An online presence entails that an ecommerce storefront provides all the services that customers have come to expect when shopping online. The following are the salient web store best practices to observe when setting up an ecommerce website to ensure a satisfactory online shopping experience for customers in terms of navigation, customer service and online security.
- Memorable Domain Name
Domain names play a vital role in the branding of a company and ultimately dictate how an ecommerce site is advertised. Furthermore, acquiring a memorable domain name not only assists in enforcing the organization’s brand but it also guarantees a higher ranking in search engines.
- Welcoming Homepage
The homepage of retail websites should aim to provide sufficient information about its online catalogue, the company’s branding and its products for sale. The homepage is like a store’s shop front and its function is thus to entice customers to purchase products.
- Ease of Navigation
An ecommerce website’s navigation should be intuitive, assisting customers to locate what they need with ease. Products offered should be sorted by type and information about the products that assists the customers in their purchase should be provided.
- Provides Valuable Information
An ecommerce website can easily provide customers with information about each item for sale and similar items available for purchase. Information about delivery time frames and an indication on stock availability should also be provided.
- Search Functionality
Most customers use the website search facility to locate the products they need. The website’s search engine needs to provide accurate information, relevant results and also provide users with the choice to sort through their search results by price, type or availability.
- Customer Service
A retail website should contain information about its policies and standards relating to deliveries and returns of goods purchased. Optional password protected areas whereby users can log in to track the status of their order and store their payment information should be included.
- Confidentiality and Ecommerce Security
The interception of customers’ credit card details can pose a serious risk to ecommerce sites resulting in loss of customer confidence, hence ecommerce website security is a mandatory consideration. Secure Socket Layer (SSL) is a protocol that ensures that transactions conducted online remain private. It provides for encryption and authentication between a web server and a web client.
- User Authentication and Non-repudiation
Transactions manipulation might involve modified transactions where goods are delivered to a swindler instead of the paying customer. Other threats involve the customers repudiating a transaction which results in loss for the company. To counteract such threats digital signatures and security certificates provide means of authentication, integrity and non-repudiation.
- Robust System and Resiliency
Web server failure is a potential risk for ecommerce sites. The consequence is loss of revenue and potential customers who move on to alternative websites. The system which supports a retail website should be resilient to intentional security attacks and capable of handling increased traffic.
- Legal and Regulatory Issues Relating to Ecommerce Services
Changes in laws and regulations affecting the operations of ecommerce services should be regularly monitored to ensure that the ecommerce site is adhering to the stipulated legislation.