumer Research 2018 revealed that only 37% of digital buyers were buying domestically in Canada last year. A key reason for this could be the lack of good e-commerce sites.

The e-commerce market has become extremely competitive, as the knowledge for developing a working site has become more accessible. This is best shown through the increasing number of tutorials available online for anyone looking to improve their online presence. Udemy shows how there are a wide range of online web design courses available that cover every aspect of building a website from coding to design. Sites like Squarespace, Wix, and Shopify provide easy to customise pages for your business. If an e-commerce website doesn’t fulfil basic functions then it will be ignored by a customer base that is becoming more acclimatised to online shopping.

So here are 5 tips on how you can cut through the noise and build a competitive online e-commerce website that won’t be ignored:


Branding is everything

Digital consumers respond to a strong brand recall. The design and fundamental look of your site should reflect your brand’s objectives. This encompasses your logo and your brand’s story. One of the biggest mistakes an e-commerce site can make is having too many things happening at once. Ultimately, our visual message must tell your brand’s narrative.


UI / UX is paramount

Defining your target audience and customer base is key in creating an effective e-commerce site. UI (user interface) and UX (user experience) are vital aspects in leading the customer from brand awareness to conversion. While branding represents your products, UI/UX tells the narrative in a customer-friendly manner. Highly responsive sites and useful micro-interactions—small features that help customers on your site—are some of the basics when it comes to effective UI/UX design. Simply using high resolution photos and even CSS3 animations can improve your site’s customer retention and search engine rankings.


Integrating social media

Good e-commerce sites can carry on the sales conversation even when users leave the platform through social media. Many tech-savvy digital consumers will review at least one social media platform before buying a product. Embedding social channels within the site shows relevance and responsiveness to the consumer base.


Mobile optimisation

Many shoppers now view e-commerce sites on their mobile phones. Entrepreneur pointed to a study that predicted that mobile users will account for 68% of total e-commerce visits this year. Additionally, Google’s SEO ranking mechanism has already favoured mobile and tablet optimised sites, as users are less likely to click off mobile-friendly sites. Optimising for mobile means reaching more customers and providing better UI/UX for users.


Relevant Content Add-ons

Adding a blog to your site not only improves your chances of being more visible, it can also improve customer satisfaction. As a service, many brands are giving expert advice on their blogs to create a positive association to their products and the industry as a whole. Not only that, good e-commerce sites with relevant content can build communities around their brand. Like social media, getting users to actively participate in conversation and message boards can help with organic rankings and conversion. In addition, using video content on your site boosts user retention and engagement.