8 essentials for a great e-commerce website

By November 5, 2013All, Ecommerce

Thinking of opening an e-commerce website?  Or maybe upgrading one you already have?  With the right product at the right price, it’s a cost effective way of reaching a wider range of customers.  However, a shocking 90% of online businesses fail within the first two years of starting up, yet only 40% of offline businesses fail in the first 4 years!  Why is this?  Often it’s because they forget about the simple things that make it work.  Here are the Silver Monkey recommendations for making an e-commerce website successful.


If somethings worth doing…

Do it properly. You wouldn’t set up a gardening business with nothing but an old rusted pair of shears, so why go half-hearted with your online store?  After all, your website has to be sufficiently persuasive to get people to part with their hard-earned cash!

Make it look gooooood…

There are millions of e-commerce websites out there right now, so why would somebody buy from your site rather than any of the others?  To make people feel confident enough to purchase from your site it needs to look the part.

Professional product imagery makes all the difference…

For me, one of the few benefits of actually visiting a real shop (not my favourite pastime) is the ability to touch and feel the product before I buy it.  Your product imagery is the closest you will ever get to this online, so don’t cut corners.  Invest in professional photography to present your products in the best possible light.

 High quality wording and descriptions are essential…

Don’t leave customers guessing, make sure every product is clearly and concisely described, and in such a way that it attracts traffic from search engines too.  If in doubt employ a copywriter.  If there’s any uncertainty in a customers mind on exactly what a product does, what’s included, when it will arrive, how much the postage is and anything else that is relevant, then you’ve lost the sale.

 You need a reliable payment gateway…

Why would anyone enter their credit card details into something that doesn’t look trustworthy?  Make it a simple and straightforward transaction.  Something like PayPal is perfect, it’s well known and people trust it.

Make use of your website analytics…

A good e-commerce platform will give you detailed information about how your website is working, your most and least popular products, most visited pages and much more. This is gold-plated information when it comes to refining your site, as you can immediately see what needs to be altered or updated.

Make it future proof…

Ok, so your website looks great, runs great and is worded beautifully.  But will it still be great in 2 years time?  The world is not static, especially when it comes to the on-line world, so we recommend using an e-commerce platform that gives you automated updates.  This will mean paying a nominal fee each month, but in the long run it’s money well spent.  We use Shopify for a number of our e-commerce websites for this very reason.

How are you going to promote it?

It’s great having a beautifully designed, well-written secure site, but if no one knows it’s out there then it’s not going to do much!  It’s surprising how many people make the mistake of investing in an e-commerce site without having good solid promotional strategy in place to support it.  Being an online business it makes sense to invest in search engine optimisation, however there’s more than one way to skin a cat!


Well there you have it, Silver Monkey’s 8 essentials for a great e-commerce website!  If you’d like to find out more give us a call on 01787 464023 or drop us an email, we are always happy to help!

Thanks for reading,


Author Harry Fitzgerald

Took just 18 months to elevate himself from marketing apprentice to SEO legend, inbound marketing expert and social media marketing guru. Prefers protein shakes to coffee. Fights people in cages in his spare time.

More posts by Harry Fitzgerald