E-Commerce check-list

Ranjit Dhillon Shares Expert Knowledge On E-commerce, E-commerce, E-business E commerce Websites, Online Shops, Website Ecommerce, Shopping Carts, Online Store And Webstores

“Usability is the prerequisite for e-commerce success. …It doesn’t matter how cheap the products are if people can’t find them or if they get stuck on a step in the checkout process.”

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    Selling tips and strategies

    • Communicate the value of the merchandise.
    • Don’t hide product prices.
    • Make it easy to see the total.
    • Show shipping charges before asking for personal information.
    • Keep shipping charges within reason.
    • Consider making shipping “free.”
    • Consider explaining taxes.
    • Provide a wide selection of merchandise.
    • Improve site navigation to enhance customers’ perception of your merchandise selection.
    • lf customers look for items You don’t sell, either stock those items or make it clear that you don’t carry them.
    • Don’t show products that customers can’t buy.
    • Show availability information as soon as possible.
    • For items not in stock. Show the date when the item will be shipped.
    • Don’t automatically substitute items.
    • Deliver In-stock items within a few days.
    • Estimate the number of days until delivery.
    • Provide it choice of shipping methods, and list the carriers.
    • Provide additional delivery Information, when necessary.
    • Make links to guarantees and policies prominent throughout the site.
    • Explain the return policy and process.
    • Offer free returns and clearly state that returns are free.
    • Accept a variety of credit cards.
    • Consider providing payment alternatives.
    • Provide a visible means of buying from promotional pages.
    • On “What’s New” pages. Emphasize new products rather than site updates.
    • Provide sale section.
    • Consider offering samples.
    • Don’t make important page elements look like adverts.
    • Suggest additional items, but don’t put obstacles before the cash register.
    • Use opt-in, not opt-out for items the customer hasn’t specifically selected.
    • Consider creating a first-time visitors page.
    • Make sure that recommendations are relevant to what the customer wants.
    • Don’t substitute cleverness for helpfulness.
    • Consider the ultimate on-line sales assistant: a person.
    • Provide a toll-free phone number.
    • Consider selling gift certificates or providing a gift registry.
    • Assume that some gifts will be shipped to the sender.
    • Let the giver include a personal message.
    • Provide options to suppress price and billing information.
    • If you offer gift-wrapping keep the price low.
    • Provide follow-up delivery information to the sender.
    • Consider consistent pricing – and policies – for Store X and storex.com
    • Provide a store locator.
    • Tell the customer whether the merchandise is available at the local store.
    • Clearly distinguish promotions for the physical stores from promotions on the website.
    • Offer free shipping when one of your stores is located near the customer.
    • Allow free returns to the local store.
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    Trust

    • Show detailed company information.
    • Build on the trust customers have for existing merchants and brands.
    • Link to reputable, independent sources.
    • Show total cost, including taxes, shipping and handling, as soon as possible.
    • Justify prices that appear odd.
    • Provide honest information about products.
    • Provide balanced second opinions.
    • Remove outdated content immediately.
    • Eradicate all typos.
    • Don’t advertise items that are not available.
    • Pursue technical problems vigilantly – and fix them.
    • Phrase error messages constructively and politely.
    • Use form elements for user input on checkout pages.
    • Give users only what they ask for.
    • Preserve information the user has entered.
    • Present policies and guarantees prominently.
    • Offer free returns, and other sales inducements.
    • Test your policies to make sure your customers understand them and find them acceptable.
    • Ask for sensitive information only if it is absolutely necessary to process the order.
    • Explain carefully why you need Information that people consider sensitive.
    • Provide a clear and easy-to-find privacy policy.
    • Use opt-in for all marketing information sent to customers.
    • Allow customers to purchase without registering.
    • Do not require registration before or during a purchase – offer it as an option after the purchase.
    • Explain the benefits of registration and consider offering an incentive.
    • Use secure connections.
    • Provide alternative methods of ordering.
    • Back key statements with named persons.
    • Present a consistent face to each customer.
    • Tell the customer when the products will be delivered.
    • When there are delays, inform the customer promptly.
    • Make sure your order-tracking system is usable.
    • Conduct regular checks of delivered product quality.
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    Category pages

    • Show what merchandise you sell and don’t sell.
    • Beware of over-emphasizing promotional items.
    • The home page should show tile purpose of the site.
    • Don’t hide the catalogue – enable shopping from the home page.
    • Reveal the product hierarchy.
    • Provide links on the home page to purchasing options, return policy, shipping and delivery information.
    • Provide links on the home page to customer service, privacy, and company background information.
    • Choose classifications that are useful to your customers.
    • Consider multiple classification schemes.
    • Provide cross-references.
    • Classify items consistently.
    • Don’t over-classify.
    • Where feasible, limit product listings to two or three pages.
    • Scrolling is acceptable on product listing page.
    • Use download time to determine the number of products per page.
    • Allow customers to sort products by the factors they care about most.
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    Show products & services available at a high level

    • Show visually similar things together.
    • Support navigation by letter for alphabetical lists.
    • Use both numbers (or/and letters) and Next/Previous for navigation among pages.
    • Image quality should he good enough to identify a known item.
    • Images should show the product characteristics that are most important to users.
    • Thumbnail images don’t have to answer all the users’ questions.
    • Allow winnowing by the most useful differentiating factors for that type of product.
    • Design comparison tables to highlight differences.
    • Let customers choose the products to be compared.
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    Search

