The UAE retail e-commerce market hit $4B in 2020. We’ll give you a minute to let that sink in: four billion dollars’ worth of business all happening online, right here in our home country.
Claiming your own piece of this market is no easy feat. It takes a significant amount of time, talent, and resources to invest in ecommerce website development and get it right.
If you’re curious about what it takes to make it in ecommerce, have a look at this guide we’ve prepared that covers six essential elements of a successful online retail site.
1. Brand Consistency
The first and most fundamental element of stellar ecommerce website development is consistency. The internet is a big place, and you’d be at a distinct advantage if you can serve audiences consistent visuals, messaging, and experiences across platforms.
We strongly recommend setting a grand omnichannel marketing strategy for your digital efforts. If you can identify where customers first encounter your business, where they go to learn about it, and what steps lead them to convert, you can design an ecommerce site that makes the choice to spend a no-brainer.
This means aligning your visual branding across platforms (easier said than done considering how people use each platform differently), maintaining your voice in your web copy, and keeping offers and value propositions consistent as you conduct your ecommerce website development.
The check-out page is the last place you ought to surprise your visitors—unless it’s with an extra offer.
2. Mobile Optimized Online Retail
By now, we’re sure we don’t need to tell you that mobile is the present (no longer the future) of digital marketing. Per Statista, around 70% of all retail commerce website visits were conducted on mobile devices.
If you want any hope of succeeding at ecommerce website development, you have to optimize it for desktop and mobile. This means keeping loading times short, following mobile layout best practices, and integrating with mobile wallets and other mobile-first payment partners.
Be absolutely sure that your ecommerce site looks and feels good when visited on mobile, or risk losing business to competitors who know better.
3. Simple and Intuitive Ecommerce Navigation
Most ecommerce web developers fail because they don’t understand what site users want. They might design beautiful, fast, and responsive sites that simply don’t feel right when used.
The best ecommerce sites are intuitive, meaning users can enjoy well-organized product categories, sort items by various criteria (ex. price, shipping costs, popularity, ratings), and find all the details they need without jumping through hoops.
Of course, reading your users’ minds is easier said than done. There are two approaches to creating simple and intuitive navigation for your ecommerce website development: first is to iterate and use site visitor data (i.e. how they use your site), and second is to reference the most well-designed ecommerce sites that you know of. These aren’t mutually exclusive, so feel free to start with a strong design inspiration and improve as you go along.
4. Excellent Product Listings
The popularity of ecommerce means that your customers can tell a quality site or product listing from a cheap one. You’ll know what we mean when you see it: some ecommerce sites feature small and blurry product photos, cramped or disorganized fonts, bad photo angles or even lack product images altogether.
Let us be the first to tell you that excellent, well-framed product photos and elegant listing design are key to ecommerce website development. Users trust websites that take the effort to present their products as best as they can. Moreover, your ecommerce site pages are opportunities to market your brands—because not everyone visiting your site is ready to purchase just yet.
Another thing to consider is setting up landing pages for your products. These are great assets that tie-in well with your social and PPC marketing initiatives, and give customers greater exposure to your products and selling points.
5. Upselling Mechanisms
We wish ecommerce website development were as simple as putting products up on display and waiting for customers to fork over their money. In reality, the business side of online selling takes careful strategy and a relentless pursuit for higher customer lifetime value (CLV).
Upselling is the art of encouraging customers to spend more in a single shopping session. There are plenty of ways to go about this including bundling, flash discounts, and special offers at checkout—all of which need to be built into the back end of your website.
If you use an ecommerce CRM like Salesforce Pardot or Marketo, some of these features may be bundled in. Conversely, you may have opted to hard-code your website and build it from scratch, in which case you’ll need to work closely with your developers to make sure everything works as intended.
Whatever the case, ecommerce website development demands a strong mix of marketing and sales expertise.
6. Cart Abandonment and Remarketing Integrations
People’s attention spans on the internet can be quite limited. People don’t spontaneously vanish from malls when something more important comes up, but that’s a good metaphor for the dreaded phenomenon of cart abandonment: people leaving your ecommerce site just one click away from making a purchase.
The reason why ecommerce website development encourages people to create accounts is to address cart abandonment. Businesses send emails reminding customers of their cart status, and some even go the extra mile and offer discounts to try and reel people back into their sales loop.
Likewise, remarketing is a powerful tool in a business’ arsenal. When your customers are set up with profiles, you can have an easier time personalizing emails and offers to notify them about new promotions or field user-specific bundles.
Whether you have a system for users to create accounts or deploy some other kinds of tracker, do yourself a favor and find a way to keep your sales engine running hot.
As you can imagine, ecommerce website development can be very difficult for the average business to get into. Likewise, there are dozens of agencies that claim to be experts at web design and development but lack the skill to make your business truly sign.
With online retail being as difficult as it is, we at Igloo are here to help. As an award-winning digital marketing agency based in the UAE, we have a proven track record for helping local businesses generate more sales and delight more customers with a strong digital sales presence.
Contact us today to learn how we can help you build or improve your revenues.