    • Use a text box instead of a link to a search page.
    • Put the search box oil every page.
    • Learn what your customers actually search for.
    • Analyze search logs.
    • Adjust your search engine to respond to how your customers actually search.
    • Provide special treatment off frequent queries.
    • Support search for no product items.
    • Tell customers what you don’t have.
    • Accept synonyms typically used by your customers.
    • Consider offering limited vocabulary search.
    • Make your search engine error-tolerant.
    • Tolerate spelling errors.
    • Support variant forms of keywords.
    • Accommodate multiple-word input.
    • Recognize all possible search operators.
    • Make default search simple to use.
    • Provide a clearly marked link to Advanced Search – and back.
    • The search default should be “contains” rather than “begins with”
    • Explain the scope of the search.
    • Add tile selection “All” to all search selection lists – and make “All” the default.
    • Provide relevant information about search results.
    • Offer appropriate sorting facilities.
    • Speak the language of your customers.
    • Beware of long lists.
    • Avoid one-item lists.
    • Show why results are included.
    • Give customers only what they ask for.
    • Provide constructive advice.
    • Allow the user to begin a new search on tile “No Results” page.
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    Product pages

    • Provide the product details customers want and need.
    • Speak the customer’s language; avoid jargon and clever names.
    • Be specific.
    • Don’t present too much detail at once. Layer the information.
    • Consider providing reviews and / or ratings.
    • Explain details that can’t be seen in the product image.
    • If you must use downloads and plug-ins, make tile installation process as transparent as possible.
    • If the technology isn’t reliable, leave it out.
    • Provide a recognizable image for familiar items.
    • Provide images that are big, detailed, and free of visual distractions.
    • Beware of losing details in dark-coloured images.
    • Consider showing alternative views of a product.
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    Show only what’s included for sale

    • Put price (and currency) on both the category page and the product page.
    • Show all costs – or lack thereof.
    • Link to guarantees and policies.
    • Clearly indicate when the customer will get the order.
    • Show all options on the same page.
    • Use conventional names for colours.
    • Show the product image in each available colour.
    • Make sure images match colour swatches.
    • Have the customer select options before the product goes in the shopping cart.
    • Avoid using multilevel lists or menus to select options.
    • Don’t make the buyer Specify a “Choice” When there is only one option.
    • Show chosen options in the cart.
    • Beware of using clever names for the shopping cart and Buy button.
    • Use a simple button for the buy mechanism.
    • Put a Buy button on enlarged views.
    • Provide shopping instructions in the empty cart.
    • Provide strong feedback when an item has been put into the cart.
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    Check-out and registration

    • Show items. all costs. and the subtotal.
    • Provide information about return policies and guarantees.
    • Provide a “return to shopping” link.
    • Provide a Remove button for each item in the cart.
    • Provide shopping, Instructions in the empty cart
    • Order the steps in the checkout process according to users’ expectations.
    • Show the steps of the process.
    • Make the next-step button prominent and visually distinct from the site navigation and other page elements.
    • Reveal shipping charges before asking for personal information
    • Provide exact shipping charges and tax. not formulas.
    • Give the user a choice of shipping methods and carriers, if possible.
    • Ask for only the information needed to complete the transaction and clearly state how it can be used.
    • Use clear labels and show examples of valid entries.
    • Make the size of the field indicate the length of the expected Input.
    • Differentiate shipping address from billing address.
    • Use a type-in field, not a selection list, for the state.
    • Save and auto-fill all previously supplied information
    • Validate information submitted.
    • Expect users to hit the Enter or Return key while filling out forms, handle it gracefully.
    • When errors occur, clearly tell how to fix which fields.
    • Provide an order summary with all information about the transaction
    • Include a prominent link to privacy and security policies.
    • Provide an order confirmation page after the purchase.
    • Send a confirmation e-mail as soon as possible after the transaction.
    • Allow customers to purchase without registering.
    • Explain the benefits of registration and consider offering an incentive.
    • Clearly explain the privacy policy and make it easy to Find.
    • Allow (but don’t require) all e-mail address for the user name.
    • Explain how to select a user name and password and why.
    • Avoid using secret questions and hints for password recovery.
    • Allow new users to register even if they use the returning customer log-in form.
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    International users

    • Place international shipping information where inexperience users will notice it.
    • Place international shipping information where experienced users look for it.
    • Offer alternatives if you don’t ship abroad.
    • Show both where you ship and where you bill.
    • lf different models, prices, or procedures apply in different countries make that clear.
    • Warn about potential technical and legal problems with products.
    • Show all additional costs, especially shipping as soon as possible.
    • Consider offering a built-in currency converter.
    • Provide translation of measures to and from metric units.
    • Write all text in EASL, (English As a Second Language).
    • Provide a glossary for both product and shipping terms.
    • Show examples of acceptable and typical information users should enter
    • Use the prompt -ZIP / postal code” rather than “ZIP” or “ZIP Code.”
    • Explicitly list all countries to which you ship.
    • Let the user specify the shipping region first.
    • Provide different pages for US and European address formats
    • Support international phone number formats.
    • Don’t use metaphors that are intimately connected with a specific country.
    • Test your site in each target country to find cultural problems

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